Francine Nicholson wrote:
> > *Mato-bodua < *Mati-bodua from mati "good" (Ir. math, W. mad, Bret.
> > maz)]
> But wouldn't that make the meaning something like "good crow"? Although
> crows/ravens were sometimes used for divination, I have a hard time
> thinking of a crow referred to as "good." What do you think?
This is only a hypothesis, not even as sure as the preferred reconstruction
(I meant this to be just an example for another possible reconstruction, not
as an alternative.)
But if you ask for a translation as "good crow", this is a so-called
An euphemism is a kind of hidden title of someone you don't want to call by
his real name or to change his name to make it sound not so cruel.
This is a concept in religion and mythology as well as in normal speech.
e.g. Cybele was called "bona Dea" although she acted in a rather brutal way.
(Remember Adonis who was castrated by her.)
Other words became changed for reasons of tabuism (cf. Gk. lykos with -k-
instead of -p- in Lat. lupus, Eng. wulf). A possible example is the Persian
and Indian God Indra, another one is the use of Eng. bear ("the brown one")
instead of I.E. *rktos/rksos "bear" (< "destroyer").
In the middle ages, euphemism often occurred by using an extraordinary word
from the classic languages instead of own ones that everyone could
understand. That's typical for so-called "bad words".
So the attribute *mati- (if there has ever been one) does not really mean a
"good" goddess, it's rather a kind of
"mighty one, that I hardly dare to call by its real name: Bodva"
I hope that helped a bit.