*saN(-t)- "sheep; water hole"
'sauðr m. "sheep",
Sw. dial. såd, so, cf.
Sw. dial. sau "fem. sheep" (the basic form is
*sauþi-, on the missing umlaut s. Pipping, Inl. 85).
> lpN savcca
(< Proto-Norse *sauðiz, Thomsen 2, 214. Wiklund MO 5, 1911, 248).
got. sauþs "sacrifice", cf. OGutn. sauþr "well", to
OE seað "cave, spring, lake",
OFr sa:th "well",
MLG so:d "brew, spring",
MDutch soot m.n. "cooking; puddle",
MHG so:t "cooking, brew, well".
The sheep got this name, because it was the usual sacrificial animal,
cf sjóða and ásauðr.'
For sacrifice, they put sheep into wells? I disagree.
'sjóða st. V. "kochen, sieden",
Icel. fär. sjóða,
Norw. sjoda, sjoa,
OE séoðan, OFr. sia:tha, MLG se:den, MDutch sieden, OHG siodan.
Av. ha:vayeiti "simmers" (IEW 914).
cf sauðnir, sauðr, seyð, seyðir, seyðr, sjóðr 2, soð and svíða.
They have been placed with
Lit. siauciù "winnow; rage"
(Berneker IF 10, 1899, 160),
which seems questionable, but draws attention to the root *seu, which is indicative of plaiting and weaving technology (cf sýja "sew").
If one also in this case (as with drótt, folk, herr et sim.) may think of the male ring ('mannkreis'), one might think of the sacrificial fire; but this connection stays uncertain for now.'
Hmm, no. Too much Wagner. I don't think that's connected.
Try instead eg
*laN- "lamb, sheep; shallow water"
'lamb n. "lamb",
Icel. Norw. lamb,
> Finn. Est. Vot. lammas, Veps. lambas, Liv. la:mbas
(Thomsen 2, 190; the form of these words reflect the old -es- stem *lambas; because of the meaning "sheep" Setälä FUF 13, 1913, 398 thinks of a loan from Gothic);
> lpN. labbes (Qvigstad 204).
Gothic OE OS OHG lamb; but OE lemb (< *lambiz).
cf lemba und lo,mbungr.
Mostly compared to
Gr. élaphos (< *eln,bho) "deer" (Hirt, Ablaut 122); further
OSl. jelenI, Lit. elnis, Welsh elain;
which perhaps may be derived from a
PIE root *el "brown",
cf also elgr and elri (thus H. Petersson SVS Lund 1, 1921, 22);
the senses match badly, however.
Elsewhere could be compared
Latv. lo:ps (< *lampas) "cattle" und
Alb. l´opë f. "cow";
(thus Mikkola BB 28, 1896, 219).
All very uncertain. Occasionally in proper names, as
Lambi and Lambkárr.'
I talked today to an acquaintance of mine, an old Greenland hand, who cleared up for me some possible connection between "sheep/lamb" and "shallow water".
In Greenland, when everything is snowed under, sheep will graze on the waters edge, because the tide will clear that area of snow. In 1967 (IIRC) because there was too much snow, sheep could not get back up from the free coast strip onto the snowed-under land, so they lambed on the beach and he (and others) had to go rescue as many of the lambs as they could, before the tide took them.
Presumably also salt marshes would be snow free.