James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Wed Feb 6 01:13:29 UTC 2008

Thanks for the onomastics info, Mark. No comment on the origins
though, eh? I thought I might be able to find something in my own
references, but I lack one on family names. Fortunately, Russell is
also a first name, and I find in my Oxford Dictionary of First Names
that it comes from French "Roussel," a diminutive form of "rous"
meaning "red". But that's just one name.

So I did a bit more looking at (any reviews of their
reliability?). I find Twaddell is a Scottish and northern English
variant of Tweedle, and that Tweedle is a topographic name for
someone who lived in the valley (dale) of the river Tweed. Cattell is
a Welsh name, variant of Caddell, which is formed from a Welsh
personal name Cadell derived from Welsh "cad" = "battle". Scammell is
an occupational name for a worker in a meat or fish market, from
"scamol" = "bench" (on which meat or fish was laid out for sale).
Tyrrell is either from French "tirel" = "an animal that pulls on the
reins" (from "tirer") or from Thorold, which is from ON Thorvaldr,
"Thor" + "valdr" = "rule". Chappell comes from exactly what you would
think it comes from. Twitchell is unexplained. Brickell comes from
Welsh "brig" = "hilltop" + OE "hyll" = "hill". Winchell is from OE
"wencel" = "child". Liddell is from "hlide" = "loud" and "dael" =

So in fact there's quite the heterogeneity here! Perhaps the spelling
of many of these tended towards the -ell spelling under the influence
of other names with -ell spellings (there are certainly also -le
versions of some of them). The stress on the first syllable most
likely comes from English stress rules of the times when the names
were coming about, I suppose; it's known that stress was by default
(with exceptions, of course) on the furst syllable in OE, and
compounds generally got main stress on the first element and a
secondary stress on the second element (first syllable of each if
they were polysyllabic). I don't know exactly when the tendency to
view a double letter at the end of a word as an indication of stress
shift came about, but a French influence does seem plausible, doesn't
it? ...Which _still_ leaves it pretty wide open, chronologically.

So that's just a littell more information...

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society -

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