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I am trying to come up with a composite word for a group of "hunters from/of the hills" for a story. Looking at dictionaries and some web pages the best I can come up with is Hügeljäger. As this is for an english audience it sounds a bit rolly-polly or hufflepuff'ish. If this is the best option great, but I would like some alternative options.

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    There is the term "Gebirgsjäger". However, these are not huntsmen but the alpine troops of the Bundeswehr (German military). For me, your term "Hügeljäger" somehow evokes associations with this army division. If you want to avoid such associations you may want to find an alternative. – Chris Sep 10 '14 at 18:55
  • Good advice. The term is not only used in Germany but also in Austria, refering to a light infantry mountain division. But I doubt that the english audience assuming mostly not native German speaking would fall for that association. – Ghanima Sep 10 '14 at 19:51
  • Something other than "rolly polly"? I am not going for a military feel, more of an "oulander", separate from the "valley" culture but equal in power. – Tyson of the Northwest Sep 10 '14 at 20:04
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    I think compounds (with too many syllables) are not very likely to become a family name. If I wanted to create a family name associated with hills or mountains I would take "Bergner", "Berger", "Bergmann" or "Hügler" or so. – Chris Sep 10 '14 at 20:15
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    Brinkmann wäre ein (wahrscheinlich) auf diese Weise entstandener Name. – user6191 Sep 10 '14 at 20:20
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A term related to "Jäger" is "Schütze" ("rifleman"). So you could call that man "Bergschütz" or "Waldschütz". The latter actually exists as a family name. Whether this is also true for the former I don't know. It has the advantage that it is closer to your intended meaning - and the disadvantage (in my eyes) that "Bergschützen" is often used as name for gun clubs. "Schütze" is also a military degree, but composed with "Berg" (mountain) or "Wald" (wood) this meaning would IMHO be not so present as in "Gebirgsjäger".

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Synonymous to Jäger in the non-military sense of the word (the people hunting for game) would be Weidmann or Waidmann. This is still referenced today in the greeting between hunters: "Waidmannsheil! - Waidmanndank!"

It would avoid any military associations although I still don't feel comfortable with any composite words in this case (quite long to be a name).

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Your composition is fine, but I think it suggests (due to the composition) that they're hunters, who primarily hunt in the hills.

If you want them to be hunters in general, who simply come from the hills, I'd suggest (more freely)

Die Jäger des Hügellandes

Not quite the usual family name, but still:

Tyson, Jäger des Hügellandes

Sounds maybe a bit LotR-like.

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I understand that you are looking for fantasy names, but if you want some realism there are a few things to consider:

One of the most important functions of family names is to distinguish families within a community. So if ten families live together in a village on a mountain, their names are unlikely to refer to this rather obvious fact. Instead, they will have names that refer to their professions within the community.

Names referring to mountains or hills are therefore mostly used if there is a village in the valley, but some people live in relative isolation on the surrounding mountains/hills (or have recently moved from the hills to the village).

Such names include:

  • Berger: from Berg, mountain
  • Kogler: from Kogel, originally a hood, but figuratively referring to a round topped mountain/large hill
  • Bühler/Bichler/Pichler: and certainly other regional variants derived from Bühel, Bichel or Pichel (listed in my "Österreichisches Wörterbuch", but not the Duden), a hill

All of these can be modified to further distinguish them from each other by prefixing them with "Ober-, Unter-" to indicate who lives further uphill or on the higher hill. Alternatively, to be more specific, the name of the hill can be used: "Kirchbichler", "Hirschbichler", etc.

Names indicating profession rarely also indicate location of origin/residence. So a hunter will just be named

  • Jäger
  • Waidmann

or derive his name from his typical prey as in

  • Hirsch
  • Fuchs

or a combination as in

  • Gamsjäger
  • A very thoughful answer. The austrian words add a certain feeling as does the rules for composition. – Ghanima Sep 11 '14 at 20:14

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