What is historicism?

Galina Uneasy
Galina Uneasy
February 19, 2013
What is historicism?

Throughout its development, the Russian language has undergone many changes. Along with the active vocabulary, which is used by most people who speak great and mighty, there are words that have already come out of active use. These include historicisms.

Definition of historicism

What is historicism, and why did they get such a name? Obsolete words, names of concepts, objects, phenomena that have disappeared from active use for historical reasons, are called historicisms. In modern Russian language, it is impossible to find synonyms for the words-historicism, because the realities that they mean have passed away, they no longer exist. Historisms are used to recreate the vivid picture of the past life for which they are characteristic.

Historical words with the development of life, the introduction of new concepts, phenomena, household items, clothing, and so on, appeared. Over time, these words disappeared from active use, because the phenomena that signify them disappeared.

Historisms, examples of which can be found in the study of old books and ancient treatises, illustrate the era of their use. So, with the abolition of serfdom, the words “serf”, “corvee”, “dues” disappeared from active use in Russian. Such words as “Bolshevik”, “fist” are connected with the October Socialist Revolution. Its time has passed, there are no more people who are called by these words, therefore they became historicism. The same can be said about the words "educational program", "food tax", "nepman".

The use of historicism

Such words refer to the passive dictionary. Historisms in literature are used to create the sensation of a particular epoch, for styling, introducing the reader into the atmosphere characteristic of a given period.

Estorizm combined into many thematic groups of words. The most numerous among them are the following:

  • title titles: boyar, count, prince, nobleman;
  • the names of officials: the clerk, the policeman, the constable;
  • administrative names: county, parish, okolotok;
  • names of vintage clothes: caftan, camisole, zupan, kokoshnik and others;
  • names of monetary units: penny, altyn, polushk.

Despite the fact that historicisms are not included in the active dictionary of the Russian language, they can also be used in colloquial speech to give a special coloring to the context. Therefore, a cultured person should know their meanings in order to correctly understand the interlocutor and feel comfortable during a conversation. In addition, historicism is widely used in literature.