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Type: lexical
Meaning: 'course, race, attack?'
Language: Celtic
Phonemic analysis: /rit/-
From PIE: *r̥t-u- 'running'
From Proto-Celtic: *ritu- 'course, race'
Attestation: rit, ritilio(, ritukalos


Gaulish personal name element, in compounds usually as first element (e.g., ritumara, ritukalos, but also boritus) and in simplex names (e.g. ritus, rituca, rituarus, ritulla, ριτυμος) (KGP: 259, GPN: 249–251, Lochner von Hüttenbach 1989: 133 f., DLG: 260, Meid 2005: 85–88, Delamarre 2007: 230 et passim). Also in Ogam RITUVVECAS (CIIC no. 250), RITTUVVECC (no. 211); lexically in OIr. ri(u)th, perhaps Bret. red 'a run, race'. Zero-grade u-abstract from the PIE root *ret- 'run' (Irslinger 2002: 18 f., 148, Meid 2005: 87 f. arguing for a meaning 'attack' in personal names, NIL: 575). The Gaulish name element rito- (e.g. ritogenus, ritomarus) from a parallel derivation in -o- (*r̥t-o-, NIL: 575) or due to change of the stem vowel in composition (KGP: 90 f.). Cf. ret- with e-grade from the same root.

Homonymous with *ritu- < PIE *pr̥-tu- 'ford', which occurs in numerous toponyms, but would not be expected in personal names (DLG: 259, NIL: 575–577 with n. 5). Theoretically also possible is an analysis as *rītu- from PIE *h₂rei̯(H)- 'count' (OIr. renaid 'pay', see McCone 1991: 37–40, De Vaan 2008 s.v. rītus).

David Stifter, Corinna Salomon


CIIC R[obert] A[lexander] S[tewart] Macalister, Corpus inscriptionum insularum Celticarum, Dublin: Stationery Office 1945–1949.
Delamarre 2007 Xavier Delamarre, Noms de personnes celtiques dans l'épigraphie classique. Nomina Celtica Antiqua Selecta Inscriptionum, Paris: Errance 2007.
De Vaan 2008 Michiel De Vaan, Etymological dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages [= Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series 7], Leiden, Boston: Brill 2008.
DLG Xavier Delamarre, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental, 2nd, revised edition, Paris: Errance 2003.