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10591Re: [Galicia_Poland-Ukraine] Re: Surnames Krudzo / Kukurudzo

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  • wfhoffman
    Aug 1, 2006
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      Hi,

      Lavrentiy wrote:

      > kukurudz is the cone of a coniferous tree.
      >
      > kukurudza is maize/corn/Indian corn/wheat.
      >
      > I'm not sure which word the surname Kukurudza is based on. Fred,
      > can you help? Was corn present in eastern Europe for a surname to
      > be based on corn?

      Prof. Rymut's book on Polish surnames says the surname KUKURYDZA comes from
      the noun _kukurydza_, also seen as _kukurudza_ and _kukuruza_, "a cereal
      plant of the grass family." As for the identity of this plant, Aleksander
      Brueckner's _Slownik etymologivzny jezyka polskiego_ [Etymological
      dictionary of the Polish language] says _kukurudza_ is "an American plant,
      cultivated early on in the East, especially in the countries on the Danube;
      the name (which is repeated in Hungarian, Romanian, Turkish) may come from
      the dialect of the Southern Slavs and can perhaps be compared with similar
      words of ours, such as _kokorycz_ [coridalis], _kokornak_ [birthwort], for
      hairy plants."

      By the way I'm sure "hairy plants" isn't quite the right translation for
      _rosliny uwlosione_, but I don't know what the technical term is for the
      fine, hairlike fibers of corn. We call them "silk," but translating _rosliny
      uwlosione_ as "silky plants" doesn't seem like an improvement! In any case,
      the reference is to plants that feature fine hairlike fibers, such as corn
      silk.

      I'm no expert on plants; early on I learned I was allergic to most of them,
      so I avoid contact with them, except in salads. But apparently maize or
      corn -- what Americans call corn, not the British usage, which includes
      various cereal grains such as wheat and oats -- was brought to Europe from
      the Americas fairly early on, and was grown in eastern and southeastern
      Europe. I know it can be dicey relying on Wikipedia entries, but
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize says corn came to Europe in the late 15th
      and early 16th centuries. Surnames were being established in Poland all the
      way up to the 18th and even 19th centuries, so it's certainly plausible the
      name KUKURYDZA could have referred to "the corn guy." Maybe he grew it,
      maybe he sold it, maybe he loved to eat it -- but it seems clear the
      reference is to what Americans call corn.

      That's the best info I could find, anyway.

      Fred Hoffman
      Author, _Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings_
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