Mystery Monday: Weyrata

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 comes from 14th C Germany (Münster, to be precise).

Weyrata

It’s a feminine name found in a Latin document, so we’re hypothesizing the nominative form from the genitive. The Latin nominative isn’t really uncertain — but the underlying name is. The deuterotheme is probably Old Saxon rād, Old High German rāt ‘counsel, advice’, more commonly used in men’s names but occasionally used in women’s names. But the prototheme is eluding us: It’s not clear at all what would give rise to Wey- in German.

Do you have any thoughts? Any other names with the same prototheme? Please share in the comments!

4 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

4 responses to “Mystery Monday: Weyrata

  1. Jörg Knappen

    The prototheme is one of WIG “war, battle” or WIH “sacred, holy, devoted”. The two protothemes are almost impossible to separate since the first one tends to loose the final G. The development of a diphthong (here spelled ey) from a long i sound is natural in German.

    • Jörg Knappen

      Answering your second question: There is already a wealth of names with this prototheme in the published DMNES, including Wichard Wigand Wigbald Wigbert Wigelm Wigfrid Wiggo Wigher Wigmar Wirich and Wyburg.

    • Huh. I would never have imagined it turning into Wey-! Thanks!

    • Brian M. Scott

      The odds favor the ‘battle’ theme: it’s definitely more common.

      The feminine name appears in <a href="https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neidhart"Neidhart’s Lieder, e.g., in Winterlied 5. Here it appears in the normalized Old High German form Wîerât, but in the Riedegger Handschrift (Ms. germ. fol. 1062) it appears as weirat (e.g., six lines up in the second column of fo. 56v).

      This spelling is found again much later: the preview here shows a female Weirat in 1346.

      The name appears as Wihrat in what appears to be the 11th century. (The spelling of other names here suggests that despite the h spelling, the prototheme may well be the ‘battle’ theme.)

      Finally, in 1365 we find a woman called Virata, though her actual name was Marina; this may well be yet another instance of the name.

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