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Surname Saturday - More Latvian Olympians!

We already celebrated Latvian Olympians in last week’s Surname Saturday post, but I’m dedicating another week to them, since Latvia scored one last medal on the final day of the Olympics! This was a silver medal in men’s 4-man bobsleigh, to go along with the two bronzes in luge and silver in skeleton won previously, making it Latvia’s best Olympic showing! We’re moving up in the world.

The members of the 4-man team that won the silver:

Oskars MELBĀRDIS – This surname could have a variety of meanings. The last part, “bārdis” is clear enough – this means “beard” (or more accurately, “bearded” or “someone with a beard”). The “Mel” part is more difficult though. By itself, it could mean “liar”, which would make the name meaning “lying beard” or something like that. But I’ve also seen “Melbārdis” and “Melnbārdis” used interchangeably to refer to the same person/family – which would make the meaning “black beard” instead.

Arvis VILKASTE – I like this one. “Vilks” (wolf) + “aste” (tail) = “Wolf tail”.

Daumants DREIŠKENS – This one I’m not certain on. Could be related to the German verb “dreschen”, which means “thresh”. My German surname dictionary also suggests that similar names could be unusual patronymic forms of “Andreas”, so there is that possibility as well.

Jānis STRENGA – This name could come from the word “streņģe”, which refers to a rope that is a part of a horse’s harness.

Now that Olympic fever is over, time to move on to new names! There have been a lot of additions to the Latvian Surname Project recently, so pop over to check it out!

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