Fänjan, Knotorp and Mjugg: Three place-names in Kila parish

By Svante Strandberg

In: Ortnamnssällskapets i Uppsala årsskrift 2020


An area of marshy ground by the river Virån in Kila parish, Södermanland, is called Fänjan in early sources. The author is inclined to link this name to the Swedish dialect word fän, OWScand. fen neut. ‘marshland, fen’. Fänjan may be a primary name formation going back to an OSw. *Fænia f., or a secondary name formation containing a corresponding appellative, OSw. *fænia f. (< *fanjōn-). It is also possible that Fänjan is an elliptical form of a compound place-name containing fän ‘marshland, fen’ or a toponymic *Fän– in its first element.

The small settlement of Kärrbol in the same parish used to be called Knotorp. The author considers it possible that this –torp name has a first element descriptive of the terrain, containing either the word knoe ‘knuckle’ – here perhaps in the sense of ‘small rise, hump’ etc. – or a field or nature name formed from knoe.

Situated by the river Virån in Kila are the settlements of Lilla and Stora Mjugg. The author reflects on the possibility of their names being connected to the expression i mjugg ‘in secret, on the quiet’, referring to a remote location in the landscape. However, he is more inclined to interpret the name Mjugg with reference to the Södermanland dialect form mjugg, meaning ‘stingy, mean, giving a poor yield, meagre’.