Any period references to attorcroppes

So, I'm doing some wriitng and I'm using a particular monster, but I think I may need to replace them with something else, because I'm habing trouble proving they are from period folklore, rather than a modern source. I know Tolkein used a variant of this word, which he said meant "spider". Can anyone demonstrate that genuine Saxon folklore has serpent men in it, with a name thatg's a variant on this? Not new age stuff - serious stuff written before gaming took off.

Thanks, oh collected wisdom of crowds.

Anglo-Saxon means you're in Old English* territory. In OE, an átorcoppe is just a spider, at least according to the classic dictionaries online: ... about.html

(* also affectionately known as Olde Anguish by those who have been there and done that. Rotsa ruck, GI!) :wink:

The root átor- seems to relate to "poison/poisoning", so whether or not it also has an idiomatic use regarding some fae of legend is not clear from what I can find.

I did find a couple cutesy fairy* sites - you might want to contact them directly and ask them "as a researcher" for their source/documentation, see if they're heavyweight or not. (Serious sites tend to help serious researchers, non-serious just cribbed it from "somewhere - I forget".) ... ttorcroppe

(I yes, "fairy" with an "ai", as in the sound Hadji made in Johnny Quest - "Aieeee!")

You might want to call around, find a library w/ a decent OE resource, and do it the old fashioned way. Maybe request a book via inter-library loan. Ask a librarian, explain your quest - this is what they are trained to do.

I know...I'm a reference librarian. 8) I've done the basics. "Asking people who might know." is one of our techniques. 8)

I haven't found it, but I was hoping that there was a source I'd missed.

OE ator, probably from the Danes "edder": In modern German, the word has become "Eiter" (pus - in English).
Not much.

In German/Dutch/Old English its meaning has drifted, but that is not where its from.

Etter in Swedish(same word as Danish edder) is poison, often snake poison but not necessarily.
In norse mythology its what Ymer is formed from(and its also the origin of all living things, ie the mytological version of primordial goo you might call it) and the poison of the snake Jörmungandr that it uses to kill Tor.

Only derived word i can think of right now is "ettrig" roughly meaning something or someone that is persistently very annoying, intrusive or angry.

"probably"? Guessing at etymology across languages is much like, oh, astrology - only without all the science. :unamused:

For instance, the word "adder", a specifically poisonous snake, apparently has nothing to do with "ator", all appearances and intuition to the contrary. :wink:

In this case, it seems(!) they're all branches from the same earlier root, "from Proto-Germanic *aitra- "poisonous ulcer" (cf. Old Norse eitr, Old High German eitar "poison;" German eiter "pus," Old High German eiz "abscess, boil")"

Can't tell from here, but if you say so...

Good luck. I think the key is to somehow convince those sites, the people who state/claim that it's a fae, to tell you what their original sources are. Follow the stream back up to the origin.

(double post, see above)

I am of the opinion that diacronic linguistics is about as scientific as the Brothers Grimm. But you seem to know: Which sources from before 793 have you found?

EDIT: Orosius is 9th century and clearly influenced by Scandinavians
Corpus Glossary is too late to support your claim!

'fraid I cannot help much. I just note that the modern Norwegian word "edderkopp" means spider. But every time I try to say anything about etymology the linguists squish my feeble attempts, so I guess it doesn't help.

I don't know about a folk reference to a supernatural creature.

But the word certainly does literally mean "spider" in (some versions of) Old English.

ātoreoppe = spider according to Clark (1916) A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, Second Edition

Online version of relevant page here:

(Doesn't seem to be related to the word for adder, which is nǽdre).