Fred

August 4, 2014 § 4 Comments

ORIGIN:
Shortened version of “Frederick“, meaning “peaceful ruler”. Sometimes used as a diminutive of “Alfred“, “Manfred”, “Wilfred”, etc., or, for girls, for names like “Frederica” or “Winifred”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
For girls: Freda, Freddi, Freddie, Frieda, Fritzi.
For boys: Fred, Fredde, Freddie, Fredo, Fritz.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Nickname for Frederick (b. 1916), the eighth of the dozen Gilbreth children whose upbringing is related in Cheaper By the Dozen (1948) and Belles on Their Toes (1950), written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
– Fred, a rather snobbish and foppish young man in “Water Lilies” from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
– Fred (called “Freddy“) Allen, whose wife is a friend of the Gray girls and Berry Joy, and frequently serves as chaperone for their parties, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
– Fred (Frederick Augustus) Bullock, the young man Maria Osborne hopes to marry in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
– Fred (Philip Frederick) Ottenburg, the dynamic young brewing heir who launches Thea’s operatic career, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).

WRITERS:
– Fred Thompson (1884-1949), English writer and librettist.
– Fred Urquhart (1912-1995), Scottish short story writer.

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Bob

August 2, 2014 § 3 Comments

ORIGIN: Diminutive of “Robert“, meaning “bright flame”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES: Bobbie, Bobby, Dob, Dobbie, Dobby, Rob, Robb, Robbe, Robbi, Robbie, Robby, Robi, Robin, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Bob, the largest of the unfriendly group of “Kirke’s Lambs” John Ridd runs into, after risking his life to save Tom Faggus from the danger of the Monmouth Rebellion, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).
Bob Ames, Mrs. Vance’s idealistic cousin, who inspires Carrie to greater things, in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (published in 1900; set 1889-1890s).
Bob (Robert) Gilbreth (b. 1920), the eleventh of the dozen Gilbreth children whose upbringing is related in Cheaper By the Dozen (1948) and Belles on Their Toes (1950), written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
Bob Martingale, subject of one of Rawdon’s sporty stories in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Bob (Robin) Snell, the little schoolboy whose fight with young John Ridd is momentarily disrupted by news of the elder Ridd’s death, in Lorna Doone.
Bob Suckling, one of Becky’s conquests in Vanity Fair.

Joe

July 30, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Shortened form of “Joseph“, from the Latin / Greek version of “Yosef”, a Hebrew name meaning “He will add”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Jo, Joey, Jojo, Jos, José, Sep, Seph, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Joe, the under-gardener at Amhurste, in “A Brother to Dragons” (written in 1886, set in 1586), from A Brother to Dragons, and Other Old Time Tales (1888), by Amélie Rives.
Joe Collins, an old army friend of Marion Warren’s father, in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Joe Drummond, who is love / obsessed with Sidney Page, to a dangerous degree, in K. by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1914).
Joe Giddy, Ray Kennedy’s brakeman, whose laziness has tragic results, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).
Joe Marchant, who is in need of a friend now more than ever, in “The Thanksgiving Guest”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Joe Pebbles, one of Humfrey Lemon’s customers, in “The Farrier Lass o’ Piping Pebworth” (written in 1887, set circa 1600), from A Brother to Dragons, and Other Old Time Tales.
Joe Scales, the very first suitor for one of the Gilbreth girls in Cheaper By the Dozen (1948), written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
Joe (Joseph) Scott, an odorous and odious young man who considers himself a candidate for Virginia Herrick’s heart, in Virginia of Virginia, written by Amélie Rives in 1888.
Joe Sibley, the teenaged son of the brash, shallow Sibley clan who encourage Ethel Amory in her frivolity while on their trip to Europe in “Poppies and Wheat”, from A Garland for Girls.

Libby

July 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Alternate spelling of “Libbie”, diminutive of “Elizabeth” or “Isabel“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Libbie, Liddy, Liddie, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Libby Holton, a friend of the older Gilbreth girls in Cheaper By the Dozen (1948), written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.

Tom

July 30, 2014 § 5 Comments

ORIGIN:
Shortened form of “Thomas“, Greek form of the Aramaic for “twin”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Tam, Thom, Toma, Tomas, Tommie, Tommy, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Tom, Maggie Bradford’s cousin, who calls her a “chit of a girl”, in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Tom, one of the servants at Randalls, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
Tom, one of Susy’s brothers, whose kite-flying she finds distracting, in “Susy’s Dragon”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Cousin Tom, who teases Molly Gair about her love of fine dresses, in “Molly Gair’s New Dress”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories.
Tom Branghton, the loutish son 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.
Tom Cinqbars, subject of one of Rawdon’s sporty stories in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Tom Colt, the “young pup” who hopes to steal Alice away from Jim, in “The Tragedy of the Unexpected”, from Nora Perry’s The Tragedy of the Unexpected and Other Stories (published in 1880, but set in the 1870s).
Tom (Thomas) Creighton (b. 1843), Jethro’s older brother, who, at just 18 years of age, runs off to join the Union Army, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
Tom Drinker, 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).
Tom Eaves, a city man full of gossip about Lord Steyne, in Vanity Fair.
Tom (Thomas) Faggus, the roguishly charming highwayman whose relation to the Ridd family gives them both prestige and trouble, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).
Tom Fleming, Ally’s uncle, who ought to have paid more attention, in “Ally”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Tom Grieves, the handyman who works for the Gilbreth family in Cheaper By the Dozen (1948) and Belles on Their Toes (1950), written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
“Doctor Tom” (Dr. Thomas Harrison), who specializes in mending children’s hurt limbs, in “The Story of Little Syl”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories.
Tom Joy, Berry’s brother, who fortunately takes after his father, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
Tom Lloyd, Marge and Elsie’s cousin, an amateur artist, in “The Egg-Boy” from A Flock of Girls and Boys.
Tom Marin, a neighbor from Rose Hill who comes to help the Creightons with their barn-raising, in Across Five Aprils.
Tom Moody, Sir Huddleston Fuddleston’s huntsman, in Vanity Fair.
Tom Posky, one of the soliders of the regiment in Vanity Fair.
Tom Raikes, one of Becky’s more forward conquests, in Vanity Fair.
Tom Raymond, Will Wentworth’s good-natured chum, in “That Little Smith Girl” from A Flock of Girls and Boys.
Tom Rivington, friend of the Gray girls and Berry Joy, George Rivington’s brother, in A Little Country Girl (1885).
Tom Stubble, a young ensign under Capt. William Dobbin’s command in Vanity Fair.
Tom Tufto, a relative of Sir George Tufto’s in Vanity Fair.

WRITERS:
Try this link for a starter list of writers named “Tom”.

QUOTATIONS:
– “Tom” and “Tommy” are fairly common names used in nursery rhymes such as “Tom, Tom, the piper’s son
– In “Tom, Dick or Harry“, a song from the 1948 Broadway musical Kiss Me, Kate by Cole Porter, Bianca and her suitors sing of her eagerness to wed: “I’m a maid who would marry / And would take with no qualm / Any Tom, Dick or Harry, / Any Harry, Dick or Tom. / I’m a maid mad to marry / And will take double-quick / Any Tom, Dick or Harry, / Any Tom, Harry or Dick!”

Lillie

July 30, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Shortened version of “Lillian“, “Lilith”, etc., and variant spelling of “Lily“.

VARIATIONS or NICKNAMES:
Lil, Lili, Lily, Lilly, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Lillie (Lillian Moller) Gilbreth (b. 1878), the industrial engineer and efficiency expert whose family life is related in Cheaper By the Dozen (1948) and Belles on Their Toes (1950), written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.

Robert

July 30, 2014 § 12 Comments

ORIGIN:
Anglo-Saxon, meaning “bright flame”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Bob, Bobbie, Bobby, Rab, Raibeart, Rob, Robb, Robbie, Robby, Roberto, Robi, Robin, Rupert, Ruprecht, etc. I guess even Bobert, if you really wish it.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Robert (called “Bob“, b. 1920), the eleventh of the dozen Gilbreth children whose upbringing is related in Cheaper By the Dozen (1948) and Belles on Their Toes (1950), written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
Robert, the pageboy at Jim and Ned’s place, in “The Tragedy of the Unexpected”, from Nora Perry’s The Tragedy of the Unexpected and Other Stories (published in 1880, but set in the 1870s)
Sir Robert, an uncle to Edward, Fanny, and Robert Ferrars, who was responsible for Mrs. Ferrar’s decision to send Edward to Mr. Pratt’s for a private education, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).
Lord Robert of Amhurste (called “Robin” by his twin sister, Margaret), a brave and generous young man, in “A Brother to Dragons” (written in 1886, set in 1586), from A Brother to Dragons, and Other Old Time Tales (1888), by Amélie Rives.
Sir Robert Bampfylde, the litigious gentleman whose lawsuits led to Tom Faggus’ ruin and subsequent adoption of the highwayman’s life, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).
Rev. Robert Brocklehurst, the formidable and hypocritical supervisor of Lowood Institute, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
– Middle name of John Robert Creighton (b. 1837), Jethro’s oldest brother remaining at home, “more impatient, quicker to anger” than his beloved brother Bill, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
Robert Ferrars, Edward’s favored younger brother, “silly and a great coxcomb”, in Sense and Sensibility.
Robert Furnival, old Lady Mary’s lawyer, who pesters her to write her will before it is too late, in “Old Lady Mary” (1884), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.
Robert Leaven, the man Bessie Lee marries, who works as porter at Gateshead and lives in the lodge, in Jane Eyre.
Robert Martin, a sensible, respectable, intelligent young gentleman-farmer, who hopes to marry Harriet Smith, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
Robert Racket (called “Robin“), a handsome and charming lad who steals the hearts of cousins Keren Lemon and Ruth Visor, in “The Farrier Lass o’ Piping Pebworth” (written in 1887, set circa 1600), from A Brother to Dragons, and Other Old Time Tales.
Robert Siddell, one of Uncle Gabe’s two favorite students at his Jewish vocational school, chosen as a blind date for teenaged Lily, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

WRITERS:
Go here for a list of probably close to a thousand writers named “Robert”, if you’d like to know what sort of illustrious literary company this name keeps.

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