Laura

July 31, 2014 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Latin, meaning “laurel”. Feminine variant of “Laurence” / “Lawrence“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Lallie, Lally, Lara, Laraine, Laure, Laureen, Laurel, Lauren, Laurene, Lauressa, Lauretta, Laurette, Laurey, Laurie, Laurinda, Laurine, Laurissa, Laurita, Laury, Lavra, Llora, Lollie, Lolly, Lora, Loreen, Loren, Lorene, Loretta, Lorette, Lori, Lorie, Lorinda, Lorita, Lorraine, Lorri, Lorrie, Lory, Lowri, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Laura, the fake name used by Berry Joy and Georgie Gray to play their Lonely Hearts prank, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
Laura, the “fairy princess” Ted Shaffer plans to marry, in “In a Rag-Bag”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Laura Brooks (sometimes called “Brooksie”), who refuses to give up her friendship with Esther, in spite of the judgment and disdain her friends and family may heap upon her head, in “Esther Bodn”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Laura Delano, an invalid who sells her artwork to try and support herself and her sister, Jessie, in “An Ivy Spray and Ladies’ Slippers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Laura Fleming, Ally’s cousin, who perhaps expects too much, in “Ally”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.
Laura Martin, a little orphan girl who worships Amelia Sedley during her time at Miss Pinkerton’s academy in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Laura Selwyn, one of Marian’s cousins, who knows all about the trick, in “An April Fool”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.

WRITERS:
Check out this post for a starter list of writers named “Laura”.

QUOTATIONS:
– From “To My Brothers” by Norman Rowland Gale: “O brothers, who must ache and stoop / O’er wordy tasks in London-town, / How scantly Laura trips for you — / A poem in a gown!”

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Becky

July 31, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Diminutive of “Rebecca“, from the Hebrew name “Rivkah”, meaning “yoke” or “snare”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Becca, Becka, Beckah, Beckie, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Great Aunt Becky, Lily’s elderly relative, who believes her deceased nephew is still alive and living in Alaska because no one in the family has the heart to break the news to her, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).
Becky Hawkins, a sharp and saucy “parcel-girl” who is as brave and generous as she is quick-witted, in “Becky”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Becky (Rebecca) Moore, the plain, hard-working farm girl with the heart of a poet in “Mountain-Laurel and Maiden-Hair”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Becky (Rebecca) Sharp, the clever and self-centered anti-heroine of Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).

Barbara

July 31, 2014 § 4 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Greek, meaning “strange” or “foreign”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Babs, Barb, Barbary, Barbera, Barbie, Barbra, Barby, Bobbie, Bobby, Varvara, Varvora, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Barbara, a servant at Lowood Academy, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
Barbara, a “severe and devout Princess of the House of Bolkum, widow of the monarch of Pumpernickel, where Dobbin, Amelia, Jos, and Georgy stop for a while on their Grand Tour, in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Lady Barbara Fitzurse is an heiress who serves as a topic for gossip between Miss Crawley, Rawdon Crawley, and Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair.
Barbara Pinkerton, the formidable sister in charge of Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for young ladies in Vanity Fair.

WRITERS:
Want to learn more about writers named “Barbara”? Check out this post for starters.

QUOTATIONS:
– “Barbara Allen” is a traditional folk song with origins in England and Scotland in the 17th century, though it has undergone hundreds of variations since it was first recorded by Samuel Pepys in 1666: “In Scarlet town where I was born / there was a fair maid dwellin’ / and every youth cried Well-a-day / For her name was Barb’ra Allen”.

Amelia

July 31, 2014 § 11 Comments

ORIGIN:
Variant of “Amalia”, from a Germanic name meaning “work”. May also be considered a variant of “Emily” / “Emilia”, the feminine version of “Emil”, from “Aemilius”, a Latinate family name meaning “rival”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Amalia, Amelie, Amie, Amy, Emmie, Emmy, Malia, Melia, Melie, Millie, Milly, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Princess Amelia of Humbourg-Schlippenschloppen, who marries the Hereditary Prince of Pumpernickel, where Amelia, Dobbin, Jos, and Georgy visit for a while on their Grand Tour, in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
– Amelia Sedley (called “Emmy“), the naive and gentle heroine of Vanity Fair.

QUOTATIONS:
– “Amelia“, a poem written in 1878 by Coventry Patmore, begins: “Whene’er mine eyes do my Amelia greet / It is with such emotion / As, when in childhood, turning a dim street, / I first beheld the ocean.”

Jemima

July 31, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Hebrew, meaning “dove”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Jem, Mimi, Yemima, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Jemima Pinkerton, the more good-natured of the two sisters who run Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for young ladies in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).

WRITERS:
Jemima Condict (1754-1779), American diarist.
Jemima Hunt (b. 1969), English author, journalist, and novelist.

Abram

July 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Hebrew, meaning “high father”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Abe, Abey, Abie, Abraham, Avram, Avrom, Bram, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Abram Johnson, a farmer who looks after the titular bird in The Song of the Cardinal, by Gene Stratton Porter (1903).

Al

July 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Shortened version of “Albert”, “Alfred“, “Alexander“, other names beginning with “Al-“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
How much can you possibly vary or shorten “Al”?

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Al Lynch, one of the girls’ suitors in Belles on Their Toes (1950), written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.

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