Mystery Monday: Enzi / Enziman

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 another two for one — possibly. The two names share an element, and so even if they are not variants of each other (they probably aren’t) they are probably related.

The first name is found in 10th C Austria, the second in the 11th C.



Morlet has an entry for Enzo in her index; she identifies it as a hypocoristic of any of various names beginning with Proto-Germanic *andijaz ‘end, extremity’. It’s tempting to relate Enzi to Enzo: But is the temptation justified?

What do you think? Are we barking up the right tree? Or have you got an alternative hypothesis? Please let us know in the comments!


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

3 responses to “Mystery Monday: Enzi / Enziman

  1. Jörg Knappen

    My first thought was analysing enz as a secondary name element formed from en and the hypochoristic ending izo. en could be the relic of several primary name elements, including agin..

    But Förstemann (1900) has found a much superior explanation for this name: He identifies a name element ant “very big, giant” with the cognate Anglo-Saxon word ent that is the source of Tolkien’s Ent. It is in Förstemann under the heading ANT.

    An aside: The etymology of the Italian name Enzo is obscure, it could come from the name in the quotation here, or it could be the common ending -enzo, e.g., from Vincenzo promoted to an independent name.

  2. Brian M. Scott

    I’ve little doubt that Enzi is a hypocoristic form of Enzo, as suggested here, for instance, especially in the south; the extended form Enzilin also occurs. I’m not at all sure that this is its only source, however; here, for instance, it is taken to be a hypocoristic from Engilhart ‘and so forth’. I would not be comfortable suggesting any etymology more than very tentatively, and I’d not be surprised if it had more than one, especially if found outside the southeast.

    The name is part of a family of related names found in the southeast: alongside Enziman(n) we also find Enzikint and Enziwib (e.g., here. These may have begun as extended hypocoristics, but they seem to have entered the name pool.

  3. ellisavonstyra

    “Enzi” has been a common short form for Laurenz for a long time in Austria if that happens to be useful.

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.