Mystery Monday: Wexbert

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.

The most fun medieval names are the ones that look like they are made-up. Like, someone who doesn’t know much about medieval names looked at some names, and then decided to make up their own, but they didn’t really quite get how to do it right, so you end up with some laughably funny options.

Today’s mystery monday name is one of those: Doesn’t Wexbert sound like it’s someone’s idea of what a medieval name is, rather than being an actual medieval name? We have a 12th C Latinised example from Germany, so the deuterotheme is obvious — it has to be from Proto-Germanic *berhtaz ‘bright’. But Wex-? What’s that?!


Have you got any thoughts? Know of any other examples of names with this prototheme? Please share in the comments!


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

5 responses to “Mystery Monday: Wexbert

  1. Jörg Knappen

    This look obscured, but I see several candidate stems for the prototheme. The first one is VESTA “west”, although rarer than the other cardinal directions (North, South, and East) still well-attested in given names.

    Alternatives include the stems summarized in Förstemann 1900 under the heading VAC, VAG, VAH, including Old High German wak “awake, vigilant”, Old High German wegan “to move” with Old High German wâh “wave”, and Old High German wâhi “beautiful”.

  2. Cognate with OE weaxan, Old German wahsan “to grow”?

  3. Diego

    could be a misreading for Were(m)bertus. In other documents from the same source (Codex Diplomaticus Aquensis) you can find:

    Werembertus aquensis scolasticus 1185 (37)
    magister Wexberthus 1186 (123)
    Werembertus magister scolarum 1191 (38)
    Werembertus magister 1192 (40)
    Werebertus magister 1192 (66)
    Werembert scholasticus 1200 (p. 103)

  4. Not sure how relevant this is, but I note the early 9th-century West Saxon ealdorman whose name in PASE has the head-form Wiohstan appears in Aethelweard’s Chronicle (late 10th century, right?) as Vuexstan. Unclear what the prototheme is: OE wēoh, wīh ‘idol, shrine’ (= OHG wīh) or wīg ‘battle’? I’d suggest the in that name might have arisen from a combo of voiceless velar fricative and the following (cf. the spelling Weoxstan in the A and G recensions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle), but clearly not to the point where it replaced the first consonant of the deuterotheme (as in names like Beorhtsige > Brixi). With there being no doubt about the second element in Wexbertus, this is obviously no reason to posit anything similar – so I’m not sure if this has contributed any new insight!

    That said, based on past experience, I’m sympathetic to the suggestion of a misreading, either by the scribe or editor (I’m not familiar with the source so don’t know anything about its transmission and publication history)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.