Category Archives: dictionary entries

Mystery Monday: Damiata/Dameta

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(s) we are not actually sure are variants of the same name or if they are distinct. On the one hand, in early 12th C France we have a number of examples (referring to the same woman) of the name Dameta. On the other hand, in Spain a few centuries later we have two examples of the name Damiata in distinct geographical contexts (Aragon and Valencia) as well as the possible diminutive form Miata.

Damiata/Dameta

Now, the latter form certainly brings to mind the important Egyptian city known medievally as both Damiata and Damietta. It’s unlikely that the personal name is taken directly from the place name (the pattern of naming children directly after cities or locations is a relatively modern pattern!), but is there possibly a connection between the two? Is Miata a pet form of Damiata or a different name? Is Dameta a variant, or entirely independent? Does the name appear anywhere else? (It’d be really cool to find it in Italy.) If you have any thoughts or further examples, please share them with us in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Caracossa

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.

We had a variety of Italian feminine names to choose from today, and we ended up going with one where we have two examples, slight variant spellings of each other, from the same context (Bergamo in the late 13th/early 14th C). One possible explanation of the name involves a compound with Latin cara ‘dear, beloved; costly, precious, valued’. In the same data set, we already have another example of such a compound with that element as the prototheme, Carabella (and indeed, the same data set gives us the telescoped version Bellacara). Another compound with cara- found in Italy, a few centuries later, is Caradonna.

Caracossa

Is that the right explanation here? If so, how should we analyse the deuterotheme?

Do you have any other examples of Cara- names in Italian? Or indeed any -cos(s)a names? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Belerius

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 two instances in Clairvaux in the late 12th century (both records refer to the same man). The name is not obviously of Germanic origin, unless we interpret the prototheme as Latin bellus ‘beautiful, handsome’ and the deuterotheme as a Latinisation of Old High German heri ‘host, army’. There are other Romance/Germanic compounds in France, albeit they tend to develop at an earlier period and not remain in use very long.

Belerius

It’s also tempting to see this as a variant of Latin Valerius, but that would involve providing an explanation of the vowel shift in the first syllable (as well as the consonant shift, but that is less tricky).

Do you have any examples of the name? Other thoughts concerning its origin? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Advoye

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 Middle French feminine name from the 16th C. It occurs once (in the data we’ve transcribed so far) in the baptismal registers of the Protestant church at Caen.

Advoye

We have discussed the names found in these registers here on the blog in the past in the context of general discussion of Protestant names, from which we’ve seen a number of interesting trends arising, including the rise of virtue names, and the increasing influence of the Old Testament and the New Testament on the naming pools.

It’s not clear that any of these trends will get us very far with the current name, however. Advoye doesn’t appear to be the name of a virtue (and virtue names seem to be much rarer in the French Protestant data than the English and Dutch); neither is it a Biblical name that we are familiar with. There is, of course, the possibility that it is a traditional French name with no Protestant influence; if this is the case, we would love to see more examples of it! If you are familiar with any, or have any thoughts on the origin of the name, please share in the comments.

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Mystery Monday: Zamhilde

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 early Germanic feminine name from Austria, with a clearly identifiable deuterotheme: It’s Old High German hiltja ‘battle’. But the prototheme is peculiar, and we don’t recognise it — we would love to see other examples of it, if you have any to share!

Zamhilde

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Mystery Monday: Yfaine

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 one where it feels like it should be easy to identify — it has the flavor of something from Arthurian legend — which has nevertheless been persistently recalcitrant. We have two examples of the name, one in Latin, one in Old French, from the very end of the 13th C. Do you have any other examples of the name? Know some obscure French roman where it occurs? Have any other thoughts about it’s origins? Please share with us!

Yfaine

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Mystery Monday: Warslav

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 Low German form of a Slavic name — the deuterotheme makes that clear — but what’s not entirely clear is the exact root name. (We suspect that our tentative canonical form Warslav is not the one that will end up as the header name). Slavicists, this one’s for you! Got any suggestions? Please share in the comments!

Warslav

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