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In Slavic mythology, a vedmak (Belarusian: вядзьмак, вядзьмар;[1] Bulgarian: вещер; Croatian: vještac; Macedonian: вештер; Russian: ведьмак; Czech: vědmák; Ukrainian: відьмак; Polish: wiedźmak; Serbian: вештац)[2] is a warlock or male witch, the female equivalent (witch) being vedma,[3] but unlike the latter, the vedmak may also possess positive qualities.

For example, they treat people and animals.[4] On the other hand, they are thought to be people connected to the devil, and are capable of bringing harm by sending illnesses, killing cattle, spoiling a harvest, etc.[5] The word was also used as an insult.[5] A vedmak can turn into any animal or any object.[5]

Vedmak stems from Proto-Slavic *vědět ("to know") and Old East Slavic вѣдь ("knowledge; witchcraft", compare the use of the term "cunning" in English folklore).[6]

Under the influence of The Witcher fantasy saga by Andrzej Sapkowski, the term vedmak is sometimes also rendered as "witcher" in English in certain contexts. The word used for "witcher" in the original Polish version of the novels, "wiedźmin", was coined by Sapkowski himself as a neologism, while the word "wiedźmak" (cognate of "vedmak") is used in the books only as a derogatory term for witchers. "Ведьмак" is also the word used to translate "wiedźmin" in the Russian translation of the books.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Слоўнік беларускай мовы. Менск: Беларуская навука, 2012. ISBN 978-985-08-1365-7
  2. ^ Bilbija, Zarko G. (1955). Aspects of contemporary Ukraine.
  3. ^ Wood Besant, Annie (January 1903). "Theosophical Review Magazine". Kessinger Publishing. p. 401.
  4. ^ Ushakov's Dictionary
  5. ^ a b c Yefimova's Modern Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian language, 2000.
  6. ^ Fasmer, M (1987). Dictionary of Russian language in 4 volumes (2 ed.).
  7. ^ Stworzyłem wiedźmina