The name for Herzegovina, the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was first popularized in the early nineteenth century, peaking in usage during the 1870s, World War I, and when the country was being formed in the 1990s. However, the word was floating around for a while before that, first being coined in 1448 in reference to the ruler of Bosnia at the time, Hercog Stjepan Vukčić Kosača. Hercog was his title (basically meaning "duke") and Herzegovina was the word for the territory he controlled (equivalent to "duchy"); the term just stuck around after that. Hercog comes from German herzog, which traces to the Old High German word herizogo, meaning "army leader". That derives from Proto-Germanic harjatugo, which is made out of Proto-Indo-European components meaning "war" and"pull".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.