from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a Russian log hut


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Russian изба.



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  • Random House Unabridged (used by does allow "isba" as an alternative spelling but uses "izba" as its main entry, which makes sense, since the modern Russian word is spelled изба with a "з", which is invariably transliterated as "z".

    November 24, 2008

  • Well, I think English dictionaries allow both forms.

    November 24, 2008

  • Nabokov was a brilliant man, but he had his own idiosyncratic ideas about how Russian should be conveyed in English.

    November 24, 2008

  • In an Italian translation of Russian folk stories I came across it as izba.

    November 24, 2008

  • Nabokov's translation of Eugene Onegin, page 29:

    Google books link

    November 24, 2008

  • I would normally spell this izba. I'm curious about where you found it spelled like this, Sionnach.

    In Slovene (and I suspect also in CBS Croato-Bosno-Serbian), izba is not only a small room, but a small room with a stove; the stove is what makes it an izba, i.e., it's a place where people live, not a storage room. In his Slovene Etymological Dictionary, Marko Snoj gives this word's origin as, puportedly, Vulgar Latin *extufa (from the verb extufare, "to heat by steam"), a word which also led eventually to the French étuve ("oven; steamroom") and the German Stube (a heated room).

    November 24, 2008

  • the traditional log house of rural Russia, with an unheated entrance room and a single living and sleeping room heated by a clay or brick stove.


    1775–85; < Russ izbá (dim. istópka), ORuss istŭba house, bath, c. Serbo-Croatian ìzba small room, shack, Czech jizba room

    November 23, 2008