Fun Etymology Tuesday – Italy

Hello, fantastic followers!

After an empty week (sorry…), we bring you your scheduled Etymological Fun this Tuesday!

Today we finally conclude our short nation series with the last of the HLC countries: my own Italy!

The origin of the word “Italy” is disputed: nobody really knows where it comes from and what it means.
The most believable etymology would have the name of the peninsula derive from the Oscan language, one of the languages spoken in Italy before the rise of Rome.
The word “Viteliu”, originally referred to the southern part of Italy and is thought to be cognate with the Latin word “vitulus” and its Italian descendant “vitello”, meaning “calf”.
So according to this hypothesis, the etymological meaning of “Italy” would be “land of calves”. Why this would be, we’re not sure.
Some connect it to the name of an indigenous tribe in modern day Calabria, called the Vitali, who perhaps were cattle herders.

Another hypothesis would have it be a loanword from Illyrian, a language spoken in the Balkans in the Roman age. However, we know little to nothing about Illyrian and we literally have no writings to figure anything out, so we can’t know for sure whether this hypothesis is true, and what the word might mean if it is.

From this Calflander it’s everything. See you around peepz!

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