Category Archives: solution saturday

Solution Saturday: Bulrebecca

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 Bulrebecca, and it highlights one of the difficulties we face when going through medieval documents, and that’s: How do you identify a given name as a given name? When faced with a bunch of words, there are a number of clues one can use to identify what kind of a word it is (noun, verb; Latin, German, English; given name, not a name) — clues from semantics, syntax, morphology, grammar, context, etc. Because personal names don’t function in the same way that significative nouns and adjectives do, we often have fewer clues, which means that even if you can confidently identify a word as part of a name, it’s not always clear whether it’s a given name or part of a byname.

In the case of this particular name, we were mislead by the superficial similarity between -rebeke and the personal name Rebecca, and thus originally identified Bulrebeke as a given name (the context not making it clear which it was). However, the origin of this mysterious name is solved by noting that it’s actually a place name, not a personal name. Alas, this means we’ll remove this record from our database (flagging up why, of course, so that the information isn’t lost forever!) and you’ll see no entry for Bulrebeke or Bulrebecca in future editions of the Dictionary.

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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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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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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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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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Solution Saturday: Kermunt

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!

Our very first Solution Saturday name is Kermunt. Our hypothesis that the prototheme was a variant of Ger- was borne out by the commentators, which makes this name a variant of Germund. We’ve folded the citation in the entry for Kermunt into the entry for Germund.

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Introducing: Solution Saturday!

For a few years now, on Mondays we’ve been posting “mystery” entries, where we’ve harnessed the collective onomastic power of the internet to crowdsource the origin/etymology of the name. One of the big plans for our research interns this summer was to start solving some of those mysteries — that is, going through the archive of Mystery Monday posts and whether we now have sufficient information to positively identify (or positively identify that we can’t identify!) a particular name.

So we’re very pleased to introduce Solution Saturday where we go through the “solved” names and say a bit about the answer to the mystery (and thank the people who have contributed their time, knowledge, and expertise). We probably won’t have have a solution every Saturday, but we’re excited to make progress on these names over the coming months, and present some of the solutions in the next edition (currently aiming for a publication date in September 2020). Check back next week for our first solution!

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