surname, from 13c. Scottish Dofnald, Dufenald, probably from Gaelic Domhnall, Old Irish Domnall (pronounced "Dovnall"), from Proto-Celtic *Dubno-valos "world-mighty, ruler of the world," from *walos "ruler" (from PIE root *wal- "to be strong") + Old Irish domun "world," from PIE root *dheub- "deep, hollow," via sense development from "bottom" to "foundation" to "earth" to "world" (see deep (adj.)). A top 10 name for boys born in the U.S. between 1923 and 1943. Disney's Donald Duck cartoon character debuted in 1934.
masc. proper name, introduced in England by the Normans, from Old Norse Hrolfr, related to Old High German Hrodulf, literally "wolf of fame" (see Rudolph). Rolfing (1972) as a deep massage technique is named for U.S. physiotherapist Ida P. Rolf (1897-1979), and is attested from 1958 (as Rolf Technique).
literally "of Pieria," 1590s, from Latin Pierius "Pieria," from Greek Pieria, district in northern Thessaly, reputed home of the Muses (who also were known as Pierides); thus "pertaining to poetry."
A little Learning is a dang'rous Thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
[Pope, "Essay on Criticism," 1711]
The name is ultimately from PIE *peie- "be fat, swell" (see fat (adj.)).
According to Room, The Old Persian name for the sea was akhshaena, literally "dark," probably in reference to the sudden, dangerous storms that make the sea perilous to sailors and darken its face (or perhaps in reference to the color of the water, from the sea being deep and relatively lifeless), and the Greeks took this untranslated as Pontos Axeinos, which was interpeted as the similar-sounding Greek word axenos "inhospitable." Thus the modern English name could reflect the Old Persian one.