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Type: lexical
Meaning: 'ruler, king'
Language: Celtic
Phonemic analysis: /rīg/-
From PIE: *(H)rēĝ-
From Proto-Celtic: *rīg-
Attestation: ateporix, eskikorikos, ośoris, rik, rikanas, rikoi, rio, riol, riop, toutoris


The well-attested lexeme (OIr. ) is frequently used as onomastic element (as base or second element of compounds); cf. KGP: 260 f., GPN: 243–249, Lambert 1994: 25, 33, 42, 60, DLG: 260 f., Meid 2005: 72–90, Delamarre 2007: 230 et passim, Matasović 2009 s.v. Though usually associated with men, it can appear in female names (Stüber 2005: 64 f.); its primary meaning must have been 'ruling over, having power over' (Stifter in Marchesini & Stifter 2018: 147).

Names with rīg- as second element in a compound are not consistently spelled: the guttural is not reflected in writing in the nominative before s in two instances (toutoris, ośoris). This could be taken to indicate that the cluster [χs] had already been reduced to a simple sibilant in this position, but cf. the late attestation ateporix with [χs] written with X s in the Latin alphabet.

Further literature: Stifter 2012; Weiss 2017.

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.