What is the meaning of Middlesex? I read somewhere that seax is an old English word meaning a type of Germanic knife, so was the county's original name Middleseax?

I'm looking for the etymology of the word 'Middlesex'.

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    Middlesex is a place name that you can easily Google (unless there's some slang meaning of it that I don't know, in which case you need to put the usage in your question). We discourage people from asking answers that are easily found on the web, as that wastes our time. May 8, 2016 at 16:18
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    @PeterShor Yeah, how dare they, when we have such important work to do.
    – deadrat
    May 8, 2016 at 16:24
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    @Araucaria In that case, context is required in the question.
    – Andrew Leach
    May 9, 2016 at 15:04
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    Already previously asked & closed as off-topic in the question referenced by Ste.
    – TrevorD
    May 9, 2016 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


It's hard to tell without any context, but if you mean Middlesex, with an initial capital letter, then it's a place name, the original one in England. The -sex part is a reference to a group of people called the Saxons, a Germanic tribe that came to England after the Romans left. Apparently some settled in the east (so that location came to be called Essex); some settled in the west (so that location came to be called Wessex). And some settled in between, so their place was called Middlesex. Check here.

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    And some settled in the south, Sussex.
    – TimR
    May 8, 2016 at 17:28
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    'Middlesex' is also used as the name of a novel by Jeffery Eugenides. The main character is intersex, so I think it is used as a more euphonious synonym in that instance rather than in reference to the county. But I've never been sureoif the author's intent with that.
    – Spagirl
    May 9, 2016 at 7:46

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