Verbs of hiding: A typology of systems

2022. №4, 66-94

Tatiana I. Reznikova
HSE University, Moscow, Russia;


The article examines the lexicalization of the semantic domain of hiding from a typological perspective. Prototypically, hiding assumes that the subject puts the object out of sight of some other person. This event may however be colexifi ed with situations that deviate from the prototype in one way or another, e.g., by having a non-canonical object (an abstract entity instead of a concrete thing, cf. ‘to hide one’s thoughts’) or a non-canonical purpose (protecting the object from external impact instead of concealing it from someone’s view, cf. ‘to hide the face from the sun’). Based on the data of 28 languages, we first compare the core verbs of hiding. The cross-linguistic variation in their meanings constitutes a basis for a typological classifi cation of lexical systems in the hiding domain. Second, we turn to peripheral verbs of the field and show that they frequently come from adjacent semantic zones, e.g., those of covering, removing or keeping in a certain place. This pattern can be traced both in a synchronic and a diachronic perspective. The use of these verbs with reference to hiding events calls into question the traditional notions of semantic field and metonymic shift.

For citation:

Reznikova T. I. Verbs of hiding: A typology of systems. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2022, 4: 66–94.


The research was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, grant No. 20-012-00240.