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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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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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 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 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 Zsófika, 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…

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