Hlaford (Lord, Glavar) – the Head of a Tribe?

According to serious etymologists the English title lord is derived from the compound hlaf (bread, loaf) + weard (ward, warder). In Serbo-Slavic it could be calqued as "hlebo-vratar" – hleb (loaf) + vratar (warder; the guardian of entrance; Serb. vrata door). Such an etymology, albeit possible, doesn't seem convincing enough, especially not if we take in consideration the woman "lordly" title – hlafæta (lady), literally "the one who eats loaf/bread". I must add here that naming a woman (mistress, a lord's wife) as "loaf-eater" would be not only comic but completely senseless.

There is another etimology that can be proposed for the words lord and lady, by comparing it with Slavic paterfamilias (glava porodice, Cz. hlavy rodiny, Russ. glava semьi; the head of family; OSlav. glava head). Serbian glavar (chief, warden; Cz. hlavny; Pl. główny), as we can see, sounds similar to OE hlaford. In addition, there is a Serbian word, which sounds the same as OE hlaford, and it is 'glavurda' (a big head; chief; Serbian surname Glavurtić).

Has anyone been thinking about the possibility that English lord can be a loanword from Serbo-Slavic glavar/glavurda (chief, the head of a tribe, clan, family)?

The source of "lady" is hlafdige (load-kneader), not hlafæta. All three
hlaf- words are *attested*, and the transformation of two of them into
"lord" and "lady" is thoroughly attested from a steady stream of
examples from over the centuries, including the period where the f faded
into "u" before vanishing.

Ðo ne miȝte he non louerd ðhauen. (c1250)

Bruttes nemnede þa laȝen æfter þar lafuedi. (c1250)

Havelok 607 þis is ure eir þat shal ben louerd of denemark. (c1300)

Forð siðen ghe bi abram slep Of hire leuedi nam ghe no kep. (1325)

As for hlafæta, it is factual that it was a word. It meant servant or
dependent, regardless of how ludicrous you may find this to be.

Harlan Messinger

I have no intention to ofend anyone, if any offence may be found in my
above words.

In fact, this is a good oportunity for those, whose mind is open for
new ideas, to understand the "magic powers" of my Xur-Bel-Gon Speech
Formula (HSF). Namely, no one seems to have spotted that hlaford
'lord' is very closely related to OE heafod 'head' and that heafod is
akin to Slavic g(o)l(o)va/glava (Lat. caput; Gr. κεφαλή or κεβαλή).
Now, try to compare Greek kebale (head) with OHG gebal 'skull' (hence
Ger. Gipfel and Kopf) and try to understand that all these words are
derived from the same Gon-Bel basis as Serbo-Slavic glava (head).

Taking in consideration all the above facts, any average intelligent
person must come to the same "dubious" conclusion: Serbo-Slavic glavar
(head, chief; Serb. glavurda "big head") could be the word that came
from the same "arsenal" as OE hlaford (ME laverd lord).

Finally, I have one question for you and for all lingua experts on Sci-
lang: can you explain the relationship among words gallows, Lat.
gabalus, and Slavic glava (ORuss. golovьnikъ/galovnik executioner; cf.
Eng. capital punishment )?

And here we are back in because-I-say-so land.

Not at all. In Serbian we can say hlebar (a baker who produces bread;
Bul. hlebar/hlebar baker; hleboròdie/hleborodie fertility) and it
also sounds similar to halford (laverd) as well as the Bulgarian word
glavatar/glavatar (chieftain, chief) that is the same as Serbian
glavar (chief) and glavurda (big head). As you probably know, the
English sufix -ard (or -art) indicates some regular activities
(coward, dullard, drunkard, wizard, braggart) and it appears to be the
same suffix as Greek -arch/y or Serbian -ar (vlad-ar ruler; gospod-ar
master, glava-r chieftain). I have no time now to explain you why and
how the words like Serbo-Slavic rad (work), red (order; cf. Serbian
redar bobby, urednik editor/redactor), uređenje (arrange, system) are
related to Greek ἐργον (work; cf. Serb. verganje/vršenje "working"
and Eng. working!) and whole spectra of words in other IE languages
that are derived from the Hor-Gon ur-basis, starting from its
essential meanings: circle (Serb. krug) and cruising/circling ( Serb.

The other thing you seem to be forgetting is the central meaning of
the English word "loaf". Could the OE word hlaf be related to Latin
globus (globe) and Late Latin lobus (lobe, a rounded projection) as
well as to Serbo-Slavic klobuk (clump, lump, clod, cloud; cf. Serb. h/
oblak cloud; h/oblina roundness; h/oblik effigy)?

Finally, can't you see that 'loaf' has the slang meaning 'head' too?

As usual, I can't "see" something that you just made up and have no
reason to believe. But as usual, you think that if you say "can't you
see?" you think you've proved your point, right?

Your problem is that you cannot grasp that the evolution of language
is much simpler then the modern linguistic science is ready to
believe. I am asking you some questions because I wish to arouse and
encourage your critical thinking.

For instance, how it happened that German Leib (body) became life
(Leben) afterwards? Similar is in Slavic (telo body; from deblo,
debljina thickness) between words življenje (living) and h/oblina
(roundness). Cf. življenje (living), debljina (thickness), deblo
(trunk), telo (body).

If you compare Russian adjectives žiloй/žiloy and živoй/živoy (both
with the menaing "living") you will be able to perceive that these
words were derived from the Gon-Bel-Gon basis, where, in the first
case, the sound 'b' has been elided and in the second (živoy) the
sound 'l' is missing.

German past participle gelebt (lived) is also derived from the Bel =>
Leb transposed Gon-Bel-Gon basis (Serb. živeo; from gi-bel-go => ži-
blje-o => živeo; ijekavian form is still živjeo; lj to j sound change:
življeo => živjeo/živio).

Try to engage some of your mental energy into a real/serious thinking
instead of rejecting my explanations a priori.

Your problem is that you cannot grasp that the evolution of language
is much simpler then the modern linguistic science is ready to
believe. I am asking you some questions because I wish to arouse and
encourage your critical thinking.

I grasp that it isn't so "simple" (as though any of your explanations is
simple) just because you claim it is. When you ask questions that
contradict reality or that have no evidence to support the implied
conclusions, my critical thinking shields me from your nonsense, while
the same nonsense highlights the lack of critical thinking on your own end.

[snipping yet more haphazard collections of words with no sign of your
ever having comprehended what you've been told about the difference
between what you do and genuine analysis]

I just wanted to make you acquainted with the origin of words like Serbian biće (being), Latin vivo -ere, Greek βιος and "to be or not to be", but I see it would be an unavailing effort from my side. <QUOTE>German "Laib" (sometimes, evidently, spelled "Leib") = loaf is related
to "hlaif". But German "Leib" = *body* is not. [/QUOTE]
Loaf (hlaif) is the same word with the same meaning as lump or lobe
and its original meaning was not "bread". Even bread started from the
PIE root *bhreue- or from the HSF Bel-Hor-Gon basis (brew, Serb.
vrenje brewing;bariti boil; Russ. varitь, pivo-varenie; Cz. vařit,
vaření). In ancient times bread was mostly shaped in a round form and
therefore its name is derived from the notion of "roundness" [Serb.
kruh (bread) is derived from krug "circle"].

Consider the syntagm "a loaf of bread" and some things (I hope) will
become much clearer to you.
<QUOTE>Certainly it did: hlaifs, hlaf, lump, and lobe do not all refer to the
same things and come from different PIE roots. [/QUOTE]
It doesn't refer to the "sama thing" but it refers to the same round
form .

In addition, it (bread) could also come from the PGmc *brennan (Ger.
Brand fire; OE brand, brond "firebrand"; brand => bread?), similar to
Serbian piroška/prženica (from the noun prženje frying/burning/
parching; Russ. pirog, pirožok, Cz. piroh) or burek (from purenje
burning), Turkish börek (a loanword from Serbian).

But all this "hypotheses" doesn't change the point I have tried to
underline. The name of bread/loaf is shifted from something else(!!!).
In case of loaf it is more than clear that it comes from "roundness"
or from the round-shaped form of bread. Serbo-Slavic lopta
"ball" (from hlopta) is the source of the Slavic word "hleb" and in a
similar way it happened in Germanic languages – loaf, lump, lobe!

Since "loaf", "lump", and "lobe" came from three unrelated sources, it follows that you're wrong. ("Lobe" is from Latin.) The "h" in "hleb" and "hlaf" connects the words to Ancient Greek "klibanos", baking oven, centuries before the time when, in your theory, they would have to have magically appeared. Besides, it would be an amazing coincidence if the Germanic and Slavic peoples both added "h" to words that didn't previously have them.

The problem is that the most of the people on this forum are heavily
burdened with the "scientific" teaching of modern linguistic. Of
course, such a knowledge is helpful (useful) but it also may be
extremely hindering, in sense of preventing people to see the wood
behind the "all-knowing tree".

Additionally, it is impossible to understand what I am talking about
if the reader is not familiar with some of the Slavic languages,
because the internal logic and kinship among the words are not so
precise in Germanic, Romance and Greek vocabulary.

Explore posts in the same categories: etymology, Germanic languages

One Comment on “Hlaford (Lord, Glavar) – the Head of a Tribe?”

  1. anonymous Says:

    Panino Imbottito writes:Glupost

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