Re: [tied] Re: Ther Beaver and Its Teeth (Origin?)

From: João Simões Lopes Filho
Message: 15249
Date: 2002-09-07

If I'm not wrong, afanc is also a name for water monsters, the mytichal ancestors of Nessie.
----- Original Message -----
From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Sent: Saturday, September 07, 2002 4:39 AM
Subject: Re: [tied] Re: Ther Beaver and Its Teeth (Origin?)

My Welsh dictionary gives <afanc> and <llostlydan>. The latter is descriptive ('broadtail'). The former (< *abancos) is possibly derived from *ab- 'river' (as in <afon>) and in addition to 'beaver' means also 'dwarf, water-sprite' in Brittonic and Irish folklore. The British beavers were hunted to extinction about 1600.
----- Original Message -----
From: danjmi
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2002 10:24 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: Ther Beaver and Its Teeth (Origin?)

     From a book I read as a teenager (George Borrow's "Wild
Wales") I learned the Welsh word for beaver was "afanc". 
Borrow, besides being a very entertaining writer, was an
amateur linguist who would fit nicely with some of the wilder
contributors to Cybalist.  Writing in the 1850s, when
palaeontology was an exciting new field, he thought the name
had been transferred from the extinct British crocodile to the (I
believe now also extinct) British beaver.
      I just looked up "beaver" in an online Welsh dictionary, and ,
by God, there was "afanc".
     Since I've remembered this useless bit of information for fifty
years, can anyone give me an etymology for "afanc"?
Dan Milton