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Type: lexical
Meaning: 'again; very'
Function: intensifying
Language: Celtic
Phonemic analysis: /ate/-
From PIE: *h₂eti 'again'
From Proto-Celtic: *ati 'again'
Attestation: anatikou, ateknati, atepa, ateporix, atepu, ateratos, ateuloipitus


The prefix (OIr. aith-, W ad- etc., LEIA: A-53), with /i/ lowered to /e/ (Uhlich 2010: 145–149, cf. ande-, are-) is frequently attested as first element of Gaulish compound personal names, though in many contexts hard to distinguish from ad-. The semantics of repetition and intensification as in the Insular Celtic cognates is present e.g. in ateuritus 'found again', ategnatos 'born again'/'recognised' or 'well known', aterato 'very happy', ethnonym atecotti (gen.) 'very old' (DLG: 57, Delamarre 2007: 211 et passim). Schmidt KGP: 57 with n. 1 proposes not merely intensifying semantics, but a literal meaning 'exceeding' for compounds with substantive bases with reference to OI áti 'exceedingly', translating e.g. atebodua 'exceeding Bodb (in strength)'; cf. also Meid 2005: 165 f.: atecorius 'outstanding in the host', atedunus '(famous) beyond the dunum'. Critical Evans GPN: 142–145, who notes that in many forms the prefix appears to have no semantic function. OI áti is derived from PIE *(h₁)eti 'over, beyond, exceeding' in EWAia I: 57, whose relation to PIE *h₂eti/*ati is under discussion (cf. IEW: 70, Uhlich 2010: 145, n. 25, and Dunkel LIPP: 93–96, who keeps them apart and does not discuss intensifying semantics of PIE *ati). See also Wodtko 2013: 224 f., Dunkel 2014 II: 94. The intensifying function of the Celtic prefix may be developed from the meaning 'again'.

Corinna Salomon


Delamarre 2007 Xavier Delamarre, Noms de personnes celtiques dans l'épigraphie classique. Nomina Celtica Antiqua Selecta Inscriptionum, Paris: Errance 2007.
DLG Xavier Delamarre, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental, 2nd, revised edition, Paris: Errance 2003.
Dunkel 2014 George E. Dunkel, Lexikon der indogermanischen Partikeln und Pronominalstämme, Heidelberg: Winter 2014.
EWAia Manfred Mayrhofer, Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen, Heidelberg: Winter 1992–2001.
GPN David Ellis Evans, Gaulish Personal Names. A Study of Continental Celtic Formations., Oxford: Clarendon Press 1967.