Mystery Monday: Caracossa

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.

We had a variety of Italian feminine names to choose from today, and we ended up going with one where we have two examples, slight variant spellings of each other, from the same context (Bergamo in the late 13th/early 14th C). One possible explanation of the name involves a compound with Latin cara ‘dear, beloved; costly, precious, valued’. In the same data set, we already have another example of such a compound with that element as the prototheme, Carabella (and indeed, the same data set gives us the telescoped version Bellacara). Another compound with cara- found in Italy, a few centuries later, is Caradonna.


Is that the right explanation here? If so, how should we analyse the deuterotheme?

Do you have any other examples of Cara- names in Italian? Or indeed any -cos(s)a names? Please share in the comments!


1 Comment

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

One response to “Mystery Monday: Caracossa

  1. Diego Segui

    Both “Caracausa” and “Caracosa” appear several times in documents from the 11th and 12th centuries, e.g. “Il chartularium del Monastero di S. Benedetto di Conversano” ed. D. Morea p. 188: “cum sua filia caracausa nomine” (1146). Similarly, “Bonacosa” alternates with “Bonacausa”. The deuterotheme could simply be < L 'causa' meaning "dear thing"; cfr. "Violante per la sua avvenezza ed amabilità chiamata Caracosa" (G.C. Tiraboschi, "La Famiglia Schizzi Di Cremona" p. 356). However, O. Brattö in "Nuovi studi di antroponimia fiorentina" p. 80 discusses the name "Cosa" as a hypochoristic form of these names, suggesting that the second element could be related to Germ. caus/gaus/gos found in some Lombardic names.

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