Byname (was: Digest Number 768)
- Note that below I'm leaving out the accent that
should be on <Mor> -- in period, the <o> has an
acute accent (going this / direction) and
modernly in Scottish Gaelic a grave accent (going
this \ direction).
At 10:33 PM -0700 4/20/05, david smith wrote:
>So would Mor be used to denote senor or size ie no, Brian MorWell, first it's usually used in Gaelic, so it
>Allan, Brain Allans da or you know, Brian Mor Allan, that tall
>lad with fists like hams
wouldn't normally be found with a non-Gaelic
surname like <Allan>, but leaving that aside...
Historically, and to the best of my knowledge
also modernly, <Mor> is used very similarly to
how <Big> is used in modern informal English. So,
<Eoin Mor> is like (modern) <Big John>. Sometimes
a man called <Big John> is called that because
he's physically very big (tall and/or otherwise
big), sometimes a man is called <Big John>
because he's older than another <John> (and they
may or may not be father and son or even related).
Also, like modern English <Big> in <Big John>,
modernly <Mor> is not part of the official legal
name -- it doesn't show up on birth certificates,
etc., though it may show up as part of an alias.
("Legal name" in the modern sense is something
that really didn't exist in period.)
When used with another byname, both historically
and modernly, descriptive bynames like <Mor> come
after the given name and before the (historical)
patronymic byname or (modern) family byname. So,
a (fictitious, late) period example would be
<Eoin Mor mac Dhomhnaill>, "Big John son of
Donald", and a modern example would be <Eoin Mor
Mac Dhomhnaill>, "Big John MacDonald". (This is
mainly because in Gaelic adjectives normally come
after the nouns the modify, unlike in English
where they normally come before.)
Historically Gaels only had one given name, so
the issue of second given names or middle names
and <Mor> doesn't arise. Modernly, although many
Gaels do have second given names, I don't believe
I've ever seen a descriptive byname used with
both given names -- that is, in those contexts
where middle names are used, the <Mor> isn't
normally used, and in those contexts where <Mor>
is used, the second given name isn't normally
used. Again, this is like how <Big> is used in
modern informal English -- <Big John> is either
<Big John MacDonald> or <John James MacDonald>,
but not normally <Big John James MacDonald>.
Probably more than any of you wanted to know, but you got me going!
Sharon, ska Affrick
Sharon Krossa, skrossa-ml@...
Resources for Scottish history, names, clothing, language & more:
Medieval Scotland - http://www.MedievalScotland.org/