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Subject: Re: Desperately seeking Belevan
Author: Nanaea   (Authenticated as Nanaea)
Date: November 29, 2001 at 6:15:20 AM
Reply to: Desperately seeking Belevan by Monica Belevan
While I couldn't find any references to the family name of "Belevan" in my surname sources, I did find that Mike & Melanie of had covered this word awhile back. Perhaps you even saw the column:

From John:

I was wondering if you could give me some information on the word believer. I have searched some databases, but the information I obtained is not what I'm looking for. I am interested in the total history of the word itself. Can you help?

Hmm... the "total history", eh? It's a good job you added that — otherwise we might have told you only that it's a noun formed from the verb to believe.

This is quite an old word as it goes all the way back to the Middle English belevan (11th century) which, in turn, derives from the Old English verb belefan (from be-, "about" + lyfan or lefan, "to allow", "to believe"). An earlier Old English form of belefan was gelefan, which reveals its relation to the Old High German gilouben, "to believe".

It is worthy of note that this lyfan (or lefan) is related to the Old English words leof, "dear", and lufu, "love" as they all belong to a group of words which are thought to have evolved from the hypothetical Indo-European root *leubh-. Apart from love, the only other *leubh- word in Modern English is quodlibet, the delightfully pompous musical term for a pop tune. It is formed from the Latin quod libet, literally "that which is liked".

Other than that, a 'net search revealed that there Peru's ambassador to Boliver had borne that name. You might try searching for e-mail addresses of other Belevans on the 'net, and contacting them directly to find out if they can shed a little more light on the name for you.

You can also try setting up your own genforum for the name Belevan at and see if anyone responds.

Good luck!

-- Nanaea

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