I would take issue with the notion that "Cameron" is derived from
"Cam-sron" or "Crooked Nose". The leading branch of the family is Cameron
of "Strone" (sron), that being a placename and geophysical feature - there
are two such places associated with the Camerons - one in Lochaber where
Glen Loy meets the River Lochy and the other, more prominant "Point Strone",
where Castle Urqhart is located on Loch Ness. It is easy to get caught up
in the bickering and name-calling spawned by ill-feelings between clans. So
it is easy to see how one might take a perfectly pleasant name like "lovely
promitory" and make it into a derogatory "crooked nose". It is hard to
imagine anybody retaining such a name unless there were something positive
The same would hold true for Campbell. If you don't like them (and
there plenty of reasons for the Livingstons not to like them), then
interpreting their name as "crooked mouth" might be useful as a way of
showing your contempt. But more realistically, the family would not have
retained this name if there were not some positive attributes associated
Taking a second look at the word "caem", I see that it also translates
as 'noble'. Considering the social status of the Campbells, "nobel Bel" is
not terribly out of line. Going back to my earlier comments about the
similarity of DNA between Campbells and a family called "Shamblin", one
could suggest that "Shamblin" might be a French-influenced corruption of
"Caem-bilain" or "noble Bel people". Similarly, "Shambellie" could be a
French-influenced corruption of "Caem Bili" (noble Bili).
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Stifter" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 11:21 AM
> >"Campbell", possibly from "Caem Bel", meaning 'lovely Bel
> I thought that Campbell meant "crooked mouth"?
> An bhfuil mé mícheart?
No, I think you're right. "Camibeul" "Crooked mouth" is how the name is
usually understood, and the type of formation ties in with similar
derogatory names already in OIr.
Cp. for example "cammderc" "crooked-eyed" (Sg. 63a4, 70b8) glossing Latin
"Strabo", and also used as an epithet: "Aed Caimdherc"; or "m. Cormaic
Cams*rôin" "son of
Cormac Crooked-Nose" (Corp. Gen. 347.21).
For the latter cp. the Scottish surname "Cameron" = "Camshron".