Öljaren and Lilla Öljaren in Oppunda härad

By Svante Strandberg

In: Ortnamnssällskapets i Uppsala årsskrift 2021


Öljaren (Öliaren 1556) is a large lake in Oppunda härad (district) in Södermanland. It is characterised by the fact that the wind can get up quickly here, causing troublesome waves. An appealing interpretation of the name of the lake traces it back to an OSw. *Yli m., related to OSw. vælla, OWScand. vella ‘seethe; flow’ and Goth. wulan ‘surge, seethe’.

In various parts of Scandinavia there are hydronyms that have been linked to yl( j)- ‘heat; steam’. The present author cites the lake names Lilla Öljaren in Vadsbro parish, Södermanland, and Öljesjön in Fellingsbro parish, Västmanland. These names are related to yl( j)- ‘heat; steam’ rather than to *yl- (< *wul-) ‘seething’, ‘surging’ or the like. As a conceivable basis for the names the author also mentions the words örja ‘mud’ etc. and örjug ‘muddy, turbid’.

Two other names considered in the essay are the hamlet names Öljeholm and Öljemåla in Linneryd parish, Småland.