Liman (Лиман) is a Russian adaptation of the Medieval Greek λιμένας meaning bay or port. The term is usually used for estuaries of Black Sea and Sea of Azov. There is another synonymous term guba (губа) which is used for estuaries of the Russian shores in the north. As an estuary, liman is formed at the mouth of a river where flow is blocked by a bar of sediments. Liman can be maritime (the bar being created by the current of a sea) or fluvial (the bar being created by the flow of a bigger river at the confluence).
Water in a liman is brackish with a variable salinity, but during periods of low fresh water intake it may become significantly more saline as a result of evaporation.
Such features are found in places with low tidal range, for example along the western and northern coast of the Black Sea, in the Baltic Sea (Vistula Lagoon, Curonian Lagoon), as well as along the lowest part of the Danube. Examples of limans include Lake Varna in Bulgaria, Lake Razelm in Romania, the Dniester Liman in the Ukraine, the Anadyrskiy Liman in Siberia and Amur Liman.
The word was borrowed in English from Russian лима́н (Russian pronunciation: [lʲɪˈman]). However, the word came from the Medieval Greek λιμένας meaning bay or port. The word was spread by Turks when they occupied the western and northern shore of the Black Sea, with the meaning of harbour and port. In Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukrainian and Russian the word defined the particular estuary, Dniester Liman.
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- "лимáн" Vasmer's Etymological Dictionary in Russian
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