Mystery Monday: Jorath

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 one from Switzerland, where we have a few examples from a single source. Anyone come across this name before? Have any thoughts on its origin?



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5 responses to “Mystery Monday: Jorath

  1. Dutch

    Yes, I once came across this name, written as Yorath. It is Welsh. The meaning is ‘handsome lord; handsome prince.’

  2. Jörg Knappen

    I doubt that the Anglised form of a Welsh name suddenly can pop up in medieval Switzerland. As far as I know the name did not show up in Arthurian Romance type of fiction that could be a medium of transport for rare names.

    It is plausible to assume a Germanic origin. The deuterotheme RATH is related to anglo-saxon RÆD/RED (as in Alfred). There are some candiates for protothemes to be mangled to Jo-; Foerstemann (1900, column 980 under Jo) including AIVA “law” and IVO “yew (tree)”. Also, EBUR be transformed to Jor-.

    • Yeah, it would be astonishing to see the Welsh name in Switzerland!

      Do you have examples of ebur becoming jor-? That would certainly be an unusual development.

      • Jörg Knappen

        The development is not that unheard of: The Ancient Roman city Eburacum (with a different name element Ebur- derived from Ancient Celtic meaning something like “gorge, ravine”) is called York today. The Germanic name element EBUR became Jörr in Old Norse. The general path of evolution is ebur > evur > eor > jor.

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