Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The fermented milk of a mare or camel, used as a beverage by certain peoples of western and central Asia.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative spelling of koumiss.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A common beverage of the nomads of northern Asia, consisting of fermented mares' milk, resembling sour buttermilk, but clear and free from greasiness. The Kirghiz and others distil an intoxicating liquor from it.
  • n. A fermented dietetic and sanitary drink made in western countries, in imitation of the preceding, from cows' milk with sugar and yeast, and allowed to ferment until it becomes effervescent and slightly alcoholic.

Etymologies

Russian kumys, from Old Russian komyzŭ, from Old Turkic qïmïz, from qammaq, to shake.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • They drink a beverage called kumiss, which is fermented mare's milk.

    The Saracen: Land of the Infidel

  • And at some point after that, they started regularly collecting the milk and using it, either to feed motherless children, or to process it into yogurt, kumiss, kefir, and other milk products.

    The Lactase Gene: A Precursor to Cultural Evolution?

  • As no-one knew the etymology of the old name, Pishpek, they chose a new one, the nearest word phonetically in Kyrgyz: bishkek, which means "kumiss-whisk".

    Doing the tell

  • It turned out that the etymology of the indigenous name Pishpek was unknown; the nearest Kyrgyz word was bishkek 'whisk with which kumiss is stirred.'

    languagehat.com: BISHKEK/PISHPEK.

  • It says the name goes back to a term meaning 'place below the mountains', which popular etymology or eggcornism converted into the word for a kumiss 'churn'.

    languagehat.com: BISHKEK/PISHPEK.

  • After a brief post focusing on a recipe for kumiss (which is what you make with a bishkek), he quoted a series of passages from Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (a wonderful book, which these tastes make me want to reread) dealing with the "mad scavenger" Tchitcherine, sent to Seven Rivers country (south of Lake Balkhash: Semirechye in Russian, Zhetysu in Kazakh) "to give the tribesmen out here, this far out, an alphabet."

    languagehat.com: LANGUAGE IN CENTRAL ASIA.

  • It was the women who prepared kumiss, and they also made cheese.

    What Men Live By, and other tales

  • The mares were milked, and from the milk kumiss was made.

    What Men Live By, and other tales

  • Then they began drinking kumiss again, and offered Pahom some tea, but he would not wait.

    What Men Live By, and other tales

  • They talked a while, and after drinking some more kumiss and eating some more mutton, they had tea again, and then the night came on.

    What Men Live By, and other tales

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I am not shaken or remiss (ruemiss)?!

    May 15, 2012