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Currently, hyphens are commonly used to define ethnic identities of multiple origins. In the Middle Ages, multilingual etymologies served a similar function by narrating linguistic histories derived from more than one cultural tradition. Analyzing the Hebrew-French etymologies presented in Wace's Roman de Brut (c. 1155, Cernel) and the Merlin (c. 1230, Escalibor), this essay places French-language narratives of British history in dialogue with the gradual re-interpretation of the roles of Jews in Christian culture that developed in this period. Whereas Wace portrays the possibility of cultural accommodation, the Merlin witnesses new forms of ambivalence.