Category Archives: crowd-sourcing

Mystery Monday: Demordeus

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 Italian masculine name from a 15th C Latin record:
Demordeus
The fascinating thing about this name is that there is a straightforward analysis of the name as Latin demor + deus, which would be in keeping with other Italian phrase names involving deus ‘God’, such as Amadeus, Homoedeus, and Salvodeus. But what is demor? It’s 1st person singular, present indicative passive of demo “cut away, remove, withdraw, strip off, subtract, take away from”. That would make the name meaning “I am removed from God” — which is a very peculiar thing to name a child!

So we’re putting this name out there: What do others think? Have you an alternative reading of the name? Or independent evidence that would support such a negative etymology? Please share in the comments!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Mystery Monday: Chiquart

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 found in Old and Middle French and is a strange example of a name that we don’t have any Latin instances of! It’s probably of Germanic origin, with the deuterotheme being derived from Old English heard, Old Saxon hard, Old High German hart ‘strong, hard’. But that being said, we have no idea what the prototheme could be. Do you have any thoughts? Please share in the comments!

Chiquart

Also, while not entirely relevant to the onomastic question, we did find a cool titbit about a historical Chiquart: one “Maistre Chiquart” as cook to the Duke of Savoy, and author of a cookbook, Du fait de cuisine.

8 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Mystery Monday: Bulrebecca

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 curious feminine name from Latvia. We’ve rather punted on the standardized/normalized form: We have no idea whether the name does in fact include rebecca, etymologically, or whether this is a false friend.

Bulrebecca

The context makes it clear that this is a feminine name, which is why we think rebecca may be a player in the analysis here, but another alternative is that the -(e)ke ending is simply the standard Low German diminutive suffix. In which case, the root name would be something like Bulreb(e) — which, we have to confess, is entirely opaque to us.

Have any thoughts on what this name might be? Please share in the comments!

3 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Mystery Monday: All the A-names

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.

And…we’re back to the beginning of the alphabet again! One of the most interesting things about doing large-scale, cross-temporal and -cultural data collection as we’re doing for the Dictionary is seeing certain types of trends. It probably isn’t surprising to find out that we have very few entries in K-, Q-, X-, Y-, and Z-, as these letters are systemically less common across Europe (blame Latinisation for the comparative lack of ‘k’ in western Europe, as all the Greek kappas were converted into ‘c’s). Many people have probably also encountered the phenomenon whereby it seems like, modernly, there are disproportionately many names beginning with “A”. One explanation for this seeming phenomenon that is often offered is that expecting parents start at the beginning of the baby name book, and work their way through until they find a name they like, which is why we have so many Alexas and Alexandras and Amelias and Amalias and Abigails and Avas and Ashleys and Amandas and Amys.

But while there may be a lot of truth to that explanation, it isn’t the only confounding factor. There simple were a lot more names beginning with “A” than other letters, historically. (Only B-, S-, T-, and W- come anywhere close.) So it’s good when we come back around to the beginning of the alphabet, because the truth is, we have a lot of unidentified A-names. In fact, we thought that this week it would be fun to give a snapshot of the internal version of the Dictionary, with all the “A” entries both published, to be published, and unpublished. Maybe there’ll be a particular name in the list that our readers would be interested in knowing more about, and we can make that next week’s mystery name.

In the meantime, we have so many A- names, we can’t even get them all in one screen shot, or even two!
A-names


Now, not all of the names in yellow are true “mystery” names. Some of the entries are duplicates (with slightly different choice of header spelling), and simply need to be combined (for instances, we suspect that Ascherich and Ascrich are variants). Some of them are diminutives of other names, where the relationship hasn’t yet been identified. Some may turn out not to be given names, but rather place names or bynames mistakenly identified as given names. But when we say things like “we have 2317 entries published, and 3811 entries unpublished”, this gives you a sense of the data that we haven’t that isn’t. yet available, but will — hopefully, eventually — be.

3 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Mystery Monday: Ziro

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 Italian masculine diminutive from 14th C Friulia. At least — we’re pretty sure it’s a diminutive, because of the suffix -lin(o). But our hypothesis of the root name is merely that: A hypothesis. We’d love to get confirmation one way or another whether Ziro is the correct root name, and would love to see an example of the radiconym.

Ziro

If you’ve got any other examples of this name, or a different hypothesis for the root name, please share in the comments!

3 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Mystery Monday: Yal

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.

One of the drawbacks of working from printed editions of manuscripts is that sometimes, when faced with an unidentifiable name, there is no easy way of telling whether the editor — who was problem themself not an onomastic expert — got the transcription right. Was there an overlooked abbreviation mark? A misread letter? If the name was transcribed correctly, what are the odds that the original scribe made a mistake, either copying another manuscript which contained a name they didn’t recognise, or writing down an unfamiliar name? There are so many ways in which things can go wrong.

Today’s name is one where we don’t hold out much ope of ever identifying it. It’s a name recorded in Wales in a Latin document in the mid 13th C, and while the gender and case of the name can be confidently identified from context, the name itself could prove to be forever a mystery, given that English scribes are not renowned for their ability to accurately render Welsh names.

Yal

But on the off chance that someone recognises the name, and can help us with its etymological roots, we’re asking here. If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments!

1 Comment

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Outage update + Mystery Monday: Wurgitan

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.

But first! A huge shout-out to our technical guru, Dr. Joel Uckelman, who got the site back up and running again Saturday evening. What should have been a simple server upgrade turned into a whole row of dominoes collapsing; first, it turned out that our original hosting service was not equipped to handle the upgrade, and the first we knew of this was when we tried rebooting the machine and it wouldn’t. We switched providers, he set up an entirely new virtual machine and server, only time find that when he tried to restore all the data via rsync, the connection kept getting dropped after 10-15 seconds, making it completely impossible to rebuild the site. After a couple of rounds with customer service, which regularly got escalated up to the next level, it became clear that (a) it was a network issue on their end, not our end and (b) they weren’t interested in doing the legwork to find out what the issue was and fix it. So, bye-bye hoster 2, on to hoster 3. He set up a new virtual machine Friday night, and thankfully by the end of Saturday we were able to have the entire site restored. If you’ve ever benefited from the DMNES and would like a way to say thanks, feel free to buy him a beer or a coffee if you’re ever in the area. The hard work of the editorial team would be nothing without the technical infrastructure to make the data available to the world.

Today’s Mystery Monday name is from the Redon cartularies, a dithematic Breton name where we’ve identified the prototheme but not the deuterotheme:

Wurgitan

Our resources for Breton names are, unfortunately, rather limited; so if an element or name doesn’t appear in what we have, we’re generally pretty much at a loss. If any of you, dear readers, have better Breton resources than we do, we’d love to know what you have to say about this name! Please share in the comments.

Leave a comment

Filed under announcements, crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday, technical