Do the English verb "crush" and the Old Slavonic verb крушити (krushiti) "to break, to destroy" [where ити (iti) is a verb ending] have somehow relation with themself. Internet sources are scanty:



  • 2
    probably not: "from Old French cruissir (Modern French écraser), variant of croissir "to gnash (teeth), crash, smash, break," which is perhaps from Frankish *krostjan "to gnash" (cognates: Gothic kriustan, Old Swedish krysta "to gnash")." If you can find the etymology of 'крушити' we could confirm. – Mitch May 11 at 21:28
  • @Mitch I want to add, that Old Slavonic also has the word укрух (ukruh) "fragment", where у(u) is a prefix and that Old Slavonic has the standart alternation h ->s->sh. In theory the word "ukruh" in the plural should be written as "ukrusi". Also I know that two French letters "oi" are pronounced as "ua" – makemehappyleute May 11 at 22:39
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the etymology of 'крушити' is outside ELU's scope. – Edwin Ashworth May 26 at 18:32

According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, the ultimate etymology of crash beyond Old French cruissir, ‘gnash (teeth), crash, smash, break’ is not certain, but may well be from an originally Germanic root from the Frankish superstrate, *krostjan, cognate to Goth 𐌺𐍂𐌹𐌿𐍃𐍄𐌰𐌽 (kriustan), ‘to gnash, break in pieces’, OSwed krysta, ‘to gnash, crackle’.

Starting from the end, the ʃ (š) in common with your Slavonic word is not original even in French, but sometimes occurs when an original French s is borrowed into English. Compare push, OF poulser (ModF pousser), from Lat pulsare, ‘to beat, strike, push’; brush, OF broisse, broce; quash, OF quasser, casser ‘to annul, declare void’ and/or Late Lat quassare, cassare, from cassus, ‘null, void, empty’.

If the connection to Gothic and Old Swedish is correct, then the reconstructed Proto-Germanic root is *krus-, *kriustan-, *krusta-z, which in turn derives from a PIE root *graus-, *grauks-.

Only in the Germanic descendents of this root does the initial consonant devoice: in Slavic languages the root is reconstructed as *grūxātī, *grūšītī, *grūšā and in Baltic as the verbal root *grukš-ē̂-, more distantly Lat ingruo, ‘attack, assail’.

In a Slavic word, then, one would expect the voiced consonant to be retained. Without initial and final consonant, there isn’t much left to suggest that крушити and crash are even distant cognates.

This does, however, suggest грохнуться (grokhnut'sya), ‘fall, crash’ as a distant cousin of crash by way of a common PIE root, but not Old Slavonic крушити (krushiti).

  • To complete the picture, Derksen and Beekes (Brill’s etymological dictionaries for Slavic and Greek, respectively) as well as LIV² both take OCS (sъ-)krušiti pretty directly back to a PIE root *kreu̯s- ‘stoßen’, being cognate with Gk. κρούω ‘beat, strike, stamp, knock’, both from an o-grade: the Slavic form from a causative *krou̯s-éi̯e- and the Greek from a -i̯e/o- present *króu̯s-i̯e-. (De Vaan connects Lat. (in)gruō with a different root, *gʰreu̯h₁- ‘rush’.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 26 at 18:42
  • The characters for the one word (𐌺𐍂𐌹𐌿𐍃𐍄𐌰𐌽) can't be shown on my device. If possible, can you use other characters for this? – Laurel May 26 at 18:52
  • @Laurel: The transcription is in parentheses. – KarlG May 26 at 19:40

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