свечка-svYEchka (the ‘k’ makes it diminutive)
I’ve long known the word свеча or свечка as candle but the second meaning I learned last fall while in Kiev.
My friend Katya works as a pediatrician in Kiev. Her little boy, Bogdan, was starting to get sick with something. I heard her tell Bogdan, “Иди сюда, надо свечку тебе поставить” (come here we need to give you a suppository). Bogdan immediately started screaming and tried to run away. Katya had me help her hold him down while she поставила свечечку в его попку (put the little suppository in his little bum).
My experience with suppositories was only for childhood constipation but I guess these suppositories contained medicine that dissolves in their system. Katya said it would help Bogdan with his cold. She was so surprised that I didn’t know what a свечка was. She asked, “Well, how do you give kids medicine in America?” And I said, “With a spoon to the mouth”. I explained that we make our medicine sugary and delicious so it’s a little easier to coax children into taking it.
So there you have it. Свечка/свеча means both candle or a suppository. If someone comes up to you and asks is you want a свеча, you might want to make sure you know which kind they have in mind before agreeing.