🏷  Slavic pun · name   —   by Gerry · Apr 2022 · 281 words

The aristocratic House of Savoy, rulers of Italy, may be named for a pun with Czech zavoj for “veil”. This may explain the house’s inexplicable stellar rise to the top: As usual, they likely already came from the top.

Homophony-wise, the name of the French region Savoy almost perfectly matches the Czech term zavoj, which means “veil”. The spooks also like names which translate into “veil” in countless languages. There’s also no explanation why a tiny noble house like the Savoys came to be the ruling dynasty of Italy, even starting with a near-total loss of territory. So a “veil” pun would explain that this name was only a veil for more powerful people. Only the languages don’t match: The Czech word zavoj is not found in French or Italian, the languages are not related, and the region of Savoy is nowhere near Czechia.

However, the progenitor of the house of Savoy originally came from Saxony, which is relatively close to Czechia, in Germany. Since the Savoys allied with the Habsburgs, that part of the story may be true. I’ve generally become more cautious when attesting multi-lingual puns, but in this case it’s possible that whoever was hiding behind the name Savoy had eastern European roots, and would thus know the word zavoj for “veil”.

Slavic zavoj = veil, bandage

závoj : veil (for a person) — Czech (Wikt)

závoj : bandage — Serbo-Croatian (Wikt)

завој zavoj : bandage — Macedonian (Wikt)

English Savoy = region in western Europe, rulers of Italy

Savoy : a historical region in western Europe, shared between the modern countries of France, Italy, and Switzerland; an Italian noble family, which became the ruling (hereditary) dynasty of Sardinia and later of Italy — English (Wikt)

🏷  Slavic pun · name