Etymology of the word ‘Gintaras’
Etymology of the word ‘gintaras’ is still a mystery even for linguists.

Philologists are astounded that Ancient Egyptian name sakal for amber is very similar to Lithuanian word ‘sakas’ (resin). In 1932 G. Willamson in his popular study about amber, wrote about a place to the North of Koninsberg formerly called Resin port (in Latvian – Sakaosta). Moreover, in Šilutė district there is a village named Sakūčiai (Sakučiai). It is located on both sides of the river of Minija, which historically was one of the main waterways reaching the Curonian Lagoon. Village Sakučiai is located near Priekulė village, where more to the North on the right bank of Minija is a site better known as Amber Mine (in German – Bernsteingrube).

Latvian word dzītars (ascending from Curonian dzintars) and Lithuanian ‘gintaras’ indicates that Lithuanian and Latvian ancestors already knew this word before the 7th century when these languages divided. It is also believed that the name for amber from the residents of the coasts of Curonian Lagoon (not Indo-Europeans and not Finno-Ugrics) was also borrowed by Hungarians (in current Hungarian ‘gyanta’ is a word for pine resin, before that it was called ‘gyantar’). Member of Lithuanian Academy of Science, professor at University of Leningrad (current Saint Petersburg State University) Boris Larin (c.1893–c.1964) claimed that loanword янтаръ was inherited from the Baltic language by Eastern Slavs in the 10th century at the earliest. Lithuanian linguist, philologist of the Balts, dialectologist Zigmas Zinkevičius anticipates that the origin of word ‘gintaras’ can be associated with a verb ‘ginti’ (to defend).
German name for amber bernstein originates from two words: Brennen, meaning ‘to combust’ and stein, meaning ‘stone’ (what is interesting, that amber really combusts). This German term was taken over by Poles and Hungarians: in Polish amber is called bursztyn, in Hungarian – borostyan. English version of the name ‘amber’ could be linked with Arabian word anbar (ambra – intestinal secretion of cachalots commonly found on the coasts, used in perfumery).
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