Norman Toponymy

Norman Toponymy

Norman Toponymy refers to all place-names in Normandy. Some belong to the common heritage of the Langue d'oïl extension zone in northern France and Belgium; this is called Pre-Normanic. Others contains Old Norse and Old English male names and toponymic appellatives. They intermingle with romance male names and place-name elements to create a very specific substratum typical of Normandy within the extension zone of the Langue d'oïl. These are sometimes called Normanic.[1]

Normandy's main cities. Only 4 have Normanic names : Dieppe, Cherbourg, Honfleur and Barfleur. Harfleur, which was an important port before le Havre's foundation, can be added.


Pre-Normanic place-names


There is still a significant number of Celtic names, like everywhere in France and in western Europe. They were partly mixed with Latin elements, especially male names, fashionable among the inhabitants of Gaul. All of them follow the Late Latin phonetic changes that lead to Langue d'oïl.

Traditional large cities

Almost all the main cities kept a Romanized Celtic name, that gave birth to the modern toponym :

  • BC

- Rouen < Rotomagus,[2] sometimes Ratómagos or Ratumacos (on the coins of the Veliocassi tribe). It can be roto-, the word for 'wheel' or 'race', cf. Old Irish roth 'wheel' 'race' or Welsh rhod 'wheel' 'race'. Magos is surer here : 'field', 'plain' or later 'market' cf. Old Irish mag (gen. maige) 'field' 'plain', Old Breton ma 'place'. The whole thing could mean 'hippodrome', 'racecourse' or 'wheel market'.[3]

- Caen < Catumagus. From Old Celtic catu- 'battle' 'fight' 'combat', Old Irish cath (gen. catho) 'combat' 'batalion' 'troop', Breton -kad /-gad, Welsh cad 'combat' 'troop'. The general meaning could be 'battlefield'

- Carentan < Carentomagus[4]

- Vernon < Vernomagus[5] 'plain of the alder-trees'. uernā 'alder-tree', Old Irish fern, Breton, Welsh gwern, dial. French verne / vergne.

  • AD

In the following examples the original Gaulish toponym was replaced by the name of the tribe according to a well-known process in the Late Empire.

- Bayeux < (Civitas) Bajocassensis; former Augustodurum. 'forum dedicated to Augustus

- Evreux < (Civitas) Eburovicensis ; former Mediolanum

- Lisieux < (Civitas) Lexoviensis ; former Noviomagus[6] 'new market', Old Celtic noviios 'new'.

- Avranches < (Civitas) Abrincatii ; former Ingena or Legedia

There are exceptions :

- Coutances < Constantia (dedicated to Emperor Constantius Chlorus) / Cosedia

- Lillebonne < Juliobona (dedicated to Julius (Caesar) of a bona, Old Celtic bona 'foundation' or 'spring'. See Ratisbona or Vindobona)

Some of these disappear to be later replaced by Normanic names such as Coriovallum / Cherbourg or Caracotinum / Harfleur. It shows that the old inhabitants who used it were expelled or flew away and were replaced by newcomers, or that they became only a small minority.

In other cases, we do not know the Pre-Normanic names of Honfleur or Dieppe for instance.

Common northern French archetypes

The most common suffix in northern France is -acum (written -acum or -aco in the Medieval Latin documents, but pronounced in vulgar Latin -acu) that means 'place of', 'property'. Its origin is Celtic *-āko (compare Breton -eg, Welsh -og, Irish -ach, same thing).

The result of its evolution and way of spelling can be -ay, -ai, -ey, -é or -y in northern France and Belgium. We can find all of them in Normandy.

The preceeding element is sometimes another Celtic substantive, which cannot always be clearly identified or translated, because Old Celtic is ill-known. There are common archetypes like :

- Gournay (*GORNACU < *Gornāko-, Gaulish gorn 'water tank' [?] > French gord [?]),

- Bernay (*BRINNACU < *Brinnāko- / *Brennāko-, Gaulish brinn- / brenn- 'wet place' [?], 'marsh' [?], dial. French bren / brin 'dirty thing'),

- Cernay (*SARNACU < *(I)sarnāko-, Gaulish isarnon 'iron' cf. Old Irish íarnn, Breton houarn, 'iron'),

- Andilly (Andely : Andelagum 830 < *ANDILACU < *Andalāko- Gaulish *andal 'whirlpool' [?], hydronym : stream Andelle, river Andelsbach. cf. Old Occitan andalhon 'to-and-fro motion of the water'.

These exist everywhere in the Langue d'oïl extension area. In other regions of France and countries of Europe, they can exist with another phonetics.

Another, generally later, series is composed of masuline names that can be Gaulish (Celtic) or Latin (but the owner is a Celt with a Roman name), for example : Massy (*MASSIACU with Mascius, Gaulish name), Marcilly (*MARCELLIACU with Marcellus, Roman name), Fleury (*FLORIACU with Florius, Roman name), Montigny (*MONTANIACU with Montanius, Roman name), etc.

However, the latest -acum formations are combined with a Christian or a Germanic masculine name : Repentigny (*REPENTINIACU with Repentinius, Christian name). The most common -acum place-name in Normandy is Glatigny (More than 40 Glatigny, Glatiney, from *GLATTINIACU, Germanic name *Glatto). In the late creation, it is more difficult to make the difference between the suffix and the root : *GLATTINIACU can be interpreted as *Glattini-acu or as *Glatt-iniacu, because *-INIACU became finally a suffix.

Romance place-name elements

These come from Vulgar Latin, but began only to extend about 100 years after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 6th century AD. In this Province, it is sometimes quite difficult to know if these place name formations are Pre-Normanic or Normanic, because of the similarities between the earlier creations and the later creations.

The main romance appellatives are the following :

  • -ville, Ville- 'farm', later 'village'
  • -court, Cour-, Cor- 'farm with a courtyard'
  • -val, Val- 'small valley'
  • -mont, Mont- 'hill'
  • -mesnil, Mesnil- 'property'

General description

In France (including Normandy), the extension of -court, -ville and -mesnil (other spellings -maisnil, -ménil) corresponds generally to the Frankish and other Germanic settlements (and Anglo-Scandinavian in Normandy). That is probably the reason why the common word order is from Germanic : determinative (adjective, appellative or owner's name) + (determined) romance element, for instance : Neuville 'new village', Bourville (Bodardi villa 715) 'Bodard's farm', Harcourt (Normannus de Herolcurt 1030 - 1035) 'Herulf's farm', Attemesnil (Ademesnil 1260) 'Adda's property', etc. It is called formula A.[7] Less than 1/3 of France is entirely contained in the formula A extension area (the north).

The word order in Vulgar Latin is the opposite (the same evolution as in Celtic). Romance appellative + adjective, determining name or person's name is the dominating formula in the Occitan French toponymy and in western France. It is called formula B.[8] Instead of Neuville, we find Villeneuve further to the south, that can be a translation from Occitan Vielanova too, or sometimes a modern name. The same for Neuchâtel, Neufchâtel,[9] Neufchâteau 'new castle', further to the south Châteauneuf, Châtelneuf, can also be a translation of Castelnau (Occitan). In Normandy, the only pays to be included totally in formula B zone is Avranchin (southwest).

However, these comments need to be qualified : -ville (as second element) extended outside the formula A zone to Avranchin, to Beauce and to the south west of France (obviously, without mentioning the very modern -ville combinations everywhere in France). On the contrary, mesnil-, mont- or val- are used as first element (according to the formula B system) in the formula A zone to the north, in the later medieval toponymic creations.

The local specificity

In the Norman toponymy, the most widespread appellative is -ville (Ville- in Avranchin, South West) and we estimate up to 20% the number of Norman communes ending with -ville. The oldest recorded one (in an ancient Latin written document) is Bourville in 715 and we suppose -ville was used massively until the 11th. In contrast to -court that is the less common one (compare to neighbouring Picardy).

The most widely used -ville toponyms are the following : Amfreville (Asfridr′s farm), Auzouville (Asulfr′s farm), Beuzeville (Bosi′s farm), Colleville (Koli′s farm), Épreville (Sprot′s farm), Sotteville (Soti′s farm), Tocqueville (Toki′s farm), Touffreville (Thorfridr′s farm), Tourville (Thori′s farm), Trouville (Thorold′s farm) and Grainville (Grimr′s farm) and with an adjective : Bretteville (Briton's farm) and Englesqueville / Anglesqueville (former Englesqueville = English farm). They don't exist in France out of Normandy.

-court is usually combined with a Germanic masculine name : Hébécourt, with Haribertus > Herbert ; Norman surname Hébert or Sébécourt, with Sigibertus > Norman and Picard surname Sébert. It almost never appears as a suffix in the western part of Normandy, but as a prefix according the combination mode formula B  : Cour-, Gour-, Col-, Coul-. For instance : Gourfaleur (Courfalor 1250, *falor, name of a people), Coulvain (Laipwin 's "court"), Coulimer (Lietmar 's "court"), etc.

François de Beaurepaire observes that the -court, Cour- were never used with an anglo-scandinavian male's name or element. He concludes they were no more usual in the local language at the end of the 9th C. when the first Norsemen settled. We can add, that the extension of the formula A to the west except Avranchin (where otherwise the anglo-scandinavian place names are rare) is probably due to the Saxon settlements in Otlinga Saxonia around the 5th C. AD, followed later by the Anglo-Scandinavian settlements.

Another common one is -mesnil / Mesnil- (written ménil in the Orne département as a result of a local political decision). They are mainly combined with a masculine anthroponym like the -ville place-names. The late formations are always built according to the formula B mode, for example : Mesnil-Hermant, Mesnil-Esnard, etc.

The list of the romance appellatives does not mention -bosc / Bosc- 'wood', because it is typically Norman. It corresponds to the French word bois, that was never used this way and with such an extension in the general French toponymy. The spelling bosc (sometimes -bos(c)q or Bos- / Boc-), pronounced [bo:] or [bɔk], is specific for this Province. Despite the fact that the word bosc exists in the Occitan language (pronounced [bɔsk]), its extension in the southern French toponymy is very limited.

In Normandy, most of them are combined with a masculine name, for instance : Formula A : Auberbosc, Colbosc, Formula B : numerous Bosc-Roger, Bosc-Renoult, Bosc-Robert, etc. Note Bosc-Guérard / Bosguérard (French 'Bois-Gérard')

Same thing for -val (f. e. Beuzeval with Boso / Bosi, Norman surname Beux) / Val- (f e. Valmartin with Martin, that is the most widespread French surname until nowadays) and -mont (f. e Rubremont, with Germanic name *Rotbradus) / Mont- (f. e. Montgommery with Germanic name Gumaricus). Note the dialectal diminutive mouchel (French monceau 'small hill') in Several le Mouchel or in Beuzemouchel (Bernières since 1678).

Véraval, now often misspelled as Ver-à-Val, became a -val place-name by popular etymology. It is first recorded as Warelwast in 1024 (see William de Warelwast) and we can recognize the former appellative -wast 'bad land, unfertile or uncultivated land' (now spelled -vast in the north and ga(s)t(te) in the south), the first element must be a personal name like in Martinvast (de Martin wasto ar. 1210), Sottevast (Sotewast 12th c.), Tollevast (Toberwast ar. 1000 read 'Tolerwast', Tolewast 12th c.), Reniévast, etc. Derived word Va(s)tine (French Gâtine). Surnames Vatine, Vatinel, French Gatineau.

Normanic place names


Old Norse and Old English settlement names began with the Norse settlement at the end of the 9th century and particularly in the 10th with the creation of a Norman state by Rollo in 911. The speakers of Old Norse were linguistically assimilated into Francophone society within a few generations, so these settlement names can probably be dated before the 11th century. Most settlers and colonists of the 9th and 10th centuries were probably from the Danelaw and could be Danish, Norwegian, or Anglo-Saxon. These languages were quite similar to each other and it is consequently sometimes difficult to make the difference between them, concerning the origin of the appellatives and male's names.

Old Norse and Old English appellatives

  • Tot, -tot 'property'

It is the most common suffix of Old Norse origin. There are more than 300 places ending with -tot in Normandy. Its root is Old Norse topt (compare English -toft, Danish -toft) 'site of a house'. It can be used alone in the late formations of the 11th century : le Tot.

It can be combined with a male's name, for example : Yvetot, Routot, Martintot or Létantot, combined respectively with Yvo (Germanic), Hrolfr (Norse), Martin (Romance, rarely) or Lestan (<Leodstān / Leofstān, Anglo-Saxon). Compare Blactot with Blacktoft GB, Old norse MN Blakkr.

Sometimes with a tree-name : Bouquetot (Bochetot 1179, boki 'beech-tree'), Seltot (selja 'sallow'), Ectot / Ecquetot (Eschetoth 1055, Esketoth 1074, eski 'ash-tree', cf. Eastoft GB, Eschetoft 12th c., Esketoft 13th c.).

With another appellative or adjectiv (Old Norse or Old English) : Martot (marr/ mere 'mere', 'pond'), Életot (Esletetot 1025, sletta 'flat land' cf. Eslettes with English -s form = Sleights, GB), Hautot, Hottot or Hotot (Old English hōh 'slope', 'incline'. Cf. Huttoft GB, Hotoft 11th c.), Brestot ( Breitot 1080, breiðr 'broad', the "(Br)-es-(tot)" spelling could represent the sound [ɛ] in Old French, the way it can still be pronounced nowadays [brɛto] or [breto] cf. Bratoft GB, Breitoft 1115 ; Bretoft, Jönköping, Sweden), Lanquetot (Languetot 12th c. langr or lång 'long' cf. Langtoft GB) etc.

  • Bec, -bec = beck, 'stream' or 'brook'.

It can be found alone le Bec, in the late creations like le Tot.

Houlbec 'hollow beck' (Holbec 12th c.), Foulbec 'dirty beck' (Folebec 1066, cf. Fulbeck GB, Fulebec 11th c.) , Caudebec 'cold beck' (Caldebec 1025, cf. Caldbeck GB, Caldebeck 1060), etc.

  • Bre(c)q-, -bre(c)que, sometimes Bricque- [?]

From Old Norse brekka 'slope', 'incline', 'hill'

Houllebrecque (Saint-Aubin-de-Crétot), Brecqhou and Briquedalle [?], etc. cf. GB, Norbreck, Warbreck, Scarisbrick

  • -cher-, -quier

From Old Norse kjarr 'marsh', 'swamp'

Villequier (Villequier, Villechier 12th C.) with Old English wiliġ, weliġ 'willow', Orcher (Aurichier 12th C.) with Old English alri 'alders'; cf. GB, Ellerker (Alrecher 11th C.)

  • Escalle, -écal- 'shelter'

From Old Norse skali, Old English scale

Écalgrain, Brecquécal, Écalles-Alix (Escales, end 12th C.) , Villers-Écalles (Escalis 12th C.), Estouteville-Écalles (Scalis, end 12th C.). cf. GB, Scales

  • -gard 'yard', 'garden'

From Old Norse garðr

Auppegard (Appelgart 1160, Alpegard 12th C.), Épégard (Alpegard 1199, with æppel 'apple'. Cf. Applegarth GB, Appelgard 1160), Figar(d), (with fiskr 'fish'), le Boullangard, etc.

  • -gate / -gathe 'way'

Several Houlgate, la Houlgate, Hôrgate 'hollow way', Hiégathe Castle. cf. GB, Holegate, Holgate (disambiguation)

  • Hague

ON or OE haga 'enclosure'

la Hague, le Tohague (l'Estohague 1456), Étauhague (Estohague 1262) from stodhaga with stod 'stud' cf. Stodday (GB, Stodhae, ar. 1200), le Haguedic (or Hague-dike) with Anglo-Norse dik. cf. dial. English dike, dyke 'ditch' cf. Alano atte Haggedik, England 1327

  • Hogue, Hougue 'hill'

From Old Norse haugr 'hill'. West Norman dialect houguet 'small hill'

Les Hogues, Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, la Hougue-Bie (Jersey), etc.

  • Houlme, Hom(me) 'holm', 'islet'

From Old Norse holmr

Le Houlme (de Hulmo 1154), Robehomme (Raimberti Hulmus 1083), Saint-Quentin-sur-le-Homme (Sanctum Quintinum 1179 / de Hulmo 1160), Néhou (Nigellihulmus 12th C. male's name Njall > Néel > Nigel), L'Isle-Marie (Holmus 1027, Beate Marie de Homme 12th C. Homme is later translated into Old French isle, mod. île, island), l'Isle-Dieu Abbey (Ile du Houlme 1190), les Échommes (Eschehoume 1547).

The word homme is written like the French word homme 'man', but the pronunciation is different : French [ɔm] 'man' (the man = l'homme) / Norman [χɔm] or [hɔm] "holm" (the holm = le homme)

  • Londe, -lon, -ron. Old Norman londe (→ 16th C.) 'forest', 'wood'

From Old Norse lundr 'wood', 'forest' > -lunda.

Over 45 La Londe cf. La Londe (Lunda ar. 1170) cf. Lund. La Londe-les-Maures in southeastern France inherited its name from Antoine Lemonnier, Sieur of La Londe in Normandy. Several Les Londes (plural)


Étalondes (Stanelonde 1059, Stenalunda 1119, steinn 'stone' or stān > stone). Le Héron (Hairun 1025 < *hæġ-lundr, Old English hæġ)

  • Dalle, -dalle, -dal, Dau- = dale, valley

From ON dalr 'valley' or OE dæl > 'dale'

With a romance article : la Dalle, le Dallet, etc., Dieppedalle (Diepedale 1225, Old Norse djupr or Old English dēop 'deep', cf. Deepdale GB), Croixdalle (Craudale 1253, Old English crāwe > 'crow'), Oudalle (Hulvedala 1025, ulfr 'wolf' cf. Norman surname Ouf), Bruquedalle (Brokedale 1189, Old English brōc 'brook', 'stream', cf. Brookdale), Daubeuf-la-Campagne (Dalbuoth 1010), Eurdal, Briquedalle, Louvedalle, etc.

  • -beuf, Boos, rarelier -bot (Cotentin), 'barrack' 'shelter', 'village' (confusion with -by).

From Old Norse bóð (both) > English booth.

The use of -beuf / -bot corresponds to -by in GB. It explains the similar formations on both sides of the English Channel :

Normandy Great-Britain
Elbeuf (*Welleboth) Welby (disambiguation)
Criquebeuf (*Kirkeboth) Kirkby
Daubeuf (*Dalboth) Dalby

Elbeuf-sur-Andelle (Wellebotum 1218), Elbeuf (Wellebuoht 1070 - 81, wella 'spring'), etc. Criquebeuf-en-Caux (Cricheboum 1079, kirkja 'church'), etc. Lindebeuf (Lindebeod 1142, lindi 'lind'), Daubeuf-la-Campagne (Dalbuoth 1011), Daubeuf-près-Vatteville (Dalbodo 1025, dalr 'valley'), etc. Bricquebosq (Brichebot 1104, Brickebo 1224, later confusion with bosc 'wood'), Boos (Bothas 1049, cf. Booths. Old English plural -S), etc.

Two cases at least are doubtful : Criquebeuf-la-Campagne (Crichebu 1203) and Carquebut (Querquebu, Kerkebu, from 1165 to 1244). It is probably not both, but ON cf. DK Kværkeby (Querkeby 1198), or OE () in some Kirkby / Kirby.

Sometimes -beuf has been misspelled -bœuf ('ox' in French) : Cricquebœuf (Crikeboe 1198), Quillebœuf (Rock at Gatteville-le-Phare) same as Quillebeuf-sur-Seine (unknown first element). Brébœuf (hamlets at Condé-sur-Vire and Sainte-Suzanne-sur-Vire) same as Jean de Brébeuf (breidr 'broad, large').

Other -bœuf place-names in Normandie and in other French regions really mean 'ox' and clearly allude to slaughterhouses : Écorchebœuf, Tubœuf, Tombebœuf, Écornebœuf or Escornebœuf.

  • Thuit, Thuit-, -tuit 'assart'

From Old Norse thveit > dial. English thwaite.

Several le Thuit, Bracquetuit (AN *brāke 'fern') cf. with ON brakni Brackenthwaite, GB or Bregentved, DK), Vautuit (Wautuit 12th c. MN Valr or Wal), Bliquetuit (Belinguetuith 1025, Anglo-Saxon MN Baeling, cf. Badlingham GB, Belincgesham 1080), etc.

  • Étain-, Étan-, Étenne-

From Old Norse steinn or Old English stān > stone

Grestain (Grestano 1050, OE grēat 'big' (> great), cf. Garston, Lancashire, Grestan 1150), Étainhus ('Stonehouse'), Étaintot (Saint-Wandrille-Rançon, Steintot 1074), Étheintot (Grainville-la-Teinturière, Esteintot 1198), Étalondes (Stanelonde 1059, Stenalunda 1119), Étangval ('Stone valley', graphic attraction of the French word étang 'pond', pronounced [etã]), Mont Entenclin (Estenclif 1262), la Roche Gélétan (at Saint-Germain-des-Vaux, Jallestain ar. 1200, translated into French roche = stone)

  • -clives, -lif, clé-, cli-

From Old Norse klif or Old English clif

Ancient Risleclif near the Risle river, Witeclif now 'Côte Blanche' (white cliff) : old vineyard at Évreux, Verclives (Warcliva 1025), Clitourps (Clitorp 1164 - 1180), Cléville (Clivilla 1121 - 1133), Carquelif (Kareclif 1226), Mont Entenclin (Estenclif 1262), Mont de Doville = Mont d'Escaulequin 1499 (Dodville 1082, Sanctus Martinus d'Escalleclif 12th c., Escaulleclif 1213, Dovilla ar. 1280)

  • Torp, Torps, Tourp, Tourps, -tour

From Old Norse torp or Old English thorp 'settlement'

Several Torps, le Torp, le Torpt. le Torp-Mesnil, Clitourps (Clitorp 1164, with klif 'cliff') Saussetour (Sauxetorp 12th C.), Sauxtour (Sauxetourp 1292) cf. G, Schleswig-Holstein, Saustrup (Saxtorppe 1464) or Saxtorf (Saxtorppe 1499) with Saxi masculine name 'the Saxon'.

  • -hus or -hurs 'house'

From Old Norse hus or Old English hūs

Sahurs (Salhus 1024, 'house of the sallow', cf. Salhouse GB and Salhus N), Étainhus.

  • Crique-, -crique 'church'

From Old Norse kirkja 'church' (> dial. English kirk)

la Crique (Not to be confused with the la Crique stream, that is 'creek'), Criquetot-l'Esneval (Criketot 1195), Criquetot-le-Mauconduit (Kriquetot 12th C.), etc., Criquebeuf-en-Caux (Cricheboum 1079), etc. (cf. Kirkby GB), Yvecrique

  • Veules, El- 'spring', 'stream'

From ON vella and OE wella

Veules-les-Roses (Wellas 1025, name of a 1 km stream, from the spring to the sea at the eponym place). English -S form cf. Wells (GB). Elbeuf (Wellebuoth 1070 - 81), Elbeuf-sur-Andelle (Wellebotum 1218), Elbeuf-en-Bray (Wellebof 1046 - 48) cf. Welby, GB. Rouelles (Rodewella 1035) cf. Rothwell, GB.

  • -vic, -vy 'bay', 'beach'

le Vicq, Sanvic (Sanwic 1035, probably from *Sandwic, 'vik with sand' cf. Sandvík (Faroe Islands), Sandwich Bay (Sandwich, Kent, Sandwic 993) GB. Houlvy, Cap-Lévi (ancient Kapelwic 12th c. with metathesis), Vasouy (Wasewic, Wasuic 1035, probably OE wāse 'mud' : 'the muddy mouth' the Seine estuary ?), Brévy (with breiðr 'wide' 'broad' cf. Brevik, Breivik, Breidvik (disambiguation), Breivika (disambiguation), Norway, etc.), Silvy (Selevy in 1570, de selr « seal » ? ), Carry (Carrwic in 1207, with kjarr « swamp ») ou Pulvy (with píll « alder-tree » ?)

Old English appellatives

  • -bourg = borough, -bury

Cabourg (Cadburgum 11th c., cf. Cadbury, Cadborough, GB), Wambourg (Wamburgum 1025, Weneborch 1147, cf. Wanborough, GB), Cherbourg (Chiersburg 1070, Chieresborc 1297, Old English ċiriċe 'church')

  • Bruque- / -broc = OE brōc > brook = small stream : le Fouillebroc, stream at Mortemer Abbey (cf. GB Fulbrook), Bruquedalle (Brokedale 12th, cf. GB Brookdale)
  • -crot, -croc, -crocq = croft

Vannecrocq (Wanescrotum 11th c., cf. Walshcroft, GB), Bec-de-Croc (Bethecroth 11th c.). The spelling -C or -CQ is the result of a confusion with French croc 'fang', 'tooth'. final -C and -T are not being pronounced in French since the Middle Ages.

  • -fleur 'run of water' 'river going into the sea'

flōd (> flood) or flēot (> fleet) : Honfleur (Hunefleth 1025, Hunefloth ar. 1062), Barfleur (Barbefleth, Barbeflueth 12th c.), Harfleur, Vittefleur, Crémanfleur, Vicqfleur, la Gerfleur (stream).

The spelling /r/, the additional final -R, is due to an "official" correctism. -fleu was believed to be the local and popular pronunciation for fleur 'flower'.

  • -ham = home, -ham

Ouistreham, Étréham (ōstar, easter), le Ham, Huppain, Surrain, Hemevez.

  • -land, -lan = land

Heuland with OD hoh 'decline', Ételan (Esteilant 11th c.) with OE steġili 'steep'

Old Norse and Old English masculine names

Old Norse -i names

with Norse appellative / with Romance appellative

Old Norse simple and combined names

Anglo-Saxon -a names

Anglo-Saxon simple and combined names

  • Æðel-wine ; Alwin : Alvintot, Alvimare, Alvimbuc (Alvinbusc w. d.)
  • Æðel-wold : Allouville-Bellefosse (Adelolvilla ar. 1050)
  • Æðel-stān ; Alestan : L'Étantot (Alestantot w. d.) / Lestanville (Alestanvilla 1195)
  • Bæling : Notre-Dame-de-Bliquetuit (Belinguetuith ar. 1025) and maybe Belintot. cf. GB, Badlingham (Belincgesham ar. 1080)
  • Beornwulf (ON Björnúlfr) : Cambernon (Unfridus miles de Campo Bernulfi, W[i]ll[elmus] de Campbernolf 1203)
  • Beorh-stān : Brétantot, Brestanville
  • *Blacward : Saint-Mards-de-Blacarville (Blacuardi villa 11th C.)
  • Blein, Bleyn (ON Blæingr) : Blainville-sur-Mer (Blainvilla 996 - 1025, Bleinvilla 1146) [?] ≠ Blainville-Crevon (Bleduinvilla 1050 - 1065, Germanic PN *Bladwinus), Blainville-sur-l'Eau (Villa Bladini 10th c., Germanic PN Bladinus)
  • Broc [?] : Brosville (Eure, Broovilla ar. 1190), Brosville (Brochvilla 1025). cf. GB Brockton (disambiguation), Brockham, Brockhurst, etc. Male's names Goiffredus Broc et Hugo Broc in 1025 around Bernay (Eure)
  • Burning : Bournainville-Faverolles (Burnenvilla 1155), Bourneville (Burnenvilla 12th c.), Bonneville-sur-le-Bec (Burnencvilla 1044, attraction of the French word bonne "good", like most other Bonneville (disambiguation)), Le Mesnil-Bonent (Mesnilum Bornenc 13th c.), Bornambusc Bornenbusc 13 th c.). Norman colour adjective bringe "dark brown". Old Surname Coteburnenc (1242), now Cottebrune.
  • Calvert : Cauverville-en-Roumois (Calvervilla 1236 - 1244), etc. cf. GB Calverton, Calverhall, Calverley
  • *Culvert : Cuverville (Culvertivilla 1028 - 1033), etc. cf. GB Culverthorpe, Culverton, Killerby (Culverdebi 1091)
  • Dun-stān : Dénestanville (Donestanvilla 1088, Dunestanvilla 1142). cf. Dunstan
  • Flot-mån(n) : Flottemanville-Hague (Flotemanvilla 1145 - 1153), Flottemanville-Bocage (Flotemanvilla 1147) cf. GB, Flotemanby
  • Hard-kin : Harcanville (Harkenvilla 12th C.)
  • Kine-wald / Kine-wold : Canouville (Kenualdi villa 1025 - 1026) (cf. Killamarsh, GB, Chinewoldesmaresc 12th C.)
  • Lēōd-grim or Lēōf-grim : Lingreville (Legrinvilla 1056 - 1066)
  • Lēōf-rēd ; Levred : Linverville (Livervilla 1175)
  • Mōrcǣr (see Morcar) : Montcarville (Moncarvilla 1180, Moncarvilla ar. 1210, Moncarvilla ar. 1280) [?] The [õ] (-on-) form of the 12th c. supposes an early evolution from [or], that is not noted in the similar place-name Montfarville, Morfarvilla in 1280.
  • Ōs-wid : Anvéville (Ovevillam ar. 1210, Onvéville 13th → 18th C.). Anglo-Saxon version of ON Asvidr.
  • Sæwald / Siwold : Saumont-la-Poterie (Seiwaltmont 1042), Siouville (Seolvilla 1200), Sciotot
  • *Scarding : Écardenville-sur-Eure (Scherdanvilla ar. 1055 - 1067), Écardenville-la-Campagne (Esquardenville 1327) cf. GB, Scarthingwell (Scardingwell 1202), Scredington (Scredintune, Domesday Book)
  • *Skelder (ON Skialdari) : Équeurdreville-Hainneville (Sceldrevilla 1063 - 1066) cf. GB Skelderskew, Skeldergate
  • *Snuter : Sainte-Opportune-la-Mare (Esnutrivillam 1025), Nètreville (Esnetrevilla ar. 1160) cf. GB, Snitterton (Snuterton 12th C.), Sniterley (Snuterlea 11th C.)
  • *Swart-kin : Sorquainville (Soartichin villa 1032 - 1035)
  • Wifel : Veauville-les-Baons (Wivelvilla ar. 1050), Veauville-les-Quelles (Wiauvilla que dicitur la Willame d'Escalles 1337. See William d'Escalles) cf. GB Wivelsfields (Wifelesfeld ar. 765), Wilcote (Wyvelicote ar. 1210)
  • Win-stān : Vénestanville (Wenestanvillam 12th C.) cf. Winston
  • Wivar (ON Vidhfari) : Viertot / Virville (Wivarevilla ar. 1210), Vierville-sur-Mer (Wiarevilla 1158) (cf. Weaverthorpe, GB, Wiveretorp ar. 1110) ≠ Vierville, Eure-et-Loir (Verisvilla ar. 1080, Verivilla)


  1. ^ French normanique cf. RENAUD Jean, La toponymie normanique : Reflet d'une colonisation in FLAMBARD HÉRICHER Anne-Marie, La progression des Vikings, des raids à la colonisation, Publications de l'Université de Rouen, 2003.
  2. ^ Archetype that exists everywhere in France, for example Ruan (Rothomago 1233 / Rotomagus 5th c.), Rom.
  3. ^ Xavier Delamarre, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, éditions errance 2003, p. 261 - 262.
  4. ^ Idem Charenton, etc.
  5. ^ There are other Vernon in France, but they come from Vernō 'place of the alder-trees'.
  6. ^ See Noviomagus and Lexovii.
  7. ^ François de Beaurepaire, Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de l'Eure, éditions Picard 1981.
  8. ^ François de Beaurepaire, Op. mentioned.
  9. ^ Neufchâtel-en-Bray is a former Neufcastel 13th C. → 15th C., with the Old Norman spelling of the word castle : castel, that gave birth to the Mod. Norman câtel (sometimes written catel). For instance : Old Norman Castel, Guernsey, known in Modern Norman as Sainte-Marie-du-Câtel (Guernsey), le Câtel (Jersey), Manoir du Catel (Pays de Caux), Radicatel (Pays de Caux), etc. corresponding to French château. there are many derived words such as Le Catelier, etc.

External links


  • François de Beaurepaire, Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de la Seine-Maritime, éditions Picard 1979.
  • François de Beaurepaire, Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de l'Eure, éditions Picard 1981.
  • François de Beaurepaire, Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de la Manche, éditions Picard 1986.
  • Albert Dauzat et Charles Rostaing, Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de lieu en France, Librairie Guénégaud, Paris, 1979.
  • Albert Hugh Smith, English Place-names Elements, 2 volumes, Cambridge, 1972.
  • Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary Of English Place-names, Oxford, 1947.
  • Åse Kari H. Wagner, Les noms de lieux issus de l'implantation scandinave en Normandie : le cas des noms en -tuit, in Les fondations scandinaves en occident et les débuts du duché de Normandie, actes publiés sous la direction de Pierre Bauduin.
  • W. Laur, Historisches Ortsnamenlexikon von Schleswig-Holstein, Karl Wachholtz Verlag, 1992.
  • L'Héritage maritime des Vikings en Europe de l'ouest, Colloque international de la Hague, sous la direction d'Elisabeth Ridel, Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2002.
  • René Lepelley, Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de communes de Normandie, Charles Corlet éditions / Presses universitaires de Caen 1994.
  • Jean Renaud, les Vikings et la Normandie, éditions Ouest-France Université 1989.
  • Jean Renaud, Vikings et noms de lieux de Normandie, OREP éditions 2009.
  • Georges Bernage, Vikings en Normandie, Éditions Copernic, 1979.
  • Jean Adigard des Gautries, Les noms de personnes scandinaves en Normandie de 911 à 1066, C. Bloms Boktryckeri, Lund, 1954.
  • Marie-Thérèse Morlet, Les noms de personnes sur le territoire de l’ancienne Gaule du VIe au XIIe siècle, Paris, CNRS, t. III (les noms de personnes contenus dans les noms de lieux), 1985.
  • Dominique Fournier, Dictionnaire des noms de rues et noms de lieux de Honfleur, éditions de la Lieutenance, Honfleur 2006.
  • Louis Guinet, Les Emprunts gallo-romans au germanique : du Ier à la fin du Ve siècle, éditions Klincksieck, 1982.
  • T. F. Hoad, English Etymology, Oxford University Press, 1993.

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