Toponymy has points of contact with several other disciplines, first and foremost with linguistics, history and geography. Based on those three, the article attempts to dissipate the doubts of Taavi Pae about Paul Ariste’s etymology of Pandivere, which associates the name with the Mordvin noun panda ‘hill’. The name of Pandivere is obviously quite old, but not so much for the heights, which have been named after a manor, which in turn has got its name from a village.
From a linguistic point of view the initial component Pand(i)- may be associated with the Estonian noun põndak ‘hillock’. The word family of põnt : põnda with the derivatives põndak(as), põndas etc, all referring to a small hill, is quite widespread in Estonian dialects. In other Finnic languages the word stem is not used as a noun, but it does occur in place names. According to 19th-century Russian scholar Vladimir Mainov the Veps have referred to the Urals as Kivi-panda (kivi ‘stone’). In Finland there are several high and steep hills called Pantamäki (mäki ‘hill’). In earlier records the initial component of the name Pandivere ends in -e, which may be indicative of its being a plural attributive part. As the village was situated on two hills, the name may well have have been motivated by those: Pande ’GenPl hill’ + -vere.
From a historical point of view the village is much older than first believed (1547). In the 13th century the village belonged to Koeru parish in Järvamaa county: in 1281 a small village called Pandevire is mentioned, in 1288 the spelling is Pandevere. The parish of Väike-Maarja, where Pandivere belonged later, is a much more recent formation, probably established no earlier than the late 15th century and then included in Virumaa County. Earlier the area used to border the prehistoric parish of Lemmundu in Virumaa.
There is also a natural geographic association: the village is situated in a high terrain, which is not quite flat. There have been two hills there, about 250 m from one another, long serving as a source of sand. There are several legends about their origin. At least one of the two hills, Ammemägi, which is reported to have had a steep slope, used to serve as an important natural landmark, mentioned in 1646 as marking the border between Raeküla manor and the villages of Kadila and Naraka.