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…

View original post 723 more words

Advertisements

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…

View original post 609 more words

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…

View original post 301 more words

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…

View original post 549 more words

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…

View original post 418 more words

The many forms of Sophia

Which of these forms of Sophia is your favourite? 🙂
I have a bit of an ambivalent approach to it. In opposite to Carrie-Anne, I dislike Zofia, even though it is my sister’s name. I just never liked it, nor the most popular nickname Zosia. So when she was born I started to call her Zofijka and that’s how she’s called to this day. We’ve also created a whole lot of other nicknames, most of them quite funny.
On the other hand though, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Sophie, and Sofie, and Sofia, and I often call my ZOfijka Sofi or Sofija too, or Fifi. Sophia is cool too, though sooo popular, and it is a bit of a downside in my opinion.
I absolutely love the Hungarian diminutive ZsĂłfika, which according to my knowledge should be read like ZHO-fee-kaw, it’s so funny and cute. I also like Finnish Sohvi, and it’s fabulous nickname Vivi.
I’ve never heard before about Hawaiian Hopi, mentioned in this post, but it seems lovely and quirky, will have to ask my zippy Zofijka what she thinks of it. 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

British novelist Sophia Lee, 1750–1824

Sophia, which means “wisdom” in Greek, has been extraordinarily popular over the last 15-20 years, after decades of being unfashionable and considered geriatric. In 1997, it shot into the U.S. Top 100, at #94, up from #124 the previous year. It continued rocketing upwards, reaching #1 from 2011–13. In 2017, it was down to #5.

It’s also #3 in Canada; #5 in Austria; #10 in Northern Ireland; #11 in England and Wales; #15 in Australia; #17 in Switzerland and Scotland; #18 in Ireland; #23 in New Zealand; #42 in The Netherlands; #54 in Belgium; and #90 in Norway.

Saint Sophia with her daughters Faith, Hope, and Love

Sofia, which is modern Greek, Italian, Catalan, Romanian, Slovak, Estonian, Finnish, Portuguese, Scandinavian, and German, has also been enjoying great popularity. It entered the U.S. Top 100 in 2003, at #97, and shot up to its…

View original post 400 more words

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.

View original post 386 more words