Betsy

August 4, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Alternately spelled “Betsey” or “Betsie”, diminutive of “Elizabeth“, meaning “oath of God”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Bess, Bessie, Bessy, Betsey, Bette, Beth, Bette, Bettie, Betty, Buffy, Elspet, Elspeth, Pet, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Betsy, one of the Lexington girls clamoring to partner with Rab at the Silsbee country dance in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).
Betsy Barnes, a housemaid who convinces herself that she has seen a ghost, in “Old Lady Mary” (1884), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.
Betsy Horrocks, known as “Ribbons”, the saucy butler’s daughter who tries to parlay the attention she gets from Sir Pitt into wealth, status, and a ladyship (through marriage), in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Betsy Paramore, the girl Tom Faggus was set to marry before the financial failure that drove him to become a highwayman, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).

WRITERS:
– Betsy Byars (b. 1928), American children’s book author.
– Betsy Colquitt (b. 1927), American poet.

QUOTATIONS:
– “Sweet Betsy from Pike” is an American ballad, written in the 1850s: “Did you ever hear tell of sweet Betsy from Pike / Who crossed the wide mountains with her lover Ike?”

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