Old English 'meresteall' and Old Swedish '*marstall'. A Northwest Germanic Compound and Place Name Element?
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In the province of Uppland in Sweden there is a village called 'Marstalla', written 'in marstaldum', 'in marstal' 1312. The first element has been interpreted as 'mar' (marsh, lake) or '*mar' (horse). In the latter case the second element is explained as '*stadhul' (enclosure or dwelling-place), i.e., a compound '*marstadhul' (enclosure or pasture for horses). In the same province there is a large meadow area called 'Marstallen'. This name has been interpreted accordingly. Old English 'meresteall' means ‘a pool of stagnant water’. It has been argued that the etymological meaning of 'meresteall' would be ‘a place where a pool is liable to form in wet seasons’. The sense ‘standing water’ is well documented for the words evolving from Old Germanic '*mari-'. It is a striking fact that the two localities 'Marstalla' and 'Marstallen' corresponds remarkably well with the meaning of Old English 'meresteall'. In both cases there are rivers that flood seasonally, creating large areas of standing water. I therefore conclude that the names are formed from an Old Swedish '*marstall', formally and semantically identical with Old English 'meresteall'. Most probably it is actually the same word, a Northwest Germanic '*maristallaz'.