Etymology: Guadalupe

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by mansio, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. mansio Senior Member

    I'd like to know the meaning of "lupe" in the place (and girl's) name Guadalupe. I already know that "guada" comes from Arabic "wadi" (river).
  2. MetalMarianne Senior Member

    Stockholm, Sweden
    Chile, Spanish & German
    "Rafael de Baena nos explica que Guadalupe tiene su etimologia en 'Wad al luben', cuyo significado era rio escondido." = Rafael de Baena explains us that the etimology of Guadalupe comes from 'Wad al luben', which meant hidden river

    or ---->

    "Advocación venerada en España desde el siglo XIV. La etimología árabe de su nombre significa “Río de Lobos”." = ... the arabic etimology of the name means "Wolves' River"

    or the last one I could find ---->

    "¿Qué opinan de la etimología que se da en esta página de GUADALUPE (Río escondido), yo sabía que era "río de lobos", algunos dicen que es "río de luz"?." = What is your oppinion about the etimology given in this page to GUADALUPE (hidden river), I knew it was 'wolves' river', some say it's 'river of light'?
  3. mansio Senior Member


    I knew the etymology "rio de los lobos". It isn't a true Arabic etymology because "lobo" comes from Latin "lupus" wolf.

    I didn't know "rio escondido" and "rio de luz".
    I asked to several Arabic speaking people as to the meaning of "lub" or "lubb" but they couln't answer.

    I heard also "lub" as meaning stones. In Arabic I know only the word for white beans "lubya" that looks like "lub".

    The country Lebanon comes from Semitic "white" (because of the snow, I think), and leben is a kind of milk/yoghourt.

    Maybe it is the "white river" changed into "rio de luz".
  4. MetalMarianne Senior Member

    Stockholm, Sweden
    Chile, Spanish & German
    Thanks Mansio!

    I'm really no expert in this - the answers I provided came just from googling a bit.

    The 'white(light) river' sounds the most probable to me after the explanation you give. :)
  5. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "Wadi" is not "river" but "valley." :)

    You are right though: it comes from Arabic.
  6. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    In Arabic, "lub" can mean "heart" or "core" - but I don't think that fits in this context.

    "Lubya" does indeed mean "white beans," and "laban" is indeed yoghurt.

    I don't know if that helps you or just confuses you more - but I thought it would be worth a shot! ;)
  7. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    After further research, I found this:


    I can confirm that "hub" means "love." This etymological explanation convinces me the most.

    "Wadi," however, means "valley," as I said in a previous post.

    The Arabic word for "river" is "naher."
  8. mansio Senior Member

    Thanks Elroy for wadi l-hub. That sounds interesting.
    All the large rivers in Spain with Arabic names are called wadi-something and everyone translates it river. Of course a river flows in a valley !
  9. makandal New Member

    For Guadalupe maybe we have 2 meanings:

    1 ouad al houbb : love river ouad: river hubb: love in arabic
    2 ouad el lobo : river of the wolf lobo: wolf in spannish
  10. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    A long time ago I read that “wadi” in Mozarabe meant “a dry river” or an “ephemeral river”, or “a dry river bed”. I checked the explanation in Wikipedia, and found the following explanation:
    Wadi (Arabic: وادي‎ wādī; also: Vadi) is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry (ephemeral) riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.
  11. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    It is the name of places in different countries and i am thinking if the word "Quad' maybe related to cuadra is one possible source of meaning of this name. The lupe sounds loop in English and here is the possible picture of that word= a place(dry place) sorrounded by stream forming a shape of Cuadra (square) and that stream of water is connected to a longer/wider body of water that form like a loop?
  12. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Are you joking?
  13. Treaty Senior Member

    The reason that the name is used in different places is that those places were Spanish or Portuguese colonies, while parts of Spain was itself ruled by Arabs. There's no doubt about the Arabic root of guad+al (wad+al = valley of) as is also found in Guadalajara and Guadalquivir. What is not yet completely clear is the second part "upe" or "lupe" (hubb, howf, lupus, 'owf). For understanding this part we need to know more about the history of the first Guadalupe (river) in Spain/Andalusia.

    The "loop" theory is only plausible if we consider the name of the river is rooted in some Pre-Roman Celtic language (lub = to bend) and was transfered into Latin and then Arabic. And that the river was named "bending" because it bends several times through its path to Atlantic. Well, I think it's a bit unlikely.
  14. djara

    djara Senior Member

    Sousse, Tunisia
    Tunisia Arabic
    However, in Maghrebian usage, "wadi" does mean river.
  15. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    mansio, you mentioned "stones"—I wonder if you were thinking of another "Guad-" name, Guadalajara, from Ar. wādi al-ħajāra, 'streambed of stones' (according to Wikipedia).
    Since we're speculating, I wonder if anyone knows whether the river-vs.-valley question with "wadi" has to do with climate change?
    Did today's dry wadis have a continuous flow of water a thousand years ago, and fail to change their name when they dried up?
    Compare "arroyo", which is a dry gully in the English of the southwestern U.S., but a stream with water elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world.
    The "p" of "-lupe" calls for special explanation: there is no /p/ in classical or modern Arabic.
    And as the /p/ of Latin "lupus/lupum"—like every other intervocalic /p/—changed to /b/ for Spanish "lobo", it is very unlikely to have reversed that change.
  16. nwon Senior Member

    Northwestern Ontario
    Inglés canadiense
    Would it be art all possible that -lupe came from -luf or something? I don't speak Arabic, though I do know that F is a phoneme that is used.

    I find the Mozárabe explanation (wadi meaning ephemeral river bed) to be very interesting.

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