Sunday, November 1, 2015

Color names by DMNES: Red

In this, the first post on their monthly topic of color names, they look at names deriving from words for ‘red’.
Old High German rōt, Old Saxon rōd ‘red’ is occurs as a prototheme in a handful of Germanic names, including Rothard and Rothward.
Two Latin words meaning ‘red’ both gave rise to names: Latin rubeus (the same root as the English word ‘ruby’) was used as a masculine given name in Italy, while russa was occasionally used as a feminine name.
One interesting pair of names derive from a word referring to a bright red tincture, while the root of that word is in fact a Latin word meaning ‘little worm’:Vermilia and Vermilius come from Old French vermeillon ‘vermillion, bright red’, because of the bright red dye or paint that could be made from the small insect Kermes vermilio (note that the other word in the Latin name, kermes is cognate to the word ‘crimson’!)