Etymology / derivation of "Ahoj"

Discussion in 'Vocabulary & Translation Help' started by wickenden, Sep 19, 2003.

  1. wickenden

    wickenden New Member

    Sorry, I know next to nothing of the Czech Republic (other than that I have some friends living there) and that there is this word "Ahoj".

    Can someone tell me if this word is related to the obvious "Ahoy" which enters english as a "nautical term" thought to be related to some scandanavian war cry. Ahoy's oldest usage in english seems to be calling out from one ship to another, i.e. a greeting called out.

    Any insight is appreciated.

  2. kitty

    kitty Member

    "Ahoj" means Hi! But I think that means Bye too.
  3. Bohaemus

    Bohaemus Well-Known Member

    GOOGLE group "sci.lang" - keywords ahoy ahoj:

    >On Sat, 4 Nov 1995, Simon Slavin wrote:
    >> In article <>,
    >> Nicholas Okhotin <> wrote:
    >> > My question is - do you know the etymology of this word - "AHOJ" in
    >> > Czech, which means "HELLO"? Or - what dictionary or other kind of
    >> > book you can propose to look for ?
    >> Czechoslovakia is land-locked. It has no ports. Go figure.

    This is not relevant. Czechoslovakia was founded very recently
    in 1918. I have seen Ahoj in Czech books written well before then.

    >> I suppose (a) boundaries have changed, it did have ports at one time
    > I'm sure it had never any connection to the sea. Except you see it as a
    >part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, which had some ports on the
    >Dalmatinian coast, once.

    Well I'm sure it did, now and then. The lands of the Czech Crown
    were part of Austro-Hungarian Empire only last 300 years.
    Cechy (Bohemia) existed more then 1000 years before then.
    There were times when coastal regions belonged to Czech Crown.

    But that was long time ago and I think it is largely irrelevant.

    What is relevant though is the fact that it was common for
    young male Czechs in the last couple centuries to travel to
    gain life experience before returning home and starting
    a family.
    I have no authoritative reference at hand but I feel it is
    definitely a loan word (probably from German) and I would
    be surprised if it was used as general greeting by Czechs
    for more than 120-170 years.

    Today Ahoj is used by young people as "Hello". However, its
    connection with sea is well known. It is deliberately used
    in that sense by watersport people and Czech river and sea
    merchant shipping sailors.

    (BTW you don't have to have any coast to have a fleet of
    ocean-going merchant ships)

    >> or (b) it was borrowed from another language.
    > Perhaps the fact, that Czechoslovakia has no access to the sea, was a
    >reason to use the word "ahoj". Every "land-locked" country is dreaming of
    >the wasteness of the ocean, and maybe for czech ears that word sounds more
    >exotic (and therefore interesting) as for other countries as Poland,
    >Germany which have seaports.
    > Just an idea; I don't know whether it is true...

    this is quite likely true...
    (fragment from a discussion)

    [This message has been edited by Bohaemus (edited 22-09-2003).]

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