Female names of literary origin, A-F

Do you guys like literary names?
I love so many of these! Most of them actually. In fact, I think if I lived in an English-speaking country I could consider some of them as names for my potential children.
I particularly love Amaryllis, Araminta, Ariel, Celia (I didn’t even know it is a literary name, I knew it was Shakespearean but not that Shakespeare used it first), Belphoebe, Clarinda, Clarissa (I could actually use Clarissa in Poland on a real life child very happily), Cordelia, Dulcinea, Ethel, Evangeline (again, had no idea it was literary!) and Fiona. Which literary names out of these do you like? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

Cosette on first-edition 1862 Les Misérables cover, by Émile Bayard

While all names necessarily have to be invented at some point, names created for literary characters are usually more recent creations than other names. Their staying power and popularity seems to hinge on how well they blend into the language of origin; i.e., do they sound like actual names, or do they only work in a fictional world?

This post only covers names invented for fictional characters, not names which already existed but only became popular after their use in literature.

Albena is the heroine of Bulgarian writer Yordan Yovkov’s 1930 play of the same name. It may be based on the word alben, a type of peony.

Amaryllis is a character in Virgil’s epic poem Eclogues. The name comes from the Greek word amarysso (to sparkle). The amaryllis flower is named from Virgil’s Amaryllis.

Aminta is a…

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Jane isn’t so plain

I definitely agree with the title of this post! How can a name with such an abundance of colourful and varied forms be plain?
I also feel like even if the name Jane itself is very popular and may feel a bit neutral or a filler for some, many women with this name are really original and interesting. I like Jane because it’s so classic, feminine, goes well with many other beautiful names, has something both simple and elegant in itself.
If I had to choose I’d rather say it’s Jean or Joan that are more plain and have less character on their own than Jane. I love Joanna but only the way we pronounce it in Poland (with a Y and double n). Janina is also nice, although I used to think about it as old-fashioned. I think it’s due for a come back, and has lovely nicknames, which I think Joanna doesn’t really, I like Joanna most in its full form.
I love the Celtic forms of Jane, especially Siwan and Sinead. English Janelle is also nice, as are some others.
I could also add that other forms of this name that are used over here are Żaneta, Żanna, and – already mentioned in the post – Jana, which is not a standard form in Poland in opposite to some other Slavic countries but there were 782 women in Poland with that name in 2017 and it can be also used as a nickname for Janina so you get to hear it occasionally.
What is your favourite form of Jane, guys? Do you think it’s plain?

Onomastics Outside the Box

U.S. reformer Jane Addams, 1860–1935

Jane, like its male counterpart John, is a timeless, universal mainstay. It’s the Middle English form of the Old French Jehanne, which in turn derives from the Latin Iohannes and Greek Ioannes, ultimately derived from the Hebrew Yochanan (God is  gracious).

The name was #98 in the U.S. in 1880, and stayed near the bottom of the Top 100 and just outside of it for the remainder of the 19th century. Jane went up and down until 1909, when it rose from #130 to #116. The name proceeded to jump up the charts to the Top 50, attaining its highest rank of #35 in 1946. Its last year in the Top 100 was 1965. In 2019, it was #291.

Jean, a Middle English variation of Jehanne, was common in Medieval Scotland and England, then fell from popularity till the 19th…

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The many forms of Eleanor

I love Eleanor! And all her forms! It’s classy, regal, internationally known, has a whole pool of nicknames and forms and many great bearers – historical and literary. – Which one is your favourite? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

Queen Eleanor of Aquitane (1122 or 1124–1 April 1204), painted 1858 by Frederick Sandys

The name Eleanor, in the U.S. Top 100 in 1895 and again from 1897–42 (with its highest rank of #25 in 1920), is now quite trendy again. It began slowly rising in 1987, and was up to #32 in 2018. It’s not such a secret that more than a few parents choosing this name just want the trendy nicknames Ella and Nora.

Eleanor is also fairly popular in England and Wales, at #54, and New Zealand, at #76.

The name derives from the Old French form of the Occitan name Aliénor. One of the earliest known bearers was the above-pictured Queen Eleanor of Aquitane, named for her mother Aenor (of unknown etymology) and called alia Aenor, “the other Aenor,” to tell them apart.

It’s uncertain if other early bearers were Aenors to whom the…

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Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

A quirky name related question for you today:

Has anyone ever told you that you don’t look like your name? Like: “You’re Mary? You don’t look like a Mary!” and if so, did they suggest what name you did look like?

My answer:

Don’t know if it was more about looks, or character/personality/behaviour, or perhaps both, but yes, my own mother, who gave me my birth name, told me that. 😀 Isn’t it a bit ironic?! When I told my Mum for the first time that I really liked the name Emilia, she told me that actually, she doesn’t feel like my birth name suits me, and if she was to make that decision again, she wouldn’t give it to me, and that Emilia did feel kind of better though she didn’t know what she’d rename me if she could and had to make her own choice. She said a strange thing, that when she mentions me or talks about me with someone and uses my name, it feels like she’s talking and thinking about two different people. 😀 That sounded weird, but felt even more weird for me because it corresponded with my feeling when people talked to me using my birth name. It felt as if they thought I am someone different, like I need to change my behaviour and the way I act to suit their expectations and their view of me. And there are still people who call me my birth name, and in most cases I get it because it’s family and if you’d always known someone by a certain name it’s hard to suddenly change it, and I still get this feeling when they call me my birth name, I didn’t know why it is so but I always felt a kind of annoyance when someone called me by my birth name, and there was some weird dissonance or something, I guess. Another weird thing here was that apparently when I was born, my gran asked Mum if she’d already picked a name for me. Mum said that she was hesitating, and she suggested Emilia. My gran! I was really surprised when I heard that because, well, my gran has five children, and looking at their names, her naming taste appears to be completely different and I can’t imagine her liking the name Emilia. Of course it was a different time when her children were born, late 50’s-early 70’s, and the name Emilia would be a bit more unusual then, but still… quite unbelievable for me even after a couple years since I learnt about that. Also I’ve never had a particularly close relationship with her, if any at all. That doesn’t mean we don’t like each other or anything, just can’t connect on any deeper level, we’re pretty glaringly different kinds of people, other than that we both seem to like the name Emilia. 😀 She didn’t comment though, or at least not to me directly and not so that I would know, about my name change.

And then there is my aunt, after whom I was named, who says I absolutely don’t fit the name Emilia. And I guess I know why she thinks so. Simply because most of my extended family, who knew me by my birth name, and don’t see me often enough and don’t know me well enough to feel familiar with the change even after about four years, still call me my birth name. And, among them, I don’t feel like an Emilia or not fully. I still feel like I have to play that other girl they want, don’t know why really because I’m not that desperate for their acceptance, maybe it’s just something that I can’t get rid of, or maybe it’s some coping/defensive strategy or whatever. I only feel fully like an Emilia when I’m with people I’m feeling at least a bit of a closer connection and like we get each other, or when I’m on my own, or doing what I love, or with people who don’t know me at all so don’t have any rooted assumptions/prejudices/expectations towards me.

Aside from that, when I was a kid in nursery, I met a woman who constantly called me Anna, and I didn’t correct her, but at some point someone else did, and she was like: “Oh really?! I’m sorry, I must have forgotten. But you look so much like an Anna!”. 😀 I also had a teacher who once renamed me, I assume either on purpose and jokingly or because he forgot my real name but still wanted to call me something, and he called me Maryla. 😀 I am 100% sure he didn’t think that was my real name, because… I don’t know how to explain it really haha… well I guess because it’s one of those names with a really kind of dusty, outdated feel, that aren’t bad or that don’t have any common bad associations but that most people just don’t like. So the likelihood of me or my equal being called Maryla is like if your average kid in an American school was called Muriel for example (I love Muriel but I’ve heard there are also many people in the US who hate it). 😀 A girl standing next to me immediately said in a very serious voice that I am not Maryla, but he was laughing and like: “No? What a pity. But from now on she’ll be. She looks so to me”. That was kinda funny, although, trying to be objective, I couldn’t and still can’t think of anything in myself that could make me seem like an average Maryla. 😀 And the girl beside me was even more confused than me. 😀 The guy was generally quite bizarre though.

Also a girl from our neighbourhood whom I used to play for some time when we were children once said a similar thing, though not exactly that I don’t look like my name. We were playing some make-believe game and I picked the name Helena for myself in it, and she was like: “Oh Helena, you’re really like a Helena!”. I do love Helena to pieces, but I’d go mad if someone called me Hela, if it was my name, and that would be highly likely. And I’m not really convinced Helena would fully suit me, I think you need to be a bit more expressive than I am to be a good example of a Helena and in harmony with this name, not extroverted, but just a bit more expressive, more engaging with other people I’d say, and maybe a bit impulsive too which I’m normally not at all.

OK, so how about you? Have you ever been renamed like that? 😀

Question of the day (5th May).

Would you ever consider naming your child after yourself, so she/he would be a “junior”? What would you think if this custom came back?

My answer:

Back when I was still using my birth name, and didn’t really think seriously about changing it, despite I did already think about myself as Emilia and loved this name, I thought that maybe if I had a daughter, I could call her Emilia instead. But now, even if I wouldn’t change my name to Emilia, it doesn’t seem a good idea for me. I think I would feel like something is not right if I did that. I could give my potential daughter my name as a middle, but probably wouldn’t, despite it is a kind of custom in our family and our region. I find it nice but boring.

Emilia is also a really hot name at the moment, I guess quite a bit more popular than among girls my age, not far below the top 10 and rising, and with Amelia being #9 and other -lia names in close proximity, and that’s off-putting for me for a baby name. As for this custom in general, of naming children after parents, like using a parent’s first name as a child’s first name, it’s not really common in Poland. I remember when I was a child, Olek told me about his class teacher “You know, you would get along with my class teacher, she likes the name Jacek, just as you, her husband is Jacek, and her son is Jacek too!”. 😀 And we were both like WOW! That’s crazy! How does she tell them apart? She really must love that name. So, I’d say it’s not really normal here. If you want to name your child after yourself or your spouse, use your name as their middle name. OK, my Dad wanted to call me Anna, after my Mum, but that’s probably why he didn’t in the end, because it’s her name already and because it’s not normal. But since I am now pretty familiar with lots of weird naming customs all around the world and especially in the English-speaking countries, it doesn’t really impress me and I don’t mind it, if someone wants it, it’s not my business. I just think it’s a little bit boring because there are so many beautiful names out there. Why limiting ourselves to just a handful?! Because I can see that if a parent names their child after themself, and a lot of people start to follow that trend, their children will likely do the same, and then naturally people’s names might suddenly become really boring and repetitive. I even have a problem with this middle names tradition over here, that everyone needs to have their parent’s name as a middle almost obligatorily, even though I do love my middle name after my Mum, I feel like it doesn’t allow creativity, especially that you can have only one middle in Poland if you’re a Polish citizen, not counting confirmation or a few traditional/obsolete hyphenated exceptions. Also, I can’t ignore the baby namer in me shouting “NO!” because as a firm believer in that a name carries a personality, or at least a strong potential influence on a person with itself, I just can’t help but feel that if you call your child after yourself, he or she may feel kind of unconsciously forced to be like you! To fulfill your expectations, follow your footsteps, won’t feel their own sense of identity, or at least that their name doesn’t belong fully to them. I was named after a close family member and my Mum’s best friend at the same time (they both shared a name), and still felt that way, like they want me to be someone I’m not, so how must a person named after their parent feel? That’s how I see it, you don’t have to agree with me and I’m pretty sure many people wouldn’t. So if someone would ask me for an advice regarding this, I’d say yes, you can, but if your name is easily nicknamed, try to find a different nickname for him, even if it’s just one letter or syllable more/less or a slightly altered spelling or let him have a nickname unrelated to the nickname that he likes and can go by daily, you’ll have to try to show your child that you embrace who he comes to be, that you accept him as he is and you’ll have to really stress that in his upbringing and make sure his personality develops harmoniously. I feel though like there really is a risk of some kind of disharmony between your own individuality and the way your family influences you. On a little different note, it’s just a little thought and it doesn’t mean that I have a problem with people naming their kids after themselves or am prejudiced but in a way it kinda feels a bit selfish to me. ‘Cause generally if we name our children after someone, we admire that person, or want to honour them because of something. So it feels slightly as if someone had a bit too large an ego. 😀

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day (23rd March).

Hey people! 🙂

Oh God that was such a weird week for me really. Don’t know if I’ll be writing anything about it, it’s very complicated and I’m terribly ambivalent about the whole thing, but if I will, not now I guess, need to think about it. The definitely positive thing is that I got to finally finish my Welsh course for good, and now I’m doing very advanced stuff, or so it feels for me, my brain is all steaming and burning.

So let’s get to our overdue questions of the day.

Are you named after anyone? If you had to choose, who would you be named after in your family?

My answer:

My original (birth) name was after my Mum’s friend, and my aunt –
Mum’s sister, they both had the same name – though if you know me a bit better you know that I changed it, and my middle name Anna is after my Mum, and I’m very happy about it, although that wasn’t very creative because in our area most people have their middles after their parents first names, Zofijka’s middle name is also Anna, I’m curious what would they come up with otherwise. I certainly wouldn’t like Anna to be my first name, it’s so typical and universal and although it’s absolutely beautiful, I just wouldn’t like to be one of millions of ANnas in the world, plus I think that the sort of default nickname in Poland – ANia –
takes away lots of charm from very elegant and sophisticated sounding Anna and makes it shallow, I definitely wouldn’t like to be an Ania, and being an Anna in Poland I would inevitably be called Ania by almost everyone pretty much automatically. If my first name was Anna, I would like to be called just that, Anna, but that would be quite unusual here, where people like to nickname most names, especially if I was a kid, I doubt anyone would call me by my full name. 😀 But I’m digressing horribly hahaha. So yeah, I’m named after my Mum, and I’m OK with it. But if I had to choose another person from my family to be named after, I would go with my grandma – Helena. – I just love this name, and I’d like to be named after her. And I could keep my middle name happily. I could be also Anna Helena, but, as I said, as long as they’d call me Anna, or maybe even (a bit fancifully) with my both names, that would be cool, albeit a little snobbish I guess to always go by Anna Helena. 😀 Not quite normal here.

OK, so how about you? 🙂

Best Girls Names on Kids TV

Despite having a tween-aged sister who watches unbelievable amounts of both kids and teen shows with catchy earworm tunes, I myself live under the rock and neither of these sound particularly familiar to me. 😀 Nevertheless, the names of the heroines are all very nice, yeah I must say I like all of them to some degree. My most favourite on this list is Luna, I love its cold and smooth sound, and I love the moon so how couldn’t I like this lovely name. Personally I wouldn’t use it, it seems to be more popular for pets than kids over here, and I’ve got a little fed up with hearing it over and over again from my sis who is a die hard fan of the “Soy Luna” series, but despite that, I still love this name. Oona has a lovely, Celtic feel, and Esme is very pretty, even though I dislike the fact that “Twilight” has made it so popular.
Which is your favourite among these? 🙂

TulipNames

little-girls-curly-hair (1)

If you’re around children chances are you can sing the lyrics of many popular kids-show theme songs. While you may wish some of the songs weren’t so catchy, you may wanna catch on to some of the fabulous girls names used on kids TV shows. Here are five that get my vote.

amayaAmaya
Amaya, also known by her alias Owlette, is a quick-witted, fast-flying superhero on the Disney Junior show PJ Masks. Amaya is a Spanish form of the Japanese name Amaia meaning night rain. At Number 176 in popularity, is a melodic name that ages well. Actors Mariska Hargitay and Peter Herman have a daughter named Amaya Josephine.

cq5dam.web.1200.675Esme
Sesame Street creators gave us a new animated show to love last year called Esme & Roy. Esme is always eager to help out her best-friend, a monster named Roy. Esme is a darling French name meaning beloved…

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