Category Archives: crowd-sourcing

Mystery Monday: Stenent

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.

Sometimes it feels like obscure 16th C English names are the most obscure of all, their obscurity magnified by our familiarity with the language and context in which they occur. Such a name is today’s mystery name:

Stenent

Just, what, uh, hmm? Is it a scribal error? An editorial error? A weird made-up name? A transferred surname? (would be very odd, that). We have zero idea, which makes this a perfect mystery to include in our list. If you have any thoughts, please share in the comments! We’d love to know.

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Solution Saturday: Dywa

Every Saturday, we will revisit one of our Mystery Monday names that we have solved. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and expertise, whether commenting here or on twitter or via email. You’ve all helped solve a mystery!

Today’s name is one that we’d originally identified as feminine, but turns out to be masculine! The name is Dywa, and our thanks to Brian M. Scott who connected the dots from Dywa to Tiva to Protiva, a name which we also had an entry for, under the less-Latin/more-Czech spelling Protywa.

So there we have a part-solution, at least — we can combine the entries for Dywa and Protywa. In the comments on the post linked above, a suggestion is given for the origin of Protiva, which we will file away and follow up on and hopefully in the future an entry for Protiva will debut on the Dictionary.

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Mystery Monday: Raczko

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 a masculine diminutive found in the Czech Republic:
Raczko

But what is it a diminutive of? One possibility is Radoslav, a moderately popular name throughout Eastern Europe. But perhaps something else that we haven’t thought of — do you have a suggestion? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Perteiza

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 mystery is from late 16th C Somerset, and is as far as we can tell a hapax legomenon: We’ve found three records of the name, all to the same person. Perteiza Batten, daughter of Launcellott was christened in Bruton in 1592 (that’s the instance we have in our data). She married Willm. Harlidg in 1608/9, and then in 1638, Wm son of Wm. and Perteza Harledg was buried.

A search of google returns no use of this as a name other than by this woman.

Where on earth did Launcellott Batten find this name? We searched the rest of the register to see if the names of his family members could provide any clue, but didn’t find much. He married Agnes Beastley in 1588, and their first daughter, Joan, was born a year later. Then came Perteiza, Mary in 1594, and Edith 1596. A fifth daughter, Elizabeth, was born and buried in 1599, and he himself died in 1608/9, a month after Perteiza’s marriage.

All the rest of the names are utterly unexceptional in 16th C England. Whither Perteiza? This may be one mystery we never crack.

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Solution Saturday: Liawiso

Every Saturday, we will revisit one of our Mystery Monday names that we have solved. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and expertise, whether commenting here or on twitter or via email. You’ve all helped solve a mystery!

Today’s solved mystery is the name Liawiso.

Many thanks to those who tracked down variants of this name (including a connection to the Latin Libentius!) and independently identified it with Gothic liufs, Old High German liob, liab ‘dear, loved’. This name will appear in the next edition, under the header Liebizo!

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Mystery Monday: Omelki

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 a 16th C Swedish masculine name recorded in Finland:

Omelki

This one is a true mystery: We don’t have any names that resemble it, no clue what it’s origin might be, and even searching for the string on google gets nothing useful. We know the chances that one of our readers will know something about the name are small, but we’re not going to pass up the opportunity to ask! If you have any thoughts at all, please share them in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Nizul

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 a 13th C German name:

Nizul

One of the things we often do when faced with a name that doesn’t provide us with any easy starting points is to just plug it into google and see what comes up.

Well! That was certainly an interesting exercise with this name. Google certainly thinks it’s a name, as many of the first page of hits were to various name related websites, none of which had any information about the name at all (some of them didn’t even know if it was masculine name or a feminine name!) but our favorite was a website dedicated to Kabalarians, who have this to say about the name:

Nizul

(For the record, absolutely none of this is true).

Sometimes, when dealing with an unknown name, providing no information is better than providing false information. But perhaps one of you recognise the name and can help us identify it? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

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Solution Saturday: Iesmonda/Jesmonda

Every Saturday, we will revisit one of our Mystery Monday names that we have solved. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and expertise, whether commenting here or on twitter or via email. You’ve all helped solve a mystery!

Today’s solution is for a 16th C Italian feminine name that we had two variants of. As it turned out, we actually had a third — but hidden under a different header name! But Gismonda, Gismunda, and Iesmonda are all variants of the same name, Gismunda, and all the citations will be together in the same entry in the next edition.

The name gained its popularity in Italy as the result of Boccaccio’s Decameron. If you haven’t ever read the Decameron, what better time than during a modern-day plague to read it?

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Mystery Monday: Mermer

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.

Most of our mystery names are mysterious because we have no idea what their origin might be. Today’s name is the opposite: We have two equally plausible options, and are looking for assistance in discriminating between them!

The name is a 14th-15th C masculine name found in Switzerland:
Mermer

Normally, a name found in a German influenced part of Europe containing the element mar or mer would be easy: We’d identify it as coming from Old English mære, Old High German, Old Saxon māri all from Proto-Germanic *mērijaz ‘famous’. Doublets — where a name is composed by duplicating an element — are rare, but not unheard of in Germanic names (our personal favorite is Bertbert, which will appear in the next edition), so ordinarily this would be a straightforward identification.

But! There is also a Greek name, rendered in Latin as Mermerus, found in mythology as the name of a centaur, of the grandson of Jason and Medea, a host of Odysseus, and of a Trojan in the Trojan war. The 14th-15th C is on the early end for the revival of classical Greek names in the Renaissance, but we don’t have a previous date for this occurrence, and Switzerland is close enough to Italy that this etymology cannot be discounted.

So we turn to you: What do you think? Do you have any evidence that ways in favor of one alternative over the other? Or any alternative etymologies to suggest? Please share in the comments!

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Solution Saturday: Trauta

Every Saturday, we will revisit one of our Mystery Monday names that we have solved. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and expertise, whether commenting here or on twitter or via email. You’ve all helped solve a mystery!

Today’s name is Trauta. Our suspicion that the name was Germanic in origin, despite it’s appearance in 14th C Italy, was corrected! It is a variant of the name Druda, and the examples we found will be incorporated into that entry in the next edition.

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