Russian: C II P Y T

Using Roman letters to sumulate Cyriliic, C II P Y T appears to spell (phonetically) STRUT. It appears on the bow of a Russian submarine in the 1966 comedy The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!

Does STRUT mean anything in Russian?

Are you sure that you’re reading it right, Johnny?

According to the movie’s Wikipedia entry, it’s Спрут:

So, it’s called Octopus in Russian.

ETA: apparently it’s “Squid”, not “Octopus”.

You’re right. I mis-read.

Thanks for the answer.

“Спрут” means octopus, but that’s a slightly archaic word. “Осьминог” is the preferred nomenclature. The word for squid is “Кальмар”

Do you know if that came into Russian from Italian or Greek? I assume it must’ve been one of those two languages. Greek = καλαμάρι.

Could be either, but I’m leaning towards Greek.

Totally WAG:

In Italian “calamari” is plural, with the singular “calamaro”. In Russian “squid” is a masculine noun, but if it was originally borrowed as “calamaro” the ending would force it to be neuter. The plural form would have to be borrowed.

In Greek “καλαμάρι” is singular. If taken as a Russian word it phonetically sounds like a plural, so if a singular form is forced upon it it becomes almost identical to what it is today with the right noun gender.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but why would it have to be directly from Italian or Greek only? Plenty of European languages have the word “cal/kal” + “mar” (with intermediate or terminal vowels added in some cases). In addition to the ones already mentioned, there are the following in which the noun is masculine and has no terminal vowel:[ul]
[li]French: calmar / calamar[/li][li]Spanish: calamar[/li][li]German: Kalmar[/li][/ul]If Take Our Word for It is to be believed, the original Greek kalamos (=“reed”) became Latin calamus (=“pen”) which became late Latin calamarium (=“ink horn” or “pen case”), whence the usage for the tentacled beastie, and other languages took it from there.

Doesn’t this mean that Russian could just have easily got the word from the French or German (or – IMHO less likely – Spanish)?

True. I was thinking it either came in thru a culinary source (Italian) or because of the cultural ties between Greece and Russia (both Orthodox, Russian alphabet based on Greek alphabet). But your point is well taken.