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snopes
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Comment: Here's a subject that has considerable currency: Bluetooth. This standard
for low-power communications between electronic devices, such as
cellphones, PDAs, etc., gets its unusual name from a Danish king from
around the end of the first millenium.

The king's name, Harald Blåtand, is translated as "Harold Bluetooth."
Some Web sites claim that he got his name from his affinity for eating
blueberries. But "Blåtand" is translated as "dark-skinned great man" in
some dictionaries.

The blueberry story seems very widespread considering the number of hits I
got from Yahoo's search engine. But did the king really have blue teeth?
Were they caused by blueberries? Did blueberries grow in Denmark or is
something just rotten there?

Perhaps you can clear up the mystery.

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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I don't think Harald would be eating American berries.

Maybe billberries.

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Floater
Xboxing Day


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We have lot's of blueberries over here, thank you. However, in Harald's days we didn't have a special word for the colour black (or rather lack of colour), so "blå" could be either black or blue. The "dark-skinned great man" mentioned in the OP is most probably a blåman, ie a black African, and Harald had a damaged tooth that had turned black, hence the name.

ETA at least that's the explanation I've always heard.

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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

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Don Enrico
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The English Wikipedia article supports the " 'blå' meaning 'dark skinned' and 'tan' meaning 'great man' theory", whereas the German Wikipedia article offers the explanation of 'than' meaning 'chief' (as in English thain, chiefthain), so that Blåtand would be 'Dark Chief'.


ETA: The Official Webpage of the Royal Danish Court translates the Name Blåtand as "Bluetooth" - and they should know, shouldn't they?

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My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear

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Floater
Xboxing Day


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The problem is the meaning of "tand". I did look around a wee bit and I could only find the "great man" translation in English language texts that all seemed to cite the same source (or each other). None of the Scandinavian sites I looked at mention anything about "tand" not meaning "tooth".

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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

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Dumb Dane
Moose control


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I can't see why Don Enricos explanation can't be true.
We don't know very much about Harald anyway. I have heard the story of the damaged tooth before but it originates from the "Chronicles of Saxo", a history book made more than 300 years after Haralds death. The writer, Saxo, collected all myths and legends he could dig up and put them together in the book primarily to glorify the king and his ancestors. Its credibility is therefore more than questionable.

Harald Blåtand was the second king of Denmark, date of birth unknown, but he died about 986 A.D. His kingdom was quite a big one, including Norway, parts of Sweden, Germany and Poland and, funny enough, the province of Yorkshire in Great Britain. We have an inscription from his hand, printed on a rock in Jelling, a small danish village in which he tells about his deeds. The inscription says so:
" Harald, the king, made this memorial for Gorm, his father, and Thyra, his mother, that Harald who conquered all Denmark and Norway and made the danes christians"
Pictures of the rock are on this site.
www.fortidensjelling.dk/jelling5.htm

Considering Harald "Bluetooth" it is hard to separate myth from reality. But the story about the blueberries is not (AFAIK) mentioned in any danish source.

Dumb Dane

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I draw the prophet

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zakor
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Perhaps the person who gave the name to this device was merely a history buff?
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Dumb Dane
Moose control


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quote:
Originally posted by zakor:
Perhaps the person who gave the name to this device was merely a history buff?

No, not a bluff. His autheticity is well documented. But the origin of his name is undetermined. [Cool]

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I draw the prophet

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