Monday, October 30, 2006

Does Anyone Here Speak Ancient Irish?

Time for an etymological diversion on my name. I am told that "Kevin" derives from the Old Irish "coemgen," itself formed by the words "coem" and "gein."

"Coem" it seems, means kind, gentle, or handsome. I have suspected it is related to the word comely, but my friend the OED does not confirm my suspicions, suggesting a Germanic origin.

"Gein" means "birth." Not knowing anything of Old Irish pronunciation, I see a similarity to the Greek word "geinesthai", meaning "to be born." I believe this is whence derives the Greek "genos", meaning "race" or "family."

If we assume that "coem" is related to the Greek "eu", which has similar meanings, then "Kevin" is the etymological cousin of the name "Eugene."

I love idle speculation.

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