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sword

Replies: 2

Halbert = halberd

Posted: 20 Jan 2000 5:00AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 8 Jul 2001 11:05PM GMT
Surnames: Halbert, Holbert, Flannery
Lynn: Not exactly a "sword". It was a combination of a spear & battle-axe used in the 1500s & 1600s. See 'halberd' in a dictionary.

<Late Middle English 'haubert', 'halbert' <Old French 'hallebarde'<Middle High German 'helmbarte', < 'helm' "handle", "staff" + 'barte' "an axe", akin to 'bart' "beard". [for the sense, compare English 'barb' meaning both "beard" & "fish-hook"]. This is the view taken by three dictionaries that I consulted.

However, Middle High German also had 'helm' = "helmet", so a 'halberd' co-incidentally was a "helmet-splitting axe". This is Eric Partridge's view.

This would suggest that the Halbert surname was originally applied to halberd-bearers. I haven't see a Halbert coat-of-arms, but it would be interesting if it showed a halberd on it. These halberd-bearers may have functioned as royal or noble guardsmen.

Halsey

SubjectAuthorDate Posted
lynn schroyer 20 Jan 2000 12:00PM GMT 
jhflann 20 Jan 2000 12:00PM GMT 
DonHalbert54 1 Apr 2012 2:28AM GMT 
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