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Term Lemko

Lemko is a term that started to exist in the first half of the nineteenth century on the Lemko-Boyko borderland. The correct male form of the singular number is ‘Łemko’ and female form ‘Łemkini’, not ‘Łemek and Łemka’ as many pronounce incorrectly. Lemkos at the begining, they called themselves ‘Rusini’ – Ruthenians, whereas the nickname Lemkos was derived from the word ‘łem’, often appearing in their language and meaning ‘only’. After years of usage this nickname entered the scientific and popular literature and made Lemkos known as an ethnic group of Poland. Lemkos themselves became used to this term only after the WWI, when their national consciousness and political activity started. With course of time old and ethnically appropriate name ‘Rusnak’ became completely supplanted by Lemko. Wincenty Pol called Lemkos ‘Czuchońce’. In literature one more nickname can be found, namely – ‘Kurtaki’.