Meaning of the name Prisacariu

In this post I want to go over the etymology of the name Prisacariu. If you know Romanian it is pretty easy to find info about the etymology of the name, but I didn’t see any sources in the English language. There are other variations of the name like Prisăcariu, Prisacaru and Prisecaru. You can see the global distribution of this name here (it also has a list of similar names, but some of them are irrelevant). This page also has the distribution of the name in Romania.

The name seems to have the highest concentration in Romanian Moldavia (Western Moldavia), especially in Botoșani County and Iași County. Both my grandparents from my father’s side are from Botoșani County.

Many Romanians would guess that the name is derived from the word prisăcar, which means beekeeper. This Wiktionary page lists prisăcar as a synonym for the Romanian word apicultor (other synonyms are albinar and stupar). Unfortunately, Wiktionary doesn’t have a page for the word prisăcar.

The word prisăcar is derived from the word prisacă. Some of the meanings of prisacă are “place where the beehives are placed (or stupină)” , “place in the forest where trees were cut off” or “meadow created after the trees were cut off”. If you read Romanian you can see the definitions at The dexonline page mentions that the word prisacă is derived from Slavic languages. Some of the relevant etymological words listed by dexonline are the Bulgarian prĕsĕk, Croatian presĕka and Slavonic prisĕkati = to cut. On Wiktionary I found this page for the Serbo-Croatian word presek (Cyrillic spelling пре́сек). The definitions for presek are “cut, section” and “intersection (in geometry or set theory)”. So it is safe to say that ultimately the name Prisacariu is derived from Slavic words that are related to cutting.

The reason why a word or words related to cutting evolved into words related to beekeeping, is probably related to the cutting of the honeycombs by the beekeepers. Modern techniques like Langstroth hive eliminated the need to cut the honeycomb. My knowledge of beekeeping is very superficial, so I cannot make any other interesting connections.

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