Mystery Monday: Iran/Yran

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 an odd little one. We’ve got four different grammatical forms of the name, which all occur in the same charter in reference to the same person. All the documented forms spell it with initial Y-, but since Y forms are always atypical we have hypothesized a standardized form with I- — but it is definitely nothing more than hypothesized!


The record comes from Tirol, and many of the other names in the same source show distinct Germanic influences, so it would be reasonable to look to Germanic origins as well as to Romance. On the Germanic side, the name could be related to Old Saxon, Old High German īsarn ‘iron’, which does show up in names in the form iren. But is yran a reasonable extrapolation from iren? We’re really not sure.

And we’re even less sure what a possible Romance origin of the name could be.

Do you have any thoughts? Seen any other examples of this name? Please share in the comments!


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

3 responses to “Mystery Monday: Iran/Yran

  1. Jörg Knappen

    My guess is a short form for Hieronymus (I have seen Iron already with this derivation).

  2. Diego Segui

    The same person (Yranus son of Guatus of Velsecke, between 1214 and 1245) is mentioned as “Yranus (oder Uranus)” here:

    But then on the same page he is “Giranus” (brother of Simon son of Guatus, 1248), then “Cyranus” and so on. Here:

    he is called “Cyranus”, “Cyrananus” or “Cyrannus”. (Note that according to “Die Südtiroler Notariats-Imbreviaturen” p. 535 the sons of Guatus were “Petrus, Jacobus, Yranus, Simeon”). If all these are correctly transcribed from the documents, it seems likely that Yranus is some kind of aphetic form.

    • Brian M. Scott

      To add a little to this, here in documents XXXVI and XXXVII, both from 1343, one person’s name appears both as Ciranus de Larocha and as Giranus de Larocha, though the documents were issued by the same papal notary.

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