All about Lydia

Here’s another great post from Onomastics Outside the Box. 🙂
I honestly didn’t realise this name existed in so many languages! I like Lydia, perhaps not love but it is definitely a pretty name, with Biblical roots and feminine sounding, so there’s no reason for me not to like it. It has some elegance and sophistication to it. I also like our Polish Lidia, I guess I like the sound of it more, but the nickname Lidka which most Lidias go by ruins it completely to me and makes it sound shallow and kind of auntie-like, if you get what I mean.
Do you have a favourite form? I find the sami Livli very interesting.

Onomastics Outside the Box

Dissident Russian writer Lidiya Korneyevna Chukovskaya, 1907–1996

The English, German, and Greek name Lydia means, simply, “from Lydia” in Greek. Lydia was a region on Asia Minor’s west coast, reputedly named after legendary King Lydos (of unknown etymology). Today, Lydia is in western Turkey.

The name briefly appears in the Bible, on a woman whom St. Paul converts to Christianity. It didn’t become common in the Anglophone world till the Protestant Reformation.

Lydia was #77 when the U.S. began keeping name records in 1880, and stayed in the lower Top 100 till 1899. Over the ensuing decades, it gradually dipped in popularity, but never sank lower than #329 in 1973. From lows came highs, and in 1979 it rose to #296 from #324. In each succeeding year, Lydia was steadily more popular, till it re-entered the Top 100 in 2011. In 2018, it was #89.

Other forms of Lydia include:

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All about Elizabeth

It always amazes me how many forms this name has, and even more so how many very diverse nicknames and variants it has in English! And that’s one of the reasons why I really like it a lot. I like most of the forms of this name. Which are/is your favourite(s)? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

Though I’ve had prior posts about my favourite forms of the name Elizabeth, and its many nicknames, I’ve never had a post devoted to the name in its entirety. This post will also only focus on derivatives of the standard form Elizabeth, not related names Isabel and Lillian (unless those are a language’s only forms of Elizabeth). Despite their origins, they’ve for all intents and purposes developed into their own independent names.

Queen Elizabeth I of England in the 1560s, artist unknown

The English name Elizabeth comes from the Hebrew Elisheva, “my God is an oath.” Its historic popularity stems in large part from the fact that this was the name of John the Baptist’s mother. Traditionally, it was much more common in Eastern Europe (in its variety of forms) until another famous bearer (pictured above) appeared in the 16th century and made the name popular in Western…

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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 Ĺ»aneta, Ĺ»anna, 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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Thor-inspired names

What a beautiful diversity here! 🙂 As a lover of all things Nordic/viking related, most of these are already well known to me, but still looking at all these Thor-inspired names at once, it’s quite impressive how many of them exist. Despite my love for Norse mythology, I can’t say that I particularly love Thor, I am pretty neutral about the name itself, have nice associations with it, and with most of those names, usually because of some literary characters with these names that I know, I think if I wanted to have children I wouldn’t consider using any of these, though Thor reminds me also of my friend who did want to call his future son Tor in honour of this Norse god, haha, and given his incredible and steely determination I’m sure he would if he only got a chance.
I was quite surprised to see that Torquil also comes from Thor – I mean it sounds like it’s quite obvious but when I first stumbled upon this name, I only knew it’s used in Scotland so somehow didn’t think it could have anything to do with Thor or the name Torkel despite a very similar sound. – I do like Torquil a bit, it sounds a bit like the word tranquil, and is both strong and peaceful. I also kind of like Torkel, Torgeir and Torgny, and Torill is nice. Also I’ve heard somewhere about the feminine name Thorgunn, which I’d also suppose is derived from Thor, and I think it sounds so beautifully powerful.
Do you guys like any of these?

Onomastics Outside the Box

Dedicated in loving memory of Peter Tork, né Peter Halsten Thorkelson, 13 February 1942–21 February 2019, whose birth surname inspired this post.

Thor’s Fight with the Giants, Mårten Eskil Winge, 1872

I’ve wanted to do a post on Thor-inspired names for quite some time. Though many might consider the name Thor itself to be pompous and pretentious, there are quite a few other names whose meanings relate to Thor. If you wouldn’t consider the name Thor for a real child, perhaps you’d be more inclined to use one of these names.

Unless otherwise noted, all these names are male.

Thor was the Norse god of thunder, from Old Norse þórr, ultimately from Ancient Germanic *þunraz. The name was #48 in Denmark in 2017. Its modern form is Tor, and the feminine forms are Thora and Tora.

Haldor (Norwegian) means “Thor’s rock,” from Old Norse Hallþórr

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The many forms of Christopher and Christina

How do you like Christopher and Christina? Which forms are your favourite?
I really really really like Christopher! To me, it has a bit of a similar feel to my most favourite Jack, strong, manly, safe, down to Earth. Though all the Krzysztofs I know well are quite impulsive and complex people paradoxically.
I also like most forms of Christopher, I think Chris is very nice, but not as cool and handsome as full Christopher. I didn’t even knew many of the forms that Carrie-Anne mentioned in this post, and they seem to be very varied and different.
I also love our Polish Krzysztof to pieces, it’s really really cool together with its nicknames. As a Pole I can also confirm what Carrie-Anne wrote, that rz and ĹĽ are pronounced the same way in Polish, but that historically rz was a bit different, more like Czech Ĺ™ than Russian zh sound I guess. However in the pronunciation of Krzysztof the rz is not voiced, as it comes after K so sounds more like sh, otherwise would be a bit tricky to pronounce haha.
I can also say that in Poland we even have a feminine variant of Krzysztof, which is not very surprisingly Krzysztofa. I think it’s lovely, especially nicknamed to Krzysia.
I’m more neutral to Christina, Christine and all the like, but they are nice names, I particularly grew to like this name after reading Sigrid Undset’s “Kristin Lavransdatter”.

Onomastics Outside the Box

Saint-Christophe, by Claude Bassot, 1607

Christopher, which comes from the Greek Christophoros (Christ-bearer), has been an extremely popular name since the Middle Ages. Contemporary evidence shows the Saint Christopher of legend may have actually been the historical Saint Minas of Egypt. Though he was removed from the liturgical calendar in 1969, Christopher is still very much a saint. Decanonization isn’t a thing.

The name began rising in popularity in the U.S. in 1939, and entered the Top 100 in 1949. It continued rising, and broke the Top 10 at #9 in 1967. Christopher was #3 and #2 from 1972–95, and remained in the Top 10 till 2009. In 2017, it was #38.

Danish statesman Christoffer Gabel (1617–73), by Karel van Mander III

Other forms include:

1. Christoffer is Scandinavian.

2. Cristoforo is Italian.

3. CristĂłvĂŁo is Portuguese.

4. CristĂłbal is Spanish.

5. Christoffel is Dutch.

6. Christophe is…

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The many forms of Magdalena

Do you like the name Magdalena?
For some reason, i’ve never been a fan. Despite (or maybe because) it’s been so popular in Poland since about 60’s I guess and that I know many really lovely ladies with this name. Well Magdalena is maybe not that very bad, and I slightly like that it’s so classic
and has so strong Christian conotations, but when it’s nicknamed to Magda… ughhh it really loses that tiny bit of charm it has for me. I love Madeline though, and even Madelaine (although slightly less since when someone made me realise it looks like Mad Elaine) and Madeleine. I also do like all those creative Madelyns, Madilyns and other Madelynnes, and some other forms as well. But Madeline is gorgeous! Oh, and there is also Dutch Madelief! Well I know it’s not linguistically related to Magdalena whatsoever, but it sounds similar and it’s one of my newest name discoveries. It means daisy in Dutch and I love it a lot! It’s beautiful.
So, how about you guys? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

The Repentant Magdalen, Philippe de Champaigne, 1648

Some people express surprise the name Magdalena, so popular for so long in Europe and parts of Latin America, isn’t particularly common in the Anglophone world. It is, but the onomastic connection may not be so immediately obvious. English-speakers know this name as Madeline.

Magdalena, used in German, Dutch, Romanian, Spanish, Catalan, the Scandinavian languages, Occitan, the Southern Slavic languages, Polish, and English; Czech, Slovak, Hungarian (as Magdaléna); Latvian (as Magdalēna); and Icelandic (as Magðalena), comes from the Latin Magdalene. That in turn derives from a title meaning “of Magdala.” Magdala is a village on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kineret), meaning “tower” in Hebrew.

Though nothing in the Bible calls Mary Magdalene a prostitute, she’s historically been conflated with Mary of Bethany and an unnamed “sinful woman” who anoints Jesus’s feet in Luke 7:36–50. Since…

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The various forms of Daphne and Laura (and other laurel names)

Which laurel names out of these are your favourite, guys? 🙂
I didn’t even know Daphne had so many forms, other than Daphne and Dafne, which apart from Italy can be also used in Poland, well it’s used extremely rarely but still is and of course it’s used in reference to the nymph as well. I’m not crazy about Daphne, but I like it.
I like Laura too. I used to like it far more in the past but now as it’s so popular here in Poland I am not as fond of it as I used to be, but it’s still a beautiful, slightly mysterious sounding name with cool and smooth charm to it. Though I much prefer it pronounced our way, LAH-oo-rah, rather than like Lora. I think Lauretta and Laurette are lovely. I also like Laurel itself. And Welsh Lowri is cute.
I haven’t heard about Kelila before but it looks very interesting.

Onomastics Outside the Box

Pauline as Daphne Fleeing from Apollo, ca. 1810, Robert Lefèvre

Daphne is a naiad in Greek mythology, a female nymph presiding over bodies of water such as lakes, fountains, springs, and brooks. She’s variously cited as the daughter of river god Peneus (Peneios) and nymph Creusa, or Ladon and Gaia.

Versions of Daphne’s story vary, but they all have the crux of Apollo falling in unrequited love with her after a curse from Eros (Cupid). As Apollo chased her, Daphne begged her father to save her, and she was turned into a laurel tree in the nick of time. Laurels thus became sacred to Apollo.

Daphne is also used in English and Dutch. The variation Daphné is French. Other forms include:

1. Daphnée is French.

2. Dafni is modern Greek.

3. Dafina is Macedonian and Albanian.

4. Dafne is Italian.

5. Daffni is Welsh.

6. Dapine is Georgian.

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