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#22891 - 03/14/01 10:24 PM cognomen  

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can someone help me with my understanding of a new word that i saw today, "cognomen"?

Atomica defines it as:

A name, especially a descriptive nickname or epithet acquired through usage over a period of time.

would anyone be willing to cite examples of how you'd use it in conversation? are our AWAD nicknames (well, the descriptive ones, at least, as in AnnaStrophic, belligerentyouth etc) considered cognominal?

TIA

~b


#22892 - 03/14/01 10:36 PM Re: cognomen  
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From what I know it just means a nickname acquired through usage, like calling someone "Gutter Queen" because they frequently reside there.


#22893 - 03/14/01 10:37 PM Re: cognomen  
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Dear bridget96: please forgive the goofy way my computer mistranslates some of the symbols used by my CD dictionary.
And the fact that I don't have much to add to what it says.
So, by the third definition a cognomen is any name, often a nickname.

Incidentally, I think the "handles" used by board members would be closer to "alias" than to "cognomen".

Dcog[no[men 7k9g nb4m!n8
n.,
pl. 3no4mens or 3nom$i[na 73n9m4i n!8 5L < co3, with + nomen, NAME: sp. infl. by assoc. with *gnomen < Gr gnbma, mark, token: akin to L gnoscere, KNOW6
1 the third or family name of an ancient Roman (Ex.: Marcus Tullius Cicero)
2 any family name; surname; last name
3 any name; esp., a nickname
cog[nom$i[nal 73n9m4i n!l8
adj.



#22894 - 03/14/01 11:20 PM Re: cognomen  
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this too shall pass
so, in summary, cognomen is a word borrowed directly from Latin that has shifted sense from Roman surname to English surname to name to nickname.

here's Hawthorne using it in the third sense:
1852 Blithedale Rom. iv, I repeated the name [Priscilla] to myself three or four times... this quaint and prim cognomen... amalgamated itself with my idea of the girl.

#22895 - 03/15/01 11:10 AM Re: cognomen  
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To further the Latin connection, in Italian "cognome" means "last name" or "family name".

I have never heard it in conversation but all that says is that I have boring conversations!


#22896 - 03/15/01 04:12 PM Re: cognomen  
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The excellent posts so far have pretty much answered the question. To fill in, the ancient Romans had a naming system for men (the only people who counted). A man had 3 names, as noted in the example cited in Bill's post: the praenomen e.g., Marcus; the nomen e.g., Tullius; the cognomen e.g. Cicero. There were only a small number of praenomines, so they were often abbreviated, like M. for Marcus. The cognomen was, as noted, a family name, so one's personal name was the one in the middle, which is why a good many writers used to refer to M. Tullius Cicero as Tully (the 'y' ending being an Anglicization). Cicero referred to himself as Marcus Tullius -- in the oration (In Catalinam}which has been quoted in the Latin Translation thread, he said, "If the Fatherland should say to me, 'Marce Tulle, quid agis?'" (the name here being declined with the endings for the vocative case).


#22897 - 03/15/01 04:20 PM Re: cognomen  
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the name here being declined

If the men were the only ones who could count, and they refused to be named, what wonder the Empire falls?


#22898 - 03/16/01 12:36 AM Re: cognomen  
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L. cognZmen, f. co- together + (g)nZmen name; cf. co-gnZ-scere to learn, know.]
1. In Latin use: (a) The third name, family name, or surname of a Roman citizen, as Marcus Tullius Cicero, Caius Julius Cæsar; (b) an additional name or epithet bestowed on individuals, as Africanus, Cunctator (in later Latin called agnomen).
1879 H. Phillips Notes upon Coins 10 Saserna was the cognomen of a noble family which deduced its descent from King Tullus Hostilius.

Hence, in English use:

2. A distinguishing name or epithet given to a person or assumed by himself; a nickname.
1811 L. M. Hawkins C'tess & Gertr. I. 96 Though called by whatever epithets or cognomens imply old age. 1824 Miss Mitford Village Ser. i. (1863) 101 Her father, Jack Bint+was commonly known by the cognomen of London Jack. 1855 Prescott Philip II, I. ii. vi. 213 The cognomen by which Philip is recognized is ‘the Prudent’.

3. An (English) surname.
1809 W. Irving Knickerb. (1861) 157 The name of Alexander+coupled with the gentle cognomen of Partridge. 1867 M. E. Braddon R. Godwin II. iii. 39 The Queen of Beauty was distinguished by the very commonplace cognomen of Watson.

4. loosely. Name, appellation. [So, in Latin, very commonly used by Vergil and other poets, for a name given to a country, river, etc.]
1852 Hawthorne Blithedale Rom. iv, I repeated the name [Priscilla] to myself three or four times+this quaint and prim cognomen+amalgamated itself with my idea of the girl. 1857 Wood Com. Obj. Sea Shore 4 The Common Shag, a bird of a monosyllabic English cognomen. 1872 Jenkinson's Guide Eng. Lakes (1879) 189 A lane, bearing the euphonious cognomen of Spooney Green.



#22899 - 03/16/01 04:00 PM Re: cognomen  
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To further the Latin connection, in Italian "cognome" means "last name" or "family name".
I have never heard it in conversation but all that says is that I have boring conversations


No, we use cognome mostly in bureaucracy - asking for nome (John) and cognome (Doe), or talking of the phone book.
Ciao
Emanuela


#22900 - 03/16/01 09:19 PM Re: cognomen  
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It used to be common, in English, to refer to someone's Christian name(s), i.e., their personal names, or first and middle names, which they received at their baptism. You don't hear this much any more, at least in the U.S., which may come from the impetus to avoid sectarianism.


#22901 - 03/16/01 09:31 PM Re: cognomen  
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You don't hear this much any more, at least in the U.S., which may come from the impetus to avoid sectarianism.

Here also the influx of people from cultures ouside what was once called Christendom has seen "Christian" name replaced with the eminently more sensible "given" name. "Surname" is often now replaced with "family name", recognising that many languages put the the family name first, not last.



#22902 - 03/17/01 07:05 AM Common cognomens  
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Italy - Perugia is a town with...
Do you know what is the most common family name in your country?
In Italy the web page of the telephone company offers - as a game - the possibility of knowing how many telephone users in Italy have a given name.
The most common name is ROSSI = RED(S).
Ciao
Emanuela


#22903 - 03/18/01 04:12 AM Re: Common cognomens  
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I believe - and I'm speaking from a memory which gets leakier by the day - that the three most common surnames in the US are Smith, Johnson, and Williams.


#22904 - 03/18/01 02:33 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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Whatever happened to Jones?
Does this mean that we now have to keep up with the Smiths?
wow


#22905 - 03/18/01 04:18 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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I believe the most common in Québec are Thibodeau and Roy.


#22906 - 03/18/01 11:07 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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Although others will dissent, I believe that Martin is right up there at the top in the US of A. Anyone here smart enough to check the Census Bureau stats?


#22907 - 03/18/01 11:21 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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I believe that Martin is right up there at the top in the US of A.

It seems to be a pretty common surname in many European languages, as well as English. In looking it up, I was surprised to learn that the famous T-72 tank was built by the Martin armaments factory in what was Czechoslovakia. I guess that a name commemorating the god of war is apt for that bellicose continent.


#22908 - 03/19/01 04:25 AM Re: Common cognomens  
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T-72 tank was built by the Martin armaments factory in what was Czechoslovakia. I guess that a
name commemorating the god of war is apt for that bellicose continent.


Yes, indeed. And here in the USA, we had the Glenn L. Martin Company, which built bombers in WWII, and is now a part of Lockheed/Martin. BTW, any proper Scot will protest the "Lockheed" spelling; the family came here under the surname of Loughead! But, of course, my fellow Americans can't speak anything but American, soooo.....


#22909 - 03/19/01 05:12 AM Re: Common cognomens  
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My own surname is an extremely common one in English speaking countries, probably almost as common as Martin, yet here in New Zealand, in its population of around 4 million, the only relatives I have who share my surname are my wife, father and stepmother. I am always being told "Oh, you must be related to So-and-So", by people who assume that all who share a common family name must be related.

On an aside, and meaning no disrepect to anybody, would you call a short man who had the surname Martin a martinet?


#22910 - 03/19/01 12:05 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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My own surname is an extremely common one in English speaking countries
Whoa, Max, not around here! I never heard of a single
Quordlepleen (or a married one, either) in all of Louisville.

And, shortness is a relative term. Compared to me, most women and a fair number of men are "short". But I know a man goes by the name of Martin who, though less than my height physically, has stood taller in the face of adversity than I'll ever be. Definitely not a martinet.


#22911 - 03/19/01 02:11 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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On an aside, and meaning no disrepect to anybody, would you call a short man who had the surname Martin a martinet?

Well, at least you didn't suggest that he flies around your house catching insects. There is a bird of that name, after all.


#22912 - 03/19/01 03:32 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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Dear Geoff: I was surprised to find that "martinet" is actually an eponym:

mar[ti[net 7m9rt#‘n et$, m9rt4‘n et#8
n.
5after Gen. Jean Martinet, 17th-c. Fr drillmaster6
1 a very strict military disciplinarian
2 any very strict disciplinarian or stickler for rigid regulations



#22913 - 03/19/01 05:19 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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You'll find chauvanist has an interesting history too.
Nicolas Chauvin
wow


#22914 - 03/19/01 06:58 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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I think Johnson heads the list--if you include varients-- jonson, johnsen, etc.

an other post suggested checking census data-- but in US, most of the lists came from US Army-- especially during WWII when a broad spectrum of US population was enlisted. Miller was up there too, (again, with varients. mueller, etc) I think it too was above Smith--

the most common italian name (in NYC) is Russo -- the italian "smith" of NY.

According to US Army/WWII records-- griffin is #100 in the list of family names.


#22915 - 03/19/01 07:11 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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Whoa, Max, not around here! I never heard of a single
Quordlepleen (or a married one, either) in all of Louisville.


Aah, that's because the family changed the spelling when they got close to the Mason-Dixon line. Round your way, my relatives go by the name "Y'alldepleen"



#22916 - 03/19/01 09:26 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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Davis is a very common last name as well. It's of Welsh origin and I don't really see how it spread so much. Wales isn't very big.


#22917 - 03/19/01 09:52 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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Surprising that there aren't more Farmers than Smiths. It must have taken a couple dozen farmers to support one smith.


#22918 - 03/19/01 09:58 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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Well, jazz, sometimes its luck, or healthy genes--My ex can trace his family back to the mayflower--

One of his forefathers married a woman who came over on the mayflower as a child.. the forefathers name was long and hard to pronounce-- so it got changed in the 1640's to Sias-- all the Sias's in the US and Cananda are related to this man-- and there are thousands! (several book have been written-- "the Sias's in America" has several volumes! In my husbands branch-- His great grand father-- was a hard scabble NE farmer-- went to serve in Civil War-- was wounded, and served time in Andersonville prison-- survived that, return to northern NE-- North of Mount Washington-- at the time the northern most town in NH-- where he lived another 50 years-- and father 7 more children-- (for a total, i think of 13-- 12 of whom survived to adulthood! )

Them are good healthy genes! This was not a rich man-- and the climate he lived in made it hard to grow enough food to survive-- but he did, and his kids did-- and going back in history, you see he was typical for his family-- in most generation, more than 50%-- sometime 75% or more of the children survived to adulthood-- in large families of 10 to 13-- this makes a big difference!

The Sias's are strong--(His grandmother lived to 103!) So it wouldn't take anything much but a one or two strong Davis males-- marrying some strong women (or going through two or three wifes!) to have a large family-- and soon creating a large population with the same name!


#22919 - 03/20/01 07:41 AM Re: Common cognomens  
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Surprising that there aren't more Farmers than Smiths. It must have taken a couple dozen farmers to support one smith.

Perhaps the Farmers just weren't as efficient at spreading their seed as the Smiths!

[Ducking from the gutter police emoticon]
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["Everybody gotta be somewhere" emoticon]



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#22920 - 03/20/01 10:17 AM Re: Common cognomens  
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It's of Welsh origin

I think that may be mistaken, Jazzo – the Anglo-Welsh form is Davies (Anglicised orthography of Dafydd, pronounced Da-veeth); I think Davis is of Jewish origin.



#22921 - 03/20/01 01:04 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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Surprising that there aren't more Farmers than Smiths.

Not really, if you think about it. Family names derived from names that were added to distinguish one, e.g., John from another. You might have John the Smith to distinguish him from John the Miller, but John the Farmer to distinguish him from John the Other Farmer? That would be John the Black to distinguish him from John the Short because the one was exceptionally dark complected and the other only 4' 3".


#22922 - 03/20/01 01:26 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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I think Davis is of Jewish origin.

Really? My dad always said that it was Welsh. The only coat of arms we could find were, I think, Welsh and South African. (Not totally sure.) And I think my dad's side of the family is all Methodist. Aren't there very strong Jewish rules to pass on the religion to the next generation?


#22923 - 03/20/01 02:58 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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["Oooo, 'ullo, Jackie! Wot you doin' 'ere?" emoticon]


Well--I do come from a family of farmers...and a certain good friend of mine has a family history of tramping, but.
'Nuff said, I think.


#22924 - 03/20/01 05:06 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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Welsh Davis or Davies

Well, Jazz, thinking about that some more, it may be a lot more dangerous for me to generalise about the States, as orthogrphy may have made more liberal changes and switches, with the 'melting pot' effects of migration. It would be interesting to know more. I certainly know there was disproportionately high emigration from Wales relative to the population numbers - quite a lot from the port of Cardigan where I live now - and probably much like Ireland in that sense (depressed rural economy etc). If you get to know more, please share.


#22925 - 03/20/01 06:08 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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generalise about the States, as orthography may have made more liberal changes and switches, with the 'melting pot' effects of migration.

I knew a fellow with the fine old German name Icenogle. We figured it was an Ellis Island clerk's rendition of Eisennagel


#22926 - 03/20/01 06:35 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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Welsh emigration
As you are probably aware, immigrants tended to clump in certain areas on arrival in the US. The little community of Delta, Pennsylvania, which is right on the Pennsylvania-Maryland border not far from Baltimore, is almost entirely inhabited by descendants of Welsh immigrants who came to work in the slate quarries. Delta supplied a good part of the slate used in the mid-Atlantic states for roofs and other building purposes for many years, until slate was largely replaced by asphalt shingles. The Deltans (Deltites?) still seem to try to keep up ties to the mother country; a couple years ago I saw an announcement of a concert by a Welsh men's choir who had been brought to Baltimore by a club in Delta.


#22927 - 03/20/01 06:40 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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common surnames
One of my favorite uncommon names was that of one of my professors in college: Dr. Adolph Katzenellenbogen. It's not only unusual, it's downright musical. Not Welsh, for sure. (for the benefit of other Awaders and ayleurs, "Katzenellenbogen" is German for "cat's elbow".


#22928 - 03/21/01 10:01 AM Re: Common cognomens  
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is almost entirely inhabited by descendants of Welsh immigrants who came to work in the slate quarries.

Amazing what people will do for fun, isn't it?



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#22929 - 03/21/01 10:52 AM Re: Common cognomens  
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> Katzenellenbogen
I've met a Jewish family before with the surname Hundegeburt (or dog's birth); was Herr Katzenellenbogen also Jewish per chance?.
A name that left me absolutely speechless was a bloke's called Axel Schweiss. The names on their own are relatively harmless and common too, but together they mean armpit sweat!
Down the road there's a 'Fleischmarkt Fuck' but it's pronounced differently. In a small town I onced passed though I did spy a Frau Fick though!


btw the most common surnames in Germany are to my knowledge Schmidt followed by Meyer (only this spelling) and Müller.


#22930 - 03/21/01 04:22 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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is almost entirely inhabited by descendants of Welsh immigrants who came to work in the slate quarries.

Amazing what people will do for fun, isn't it?


Reckon they did what they knew, right, mav?








#22931 - 03/21/01 04:39 PM Re: Common cognomens  
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True! Neighboring village of Cilgerran as already mentioned (do a search in the board if you want to see the castle) was the regional centre for slate quarrying. Of course the north Welsh claim to have a couple of little quarries as well, but they're gogs, so we don't talk about them! The name Cilgerran actually refers to slate in itself. I'm sure CK was more right than he knew, though - bet it was a hole lot of fun in the States compared to over here - seems to have done wonders for the genes, anyway


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