In pre-Roman times, there was a Celtic tribe in Britain, called Deceangli. To a layperson, this name bears an interesting resemblance to Angles, the name of another (Germanic) tribe that lived in the continent. Coincidentally, the Angles later invaded Britain along with the Saxons, and the name Anglaland (England) was coined.

Is it just a pure coincidence of names or do they both derive from a more ancient, Indo-European source?

  • 1
    The Welsh tribe of that name was based in NE Wales. Deceangli was the name the Romans gave to them
    – user2123
    Jun 1 '13 at 9:52

According to Rhys's Celtic Britain and Tacitus:

deceangli was perhaps de-ceangli <- de "from" + concangi <- cangi.

And according to Guest's Origines Celtica:

cangi was <- caing "estuary"

Now compare a theory about the origin of the name Angle:

Angle <- L anglii "those who dwell by the narrow water/estuary" <- ang- "narrow".

So there is an etymological theory which says they are both related, inasmuch as both being named for proximity to an estuary.

It's not as open and shut as that, though. These are not the only theories of the names.
Some give Angle <- anglii "those who dwell at the crooked place (i.e. Jutland)"; or <- "people of *Ingwaz". Under this theory the names probably are just coincidence.

  • 1
    Mark, I tried to improve your answer formatting also making the "punctuation" consistent in all of the examples. Feel free to rollback or edit it again if you want to change something.
    – Alenanno
    Mar 2 '12 at 20:06
  • @Alenanno thank you! Looks good - I did change the arrow symbols back to <-. It's not as elegant, but is now readable on more systems. Mar 2 '12 at 21:32
  • Eheheh you're right! This one is Unicode, as far as I know: ← :)
    – Alenanno
    Mar 2 '12 at 22:18
  • There are experts attempting to use a modern website aimed at expert linguistics questions with systems so pre-modern that they can't render a Unicode arrow?? They will certainly have bigger problems here )-: Jun 1 '13 at 16:29

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