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).

Maria

July 28, 2014 § 11 Comments

ORIGIN:
Pronounced either “ma REE’ a” or “ma RYE’ a”, this is the Latin form of Mary.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Maia, Maike, Maja, Malia, Mara, Mairen, Mari, Mariah, Marie, Mariele, Mariella, Marietta, Marijeke, Marika, Mariska, Marita, Mary, Maureen, Maya, Mia, Mimi, Mirele, Moira, Reena, Reeta, Ria, Riele, Riella, Rina, Rita, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Maria, maid-of-all-work for Maggie Bradford’s family in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
– Maria Johnson, the farmer’s wife in The Song of the Cardinal, by Gene Stratton Porter (1903).
– Maria Lucas, the younger sister of Lizzie Bennet’s best friend Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (written in 1797, published in 1813).
– Maria Mirvan (called “Molly” or “Moll” by her father), Evelina’s dearest friend, with whom she enters into London society, in Evelina, or, The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World (1778), by Fanny Burney.
– Maria Frances Osborne, the younger of George Osborne’s sisters in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
– Maria Porter (called “Ria“), a shopgirl Anna Winslow helps in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls.
– Miss Maria Temple, head teacher and superintendent of Lowood Institute, whose kindness to Jane encourages and consoles her, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte. 
– Maria Todd, Miss Osborne’s goddaughter and sister to Osborne Todd, Georgy Osborne’s friend, in Vanity Fair.

QUOTATIONS:
– “They Call The Wind Maria” is a song from the 1951 musical Paint Your Wagon by Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe: “Away out here they got a name / For rain and wind and fire / The rain is Tess, the fire Joe / And they call the wind Maria”. (Obviously, you have to go with the “ma RYE’ a” pronunciation for this song, or it doesn’t really rhyme. Also, I have serious doubts about anyone actually calling fire “Joe”.)
– “Maria” is a song from the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim: “The most beautiful sound I ever heard. / Maria! . . . Say it loud and there’s music playing, / Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.”
– “(How Do You Solve a Problem Like) Maria” is a song from the 1959 musical The Sound of Music by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II: “How do you solve a problem like Maria? / How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? / How do you find a word that means Maria? / A flibbertigibbet! A will-o’-the-wisp! A clown! / Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her / Many a thing she ought to understand / But how do you make her stay / And listen to all you say / How do you keep a wave upon the sand? / How do you solve a problem like Maria? / How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”

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