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Type: lexical
Meaning: 'good, fortunate, advantageous'
Language: Celtic
Phonemic analysis: /mat/-
From PIE: *m̥h₂-ti-/*m̥h₂-tu- or méh₂-tu- 'right time, timely'
Attestation: matikios


Lexically as an i-stem in OIr. maith, MW mad, Corn. mas, MBret. mad 'good, profitable'; beside this exists a u-stem *matu- 'bear' (OIr. math). In the numerous names which contain an element mat- (see GPN: 230–232, KGP: 239 f., DLG: 221, Delamarre 2007: 128 f.), Schmidt (KGP: 239) categorically distinguished instances of mati- 'good' from instances of matu- 'bear', mato-, thematised or with substituted composition vowel in dithematic names, being ambiguous. The Gaul. u-stem matu (/mat/m) in the Coligny calendar, however, designates favourable months in opposition to unfavourable (anm[atu]) ones, showing that Gaulish had a u-stem matu-/mātu- 'good', which may be present in any number of names (e.g. in pairs like comatumarus/comatimara), cf. GPN: 229, Meid 2005: 104 f., 110, 129 f. Cf. also MW madws 'right time' < *matu-sto- and Celtib. matus (Botorrita I A.6), if an of a u-stem 'right day' (see Irslinger 2002: 207 f.) . Vendryes (LEIA: M-12 f., M-24) suggests that matu- 'bear' is in fact a taboo designation derived from matu- 'good' (doubtful Delamarre DLG: 221). See also Matasović 2009: 259 f.

The words are connected with Lat. mātūrus 'ripe', mānus 'good' etc. and traced back to PIE *meh₂- 'be timely' (IEW: 693 ( 2), Eichner 1973: 63–67, Zair 2012: 62 f.).

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.
Eichner 1973 Heiner Eichner, "Die Etymologie von heth. mehur", Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft 31 (1973), 53–107.
GPN David Ellis Evans, Gaulish Personal Names. A Study of Continental Celtic Formations., Oxford: Clarendon Press 1967.