Attested: RC Vectis; Ptolemy 2,3,33 Ουηκτις; Pliny Vectis; Suetonius insulam Vectem
Panegyric 8 apud insulam Vectam; Maritime Itinerary Vecta; Bede Vecta
Where: Isle of Wight
Name Origin: The essential meaning was something like ‘little companion’ as discussed by Durham (2011). Wiht and other, variously spelled, forms that finally settled down as Wight, are a development from the sense of ‘outlying’, shown by OE wīc and its many cognates, all ultimately derived from PIE *wegh- ‘to go’, via the notion of ‘clan on the march’ explained by Szemerenyi (1977). Vectis and Vecta were just classical writers’ way of writing *wiχt- and giving it grammatical endings.
Notes: The ethnicity of the original name givers is uncertain, but the commonly quoted Celtic parallels are not particularly relevant.
Last Edited: 9 June 2016