Polly

August 4, 2014 § 3 Comments

ORIGIN:
Variant of “Molly“, a diminutive of “Mary“. Sometimes used as a diminutive of “Pauline“, “Paulette”, etc.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Moll, Mollie, Molly, Paula, Pol, Pola, Poll, Pollie, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Polly, 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).
Polly (Mary) Clapp, daughter of the Sedley’s landlord, who bestows on Dobbin the nickname “Major Sugarplums” owing to his habit of bringing gifts for all at every visit to the house,  in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Polly Branghton (sometimes called “Poll“), the youngest child of Madame Duval’s (and Evelina’s) cousins, the crude, ill-mannered Branghton clan, in Evelina, or, The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World (1778), by Fanny Burney.
Polly Green, the nurse’s daughter passed off as the child of Sir John Belmont, in Evelina, or, The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World.
Polly Moore, daughter of a chandler’s-shop woman, who Madame Duval uses as an example of how much life in Paris can “improve” a young lady, in Evelina, or, The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World.
Polly Price, a generous little girl who learns about Valentines in “Polly’s Valentine” from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Polly Snowe, one of Farmer Nicholas’ three lively, comely daughters, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).
Polly Talboys, a village girl who lives near Queen’s Crawley, in Vanity Fair.

QUOTATIONS:
– The nursery rhyme “Polly Put the Kettle On“, published in 1797: “Polly put the kettle on, / We’ll all have tea.”

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