The word for "bear"
Q: Does the word medveď have something to do with honey?
Not today, but it used to mean "honey eater." That old meaning is not obvious any more, nor is the old meaning of the English word bear – "brown" (i.e., "dark").
New cover-up name
The Old Slavic people (the linguistic ancestors of today's speakers of, e.g., Slovak, Polish, Croatian), Old Germanic people (the linguistic ancestors of today's speakers of, e.g., English, German, Norwegian), and Old Baltic people (the linguistic ancestors of today's speakers of Latvian and Lithuanian), who lived next to each other and interacted for millennia, came to believe that if you call the bear by his true name, he will hear and understand, and you will fail to catch him, or he will come to harm you. The bear was the only really dangerous animal in their woods. The original word artko was tabooed. Such beliefs about not calling prey and danger by their "true" names are not uncommon among hunters and people in general through the present.
The ancestors of the Slovaks and other Slavs replaced the then-tabooed word artko with the descriptive cover-up name medú jed, "of-honey eater." The [ú] later turned into [w] and then to [v], the phrase eventually changed to medveď. The Slovaks also sometimes call a bear maco [mahtso], which is a former alternative cover-up name that goes back to "the chubby, fleshy one."
The Old Germanic tribes replaced the tabooed artko with the descriptive "the brown one" (brown used to mean "dark" then), which gave the English bear (one linguist has suggested that the word may have come from "the fierce one" instead, another one that it could have come from "beehive"). The Old Baltic cover-up word for "bear," (lācis in Latvian, lokys in Lithuanian), is generally thought to have come from "licker," some suppose it could have been from "the furry one."
Bear habitat (dark green) and places where bears disperse outside of it (yellow bear icons).