Spanish surname Peña [possible Hebrew origin]

Rainbowlight

Senior Member
Spanish
Hello everyone,

Some years ago a person told me that my Spanish surname had a Hebrew origin. Peña (pronounced more or less like one would say PEGNA in Italian) means a large rock, a boulder, a crag. It can also mean a group of people that participate in events such as betting or following a sports team. I would also take into consideration that the word "penna" means feather in Italian.

I must add that Peña may also be linked to empeñar (to pawn), peón (pawn, as in the chess piece) and gaje (gage).

I would like to know if any of these terms coincide with my surname when translated into Hebrew. In case they don't, I would like to know if there is any word in Hebrew that actually sounds more or less like Peña (again, the closer to the Spanish pronunciation would be pronouncing pegna in Italian).

Thank you very much.
 
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  • Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    No, this word does not have Hebrew origin.

    The closest word I can think of is pinna, which means "corner".
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    According the the etymology information on peña (cliff, rock, boulder, the meaning from which the surname seems to be derived), e.g. in the DLE, it is derived from Latin pinna. Latin pinna (fin) can mean pinnacle from where the generalisation cliff, rock, boulder is quite plausible. Italian penna is from Latin penna (feather, wing). Penna and pinna were already conflated in Latin itself, though the meaning pinnacle only occurs for the variant pinna (see, e.g., L&S) but this conflation may explain why pinna ended up as peña (rather than piña) in Spanish.
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The words empeñar, peón and gaje are not linked to peña. Their etymologies are as follows:

    empeñar: del latín in pignus 'en prenda de'

    peón: del latín vulgar pedo, -ōnis 'soldado de a pie'

    gaje: del francés gage 'prenda'
     
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    pollohispanizado

    Senior Member
    Inglés canadiense
    While the name Penha (Portuguese spelling) exists among Jews who lived in Iberia, I don't think it has Hebrew origin.
    Exactly. Here is another list [in Spanish] of Sefardi surnames (as Abaye said: used by Sefardis, but not necessarily of Hebrew origin). Pena is there, but not Peña... not sure if it's just a typo.

    but this conflation may explain why pinna ended up as peña (rather than piña) in Spanish
    The pinna > peña shift was very common in pre-Spanish vulgar latin; cf. ligna > leña, villus > vello, pilus > pelo, cilia > ceja, signa > seña, pilula > pella, apicula > abeja, cuniculus > conejo, dominiare > domeñar, concilium > concejo, etc.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The pinna > peña shift was very common in pre-Spanish vulgar latin; cf. ligna > leña, villus > vello, pilus > pelo, cilia > ceja, signa > seña, pilula > pella, apicula > abeja, cuniculus > conejo, dominiare > domeñar, concilium > concejo, etc.
    True, the VL /i/-/e:/ merger can explain it as well.
     

    Rainbowlight

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    The words empeñar, peón and gaje are not linked to peña. Their etymologies are as follows:

    empeñar: del latín in pignus 'en prenda de'

    peón: del latín vulgar pedo, -ōnis 'soldado de a pie'

    gaje: del francés gage 'prenda'
    Thank you. I just listed them as they seemed to be phonetically linked, even if the connection may seem tenuous. When trying to ascertain the origin of a word, I like to add similar words and words from other languages. Thus, Italian penna interests me, even if it seems to bear no relation to Spanish word Peña.

    Thanks for your message and help with the etymology of those three terms. :thank you::thank you::thank you:
     
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