Mystery Monday: Frifkyne

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 already has a partial gloss of its origin, but we’re sure we can do better than this:
We’ve discussed the diminutive suffix -kin, a typically (and unusually) English suffix, before (also discussed here). This name is clearly an example of this pattern occurring in Scotland — a relatively early example there, so it could be an Englishman who’s moved north, a Flem who’s immigrated, or even a native Scotsman given a typically English nickname form.

The question is — nickname of what? We don’t really have any idea what the root of Frif could be. Do you? Please share in the comments!



Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

2 responses to “Mystery Monday: Frifkyne

  1. Pádraig

    Tenuous enough but any chance of an f/s error in transcription from source? Flemish/Scottish name Friesekin ‘little Frisian[?]’. Occurring in Scotland as the surnames Frisken and Fisken (or with -in ending), – there’s a Freskyn of Moray cited by Black (p. 280).

  2. Brian M. Scott

    The name is Friskyne, with a long s, not Frifkyne. Black, Surnames of Scotland, mentions this person in his discussion of the surname Freskin; he also appears as Fertheskyn, decanus ecclesie Moraviensis 1218×1226 and probably as Fretheskyn, persona de Dufglas 1202×1212. Another instance of the name is Freskyn de Chen, decanus Aberdonensis 1332. The spelling Friskyne is still found for the surname in the will of one Williame Auchincraw, who died in 1570 owing a James Friskyne ten pounds (A. Thomson, Coldingham: Parish and Priory, 1908, Appendix, No. XXVII).

    If the earliest forms are to be trusted, this may be a pet form of a name in *friþu- ‘peace’, though the s is then a bit puzzling. C. Tavernier-Vereecken, Gentse naamkunde van ca. 1000 tot 1253, 1968, has Frethebaldus 12th c., Frethenboldus 1146, Henricus Bursekin filius Firthebaldi 1163×1177; Ferthebertus 12th c., beg. 13th c.; Ferthemarus 12th c., beg. 13th c.; Firtenodus 1168, Frethenodus 988×994, 11th c., 1114, 12th c., beg. 13th c.; and Frethericus 12th c., beg. 13th c. (There are also quite a few feminine names with the same prototheme.)

    The later forms suggest that the base is the ethnonym of the Frisians, Old Frisian Frise, Frese, Middle Dutch Vriese. I’ve no early examples from the Low Countries, but A. Socin, Mittelhochdeutsches Namenbuch, 1966, p. 579, has Henricus filius Frisonis 1166×1179, and J. van der Schaar, Woordenboek van voornamen, 1967, lists masculine forenames Fries(e), Frieze, Friso, and Frizo.

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