Mystery Monday: Yentadona

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 our name is a feminine Italian name:
We actually have a number of examples of this name from this particular source, but haven’t found it in any other context. Do you recognize it? Have you found any other examples? Let us know!



Filed under mystery monday

3 responses to “Mystery Monday: Yentadona

  1. If it’s Latin, the “dona” part could refer to gifts. Yenta doesn’t look Latin though…I wonder if this is a hybrid name?

    What was the source?

  2. Brian M. Scott

    A snippet view of part of p. 26 of Bollettino della Biblioteca civica di Bergamo, Volumes 10-14, at Google Books says that the name Ientadonna was borne by a nun in 1371 and should correspond to the Pistoiese names Gentedonna and Zentedonna. I know nothing about the dialects involved here, but the lenition [d͡ʒ] > [j] is a natural one, and I expect that we are dealing with a name that could reasonably be normalized Gentedonna. This is found in the Latin genitive Gentedonnę in a document dated 1 May 1126 at Pavia. The name is presumably a compound gente + donna whose second element is ‘woman’. Identification of the first element is more difficult: gente is ‘folk, people’, but that seems a bit unlikely. Possibly we’re looking at a variant of gentildonna ‘lady, gentlewoman’.

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