Grigori Rasputin/Talk

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Are you sure about "Rasputin" meaning "licentious"? I was under the impression it meant "mud", as in "rasputitsa" -- "mud season" (i.e., "rainy season"). Is it slang? -- Paul Drye

I am sure of the translation I saw in Dutch, and choose one of the three possible translations of that word into English. How about "dissolute", does that come a little closer to the idea? Maybe we should ask Alexandr Voronov if it's slang or not. I know 'Njet' in Russian, that's about all.

It would depend on which idea you are getting at: "licentious" has connotations of sex, while "dissolute" is more general -- it could mean gambling, or laziness, or a number of other things. -- Paul Drye

In on of the articles I read about this guy, a bookreview about Rasputin I believe it was, was clearly indicated that he was known for his sexual excesses, debaucheries, dissipations ( you see why I have much respect for professional translators?). In round words, he messed around with women a lot - if that biographer of Rasputin is right. The article also indicated that a lot of people in St. Petersburg knew about it. It means that "licentious" wasn't that bad a choice after all. Agree?

Well, the problem I have is that I believe Rasputin chose his last name for himself -- as he was a self-styled religious prophet, I would be VERY surprised if he called himself licentious :) I thought he named himself after the Russian word for "mud" as a false show of humility -- Paul Drye

I see your point if what you say is true. He certainly wouln't have called himself that way. But are you sure he choose his own nickname? Would it be possible that this word has TWO connotations in Russian? One he used as a kind of honorary nickname, and one the people mockingly called him after awhile? Like he showered St. Petersburg with filthyness?

--Paul, I have incorporated your remarks in the text and and added some remarks about his religious status. And someday, someone will come along who knows for sure...:).

Well, I'm Russian; here's what I know about the term:

"rasput" appears in four distinct meaning:

  • rasputitsa - I have never actually heard this word used, although it may have been more common at the turn of the century.
  • rasputye - a crossroads, literally "where paths split."
  • rasputat' - to untangle
  • rasputnost' - debauchery, licentiousness.

I we need a philologist here... --KamikazeArchon

I seem to recall that he named himself rasputin, something to do with being associated with a flaggelant cult or something like that. --alan d.