Origin of the name


Analysis of a name

Enter­ing this pavil­ion, you artic­u­late undoubt­ed­ly the ques­tion which admon­ished you for a long time: ”What means exact­ly AARNESCHT?” They will answer you that this name of place is very much spe­cial, a bit or even strange, just as cli­mate, flo­ra and fau­na which you are going to meet there…

Our pur­pose, to us, will be to approach the prob­lem of the AARNESCHT by its ety­mo­log­i­cal data. We ask: Is there some­where, in some cor­ner of the coun­try, anoth­er AARNESCHT iden­ti­cal to ours? Or is ours unique?

More than one had thought of it; until the moment when some­body remind­ed: Near Lauter­bour, near the road of Echter­nach to Schei­d­gen a rocky and wood­ed crest ris­es. Its name: HARNECH. Strik­ing is the sim­i­lar­i­ty of both places, as for their topog­ra­phy as well as for their toponymy! Would there be consanguinity?


The place “Harnech” is sit­u­at­ed near Lauter­bour not far from Echternach

Cer­tain­ly not. Har­nisch, Ger­man form of HARNECH, is a notion of geol­o­gy, and indi­cates some rock-form­ing. Now the AARNESCHT does not have any (more?) rocks!

And if we found in an old doc­u­ment a for­mer orthog­ra­phy for our place, an orthog­ra­phy from long ago? Would this move us for­ward? In the date of 1633, we read: ”an der ARENEST”. We under­line the first ” E ” inter­ca­lat­ed between R and N. His role seems tri­fling, but his impor­tance will show itself primordial.

Indeed: The pho­net­ic groups rsp. “RN” and “REN”, as well as rsp.” RM “and ” REM” can dif­fer­en­ti­ate lit­er­ary lan­guage and dialect. Ex: von ferne — fu fären; gerne — gären; hin­dern — hën­neren; arm — arem; Wurm-Wurem

It will be allowed to con­clude: The scrip­teur of 1633, in its orthog­ra­phy, repro­duced the name as he had heard it. Lat­er, and accord­ing to usage at the car­tog­ra­phers, the prim­i­tive writ­ten form with a “lit­er­ary” writ­ten form was replaced. It is in this writ­ten form AARNESCHT that today we say and write the name.

As for the mean­ing of AARNESCHT, we looked for her and we found her in the aquat­ic con­cept of ERNZ, leav­ing from ARANZIA. Received in this way: ERNZEN (white Ernz) ERNSTER (black Ernz), besides these vil­lages of the heights as ERENZBIERG and ERNZBIERG (Ernz white), and final­ly the AARNESCHT their name. The ini­tial let­ter, in the quot­ed names, “A”, “AE” or “E”, hard­ly seems to matter.


In Eppel­dorf, we find near the White Ernz sev­er­al moun­tains which bear the name of this river

To give to a local­i­ty the name of the water­course, on the bank — or at least near­by — of which it is locat­ed, is quite nor­mal. Exam­ples: Syren, Ouren, Attert, Ernzen. Also nor­mal will be to remind of the water­course in the name of the local­i­ty. (see Saar­brück­en, Viel­salm, Salm­rohr, Kan­der­steg, Cambridge.)

How­ev­er it seems not very log­i­cal to apply the same tech­nique to local­i­ties and sites very dis­tant from the water­course “Ernz”. What is well the case of ERNZEN (ECHTERNACH), ERENZ (WINTERSDORF), ”han­ner AREND” (Rosport), ARENS-BERG (EIFEL), in Hostert, where the site of the cur­rent foot­ball pitch would have prob­a­bly car­ried the name “ERENZ” (accord­ing to the infor­ma­tion of mis­ter Jängy Bin­ten­er, announced by mis­ter André Hild­gen), and still of “AARNESCHT”, in our opin­ion. The call­ing, topog­ra­phy sees them as cli­max­es of a hilly crest most often wood­ed. What is not worth for Ernzen (east of Echternach.)


In Rosport and in Win­ters­dorf, who is near the Sure, places — said “Arend” and “Erenz” indi­cate crests of mountains-islets.

It is there­fore in oro­gra­phie, and not in hydrowrit­ten form that it would be nec­es­sary to search the sense of AARNESCHT. It is true that the last gave a con­tri­bu­tion of size: All waters of AARNESCHT head for the Syre, while no joins the very close Ernz.

A final word regard­ing the suf­fix­es “-scht,-cht,-st.” They abound in our lan­guage, and their three forms are regional.

We will keep: The cur­rent way of say­ing and of writ­ing AARNESCHT intro­duces two oppo­site ten­den­cies: On one hand, she strives towards the lit­er­ary lan­guage by leav­ing “E — par­a­site”. On the oth­er one, she bor­rows her suf­fix from the dialect. This ambi­gu­i­ty is per­haps the rea­son of a stealthy impres­sion of strangeness.

To end: Unable to inter­pret the name of AARNESCHT with the last rigour, we will try to define him con­cise­ly:” It indi­cates, slight­ly dis­tort­ed by con­ces­sions made in lan­guages and dialec­tal and lit­er­ary, the crest of a mountain-islet”.

THE AARNESCHT is the pro­to­type of a small num­ber of moun­tains-islands dis­trib­uted in the coun­try. Lend­ing to the sun the side turned in the South, they allow, in a cli­mate, South­ern almost, to the curi­ous walk­er, to dis­cov­er and to appre­ci­ate a flo­ra and a fau­na from oth­er places — and to become an informed friend of the nature. 

E. Stein­met­zer