English Articles



Although many VM researchers claim the Manuscript is a medical book, no words related to medicine and healing have been proposesed. I have found many words related to healing in the VM that are spelled exactly the same as  in the Slovenian vocabularies of the 16th and 17th century. In the German, Latin, Slovenian, Italian dictinary from 1559, the medical doctor is called ARZAT, and Slovenian words LIKAR and VRAZH are also listed.

There were several different words for healing in the early Slovenian dictionaries. Besides the Slovenicized German word ARZAT (Artzet, Lat. medicus, Ital. medico), the words LIKAR and VRAZH were used by ordinary native people. Not all variations of the word LIKAR are listed in the dictionary, such as the word LEK (healing remedy). LIKARIA is listed as the medicine (more like a science of healing). The word LIKARIA went out of practice, but the farmacy is still called LEKARNA in Slovenian.

The difference in spelling LIK and LEK is due to the dialectal pronunciation.

Vrazh was the word Slovenians used for a ‘shaman’, a folk-healer, who usually used healing herbs and charms, known in Slovenian language under different names, most often as ZAGOVOR ali UROK.

The Protestant writers who wrote first Slovenian books in the second half of the 16th century, used Slovenicized German word ARZAT (for doctor), ARZNOUATI ( ‘to heal’), ARZNIOZHI or CEILIOZH for ‘healing’ (adj.)

The word CELITI pertains to making whole again. A person who healed the wounds (RANO, RANE) was called RANOCELNIK.

Eventually, Slovenians adopted the word ZDRAVITI, which comes from the OCS and was already used in the 16th century.

The Slovenian word for healing can be spotted in the VM, mainly because the letters that comprise it, were transliterated into Latin in most proposed transcription alphabet as L, E and K.

The word LEK is spelled two different ways in the VM. Because of the strange handwriting (particularly the space after the initial L, a dropped vowel, or the lack of space when L stands for LE (only), the words need to be read in a context.

The above table is showing the various words derived from the root LEK. Although the word lek is no longer used in Slovenian language, the same prefixes – O and PO – had been adopted in the word ZDRAVITI. The words in f75v clearly indicate that the word OLKCHY means heal, because the second word OTOLY means save, protect. Besides different prefixes, the words also have different endings, which indicate the cases, gender, conjugations, number.

The above collection of LEK words also indicates the variety of different spelling, resulting from different writing conventions.

The prefixes O and PO indicate accomplished action. The endings in the above words are consistent with Slovenian grammar.

According to Slovenian Etymological Dictionary, the word LEK (healing remedy, medication), was spelled either as LEK or LIK (in 16th century). It is used in most Slavic languages: lijek (Croatian), lek (Serbian), lek (Russian), lek (Czech). Its origin goes to the Old Church Slavonic lěkъ  (medicine) and further back to the Proto-Slavic lěkъ. Some regard it as a Germanic loan word, from Gothic lekeis (physician), lekkinon (to heal), and to Celtic Liaig (physician).  French lecher, Italian Leccare are said to be Germanic loan words.

The Slovenian word LIK is pronounced as the English word LICK, which in English means ‘to beat’, ‘to surpass’, ‘to overcome’ or to wet something with a tongue. This etymology shows strong semantic association with Slovenian words LIK.  The word LIKOF (celebration after an important farm work) relates to ‘overcoming’, ‘surpassing’, and the word LIZATI relates to ‘licking with a tongue’. This association requires some explanation: the word LIC (lick spelled in Italian) would be pronounced LIZ in Slovenian, and the verb LIZATI means ‘to lick’.  (The letter C was used for sounds C and Z until 18th century.) The confusion was caused because of the similarity of the shape of the letters C and Z. In a peasant dialectal language, the word IZLIZATI is still used to indicate overcoming illness. The expression is based on comparison with ‘dog licking his wounds’.

From this, we can conclude that the word was used for healing in Europe for an exceedingly long time, not only by Slavs, but in other regions where, according to official history, Slavic language was not used.

The words LKUJ and LČUJ pertain to the repetitive action of healing. Note that the ending in this case has changed to UJ – which is the ending for a certain grammatical form. A similar pattern could be found in the word REK (reki, nareki, reči, reče, rečem, obrekam, prerekam, naročujem, prerokujem).

Before the Protestant Slovenian books were printed, the semi-vowel was often pronounced instead of vowel, particularly after L and R. 

To recognize the words associated with LEK, all these grammatical observations had to be considered.  The words also must be read in context since other transliterations and translations of the same words are possible.

In the 19th century, Slovenian poet Simon Gregorčič used the word ‘LEČILNE TRAVE’ – healing grasses), and Prešeren used the word ‘LEČILO’ (for healing remedy). The place where the medications are sold, is still called LAKARNA.

In the medieval times, the pharmacology was called LIKARIJA.

The two grammatical forms are related to two forms of the verb for healing: LEKATI or LEČITI. I suppose these two different words evolved from different spelling convention. The Italians would spell it as LECATI or LECITI since C in Italian was pronounced as Č or K. The word LEK would be spelled in Italian as LEC, the verb from this noun would be made by adding the ending -TI. This combination softens the K into Č and would sound like LEČTI. 

The author of the VM from the German writing convention would spell the word LEK as LEK, and form a verb LEKTI, which sounds like LEČTI (LECHTY), pronounced with a semi-vowel after K. When forming the adjective, he would add the ending -IV or JIV (like he would hear similar adjectives being pronounced, such as SHODAIW – (škodljiv – harmful). The word LEK-IW would be too hard to pronounce, and an A was added – to make the word LEKAIW.

While the root LEK is found in many VM words as part of the word, there is no noun LEK or LIK, indicating that the noun LEKAILO (the word of neutral gender) was created from the verb, using the word KADITI (bless with insence) as an example (KADITI, v. – KADILO, n.).

I suppose the word KADITI is also related to healing and protection. The word KADITI has two meaning: blessing with incense, and healing with a smoke of a blessed healing herb. In the medieval times, certain plants were blessed to be used for healing children by letting them inhale the smoke.

The words LEK, LEČITI was incorporated into Croatian and Serbian language, and the remnant of this old Slovenian word remains to this day in Slovenian word LEKARNA (pharmacy).


The word CELITI was used for healing the wounds, as well as healing the ‘broken’ spirit.

The word CELITI (Latin: sanare) was used in the 16th century (and probably before) to mean ‘make whole’ – Slavic  *cě̑lъ. The noun derived from this root was RANOCELNIK – one who heals wounds, that is, makes skin whole again. Some associate this word with the Gothic hailjan (to heal), and Old German heilen (becoming healed) and English heal.

Since the word CELINA was the Etruscan word for pristine, untouched earth, and CELA for small enclosure, I am tempted to believe that this word might be best etymology for the Slovenian word CELITI. The word CELITI is used with prefixes O, PO and S/Z.

The words CEL LKUY in this word order clearly indicate that the author used both expressions for healing to be better understood. (The spelling of CEL and CHL are hard to differentiate, because VM  ‘e’ and ‘c’ look so similar.)

Another medieval translation of Latin ‘medicus’ is VRAČ with derivates: VRAČAR, VRAČARICA, VRAŠTVO, VRAČEVATI. It originates from the Old Church Slavonic vračь, used in various Slavic languages, Srbian – vrač, Kajkavian Croatian – vračiti (to heal), Russian – vrač (healer). It replaced the word čarovnik, a man who removes illness and evil spirits with magic spells. The word is derived from the proto-Slavic *vьra̋ti- make incantation, which in Russian became vrátь – to lie, in Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian the spelling VARATI was adopted for the verb ‘to lie’.

This shows how the words transported into another language can acquire totally different meaning.

In my opinion, a better explanation would be V-REČI, which is also reflected in the alternative Slovenian word ZAGOVOR (govor-speech). The word VREČI (UREČI, UROK) could definitely be related to the concept of Jesus being the ‘Word become real thing’ (Word become flesh), since in Slovenian, the word REČ means ‘a word’ and ‘a thing’.

The words derived from REČ (RECH) are too numerous to be included in this post.

Another word frequently used in the VM is TOL and its derivates, such as OTETI (save, protect) and TOLAŽITI (console). The words OLEKCHY OTOLY in this order again indicate that the author used both words.  The word OTEDI (OTEDY) is particularly interesting, because it seems to be related to the English word TIDY, which in the 13th century English meant ‘in good condition’, ‘healthy’, ‘timely’, equivalent of German ‘zeitig’, Dutch tijdig, Old English ‘tidlic’ (temporal). This could be compared to another Slovenian word for healing – POCAJTATI, which was borrowed from German.

Because the words of healing represent the bulk of the VM vocabulary, I intend to analyze the most frequent words for the sake of the English readers, as well as for the Slovenian readers who are no longer familiar with the old Slovenian words spoken in various dialects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *