-hou

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This is a map of the Bailiwick of Guernsey

-hou and hou is a place-name element found commonly in the Norman toponymy of the Channel Islands and continental Normandy.

Etymology and signification[edit]

Its etymology and meaning are disputed, but most specialists think it comes from Saxon or Anglo-Saxon hōh "heel", sometimes , then "heel-shaped promontory", "rocky steep slope", "steep shore".[1][2][3] This toponymic appellative appears as a final -hou or associated with the Romance definite article le Hou, it can be found everywhere in Normandy, but more in the western part of it.

The English toponymy uses this Saxon or Anglo-Saxon element the same way, but its result is phonetically -hoo or -hoe, sometimes -(h)ow or -ho e. g. : Northoo (Suffolk); Poddinghoo (Worcestershire); Millhoo (Essex); Fingringhoe (Essex); Rainow (Cheshire); Soho (London); etc.[4] As an independent element it is Hoe, Hoo, Hooe, Ho or the Hoe, e.g. the Hoe at Plymouth (Dorset) above the harbour.

In Normandy, it may have sometimes mixed up with Old Norse hólmr, meaning a small island, and often found anglicised elsewhere as "holm", it can still be found in modern Scandinavian languages, e.g. Stockholm, the normal evolution of hólmr in Normandy is -homme, -houme, even -onne at the end of a toponym and le Homme, le Houlme, le Hom with the article.

The Norman toponym and diminutive hommet / houmet also derives from this element.

In Parisian French, the equivalent is îlot, which is cognate with the English "islet".

Channel Islands[edit]

Bailiwick of Guernsey[edit]

Jethou

Bailiwick of Jersey[edit]

Aerial view of Les Écréhous
  • Les Écréhous
  • Le Plat Hommet
  • Le Hommet du Ouaisné
  • Les Hommets
  • La Rocco (from rocque-hou)
  • Icho (from ic-hou)

Continental Normandy[edit]

-hou[edit]

Variant form Ho- / Hau-[edit]

  • Hotot
  • Hautot

See Huttoft, England

-homme, Houlme, Hom[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Auguste Longnon, Les noms de lieux de la France, Paris, 1920-1929 (rééd. Champion, Paris, 1979), p. 184.
  2. ^ Albert Dauzat and Charles Rostaing, Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de lieux en France, Larousse, Paris, 1963, p. 552a.
  3. ^ François de Beaurepaire, Les noms de communes et anciennes paroisses de la Manche, Picard, Paris, 1986, p. 46.
  4. ^ Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names (4th edition), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1960, p. 244b.

References[edit]