Tag Archives: Latin

Mystery Monday: Three Cuen- 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.

Today we’re giving you not one, not two, but three mystery names! Why three? Because there might be a chance that they are related to each other. All are masculine names found Switzerland in the 14th-15th C; one is recorded in Old French, one in Latin, one in Middle French; all start with Cuen-.

Cuenin

Cuenod

Cuenzy

Of the three, Cuenod is the easiest one to analyse: The -od suffix is a common Swiss diminutive suffix (cf. Perrod, Johannod, and others). If we take -in and -zy as diminutive suffixes (plausible in the case of -in, as it shows up in French; -zy is otherwise unfamiliar to us), then the root is Cuen- — possibly from Cuno or Conrad?

What do you think? Are we barking up the right tree? Have you any other examples of these names, or of names that might be related? Have you ever seen -zy as a diminutive suffix before, in Switzerland or elsewhere? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Ztrzezna

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 feminine name found in the Czech Republic. We’ve got loads of questions about it before we even get to the question of origin. First: Are all three of these spellings variants of the same name, or do we have more than one name here? Second: Are any of these diminutives? If so, are they diminutives of each other, or of some fourth name that we haven’t yet found a record of?

Ztrzezna

(We won’t even go into the question of “how do you pronounce it?”!)

When it comes to the question of origin, here we actually do have some information. There is a (modern) Czech name Střezislava, the name of the wife of an important 10th C Bohemian nobleman who founded the Slavník dynasty and the mother of Saint Adalbert of Prague. It’s quite likely that the prototheme of her name is represented in this mystery name — modern ř was often written rz in medieval Latin renderings of Czech names. This is what leads us to think that the three forms above may be diminutives of something else, something like Střezislava.

But we’d love to have a firm basis for this speculation. If you have any evidence or information to share that would confirm or deny, please let us know in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Vudeota

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 feminine name found in 12th C France, in two variants:
Vudeota
The Vud- / Ud- beginning makes it likely that this name is of Germanic origin, possibly deriving from a variant of Otto (which name was occasionally spelled Udo in France in the 11th and 12th century). If that is correct, then the -ot- is possibly a diminutive suffix rather than a deuterotheme; but if it is, it’s certainly not a common one in 12th C France.

We’d love to hear your suggestions about what the origin of this name might be. Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Qustremiri

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 bizarre mystery name is the last of our Q-name mysteries! It’s a masculine name found in 9th C Spain, and, well…take a look at it.
Qustremiri
It’s hard to escape the feeling that there might be some sort of scribal or editorial error going on here…it just doesn’t seem to have enough vowels.

The deuterotheme can tentatively be derived from Proto-Germanic *mērijaz ‘famous’ — the same element that shows up as the root of the deuterotheme of the Iberian name Ramiro (entry available in the next edition). But it’s quite unclear what the prototheme might be, even if we stick more vowels in.

Do you have any suggestions? Some vowels you can spare? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Phyofius

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 looks like it should be easily identifiable as a classical name revived in Renaissance Italy — it has the look of a Latinized name of probably Greek origin (so many Phs…). But if that’s true, we haven’t been able to determine what the root Greek name is!

Phyofius

We have two examples, in slightly different spellings, from early 14th C Veneto, and so far we haven’t found any other instance of the name, even considering other variant spellings. There’s nothing like it in the LGPN or Liddell and Scott. So we’re rather clueless.

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

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Mystery Monday: Mieszko / Mikso

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 we’ve got two entries which we’re pretty sure are ultimately one entry. It’s a masculine name with examples found in Poland and the Czech Republic, in Latin and in Middle High German.

Mikso

Mieszko

One reason that these haven’t yet been combined into a single entry is because it’s not clear what the canonical name form should be, if we did. And the reason why it’s not clear what the CNF would be is because this is pretty clearly a diminutive — so it shouldn’t be in an entry of its own, but instead these citations should all be folded into the entry for the full form of the name. The question is: What is that form? What is this name a nickname of? Michael? Nicholas? Something else? This mystery should be pretty straightforward to solve, and we’d love your assistance! Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Looking into history: Unexpected finds

In this post, we take a look at some of the names in the ONS girls’ names data from England and Wales (up through the first 300) which may surprise some people by turning up in the Middle Ages.

First up is no. 41 Imogen — historically thought to have first appeared post-1600 as a typo in a Shakespearean play, the name has an alternative history, dating back to medieval Germany.

Ancient Greek name Penelope (no. 48) came into use in England in the 16th, part of a fad for classical names. (Nickname Penny (no. 198) is more modern, though.)

No. 65 Ada has an old-fashioned feel to it — but did you know it’s roots go back at least to the 9th C in France?

Biblical names Lydia (no. 130), Leah (no. 136), Esther (no. 173), Naomi (no. 178), Rebecca (no. 186), Tabitha (no. 204), Lois (no. 215), and Rachel (no. 323) became popular amongst French, Dutch, and English Protestants in the 16th C, as did virtue names like Faith (no. 135). Interestingly, Hope (no. 139) is a virtue name that we haven’t yet found any pre-1600 examples of, though Esperanza from Latin sperantia ‘hope’ is found in 15th-16h C Spain and Italy (but not in the ONS data!)

Modern name Ottilie (no. 164) is a variant of medieval Odile, popular in France especially in the diminutive form Odelina.

No. 169 Laura first became popular after Petrarch as the poetic name for his love; it spread from Italy to France, Italy, and England over the 14th and 15th centuries.

Here’s a surprising one: Maia (no. 176). The DMNES entry is still in draft form, but we have two Low German examples from the 16th century; variant Maja (no. 192) is not an unreasonable alternative medieval spelling.

French-origin name Amy (no. 189) was popular in England from the 14th C onwards.

No. 196 Alba occurs in Catalan in the early 16th C.

Golden name Aurelia (no. 212) was used in Renaissance Italy. While name no. 361 Sapphire is generally interpreted as a gem name, when the medieval form Sapphira was used in 16th C England, it was more likely in reference to the New Testament character.

Did you know that Alana (no. 216) is a medieval name? It’s the Latin feminine form of Alan, and appears rarely. (Variants that add extra ls or ns or hs, such as Alannah (no. 472), Alanna (no. 650), Allana (no. 1788), Alanah (no. 1887), and Allanah (no. 3178) and compounds like Alana-Rose (no. 2901) and Alana-Rae (no. 5666) are not generally medieval.)

Nickname Effie (no. 236), usually a pet form of Euphemia (no. 4684), shows up in 16th C England (as does the full name itself) — a rare instance of an -ie or -y diminutive ending in medieval England!

Name no. 243, Talia we have examples of in 13th and 16th C Italy; there’s no entry for the name yet, as the etymological origin of the name is uncertain.

Names of classical gods and goddesses became popular in the Renaissance, including Diana (no. 275) found in both England and Italy (Diane (no. 3178) is a French form; Dianna (no. 3985) and Dyana (no. 48684) are modern forms). In general, the Latin names were preferred over the Greek — which means while we don’t have Athena (no. 239), Atene (no. 5666), Athene (no. 5666) (or the compound Athena-Rose, no. 4684) in the DMNES data, we do have Minerva (no. 2187). (The compound Diana-Elena (no. 5666) is also modern.)

Modern-day Melody (no. 312) is found in the Latin form Melodia in England during the fad for fanciful Latinate names in the 13th C. It’s during this period that we also find Amanda (no. 602).

Name no. 213 Remi shows up in medieval France — but as a masculine name, not a feminine name. Similarly, Alexis (no. 323) can be found right across Europe, but only as a man’s name.

The roots of Christmas name Natalie (no. 354) go all the way back to the early Middle Ages — it shows up multiple times in the 9th C, which makes it an incredibly well-witnessed early French feminine name!

We’ll tackle names from no. 400 down in a future post.

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