Budapestiek and Istanbullu.

I tend to ignore Bryan Garner’s Garner’s Modern American Usage, a beautifully produced and widely used and respected book with whose prejudices and general approach I utterly disagree, but recently I wanted to see what he had to say about something and found myself instead looking at his long list of “Denizen Labels” — what are usually called demonyms. Now, I’m very fond of demonyms myself, though I’ve only devoted one post to them (and there are lots of great examples in that thread); my copies of Daniel Santano y León’s Diccionario de gentilicios y topónimos and A.M. Babkin and E.A. Levashov’s Словарь названий жителей СССР [Dictionary of names of inhabitants of the USSR] are treasured possessions. I therefore dropped what I was doing and pored over the list, quickly concluding that it showed the same combination of random choices, poor decisions, and sloppy thinking that irritates me so much about the rest of the book.

An example of random choices: why does he include Dublin (Dubliner) but not Cork (Corkonian)? It’s certainly not because Cork isn’t the capital; he has lots of fairly insignificant places, like Metz (Messin), Saint-Cloud (Clodoaldien), and Trois-Rivières (Trifluvien) — he even has Dundee (Dundonian), to which Cork (Corkonian) would make a nice companion. Poor decisions: for Budapest he gives “Budapestiek,” which is a capitalized version of the Hungarian plural for budapesti ‘inhabitant of Budapest.’ If you’re too ignorant of a language to distinguish singular from plural, you shouldn’t be trying to provide a demonym from that language. And that brings us to the third issue, sloppy thinking: who are these terms intended for, and what use does he envisage? He seems to have extrapolated from French demonyms, which he clearly loves and which in fact are often used in English, the idea that one should use native terms wherever possible, but he’s inconsistent about this: he gives (besides that stupid Hungarian plural) Istanbullu for Istanbul, but for Helsinki he gives Helsinkian, not helsinkiläinen (or, as he would write it, Helsinkiläinen). No English-speaker is going to use “Istanbullu” unless they live in Turkey and are immersed in Turkish culture; he’s just showing off. The Wikipedia entry linked above, though not complete (they don’t have Helsinki, for example), is more sensible; for Istanbul they give Istanbulite, for example. And again he’s inconsistent: for Dijon he gives Dijonese, not Dijonnais, the French term. For Shanghai he gives Shanghailander, which sounds archaic to me; Wikipedia gives Shanghainese, which is what I would say myself. In short, his list, like his book, is an impressive-looking but antiquated and incoherent piece of work.


  1. For years, I had no idea that moko, as in Pépé le, means someone from Toulon (at least that’s what English Wikipedia says. The French one calls Pépé a marseillais.)

  2. I say we mash up city names and suffixes across all boundaries of language and country:


    And here’s a twist, the use of a city name as an ethnonym. In Lushootseed people are known by the river they lived along and specifically by which town they were from, so Anglos were named after Boston, since most were Yankees and they would just say they were from Boston. Well, there has been a sound change in Lushootseed since then that denasalized ‘”n” and “m”, so “Boston” is now pronounced “bastad”. I think it fits, especially if it’s pronounced in a Boston accent.

  3. “French demonyms, which he clearly loves”

    Or else he found the convenient list in the Petit Robert.

  4. J. W. Brewer says:

    “Istanbul” doesn’t suffix well in English; we may need to take another approach. Constantinopolite? Constantinopolitan? Micklegardian? Tsarigradnik?

  5. This subject came up some months ago (for a reason I can’t remember) in the New Yorker. A letter writer claimed that inhabitants of Crested Butte, Colo, are known as Crested Beauticians.

  6. For years, I had no idea that moko, as in Pépé le, means someone from Toulon (at least that’s what English Wikipedia says. The French one calls Pépé a marseillais.)

    I was starting to think this was pure invention on someone’s part, since I could find no reference to any French term moko, until I hit on this in Google Books, from Chapter XVI of “Paris-Casablanca” (St. Nicolas, Vol. 29 [1908], Oct. 22, p. 938):

    Et puis, un soir, le second Bourribousse, un Moko (1), mais un brave Moko, me dit :

    —Cire tes chaussures, graisse ton flingot, Le Goan, c’est pour demain.

    Je ne le crus pas, tant j’étais découragé. Mais il avait raison tout de même.

    (1) Un Moko : Un Provençal

    So apparently a moko can be from either Toulon or Marseille.

  7. @J. W. Brewer: I know I’ve seen “Byzantine” sometimes used to describe inhabitants of the city, at least up through the early twentieth century. I suspect that term (and “Byzantium” for the city itself) may have sometimes been used to avoid implying something about the ethnicity of the person (or implying something about who really ought to own the city). However, with the establishment of the modern Turkish state, there were large-scale Greek population transfers, and ownership of Istanbul ceased to be a viable political question.

  8. “It showed the same combination of random choices, poor decisions, and sloppy thinking that irritates me so much about the rest of the book.”

    Amen! I’ll never understand why so many editors love Garner, and I’m glad that someone else sees his book for what it is.

  9. I say Stamboulite, which, on further googling, seems to be a hyperdemodernization of Istanbulite, contrary to the real French word stambouliote.

  10. I have to agree with Jonathon. While there are some useful entries (particularly if you want the writing to sound extremely formal), it takes work to separate the good from the bad.

  11. While there are some useful entries

    Yes, exactly, that’s why I occasionally find myself consulting it. I’m glad other editors are agreeing with me about this!

  12. “Soon, with a noise like tambourines, / Came her attendant Byzantines” (Wallace Stevens). Which proves absolutely nothing about general usage.

  13. LH: a beautifully produced and widely used and respected book
    JO: I’ll never understand why so many editors love Garner

    I bought my copy, remaindered, for a few dollars in Toronto. This suggests that Canadians don’t much care for him. I don’t either; I open it maybe once a year.

    My copy of Black’s Law Dictionary, of which he was editor, gets a far bigger workout.

  14. Yes, when he sticks to law he’s on much firmer ground.

  15. des von bladet says:

    Locally my adopted city is known with definitive, if not always tender, familiarity as Stad, and its denizens as Stadjers.

  16. Dmitry Prokofyev says:

    J. W. Brewer: I believe a more plausible Russian version would be Tsaregradets (цареградец) or Tsar’gradets (царьградец) rather than Tsarigradnik.

  17. J. W. Brewer says:

    Oh, I’m not trying to to find a Russian version at all. I was just working with the notion that the AmEng suffix -nik (which I assume without checking came into AmEng from Yiddish) sounds cromulent to the AmEng ear when appended to vaguely Slavic-sounding roots, whether or not the particular combination would be idiomatic in any particular actual Slavic language.

    I have, fwiw, over the course of my professional career written thousands upon thousands of pages’ worth of documents in the Legalese-American register of English without (to the best of my recollection) ever seeking out, much less acting on, the opinions of Mr. Garner on any point of usage, meaning, or anything else.

  18. marie-lucie says:

    Does the book cite Canadian cities? How about the inhabitants of Halifax? (I don’t know if citizens of English Halifax use the same term or not).

    French “moko”

    I remember seeing “Pépé le Moko” on some written source years ago, but had no idea what “moko” meant. The spoken part of the quotation is not only in French but in French gangster slang. I would not recommend asking a Marseillais or Toulonnais whether he is a “moko”.

  19. J. W. Brewer says:

    Although to be fair, at one point Mr. Garner did a bunch of interviews with U.S. Supreme Court justices and possibly other prominent American judges on topics like what they did and didn’t like in lawyers’ writing styles, and I watched the video of several of them and found them substantively interesting and Garner himself quite competent-seeming as an interviewer in terms of asking sensible follow-up questions to draw the interviewees out etc.. Of course, when you put all the interviews together, there were points where trying to write your briefs the way Justice A specifically said he liked them would mean doing it in a way that you have also just learned is a particular pet peeve of Justice B’s and will thus rub him the wrong way, etc., So practical application limited, other than it’s always good to be reminded that you are rarely writing for a single Platonic Ideal Reader (for whom there is One Right Way for you to write, if only you could figure out what it was) but for an audience of often unknown but almost certainly varying and internally inconsistent sensibilities and preferences.

  20. Stefan Holm says:

    Hi, a Swede new to the blog here! My language has a practical way of adding the handy word ’bo’ [bu:] to the actual city/town/village. As a verb it means ‘live’, ‘stay’, ‘reside’ ‘dwell’ and as a noun ‘resident’, ‘dweller’, ‘inhabitant’. It’s, by the way, a cognate to ‘boer’ in Afrikaans as well as to ‘bauen’ and ‘Bauer’ in German – it’s found in all branches of Germanic but strangely not in, to my knowledge, even Old English.
    That is – a Londoner is a ‘Londonbo’, someone from Istanbul is an ‘Istanbulbo’, a person from the Hungarian capital is a ‘Budapestbo’, one from Oslo an ‘Oslobo’, a New Yorker a New Yorkbo etc.
    The cognate to the English suffix ‘-er’ in Swedish is ‘-are’ but that’s only used domestically, e.g. stockholmare (‘Stockholmer’), göteborgare (‘Gothenburger’) and about just a few foreign citizens like berlinare (‘Ich bin ein Berliner’). A trap is the word parisare, which doesn’t refer to someone from the capital of France but to a variety (don’t ask me which) of ‘hamburgare’, i.e. some McDonald’s stuff.

  21. That is indeed a convenient suffix!

  22. m-l: The English demonym not only for Halifax, N.S., but for the city in Yorkshire, is Haligonian, from the false OE etymology halig feax ‘holy hair’ via a hypothetical Latin form *Halig-onia. Though frankly the etymology healh-gefeaxe ‘area of rough grass (lit. hairy)’ is also problematic: Bosworth-Toller lists ealh/healh/halh as a word of unclear meaning.

  23. Trond Engen says:

    Heh! For me as a Norwegian it’s almost the other way around. I could use ‘-er’ with anyplace: pariser, berliner, newyorker, nairobier, istanbuller, budapester, etc., but ‘-bu’ feels homely and local and would be ironic when used with large foreign cities.

  24. Trond Engen says:

    Surely istanbullu is Istanbullies in English.

  25. marie-lucie says:

    JC, thanks for your comment on Haligonian. Everybody here knows the term, but I have not run into any analysis. Late official Latinization based on misinterpretation is probably right as the origin of this unusual demonym.

    I too thought the hali(g) part might have to do with ‘holy’. As for -fax, it enters into other names in English, such as Fairfax and Pollifax (unless the latter is a literary invention), but if your source is right that it means ‘hair’, that would be OK for personal names but not for place names. I agree that ‘hair’ = ‘grass’ is problematic, unless one had good evidence for this connection in early Germanic languages.

  26. Friend internet to the rescue! Some etymologies are just silly: Māori moko ‘tattoo’; mococo “a monkey of Mozambique [Mozamiquais? Mozambikchak?]“, though actually a lemur. Plausibly, the word, referring to Provençal sailors, especially Toulonnais, is explained as an exonym deriving from the common Occitan expressions es como co (=Fr. c’est comme ça) / em’ aco? or em’aquò? (= Fr. et avec ça?) / em’ ocò qui (= Fr. avec celui-ci).

    Another thing, what Russian demonyms end with -чак, other than the unfortunately apropos Krymchak?

  27. Speaking of Halifax and Haligonians (which term the WordPress spellchecker doesn’t recognize), why couldn’t French be content with Nova Scotia as the name of the Canadian province of which that city is capital? Why did it have to take a perfectly fine Latin phrase and render it as Nouvelle-Écosse?

  28. marie-lucie says:

    Many French demonyms are transparently derived from the Modern versions of place names, but many others are quite different, often being barely adapted from the Latin versions, as in Eburoviciens for the people of Evreux (related to English “York”) or Clodoaldiens for the people of Saint-Cloud (nothing to do with English ‘cloud’, instead the saint in question was of Frankish origin and his name was latinized as “Clodoaldus”). The Latin versions are known because for centuries official documents were written in Latin, and while the names of cities and other places had been evolving into oral French along with ordinary words, the inhabitants were more likely to be referred to as “the people of …”, especially for morphologically complex place names. When French became the official language, official documents followed Latin models and Latin demonyms were barely adapted to French morphology.

  29. Another thing, what Russian demonyms end with -чак, other than the unfortunately apropos Krymchak?

    I don’t know if there are any others with -чак; Uspensky lists it as a special case of the -як ending, giving Тула–туляк, Пенза — пензяк, Пермь — пермяк, Крым — крымчак, and Сибирь — сибиряк as examples. I wonder if the -ч- is Turkic in origin?

  30. And the main character of Rififi, the other essential French noir movie, is Tony le Stéphanois, i.e. from St. Étienne.

  31. marie-lucie says:

    Y: Plausibly, the word, referring to Provençal sailors, especially Toulonnais, is explained as an exonym deriving from the common Occitan expressions es como co (=Fr. c’est comme ça) / em’ aco? or em’aquò? (= Fr. et avec ça?) / em’ ocò qui (= Fr. avec celui-ci).

    Merci, Y, it is indeed very plausible. Toulon is a very important French naval base, and sailors from other parts of the country finding themselves together with those from Provence would have been exposed to such common expressions including the (to them) meaningless sequence “moko”.

    My Occitan-speaking grandfather found himself in the navy when WWI broke out and his ship sailed from Toulon to Saloniki. On returning to France he next found himself in the trenches of Verdun, from which he came back intact (at least physically).

  32. This discussion let’s me for the second time in a week to retell an old joke about a politician who addressed denizens of Crimea (apparently in English, it doesn’t work in Russian) “Dear Criminals”.

  33. Ian Myles Slater says:

    Note in passing (to Stefan Holm):

    “it’s found in all branches of Germanic but strangely not in, to my knowledge, even Old English.”

    An interesting point. The term certainly doesn’t seem to be active in word-formation in Modern English!

    According to “Merriam-Webster” (Unabridged, on-line edition) and “Webster’s New World Dictionary” (third college edition), the word not only existed in Old English (as the verb, buan, and the nouns bur and gebur) it still survives in “bower” (which I have rarely seen outside consciously archaic verse of prose), and the well-known “neighbor” (nigh-gebur, near-dweller).

    Which pretty much coincides with what I remembered from years-ago courses in Old and Middle English. I suspect it falls in the category of things only important to grad students trying to pass a course….

    I’ve seen (but not heard) “‘bor” as slang for “neighbor” in American English — supposedly a “western” usage, if memory serves.

    “Boor” (as “rustic, coarse fellow”) matches the common usage of (ge)bur, so it looks like it is part of the group, but apparently is only a cognate, a later loan-word from Dutch. This is also supposed to be the source of British English “bor” as a term of address for a neighbor or friend (MW Unabridged), something else of which I have no personal experience.

  34. marie-lucie says:

    IMS: <i.“bower” (which I have rarely seen outside consciously archaic verse of prose),

    Take up ornithology! There is a group called bowerbirds, so named because males clear small areas called “bowers”, which they “furnish” with various objects, especially blue ones, in order to attract females.

  35. marie-lucie says:

    LH: Trois-Rivières (Trifluvien)

    Trois-Rivières is in Qu/bec, so the name of its inhabitants is not traceable to an old Latin form, but the demonym Trifluvien must have been created on the model of what the name could have been in Latin. Deriving a French word purely from the modern name Trois-Rivières would have been awkward, while “Trifluvien” sounds suitably Latinate and cultivated.

  36. In a better universe, there would be a Far East-themed Highlander spinoff called Shanghailander.

  37. Jeffry House says:

    A Turkish friend (he comes from Ordu, meaning Army City) insists that inhabitants of Istanbul are to be called Istanbulemics.

  38. m-l:

    Indeed, I find no evidence for a GRASS IS HAIR metaphor in OE. Combined with the obscurity of halh, I’d say “origin unknown” is the safest thing to say.

    Fairfax, though, does indeed mean ‘fair-hair(ed)’. There is a horse in The Lord of the Rings named Shadowfax, a modernization of Scadufaxe, a word in the Mercian dialect of OE that Tolkien uses to represent the language of one of his cultures.

    I can’t find any real-world references to the name Pollifax; I suspect it may be a variant of the actual surname Pollifex, whose meaning I don’t know either. Ignotum per ignotius.

    The Carfax in Oxford and other towns, however, is almost certainly a distortion of carrefour or quatreface.

    Paul: I bet the original settlers called it New Scotland. The official name is Nova Scotia because the colony charter was written in Latin. Oddly, it actually made New Scotland legally a part of old Scotland.

  39. Sydneysiders and Melburnians are another interesting set. Also Liverpudlians and Novocastrians.

    We like to call the inhabitants of Santa Cruz “Santa Cruzers”, but I’m not sure it’s the official name.

  40. Paul (T.) says:

    m-l Oddly, it actually made New Scotland legally a part of old Scotland.. And if the Scots vote for independence in their referendum, they’ll ask for it back. They are asking for everything conceivable from the rest of the UK already.

    Nearest town local to me in Normandy is Eu, whose citizens are Eudoise. Because an Internet search for the town brings up endless results for the EU, they have had to change to name of the town to “Ville d’Eu”

  41. Sir JCass says:

    Re: moko or moco. I remember coming across it in Daudet’s novel Jack:

    C’était Blanchet, le mécanicien-chef, que ses hommes appelaient «le Moco»

    Daudet has a footnote:

    La marine française se divise en deux grandes races : les Moco et les Ponantais, Bretagne et Provence, gens du Nord et gens du Midi.

  42. Sir JCass says:

    Googling round, I see “ponantais” comes from “ponant”, an obsolete word for “west”.

    Here’s some more on moko/moco ("etymology uncertain").

    So "les moco"/"les ponantais" represent the basic division between the French Atlantic fleet in the west (Brittany) and the French Mediterranean fleet in the south (Toulon/Marseille).

  43. Except Daudet either screwed up the meanings or used an unfortunate bit of chiasmus (les X et les Y, Y et X), so that it appears from his footnote that les Moco represent Bretagne and are gens du Nord.

  44. Paul T: It was an end run around the Navigation Acts, which banned trade between a colony and anywhere except the U.K., and there to be carried in British bottoms with British crews.

  45. Ha, I just ran across a great example of the uselessness of Yahoo Answers:

    What do you call people from Istanbul? Istanbulians?

    Best AnswerAsker’s Choice

    Willie Fernandez answered 3 years ago

    Istanbul is a city of Turkey. It is the largest city of the country and also its former political capital. If a person belongs from New York he is not called a New Yorkian or a person from Washington is not Washingtonian. A person is just going to be referred as an American.
    Similarly, people from Istanbul are not called Istanbulians or from Ankara are Ankarinarian. People from any city of Turkey are called Turkish. However, we can find the people from Turkey using the word Istanbulian in common speech. But officially Turkish is the right word use for the people of Turkey.

    That may be one of the stupidest things I’ve seen on the internet… and it’s chosen as Best Answer!

  46. des von yahoo says:

    I have it on very good authority that persons from, say, St Leningrad are actually properly called St Leningradients, but I suppose “Russian” would do in a pinch.

  47. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    remember seeing “Pépé le Moko” on some written source years ago, but had no idea what “moko” meant. The spoken part of the quotation is not only in French but in French gangster slang. I would not recommend asking a Marseillais or Toulonnais whether he is a “moko”.

    I’m not really Marseillais — I’ve just lived here for 27 years — but I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term “Moko”. I’ll try to remember to ask someone.

  48. Please do!

  49. marie-lucie says:

    Judging from the various sources, “moco” originated as French navy slang. The French speakers (from naval bases on the Atlantic coast) used the word to refer to the Occitan-speaking sailors based in Toulon (I guess, rather than just those born in Toulon or Marseille). Since sailors, like soldiers, get tranferred from one base to another, the resulting mingling brought together two different “ethnolinguistic” groups. “Pépé”, or Daudet’s “Blanchet”, are Southerners stuck in a group of Northerners who use the word to identify them.

    Athel, I would be interested to know about how the word is used and perceived in the area.
    I would guess that it is known by many local people but rarely used except in the naval context. For instance, would I be able say “my grandfather was a moco”, meaning “one of those sailors that Franchimans called mocos”. (“Franchiman” means ‘(Northern) French speaker’), or would that sound derogatory?

  50. ‘My language has a practical way of adding the handy word ’bo’ [bu:] to the actual city/town/village. As a verb it means ‘live’, ‘stay’, ‘reside’ ‘dwell’ and as a noun ‘resident’, ‘dweller’, ‘inhabitant’. . . .it’s found in all branches of Germanic but strangely not in, to my knowledge, even Old English.’

    Neighbor and boor, I think, are cognate.

  51. Could Pollifex be a version of pellifex ‘furrier’?

  52. Besides moko, are there any other exonyms based on perceived stock phrases? I don’t mean gibberish, like “Hottentot” or “Popoluca”. I can think of just one, Israeli Hebrew vuzvuz, from Yiddish vus ‘what?’, a pejorative name for Ashkenazis. I wonder if there are any such names which are not pejorative.

  53. J. W. Brewer says:

    Y; how about the French “les goddams” for the English? (Perhaps now archaic . . .) Possibly also “yat” for a member of a particular ethnolinguistic group from the New Orleans area, but it’s not clear to me whether that’s an endonym or exonym.

  54. marie-lucie says:

    JWB: how about the French “les goddams” for the English?

    I don’t know of such a term for contemporary English people, who are sometimes called les Angliches (from the French spelling pronunciation of “English”), but during the Hundred Year War (ended by Jeanne d’Arc) the English, who were occupying a large area of France, were called les godons, from “goddam”.

  55. Y: In French there is the term “chti” designating the inhabitants, or “chtimi” designating the (dying) language/dialect, of Picardy, based on the common Picard phrase “Chti mi” “It (,,,) to me”, basically the semantic equivalent of French “Ça me…”.

    I’m not French and thus am not sure how pejorative it now is or once was (Marie-Lucie? You might be able to shed some light here), although the popularity of a recent movie in France, “Bienvenue chez les chtis” (About a Parisian civil servant who, as punishment, is sent to work in the back of beyond in far Northern France) makes me suspect it is losing whatever sting it once had.

  56. Oh, and I forgot, an old derogatory name for the Normans, bigot, the source of English bigot and of Spanish bigote ‘moustache’, may be from bi god or such, a cognate of “By God” in some Germanic language of the area, ca. AD 1100.
    The entry in says also that “The English were known as goddamns 200 years later in Joan of Arc’s France, and during World War I Americans serving in France were said to be known as les sommobiches.

  57. I could have sworn there had been LH discussion of Picard “Chti mi,” but apparently not.

  58. Stefan Holm says:

    Thanks, Ian Myles Slater, for correcting my ignorance about OE. I should have thought of neighbor, since Swedish ‘nabo’ has the same meaning. Actually this ‘bo’, dweller, isn’t used as a stand alone noun in Swedish either but only in compounds (although it’s listed in the Swedish Academy’s Wordbook – A probable reason is, that it per se is redundant since everybody lives somewhere: ‘where do you live?’ is a valid question but hardly ‘do you live?’

    Trond Engen: The difference between our dialects is just one step up on the scale. With few exceptions ‘bo’ is only added to cities and toponyms smaller than that. Regions, countries etc. take various forms, e.g. amerikan, jakutier, bayrare (Bavarian), kines, grek, mongol. (For some odd reason though, among the exceptions are 49 American states: Texasbo, Oregonbo etc. but – kalifornier!)

  59. marie-lucie says:


    This refers to the Picard dialect, just North of Paris. I have never visited the region and don’t remember ever hearing this dialect. Now that France is slightly less centralized, French dialects along with other minority forms of speech are regaining prestige (considered as adjuncts to French rather than as despised unsuccessful attempts to speak it).


    I did not know that about the Normans. In the Bayeux Tapestry where the Normans and the English are otherwise depicted identically, the ones wearing moustaches are the English!. At the time, both people had long been christianized, and the Normans (Viking descendants) were already speaking (Old) French while the English spoke a version of what is now called Old English, in which “bi God” could have been common. Perhaps the Normans adopted moustaches after the conquest? There was a lot of back and forth crossing of the Channel for a couple of centuries afterwards.

  60. I could have sworn there had been LH discussion of Picard “Chti mi,” but apparently not.

    The second comment in this thread mentions “picard (aka chti’mi)”; perhaps that’s what I had in mind.

  61. m.-l., my Spanish etymological dictionary says, “It seems that the fashion of wearing a groomed moustache was introduced from France to Spain (15th century).” I read this to mean that the earlier French nickname for the Normans ended up being attached to the French themselves.

  62. JC: I bet the original settlers called it New Scotland. The official name is Nova Scotia because the colony charter was written in Latin. Oddly, it actually made New Scotland legally a part of old Scotland.

    The charter was indeed written in Latin.

    A reproduction of a 1630 map, also at the link, gives the name in English as New Scotlande (or New Scot Lande), which of course bordered New Englande. New Scotlande is divided into the Province of Caledonia, more or less today’s Nova Scotia, and more or less today’s New Brunswick is the Province of Alexandria. I see no mention of a Pharos in Argals Bay, but just over “The great river of Canada” in New France is Kebec.

  63. Pejorative ‘spic’ may be from “speak”

  64. Anatoly Liberman on bigot; he connects it with Albigot, a believer in the Albigensian heresy. He’s currently running a series on beggar, bugger, bigot, and will get to the last word next week.

  65. Jonathan D says:

    JC, what was so odd about a Scottish colony, and how do the Navigation Acts come into it?

  66. By treating N.S. as part of the UK rather than a colony, it was able to trade with anywhere in the world, not just the UK. Later, this special treatment was lost, and after the other colonies cut loose, N.S. was duly punished for its loyalty by still being subject to this mercantilist restriction. N.S. had in fact sent an observer to the First Continental Congress of 1774, but since Halifax was the best deep-water port on the continent in British hands, the British took great pains to make sure it stayed there.

  67. Jonathan D says:

    But the NS charter predates both the Navigation Acts and the existence of the UK. If the “part of Scotland” is unusal compared with the status of English colonies, it was not aimed at the not-yet-existing Navigation Acts, but probably simply reflects differences between English and Scots law. Even when the acts were passed, they wouldn’t have applied to a Scottish NS if it still existed, regardless of a possible colony/part of Scotland distinction, as they were English acts. They could only apply to NS after the Acts of Union and the formation fo NS as a British colony.

  68. New Scotlande is getting curiouser and curiouser. There was even a Baronetage of Nova Scotia between 1624 and 1706.

  69. Sir JCass says:

    Besides moko, are there any other exonyms based on perceived stock phrases?

    There was a discussion here about “yam yams” (Brummies, i.e. natives of Birmingham), which comes from the dialect “you am”.

  70. Mackem for Sunderland from “make ‘em”.

  71. Not an ethnonymic exonym, but Irish republicans are occasionally called ‘chuckies’, from the slogan Tiocfaidh ár lá, ‘Our day will come’.

  72. Baronetage of Nova Scotia

    This served, before the Union of the Crowns, in place of the baronetage of Scotland, which never existed as such. After 1638 a baronetage was not actually accompanied by a land grant in N.S.

    As I posted here last year, the baronetage as a formal rank was the invention of James VI and I, with his “insatiable demand for money, money, and more money”. This part of the plan was actually executed by Charles I, who would probably have sold baronetcies in France if he had thought of the idea, and if he hadn’t been taking money under the table from Louis XIII.

  73. “Besides moko, are there any other exonyms based on perceived stock phrases?”

    Supposedly the Ukrainian exonym for Poles is “psheki” because of the way they pronounce the prefic “przi-”

  74. marie-lucie says:

    JC: Anatoly Liberman on “bigot”: he connects it with Albigot, a believer in the Albigensian heresy.

    Thanks for the link. I read the article, but I am not convinced. AL picked up an idea presented earlier by the French linguist Grammont, whose suggestion was not generally accepted. I also disagree with other details of AL’s interpretations.

    Albigot: I had never encountered this word. The Albigensians (adapts of the Cathar religion, centered on the town of Albi) are called in French Albigeois, the same as the inhabitants of Albi (Albiga in Latin, probably continuing a Celtic word). The TLFI has entries for both bigot and Albigeois, but none for Albigot. Since Albi is just about in the middle of Occitan-speaking territory (not too far from my grandparents’ native village), I looked up Albigot in online Occitan dictionaries. One of them has Albigot for ‘inhabitant of Albi’, along with Albigés, the equivalent of French Albigeois. Another dictionary gives Albigota as a variety of pear. Google shows a number of people with the last name Albigot, mostly in southwestern France. A town in the same department as Albi has a street named after a general of that name, most likely a local son. In short, there is absolutely no link between the word Albigot and the Cathars except the reference to Albi. Indeed the word may have been coined for those inhabitants of Albi who were NOT Cathars, once Albigés/Albigeois became associated with the “heretical” religion. Grammont’s definition of the word as referring to ‘followers’ of this religion seems to have been his own invention.

    For bigot, the TLFI gives two meanings, one attested since 1165 as an insulting term for Normans, but disappearing in the 17C, the other one with the current French meaning of ‘displaying exaggerated, narrow-minded devotion’, which is attested from 1425 (therefore long after the destruction of the Albigensian culture). In both cases the TLFI derives it from a Germanic swearing phrase such as Old(er) English bi God and cognates in related languages. A connection with the Normans is attested from a well-known anecdote about the first Duke of Normandy, the Viking chief Rollo, who secured for himself and his people the rich and fertile province of Normandy in exchange for a promise to the king of France (a very weak one at the time) not to raid any other places. Formally the outcome of the negotiation was not a treaty between sovereigns, instead Rollo (who obviously had the upper hand here) had to swear allegiance to the king, becoming his vassal. The ceremony required that the new vassal kiss the king’s foot, which Rollo refused to do, declaring (according to AL’s source) “Nese, be Gode!” ‘No, by God!’ AL does not believe this story since Rollo would not have spoken to the king in English. I think the quotation can be taken to confirm the story: Rollo was not addressing the king, who only understood French, rather he must have been responding to an interpreter informing him of the prescribed ritual. And he could not have been speaking English either, but his own language, whether Old Norse, Old Danish, or a variant of these, which was at that time quite close to Old English. I had not heard about the actual words, only about the disrespectful behaviour of Rollo (I think he is supposed to have kicked the king’s foot, causing the king to lose his balance and fall, something like that).

    In any case, an exclamative phrase meaning “by God” was apparently extremely frequent in older Germanic languages. The TLFI suggests that bigot in its more recent meaning must have been reborrowed in a different place and in a different context, probably through trade with the Dutch and their neighbours, who continued to use the phrase. Indeed there are a number of words of Dutch origin which were borrowed into Middle French.

    As for Spanish bigote ‘moustache’, I have nothing to suggest!

  75. >Marie-lucie
    Our Academy says “bigote” maybe from German “bel Got”, more o less what Y wrote. Really it’s odd but scholars “dixit”.

  76. By the way, Mencken (I think it’s Mencken) says there is no demonym corresponding to Independence, Missouri, the birthplace of Harry Truman. Even the usual fallback suffix -ite doesn’t seem to be acceptable with it.

  77. marie-lucie says:

    Jesús : Our Academy says “bigote” maybe from German “bel Got”, more o less what Y wrote. Really it’s odd but scholars “dixit”.

    The Academy seems to be taking a lot of shorcuts if it does not explain the transition. It is likely that bigote ‘moustache’ has the same origin as French ‘bigot’ in its older sense (“Norman”), from a Germanic phrase meaning ‘by God’, though perhaps not from the German language. This phrase (or rather its sound, which was meaningless to Spanish ears) must have gone through an evolution starting from ‘foreign men (probably soldiers) with moustaches saying “bigot(e)”‘, ending as just ‘moustaches’. Depending on the date when the word is first attested in Spanish (not necessarily the date when it was adopted with the relevant meaning), it could be from different Germanic languages (including Dutch/Flemish, for instance)with which Spanish spakers (most likely soldiers or traders) were in contact, since the phrase is widely attested in several such languages.

  78. >Marie-lucie
    Yes, our Academy hasn’t worked enough. I’ve found in the Stevens’ dictionary written in 1706 that the etymology is uncertain but Covarrubias says the same about that aforementioned oath by Germans and Goths. In another one written in 1726 there is, as explanation, that word came from Italian “gotte” (cheek) and Latin “bis” meaning doubled cheeks. It is odd as well.

  79. Anatoly’s final word (for now) on bigot.

  80. marie-lucie says:

    Jesús: Discussions of word origins earlier than the 19th century are very unreliable.

    JC: Unfortunately, Anatoly’s data and reasoning are getting worse and worse in his insistence on linking together words with b-g.

    Among other words, he quotes in one sentence: bécqueter “to peck,” bégayer “to stammer” (a stammerer “pecks” at words, as it were, unable to pronounce them), bégauder “to vomit,” and Old French le gesier begaie “to split.”

    - It’s becqueter not bécqueter, and the stem is le bec ‘beak, bill’, which refers to what a bird does when picking up food, the verbal suffix -eter suggesting repetition of a small gesturei.
    - bégayer is unlikely to be related. It is formed on the bègue ‘stammering, stammerer. According to the TLFI it is formed on an Old French verb beguer which must be a Germanic borrowing (like bec, but probably unrelated).
    - bégauder is not in the TLFI and is probably a dialectal word. Relating ‘to vomit’ and ‘to peck’ or ‘to stammer’ is a bit of a stretch.
    - Old French le gesier begaie “to split”. Here there are words mIssing between the quotation and the presumed gloss. Le gésier means ‘gizzard’, and the phrase would mean ‘the gizzard stammers/is stammering’, something which might make sense in an appropriate context which I cannot imagine. Some words, including at least one starting with bég, must be missing between this phrase and “to split”. The latter meaning does not seem relatable to Anatoly’s semantic cluster, even with the wide range he accepts.

    I am surprised that he did not include the word bégueule ‘prudish, especially avoiding “dirty words”‘, which (TLFI dixiit) comes from medieval bée-gueule ‘open-mouth’, first applied to a stupid girl or woman, later to a prudish one. Une bigote would also be bégueule.

    Later he brings in words for ‘goat’, since la bique is a dialectal or derogatory word for ‘female goat’, of uncertain origin but sometimes linked to Eng buck or its Germanic ancestor. I think that link is plausible, but that does not mean that ‘goat’ words have anything to do with the hypothesized semantic cluster.

    In general, I don’t know what Anatoly’s background is, but he seems to rely on older sources rather than on the work of historical linguists. Referring to bigot again, he says that Grammont had been preceded by others in deriving the word from Albigot, and he wonders why later linguists have not followed. Even though older sources should not be dismissed on principle, they were not usually very methodical in their approach (see Jesús’ second example above). Stricter, systematic historical methods were not developed until the late 19th century.

  81. @marie-lucie: Anatoly Liberman’s strength is English etymology (look him up on Wiki). He frequently adds provisos to his posts that etymologies are very often works-in-progress. I suggest that he would appreciate your adding to his knowledge by posting your comments on the Oxford Etymologist blog.

  82. @marie-lucie: Anatoly Liberman’s strength is English etymology (look him up on Wiki).

    I am quite sure marie-lucie is familiar with Liberman’s work and does not need to look him up on Wikipedia. I agree that his strength is English etymology, but I often feel he is too set on overturning received wisdom and astonishing people with his novel ideas, and too willing to accept what seem to me far-fetched connections (though he would no doubt label me as one of the over-conservative fuddy-duddies he often uses as foils). He also has a deplorable ignorance of (or refusal to accept or assimilate) the basic findings of linguistics, frequently railing against “misuses” in the manner of your average peever. I always read him with interest, but rarely feel the need to accept his conclusions.

  83. marie-lucie says:

    LH: That figures! I had seen the name mentioned here sometimes but did not know any more about him or his work. As far as I know, English etymology was not at its finest in the 1700′s or before. (Neither was that of other European languages).

    PO: Judging from LH’s comment, I am not sure that your suggestion that I should send him my own comments would be “appreciated” in the way you intend.

  84. I am not sure about Liberman’s etymology of ‘bigot’, but his method has elsewhere provided a reasonable crack at words which had been etymologically obscure (including ‘big’ and ‘pig’, of that class). It has been known for a long time that some words in English (and in other languages) adjust their semantics or their usage to fit with others of a particular sound-symbolic form, like fake-false-fraud-fudge or dumb-dope-dip and the like. It’s a corner of the language that is rarely investigated, and as far as I can tell, never systematically. Even AL does not, to my knowledge, explain how he distinguishes likely from spurious sound-symbolic explanations. But at least he’s looking around.
    As to using old sources, there’s no harm in cribbing ideas from older linguistically naive sources, as long as its done critically. Some people can have a good idea that’s right for the wrong reason.

    I am very fond of Liberman’s Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology. In it he attacks all of the tough nuts of English etymology—dog, bird, big, rabbit etc.—and comes up with plausible explanations, after an excrutiatingly detailed critical history of the etymologizing of each one. I think it’s the model for the newer etymological entries in the OED, which allow the reader to weigh the uncertainties of the various offered explanations.

  85. marie-lucie says:

    Y : I was not quarrelling with AL’s English etymologies, and your points about them are valid. I did not quarrel with his consulting older sources either, but consulting is not the same as accepting. The problem is that he is extending his explanations beyond his area of expertise, to Romance cases where his scholarship is not quite up to par.

  86. I had seen the name mentioned here sometimes but did not know any more about him or his work.

    Sorry, Paul, I shouldn’t have been so quick to assure you she must know his work!

  87. Sorry, Paul, I shouldn’t have been so quick

    Not to worry. Merely another learning opportunity at the Hattery!

  88. Roger Bigod or Bigot, one of the knights who came over to England with William the Bastard and became Jarl (or at least High Shire-reeve) of the North-folk and the South-folk.

  89. David Marjanović says:

    But Robert le Bigot just compounds the mystery, doesn’t he?

  90. marie-lucie says:

    JC, thank you for this reference.

    David: Robert le Bigot just compounds the mystery

    Perhaps not. There are two points: one is the meaning of Bigod/Bigot, the other one is the use of the article in the name of the older man.

    For the first point, these men were Norman, and by their time the Normans spoke French but had kept some vocabulary, including interjections such as “bi god” from their ancestral language (since “bigot” became a local synonym for “Norman”). Perhaps the nickname refers to a man who peppered his speech with “bi god” more than was usual among his peers, since these two Normans would hardly have been singled out as “Norman” within their own circle.

    About the second point, the Wiki article is about “Roger Bigod/BIgot”, a known historical character, but refers to his father (or older close relative) as “Robert le Bigot”, who does not rate a separate mention. I think that Roger’s name is given in its original form, which must be attested in several documents, while “le” has been added to Robert’s name by a later commentator in order to fit the common medieval French pattern as in “Jean le Bon, Philippe le Hardi”, and many others. The addition (which could be quite recent) must reflect the modern use and meaning of “bigot”, since calling him the equivalent of “le Normand” does not make sense in the historical context.

    Anyway, as companions of Guillaume, the two men lived long before the Albigensian crusade, so the (to my mind very doubtful) “Albigot” hypothesis does not stand in this case.

  91. His descendant in the fifth degree, also Roger Bigot (1245-1306) had a famous exchange of one-liners with King Edward I, the strongest king of England since William I. Edward was trying to compel him to go to Gascony to fight Philippe le Bel, whereas Roger claimed that his duty did not extend to fighting for the king overseas except in the king’s own army. “By God, Earl,” said Edward, “you will either go or hang”. Roger replied: “By the same oath, O king, I will neither go nor hang”. And he did neither.

    They were probably speaking French rather than English or Normand, but just the same I wonder if they were punning on Bigod’s name. This Roger died without heirs, and Edward granted the title of Earl of Norfolk to his fifth son, Thomas of Brotherton.

  92. I see that this thread includes the first appearance of Stefan Holm; a big retrospective welcome to my tocayo! (We don’t have a word in English meaning “person with the same name.”)

  93. I wondered what the etymology of tocayo was; Carlos Prieto, in Cinco Mil Anos de Palabras, says it’s from the Nahuatl adjective tocayo, corresponding to the noun tocaitl ‘name.’

  94. Trond Engen says:

    ‘Namesake’? ‘Navnebror’ is used in Norwegian, I think Swedish does it shorter: ‘namne’.

  95. No, namesake is close but not used the same way; Michael Herrick gives a good account of the differences here. I note he also says “It’s similar in sound to an Aztec word, but as the first recorded use was in Spain, that seems unlikely. The origin will probably never be known for sure, but there is a quaint story that it comes from an old Roman marriage rite.” Hmm.

  96. Stephen Bruce says:

    I first came across the bigot question when singing Janequin’s song La Guerre (La Bataille), about the Battle of Marignano, which apart from its wonderful sound effects, has the following interesting lines:

    Ils sont confuz, ils sont perduz.
    Ils monstrent les talons.
    Escampe toute frelore la tintelore.
    Ilz son deffaictz.
    Victoire au noble roy Françoys.
    Escampe toute frelore bigot.

    That is, apparently, “alles ist verloren, bei Gott!”

    This is paralleled by (or taken from/by?) Rabelais in his fourth book of Pantagruel: Zalas, Zalas, où sont nos boulingues ? Tout est frelore bigoth.

  97. Interesting, and the Wikipedia article you link to introduces me to the phrase dulce bellum inexpertis, borrowed by Erasmus from Pindar’s γλυκύ δ᾽ἀπείρῳ πόλεμος. Always nice to have a good classical tag for use on appropriate occasions!

  98. Stephen Bruce says:

    And it’s a good retort to Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori!

    I wonder if the -ч- is Turkic in origin?

    I also thought of kipchak, but in that the whole word was borrowed from Turkic according to Vasmer. And topchaki are mentioned in the Slovo o polku Igoreve. Perhaps a Turkicist will come to clear this all up.

  99. -chak,-chuk endings are common in several Slavic languages, especially in surnames (mostly in Ukrainian). They are thought to be a borrowed dimunitive suffix from Turkic languages.

  100. Stefan Holm says:

    Thanks for your nice words, Stephen! (Or is it actually Steve?) But even without them I felt welcome here from the very beginning. In particular one must esteem the near absence of personal attacks among the hatters, so common otherwise out there in the cyber world.

    Trond is right about namne being the word in my tounge for a person with the same name as myself. The –e suffix is productive in making a living (masculine) creature out of nouns as well as adjectives or verbs. So is Santa Claus tomte from tomt, ‘ground, garden’ (in the sense the immediate area surrounding your house). The nowadays ho-ho-hoing old man in red was originally a little brownie or gnome who could be either helpful or really nasty, depending on how you treated him. Here he is:

    From the verb stollig, ‘crazy’ you could make stolle ‘fool’. A dialectal nickname for ‘wolf’ is tasse from tass, ‘paw’. Maybe my gut feeling about English isn’t good enough but I suppose it would be linguistically possible to form words like ‘pawee’ for wolf or ‘namee’ about a person with the same name, calqued from refugee, nominee (or why not the above mentioned brownie) etc.

  101. Stephan: “Maybe my gut feeling about English isn’t good enough but I suppose it would be linguistically possible to form words like ‘pawee’ for wolf or ‘namee’ about a person with the same name:

    ‘Namee’ would not make sense to me. It would suggest the person who has been named (in contrast to the namer). The [-ee] suffix is used for the person affected by the action. ‘Namesake’ is the person who is named after someone else. I don’t think it is used for a random name coincidence.

  102. Eli Nelson says:

    “Namee” might not work, but what about the homophonous (though equally hypothetical) “namie”, by analogy perhaps with “roomie” for “roommate”; one shares a room, the other shares a name? Regardless, I don’t think -ie diminutives are usually used in English for this kind of meaning, so there may not be any form as simple as the Swedish word.

  103. “what about the homophonous (though equally hypothetical) “namie”, by analogy perhaps with “roomie” for “roommate”; one shares a room, the other shares a name?”

    That might work. (Also, the phonology, I think, would be different from ‘namee’ NAmie vs NA-MEE).

  104. what about the homophonous (though equally hypothetical) “namie”, by analogy perhaps with “roomie” for “roommate”; one shares a room, the other shares a name?

    Works for me; as GeorgeW says, the stress would be on the first syllable.

    Thanks for your nice words, Stephen! (Or is it actually Steve?)

    People usually address me as Steve, but some people don’t like nicknames and use Stephen — fine with me either way. (Call me anything, just don’t call me late for dinner, as they say.)

  105. Stefan Holm says:

    As a non native I’m on thin ice but isn’t wannabee a fairly recent noun from the verbal expression ‘want to be’? I.e. it might be productive in English.

    Of course this -e doesn’t have the masculine quality it has in Swedish. The feminine correspondent is -a, like in hanne ‘male’ vs hona ‘female’ or make ‘husband’ vs maka ‘wife’ (originally the word meant ‘one of a pair’). Among personal names you find Ulf ‘wolf’ vs Ylva ‘she-wolf’.

  106. Stephen Bruce says:

    The OED perhaps incorrectly defines namesake as “A person who or thing which has the same name as another.” I too use it to refer to the person whom another is named after, not someone who coincidentally shares the same name; and several of the quotations seem to support our meaning.

    (That was the revised 2003 edition; the 1989 edition has essentially the same definition, but with the (to my mind) less awkward phrasing “A person or thing having the same name as another.” Perhaps the reviser had an aversion to participles.)

    The OED thesaurus, under “the mind » language » naming » [noun] » namesake one with same name” offers “synonymy, namesake, cognominal, name-daughter, name-son, name-child, synonym, homonym.” And in various subcategories: “nameling, sound-alike, name-father, name-sire, name-saint, protonym, name-mamma.”

    I would put namesake in the same category as name-sire, but for the word we want, I like nameling, or perhaps, on the basis of the other familial names, name-sibling or name-cousin.

  107. Wannabe is indeed from want to be, but it’s unique and non-productive. Its use in Wannabe Indian is reinforced by its slightly Algonquian appearance: it faintly resembles names of Algonquian-speaking nations such as Anishinabe and Lenape.

  108. Stefan Holm says:

    Got it, -ee is non-productive! Maybe it belongs to the quite opposite end of the time table, being indigenous, like in Cherokee, Haudenosaunee, Muscogee and Keowee (river). :-)

  109. In the Lojban community, where proper names often differ from their natural-language equivalents for phonological and morphological reasons, there is a saying: “Naming is the prerogative of the namer, but the consequences are the prerogative of the namee.”

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