Mystery Monday: Lifdenis

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 one found in 11th C Belgium. The only instance we can find of this name on the internet is the single instance in the Dictionary, a witness to a charter. It could be an editorial error, or a scribal error, but if it is, it’s not clear what it is an error for.


Is the fact that the substring denis, an actual, identifiable name, relevant? What if we interpret that f as s? We’re clutching at straws here — if you’ve got any thoughts, please share in the comments!


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

4 responses to “Mystery Monday: Lifdenis

  1. Diego

    This is transcribed as “Lifdeuis” here:

    The second transcription has lowercase:

    “Rodulfus Balduinus filius eius Arnoldus de Aldenarda Reingodus Folcardus castellanus et Lambertus filius eius Erpolfus Wichardus Einfridus rufus Reingerus Hugo lifdeuis.”

    meaning it is not a name but an epithet like “rufus”? No idea what it could be, but if it’s a name the first element might be related to LIBA or LEUBA (compare Lifnotus and Lifnodus in the first collection – cfr. Leobnod in Forstemann 1027).

    • Brian M. Scott

      That transcription has less editorial emendation and is almost certainly more accurate overall; e.g., Meinsendis is certainly more plausible then Memlendis, and it’s easy enough to see how the error might have arisen if one is at all familiar with contemporary hands. Note that if lifdeuis is a byname, it’s possible that it should be read as lifde-uis rather than as lif-deuis.

      • Diego

        A wild guess: it might be just a misreading for “filius (or filii) eius”. At least “eius” and “euis” can be indistinguishable in Caroline script. But the ms. doesn’t seem to be online to check.

  2. Arabella Cawdrey-Wrest

    It makes me think of the Anglo-Saxon Leofflaed or Leofdaege (the latter is the source of Loveday).

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