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Type: lexical
Meaning: 'crowd, people'; 'good, north, left, bad, magic'
Language: Celtic
Phonemic analysis: /tou̯t/-
From Proto-Celtic: *teu̯t-
Attestation: tou, toutas, toutiopouos, toutoris, tutio(


The onomastic element teut- > tout- (on /eu/ > /ou/ see Lambert 1994: 42, McCone 1996: 8) is very common in Continental Celtic, in simplex names, and in compound names as both second and (more often) first element, see KGP: 277 f., 280, GPN: 266–269, Lochner von Hüttenbach 1989: 168 f., DLG: 295 f. s.v. teuta, touta, 300 s.v. toutios, 305 s.v. tuto-, Meid 2005: 119, Stüber 2005: 70, 89, 91, Delamarre 2007: 234 et passim, Stüber et al. 2009: 31, 257, 267 f.

Up to three Celtic groups of lexemes can be involved here:

  • PC *teu̯tā 'people, tribe' and derived tou̯ti̯os 'citizen',
  • PC *teu̯to/i- 'left, north, bad, (magic)',
  • PC *teu̯ti̯o- 'good, favourable, (magic)'.

The 'people'-word (see toutas) appears in most European branches of IE. Its PIE etymology is unclear (see Irslinger 2002: 363 f.). The traditional derivation is from the root *teu̯h₂- 'to swell, to grow strong' (IEW: 1080 ff.) → *teu̯h₂-t-eh₂- 'multitude, crowd, people' (→ *teu̯h₂-t-i̯o-s [PIE age uncertain] 'one of the people, citizen'). The root *teu̯H- 'observe, oversee, protect' is preferred by LIV²: 639 and McCone 1987: 116. The latter, however, posits the root as laryngeal-less *teu̯- (→ teu̯-t-eh₂ [collective] 'Dienerschaft [des Königs]' '); indeed, none of the forms reflects a laryngeal, and the circumflex in Latv. tàuta indicates a laryngeal-less root (Zair 2012: 235; cf. also Matasović 2009 s.v. *towtā, Kroonen 2013 s.v. þeudō-). Irslinger 2002: 364 considers the possibility that the two roots were originally the same ('swell, be strong, protect').

Both options are also viable for the adjective(s). The OBret. gloss tut 'good, favourable' (Fleuriot 1964 s.v.) may be connected with Germ. *þeudi̯a- 'favourable' (Goth. þiuþ 'good', ON þýðr 'kind'; < *teu̯h₂-t-i̯o), which is derived from *teu̯h₂- by Kroonen 2013 s.v. þeudja-. Whether and how the Celtic words with negative semantics and different stem classes (OIr. túath- 'left, north, bad' < teu̯to-, OIr. túaith/túaid 'north' < *teu̯ti-, OBret. tuthe [name of a demon]) can be connected with these forms is unclear, as is the derivation of the meaning 'magic' (Ir. bantúath 'witch', tuaithe 'magic (potency)', W. Morgan tut 'Morgan Le Fay'). Vendryes 1939 assumes that the negative and positive meanings go back to the same source, and derives the entire group from *teu̯H- with an original positive denotation 'protected, safe, good'/'protection' (cf. also LEIA T-164 f. with comparanda for a semantic development for the adjectives 'good' → (taboo) 'north' → 'left' → 'bad'). Matasović 2009 s.v. *towto- also tentatively refers to taboo replacement.

Lexical tou̯tā, attested in Cisalpine Gaulish (toutas), is usually assumed to underlie the majority of personal and other Gaulish names, as it makes for plausible semantics in the sphere of names referring to social status, e.g., toutomara 'great among the people' (Meid 2005: 119) and the Galatian ethnonym toutobodiaci 'conquerors of peoples' (KGP: 280), in Cisalpine Celtic toutoriχs 'ruler of the people'. The element toutio- is accordingly identified as the derivative toutios 'citizen' (Lambert 1994: 54, 85, DLG: 300), e.g., toutiorix 'ruler of the tribespeople', in Cisalpine Celtic toutiopouos, tutio(. A derivation from the adjective, however, can rarely be excluded with complete confidence; see DLG: 305 s.v. tuto- for names (especially toponyms) which may contain the adjective. In Cisalpine Celtic, toutiopouos with its somewhat obscure semantics and tutio( without a second element are possible candidates; even the seemingly obvious Gaul. toutiorix, an epithet of Apollon, is suspected of containing *teu̯ti̯o- 'magic' ('ruler of magic(ians)') by Vendryes (LEIA T-164 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.
Fleuriot 1964 Léon Fleuriot, Dictionnarie des gloses en vieux breton, Paris: Klincksieck 1964.
GPN David Ellis Evans, Gaulish Personal Names. A Study of Continental Celtic Formations., Oxford: Clarendon Press 1967.