Happy birthday to us!

There are many days we can celebrate as our birthday and today is one of them. Three years ago today was the first public announcement of the Dictionary..

In the last three years, we have published seven editions (with a new one due very soon), and our editorial team has created entries for almost 60,000 citations. (That’s 55 citations entered per day. Every day, for three years.) Our staff have appeared on the radio twice, and news of the Dictionary has been taken up in popular media on Mental Floss (23 Hipster Baby Name Ideas From The Dictionary of Medieval Names) and io9 (For all your medieval world-building needs: Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources.)

It’s been quite a ride. We look forward to year four!

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Mystery Monday: Maginca/Magincus

Well, we’ve been busy! Some of it has been non-Dictionary stuff, some of it has been Dictionary stuff. In any case, with a new year and a new school term starting, we hope to get back to our usual posting schedule. Without any further ado, time to get back to our Mystery Monday series!

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Today we have a pair of names — masculine/feminine counterparts that are both recorded in the south of France in 814 in the same source. They could be compounds of Old High German megin, magan ‘strength, might, power’, as this theme often turns up as magin- in France, but if so, what is -ca/-cus? A diminutive suffix? But that would be a very strange one to find in France at this time.

Maginca

Magincus

If you have any speculations, please share with us!

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Mystery Monday: Leocriscia/Leocretia

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Today’s name fascinates me. We have two variants of it, from records 20 years apart, where context makes it clear that both spellings are referring to the same woman. In one form, it feels like the deuterotheme should be related to Latin crescens; in the other, it looks like it should be related to Lucretia. We have no evidence to support either one of these claims. Does anyone else recognize the name? Or have other examples of similar names? Please share in the comments!

Leocriscia

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Mystery Monday: Kermunt

Apologies for the radio silence over here at DMNES central! Not only are we in the midst of busy terms for most of us, three of the editorial staff are participating in NaNoWriMo (see our monthly topic from this time last year for advice on naming characters in your historical novel!) and a fourth is busily writing up her Ph.D. dissertation.

(Almost) Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Today’s name is almost the name of a muppet. In fact, the bit that has changed is the bit that is easiest to identify: The deuterotheme is Old Saxon mund, Old High German munt ‘hand, protection’. But what is the prototheme?
Kermunt
A gut feeling suggests Old High German, Old Saxon gēr ‘spear’, but one does not write dictionary entries on the basis of gut feelings. Does anyone have any data to corroborate this hunch? Preferably in the form of other examples of gēr being spelled ker? Next best, in the form of other examples of a g/k switch in 7th-9th C Germanic contexts? If you do, please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Josine/Josina

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

16th century England is an interesting place and period when it comes to names. On the one hand, the primary naming pool was shrinking at such a vast rate that by the early part of the next century, fully 1/4 of the men in some data sets were named John. On the other hand, we have discussed before about the rise of Protestant names during the second half of that century, with a wealth of new virtue names and newly introduced Biblical names. But this period was also a period of invention, of newly coined names that are in many cases wholly opaque as to origin — not unlike the late 20th and early 21st centuries in both England and America! Some of these names we may never be able to establish any definitive origin to. Today’s name may be one of them:

Josine/Josina

In this case we aren’t even sure of the right choice of header. The documented form of the name is Josina, but ordinarily this would indicate the importation of a Latin form into a vernacular context, and that we would expect to find a vernacular form like Josine earlier on. On the assumption that we can find other examples of this name before the end of the 16th C, we’ve taken Josine as our tentative header form. But if this name is a genuine new coinage, it may have been coined directly in the vernacular with the terminal -a. Is it a diminutive of Josia, used by a woman? Is it a form of Joseph? The only way to know would be to find more examples of the name in more contexts. Have you found any examples of this name? Please share!

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Mystery Monday: Inoffio

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

It’s amazing how many of our mystery names come from Italy: Of all of western Europe, Italy was by far the least effected by the influence of Germanic naming practices, which means the easy trick of parsing an unfamiliar name into its root themes doesn’t really work with Italian names. Some of them are obviously derived from Latin words, but many of them are simply opaque. We hope that one of our readers will recognize this one! If you do, please leave a comment.

Inoffio

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Mystery Monday: Haelgugur

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Here’s one for the Breton experts!
Haelgugur
The prototheme is Old Breton hael ‘generous, noble’, a relatively common theme found in the names Brithael, Haelcar, Haelhoiarn, Haelnou, Haeloc, and Haelwaloe, but we don’t recognize the deuterotheme. If you have any thoughts of what it might be, please leave a comment!

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