Not sure where to post this as this brings together the three languages.
When I first learned the word “läkare” in Swedish, I immediately thought of the Russian word “лекарь” (lekar). While the latter is quite dated, it still means the same as “läkare” in Swedish—that is a doctor.
I’m always surprised to find such similar words in different languages, so with a little help from our friend the Internet, I found an interesting etymological link between these words. What’s more, the English word “leech” has a lot to do with the other two. Behold:
obsolete for “physician,” from O.E. læce, from O.Dan. læke, from P.Gmc. *lælijaz “healer, physician” (cf. O.N. læknir, O.H.G. lahhi, Goth. lekeis “physician”), lit. “one who counsels,” perhaps connected with a root found in Celt. (cf. Ir. liaig “charmer, exorcist, physician”) and/or Slavic (cf. Serbo-Croatian lijekar), with an original sense of “speak, talk, whisper, conjurer.” The form and sense merged with leech (1) in M.E. by folk etymology. In 17c., leech usually was applied only to veterinary practitioners. The third finger of the hand, in O.E., was læcfinger, translating L. digitus medicus, Gk. daktylus iatrikos, supposedly because a vein from that finger stretches straight to the heart.
I don’t know about you, but I find this fascinating.
P.S. The forum could greatly benefit from using some simple text formatting tags; something to make words bold or italic.