Pronounced Pron. ˈnɛpomuk (Czech), NE-po-mook (German)
Other Forms FormsNepomuck
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Contributor Contrib.Lucille on 7/25/2007
When this given name first came into use, it was usually given in honour of the medieval saint John of Nepomuk (c. 1345-1393). He was born and raised in the town of Pomuk, which is what Nepomuk refers to. The town was located in what was once Bohemia, but is now located (under the name Nepomuk) in the Plzeň region in the Czech Republic.Some sources claim that Nepomuk literally means "from Pomuk" or "born in Pomuk" in Czech, but this is probably incorrect, as "from" is z in Czech and "born" is narozený in Czech. Instead, Nepomuk probably literally means "not Pomuk" in Czech, derived from ne meaning "not" or "no" and Pomuk meaning "Pomuk". This unusual meaning is said to originate from the early history of the town, which is as follows: in the beginning, there were two towns in the area, namely Pomuk and Přesanice. Both were located in the near vicinity of the one Cistercian Monastery in the area. Apparently, the two towns were often confused with each other, because at some point, the need arose for people to differentiate the two towns from each other. People informally started calling Přesanice ne Pomuk meaning "not Pomuk", which set it apart from the town of Pomuk in no uncertain terms. Eventually, in 1413, the two towns and the monastery were merged into one town, which was henceforth known under the name Nepomuk.This early history surrounding the town of Pomuk is plausible by itself, but it seems a bit problematic when you try to relate it to saint John of Nepomuk. After all, he was born long before the merge of the two towns and the monastery. In his day, Pomuk was still a separate and independent town. In addition to that, Nepomuk was the nickname given to Přesanice at the time - it was never a nickname for Pomuk itself. As such, it does not make sense for a Pomuk native such as the saint to refer to themselves as "Nepomuk". The only way in which it would make sense for the saint to refer to himself as such, would be if he was actually born and raised in Přesanice instead of in Pomuk.All in all, there is some uncertainty and ambiguity surrounding the etymology of Nepomuk. The only thing that we can truly say for certain, is that the name is of Czech (and therefore Slavic) origin.Finally, a well-known bearer of this name was Johann Nepomuk Hummel, a 19th-century Austrian composer and virtuoso pianist.