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Nienajadło
Created by Administrator Account in 1/16/2010 4:05:12 PM

 


... Would you know of the Polish name Nienajadlo? I wonder if you have come across it and perhaps would know any brief history of the family name?

I've never come across this name before, but it is an interesting one.

Nienajadło (the Polish slashed l is pronounced like our w, so that the name would sound like "nyeh-nah-YAHD-woe") is not extremely common, but not really rare -- as of 1990 there were 278 Polish citizens by this name. They lived in many different provinces, with the larger numbers showing up in the provinces of Legnica (23), Przemysl (42), Rzeszow (39), and Tarnobrzeg (103), which suggests the southeast corner of Poland is where this name originated.

That fits in with the linguistic aspects of the name -- Nienajadło derives from nie-, "not," plus najadły, a participle of the verb najeść, "to eat one's fill." So Nienajadło would appear to mean "one who didn't eat too much," perhaps meant ironically, a kind of nickname for someone who was skin and bones. However, I could also easily imagine this as meaning "one who never can eat his fill," i. e., someone with a big appetite. Names formed from participles like this generally do show up mostly in southeast Poland, near the Ukrainian border, which is where this name is most common. Also, there were a lot of times historically when famine struck this area, sometimes due to crop failure, sometimes because of war.

So this suggests the family may have tended to be on the thin side -- perhaps because they were too poor to eat much -- or were famous for their appetites and could never get enough to eat. Those are the two most likely meanings of the name.

Copyright © 1998 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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