Daroeda

Attested:  RC Daroeda (or Daroecla)

Where:  An island off western Scotland, probably Tiree, to make RC's list of names follow a simple track across the map, and because of the similar name Ethica Terra used in Latin written around AD 800 by Adomnan describing events around AD 500 in the Life of St (Columba).

Name Origin:  On balance, the least bad available explanation of this name may be that it was a disparaging comment on an island after a cursory visit by Roman sailors recruited from the Frisian islands, who went on to name Ταρουεδουμ ‘tear-water’ point.  Then the first element would resemble Old English daro/daru, which developed into later dere ‘harm’ and came from PIE *der- ‘to split’.  The ending -eda is a problem (and reading it as -ecla, with cl instead of d, does not help.)  As Watson (1926:86) explained, reinterpretation of Adomnan's Eth- into Irish íath ‘land’ indicates that “the second part is not Gaelic, possibly not even Celtic”.  This suggests that, if Daroeda was indeed Tiree, its name must have been opaque to Gaelic speakers.  Among possible origins of Daro-, words for ‘tree’, similar to Irish dair ‘oak’, suggested by R&C, seem unlikely since Tiree has no trees and other western islands have few.  Maybe that idea can be rescued if -eda expressed absence by coming from PIE *ed- ‘to eat’.  R&C suggested an unlikely parallel for that ending with Welsh gwedd ‘appearance’, but if one accepts loss of a W sound, many other PIE roots become possible candidates, including those that led to water, weather, widow, woe, and divide.  There is a possible parallel in *Durbedis, a place in Lusitania, which Villar (2010) suggested had a first element similar to over a dozen rivers with names similar to Duria, plus a banal adjective-building suffix -eto.

Notes:  See here for a general discussion of Scottish islands.  Tiree is statistically the windiest and also the sunniest place in Britain.  Although surrounded by fine beaches it is so low-lying that modern yachtsmen describe it as “not a place to be when it's rough or windy from any direction”, which makes Old English Úd ‘safety’ an unlikely explanation of the ending.  Also probably irrelevant is an the ancient musical instrument like a lyre, the citharoedus (which gave its name to the guitar) to be likened to Tiree's Ringing Stone, which emits a musical tone when struck.

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Last edited: 26 September 2018