Vadrås

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Sammendrag


In Birkenes parish in the county of Aust-Agder, there is a settlement which in official documents bears the rare and obscure name Vadrås. More than a hundred years ago the great Norwegian expert on place-names Oluf Rygh tried to interpret this name, but without any convincing result.

In the local oral tradition, the name Vadrås has disappeared, probably more than a hundred years ago. The name used today is «Nedre Tjønntveit». Nevertheless, Vadrås still is the official name of the settlement, the name we find on maps and in indexes of properties. The oldest written forms of the name I found are «Waad Row» 1664, «Vaade Rou» 1668 and «Waadrow» 1670. As a matter of fact all these forms differ very much from the later form «Vadraas»/«Vadrås».

The oldest recordings show that the original name of the settlement must have been Vådrau, a compound noun which consists of the adjective våt (= ʻwetʼ) and the noun rauv (= ʻrear, arseʼ). It is easy to understand that this name was not to the owner’s liking. Therefore it was prone to change. «Vadrås» can be considered as a nonsense name, or a compound consisting of a nonsense word vadr and the frequent appellative ås (= ‘hill’).


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