Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Gaw

I comment on this blog and elsewhere as Gaw, a name I didn't consciously choose. Blogger asks you to give yourself a user name and not really understanding how this would be used, I just put in my initials (which I'd also used on the blog address to make this 'ragbag' blog my own).

Then, when I started commenting on other people's blogs whilst logged in (blogger ones anyway) I appeared as 'gaw'. Soon people started addressing me as 'Gaw', so this is what I changed it to.

Gaw: pretty meaningless, I thought, but that's fine. But then, when out googling, I came across a word 'gaw'. Following the usual procedures, I wikipedia-ed it. It actually has two meanings, which seem oddly pertinent. The first is a verb:

gaw

See also Gaw.

Contents

[hide]

editEnglish

editEtymology

Old Norse .

editPronunciation

editVerb

gaw

  1. (obsolete) to stare or gape


The second is a surname, derived from a noun:

Gaw

See also gaw

Contents

[hide]

editEnglish

editEtymology

From Scottish Gaelic gall (foreigner or stranger), meaning:

  • (Irish) a person from Wales or England who immigrated after the Norman invasion, or
  • (Scottish) a person from Scandinavia or the English-speaking lowlands.

editProper noun

Gaw

  1. A surname.

editReferences



To summarise. Firstly, to gaw is to gape and stare (surely related to gawp, to stare stupidly). It's obsolete. Secondly, a gaw is someone who immigrated from Wales to Ireland after the Norman invasion (I meet the timing criterion, albeit loosely, but ended up in England - so, not exact but close).

Uncanny.

3 comments:

Gadjo Dilo said...

Hmm, then I'm descended from some kind of Gaw's: immigrants from Scotland to Ireland... but then back again. Murky. And I do feel suitably obsolete.

elberry said...

Names are often particularly significant; the significance is the more emphatic when the name seems to have been randomly-assigned, or nearly randomly, as with 'Aske' which came to me out of nowhere.

Gaw said...

Gadjo: I guess your itchy feet were inherited then!

Elb: I remember your post on your pen name and looked for it the other night but couldn't track it down. I did get a bit of a shock when I saw the Gaw etymology - as I said, uncanny.