Hof (place name)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hof is a place name ( toponym ). It is the basic form of many house and settlement names . It is particularly common in German as the ending -hof / e / n , -höf / e / n , -hov / e / n , -höv / e / n .


The probably very Germanic word Hof has undergone some fundamental changes in meaning in its history:

  • Originally it generally corresponded to the Latin area "Freiraum".
  • Old High German hof , Low German hof , hoff is then " grassland , farmland ", comparable to the Greek κηπος, Latin campus , but then approaches the Latin hortus "( fenced ) garden ", and stands parallel to garde "protected" / "garden" as also the enclosure : in bâmhofBaumgarten ” is synonymous with bongart , plantenhof “plant courtyard ”. This meaning is preserved in the churchyard and the cemetery .
  • In High German , hof can already be found as a “fenced-in economic area at a house”, i.e. a “demarcated area” as in Mondhof ( corona ) or the areola (areola) of the nipple . The word field also includes the “ inner courtyard ” (enclosed by buildings) . Here, courtyard and garden are “strictly separated terms”, while the legal term house and courtyard indicates the connection between a house and the associated economic area.
  • Therefore, Hof goes to "every property in which this economic area takes up a significant extent, thereby at the same time pointing to the importance of housekeeping", the Hofstelle. and maintains the context of economic activity as it is in the steward .
  • In addition, the medieval sense of form gives the "seat of a person", as the court of the king , the royal household . From this, the designation for an agricultural property ( estate ) in general, as a “farm” or in lordly possession as a “ manor ”, but also “seat” or “ residence ” in a branch line develops as “ possession of a person” ", For example at the court of law , as well as" the people around a person " (court) , abstracted in the idiom make court .
  • About the yard as the nucleus of the settlement formation, both from early roots as well as the Fronhof and other economic facilities, the term covers a type of settlement, the " homestead " in scattered settlements or in cluster ( hamlet ) - this is where most of today's place names have their roots.
  • In the end, however, the word goes over to the building itself, the farmstead , and names the “ farm ”. In numerous house forms of rural architecture, such as the square , the four-sided courtyard , the three-sided courtyard , or the stretch and hook courtyard of the street village , as well as the more open heap courtyard , the levels of meaning of "inner courtyard", "homestead" and "house" still coincide Einhof or Paarhof no longer.
  • It also loses its agricultural reference and designates objects in urban areas as well as farm buildings, such as the rectory , train station , and economic open spaces (barracks courtyard)

Hof is originally with a short vowel, which is preserved in the spelling Hoff in central and southern Germany until the 18th century, and in the ancient court ("at the court of the king") shows a remnant of the old noun stem ending ( apocopes ).

Name customer

Hof as a property in its earliest meaning belongs to the oldest language layers of German naming, and could well go beyond the Franconian conquest from the 5th century AD. Like house and home, it is the prototypical educational component for house names .

“… Marchionis in loco Niuuanhova dicto, id est cum eadem curte et in proximo confinio adiacentes triginta regales hobas cum terris cultis et incultis pratis pascuis silvis aedificiis aquis aquarumve decursibus venationibus zidalweiditer piscirationis molendinis qui bus exit viitibus etnibus legal enqueen ad easdem hobas pertinentibus ... "

- Ostarrîchi document , 996, trans. W. Kleindel : ... in the place called Niuvanhouva [ Neuhofen ], that is, with this court and thirty royal hooves in its immediate vicinity with built and undeveloped land, with meadows, pastures, forests, buildings, with springs and watercourses , with hunts, bees pastures, fish waters, mills, with movable and immovable property, with paths and impassable land, with exits and entrances, with achieved and still to be achieved yields and with everything that belongs to these hooves by law and statute ...

The text of this document gives an overview of what belongs to the concept of a farm at the turn of the early and high Middle Ages . Hooves is a legal expression about the size of a property. The Bavarian word zidalweidun for "bee pasture" ( Zeidlerei ) in the Latin text is amazing .

Name variants

  • Hof , Hofe , Hofen , Hofs , Hoof
  • Hoff - Central German, in the south the short “o” usually only stands for an “f” today, while the long vowel diphthongs to “ö”
  • -hov. -hove , -hoven
  • Höf , Höfe , Höfen and -höv , -höve , -höven , also Hoef and its variants, such as Dutch. De Hoef

Three terms are largely synonymous with the basic word and are only specified in the legal sense:

Diminutive :

Typical compounds :

With the - in this context mostly probably older - syllable for family associations and dwellings -ing , -hof connects to -inghoven ( Sauerland ), -ikon (from -ighof , German-speaking Switzerland ). However, the etymology of the reverse Hofing / Höfingen is questionable , but it is rare.

The derivation of the royal court is based on the roots of the Vienna Hofburg and the address Am Hof .

Buildings or building complexes whose main feature is the courtyard can be named after it, such as the Viennese municipal housing (e.g. the Karl-Marx-Hof ), the Frankfurter Hof , the Fünf Höfe in Munich or the Hackesche Höfe in Berlin as tight tenements .

As a basic house name , it is often used in personal names :

The Low German Hövel / Höbel / Heuvel , which belongs to " Hügel " via Hubel / Hübel / Hibl and Heugel / Heigl , does not stand for Hof , a typical example: Hövelhof , which would otherwise be pointless (South German cannot be confused, Bühl or Pichl is here for, hill ', and Höfel for Hof )

In other languages ​​corresponds to:

  • For the term settlement: villa (lat., Compare hamlet )
  • For the legal term: Court (French, English) Cort- (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese)


The name is common throughout the Germanic language area.

Individual evidence

  1. a b c entry HOF, m. area, villa, auditorium. In: Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm: German Dictionary . Leipzig 1854–1960 (dwb.uni-trier.de)
  2. Ostarrîchi - Certificate (Otto III. In 996) , original text Latin, on ELibraryAustria)
  3. Walter Kleindel Certificate of …. Documents on the history of Austria from 996 to 1955. Österreichischer Bundesverlag, Vienna, 1984, ISBN 3-215-04447-1 , p. 16 ( plato.kfunigraz.ac.at ( Memento from June 18, 2004 in the Internet Archive ), Institute for European and comparative legal history, University of Graz.
  4. ^ Konrad Kunze : dtv-Atlas onenology (=  dtv-Band . Band 2490 ). 1st edition. dtv, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-423-03266-9 , Bäuerl. Legal and ownership relationships , p. 111 .