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Familiar brands and possibly a familiar sääsk (mosquito) seen at an Estonian supermarket stand featuring insect repellents (putuka-/tõrje/vahendid) with the message Peata pinin! – "Stop the buzz!" The noun pinin and verb pinisema are great onomatopoetic words ("Piiii" seems a slightly higher pitch than "buzzzzz", but is ultimately in the ear of the beholder and not subject to debate.)


A pinin noise is usually  made by a bug, but a whiny or high-pitched voiced person can also be described as speaking piniseval toonil. A few years ago there was an annual spring concert in rural Estonia called Sääse/pirina Alguse Kontsert (a concert marking the beginning of the mosquito buzz season).




Locally made mosquito repellent (sääse/tõrje) products by Orto. Tõrjuma is to fend off, counter, fight, as in tule/tõrje and tule/tõrjuja (fire fighter). The spray (pihusti or "sprei") on the right is  named sääse/hirm (mosquito's fear) and claims to be looduslik (natural). A pihusti (spray) is pihustatud (sprayed) – ejected as little particles, like the expression "pihuks ja põrmuks", to destroy into a thousand little pieces. The jahutav geel (cooling gel) on the left leevendab (eases) the sügelus (itch) of sääse/kupud (aka hammustused) – bites, and thereby bears the great name sääse/kupu/leevendi. Or you could simply pick a tee/leht (Plantago or plantain) leaf from the roadside, and rub it on the sügelus (itch) or spot which sügeleb; most easily eased by scratching – kratsimine.


Photos and text:

Riina Kindlam,



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