A Garland of Holiday Handles

January 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

There has long been a tradition of looking to the calendar for naming inspiration, as a person’s birthday has often been considered an indication of how they will fare in life and who (or what) they will become; hence naming a child after the saints or holidays associated with the date of the child’s birth. In the linked article, you’ll find a list of some of these festive monikers (don’t forget to click through for more info, as always!):

27 Holiday-Inspired Names

These somewhat-unusual Christmas-related cognomens include:

For girls: Angela, Charity, Chiara, Christina, Clara, Faith, Hannah, Holly, Hope, Imani, Jemima, Joy, Lucy, Mary, Natalie, Natasha, Paloma
For boys: Abner, Alban, Christian, Christopher, Cristobal, Emmanuel, Jasper, Joseph, Nick, Noel

The State of Pop Culture Naming (Harry Potter Edition)

November 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

We’ve talked before about how pop culture influences naming trends (try clicking here or here for more on the topic; and click here for some examples of when it sort of went the other way), but when it comes to some of the classical names used by author J.K. Rowling in her Harry Potter series, it can be tough to tell how much influence the books really had, or whether those particular names hold their places on the list because, well, they’ve just been around for ages.

In any case, the linked article gives you some popularity rankings for many of the names used for characters in the series; some are more instantly recognizable as “Potterhead-influenced” than others, to be sure! (Bonus game: Can you remember the last names of the characters whose names made the list before you click through to learn more about the names themselves?):

Harry Potter’s Influence on Baby Names

For witches: Amelia, Arabella, Bellatrix, Ginny, Hermione, Lavender, Lily, Luna, and Minerva
For wizards: Cedric, Cornelius, Draco, Dudley, Godric, Harry, Kingsley, Lucius, Neville, Percy, Remus, Ron, Seamus, Severus, Sirius, and Viktor

Sukey

November 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Diminutive of names such as “Susannah”, “Susan“, “Sarah“, etc.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Sooki, Sookie, Sooky, Su, Sue, Suse, Susey, Susi, Susie, Suki, Sukie, Susy, Suze, Suzey, Suzi, Suzie, Suzy, Zooey, Zooie, Zsazsa, Zsuzsa, Zsuzsi, Zsuzsu, Zu, Zuza, Zuzi, Zuzia, Zuzu, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Sukey, a servant girl at Sam Adams’ house in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

WRITERS:
Sukey Vickery (1799-1821), American novelist and poet.

QUOTATIONS:
– The second verse of the nursery rhyme “Polly Put The Kettle On” (1797), based on the writer’s observation of his young daughters at play, goes: “Sukey, take it [the kettle] off [of the table] again, / They’ve all gone away.”

Rab

October 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
A Scottish variation of “Rob“, short for “Robert“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Bob, Bobbie, Bobby, Brecht, Hob, Hopcyn, Hopkin, Pertti, Rabbie, Rob, Robbe, Robbie, Robby, Robi, Robin, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Rab Silsbee, the laconic apprentice and nephew to Mr. Lorne, owner of The Observer; a born fighter who becomes Johnny’s best friend and hero in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

WRITERS:
Rab Noakes (b. 1947), Scottish singer and songwriter.
Rab Wilson (b. 1960), Scottish poet and translator.

Andy

September 26, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Diminutive of names like “Andrew“, “Andor“, even “Alexander“, etc. For girls, sometimes a nickname for “Andrea” or even “Ann” / “Anne“, “Anna“, etc.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
For girls: Andi, Andie, Andra, Drea, Ea, etc.
For boys: Andie, Andre, Andro, Andor, Antti, Atte, Bandi, Dand, Dre, Drew, Dru, Drue, Ea, Endre, Tero, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Andy, one of Johnny’s acquaintances, an apprentice at one of the shops on the wharf, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

WRITERS:
Andy Stack (1931-2015), pen name of American crime author Ann Rule, who also published as “Arthur Stone” and “Chris Hansen”.

Vinny

September 17, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Diminutive of names such as “Vincent” or “Lavinia“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
For girls: Lavina, Lavinia, Lavena, Viney, Vinie, Vinnie.
For boys: Vin, Vince, Vinn, Vinnie.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Vinny (Lavinia) Lyte, Johnny’s proud and determined mother (and Merchant Lyte’s niece), once the “wildest and handsomest girl in Boston”, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

Izzy

September 12, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
For boys, a shortened version of “Isidor” / “Isidore”, “Israel“, “Isaiah”, “Isaac”, etc. For girls, a shortened version of “Isadora”, “Isannah“, “Isabel” / “Isobel”, “Isabella“, etc.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
For girls: Isa, Issie, Issy, Izzie.
For boys: Is, Isa, Issy, Iz, Izzie.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Izzy (Isannah) Lapham, Mrs. Lapham’s delicate and ethereally-beautiful youngest daughter, precocious, selfish, vain, and a skilled little actress, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

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