Variations of name
Since the third edition of his publication "Deutsche Namenkunde" (Berlin 1954), Max Gottschald associates the name Sehrbunt with Old High German "saher", sedge, and with "Bünd", separated part of the village common. In this interpretation, Sehrbunt would be a part of the village common grown with sedge.
In contrast to this, the first edition of the same publication (München 1932), put the name to the name Saramund. From this Germanic given name, Gottschald deduces the family name Sermund and from that - with a question mark - the name Sehrbun(d)t. Ernst Förstemann (Altdeutsches Namenbuch, 2nd rev. ed. Bonn 1900) places the Germanic given name Saramund to the Old High German word parts "sarva", "saro" for arming, armament, and to "munda", "mund" for guard.
Gottschald seems to have taken this original interpretation - deducted from Saramund - from Selmar Kleemann (Die Familiennamen Quedlinburgs, Quedlinburg 1891). The latter one, however, was not too sure in this respect and added some comments, which were not adopted by Gottschald. The transfer from -m- to -b-, Kleemann writes, is "not without example" (e.g. Marmor/marble). Alternatively, he suggests an origin from the Middle High German "serpant" for snake or dragon.
One shouldn't forget other possible etymologic deductions, for example the Middle High German word "sehr" for sore (Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, vol. 16).
Still, we now know that Sehrbun(d)t is not the original version of the
name, and all interpretations based on this spelling may be completely
wrong. The more original spelling probably was Serbont, and that one may
even come from a Romanic language and have no German background at all.
Publications about etymology:Gottschald, Max: Deutsche Namenkunde, 1st ed. München 1932
Gottschald, Max: Deutsche Namenkunde, 3rd rev. ed. Berlin 1954
Grimm, Jacob/Grimm, Wilhelm: Deutsches Wörterbuch, vol. 16, Leipzig 1905, repr. München 1984
Kleemann, Selmar: Die Familiennamen Quedlinburgs, Quedlinburg 1891
Back to the main page