September 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Combination of “Anna” and “Maria“; variation of “Annemarie”.

Anna Maria, Anna Marie, Anne Marie, Annamarie, Annemarie, Marian, Marianne, Maryann, Maryanna, Maryanne, etc.

Annamaria, one of Sir John and Lady Middleton’s children, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).

– Anna Maria Bennett (c. 1750-1808), English novelist (sometimes credited as “Agnes Maria Hall”)
– Anna Maria Bunn (1808-1889), Australian author.
– Anna Maria Falconbridge (1769-c. 1816), English writer.
– Anna Maria Hall (1800-1881), Irish novelist (sometimes credited as “Mrs. S.C. Hall”)
– Anna Maria Hussey (1805-1853), English scientist, writer, and illustrator.
– Anna Maria Lenngren (1754-1817), Swedish poet, translator, and writer.
– Anna Maria Ortese (1914-1998), Italian poet and short story writer.
– Anna Maria Porter (1780-1832), English poet and novelist.
– Anna Maria Rückerschöld (1725-1805), Swedish author.
– Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-1678), German-Dutch engraver, painter, poet, and scholar.
– Anna Maria Wells (c. 1794-1868), American poet and children’s book writer.



September 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Alternate spelling of “Eleanor“.

Alianor, Aliénor, Eilionoir, Eilidh, Elea, Eleanor, Eleanora, Eleanore, Elenor, Elenora, Elenore, Eleonor, Elinora, Elinore, Ella, Ellanore, Elle, Ellen, Elli, Ellie, Ellinor, Elly, Elnora, Leanora, Leonore, Lenora, Lenore, Leonor, Lore, Lorita, Nell, Nelle, Nellie, Nelly, Nonie, Nony, Noor, Noora, Nora, Norah, Noreen, Norene, Norina, etc.

– Elinor Dashwood, the practical and restrained older Dashwood sister, with “an excellent heart; — her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings were strong; but she knew how to govern them”, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).

– Elinor Brent-Dyer (1894-1969), English children’s book writer.
– Elinor Glyn (1864-1943), English novelist and writer.
– Elinor Lyon (1921-2008), English children’s book writer.
– Elinor Mordaunt (1872-1942), pen name of English writer Evelyn May Clowes, who also wrote under the pen names “Evelyn May Mordaunt” and “Elenor Mordaunt”.
– Elinor Wylie (1885-1928), American novelist and poet.


August 25, 2014 § 3 Comments

Alternately spelled “Lizzie“, diminutive of “Elizabeth“.

Elise, Elissa, Eliza, Ella, Elle, Ellie, Elsa, Else, Elsie, Elsje, Elyse, Ilsa, Ilse, Isa, Let, Lettie, Letty, Liana, Libby, Liddy, Lies, Liesl, Liese, Lillie, Lilly, Lily, Lis, Lisa, Lise, Lisette, Liz, Liza, Lizette, Lizy, Lizzie, etc.

– Lizzy (Elizabeth) Bennet, the clever, “fine-eyed” second Bennet daughter, and heroine of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (written in 1797, published in 1813).
– Lizzy (Eliza) Reed, one of Jane’s spoiled, mean-spirited cousins, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
– Lizzy Ryder, Nelly’s equally spiteful, petty sister, too inclined to assist in playing mean tricks, in “An April Fool”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).


August 22, 2014 § 15 Comments

From the Latin “Margarita”, derived from the Greek word “margarites”, meaning “pearl”.

Greet, Griet, Greta, Gretchen, Grete, Gretel, Grethe, Gretta, Maarit, Madge, Mae, Mag, Maggi, Maggie, Maggy, Maighread, Mairead, Maisie, Maisy, Mame, Mamie, Mared, Maret, Marga, Margaid, Margalo, Margareeta, Margareta, Margaretha, Margarethe, Margaretta, Margarit, Margarita, Margaux, Marge, Marged, Margery, Margherita, Margie, Margit, Margy, Margo, Margot, Margreet, Margrethe, Margriet, Margrit, Marguerita, Marguerite, Marita, Marjeta, Marji, Marjorie, Marjory, Marketa, Marketta, Marsaili, May, Mayme, Maymie, Meg, Megan, Megeen, Megen, Meggie, Meggy, Mererid, Merete, Meta, Metta, Midge, Mim, Mimi, Mimsie, Mimsy, Mysie, Peg, Pegeen, Peggie, Peggy, Peigi, Reeta, Rita, etc.

Lady Margaret of Amhurste, Lord Robert’s brave and strong-willed twin sister, who saves the wild, cavalier Lord Denbeigh, 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.
Margaret Dashwood, the third Dashwood sister, “a good-humoured well-disposed girl; but as she had already imbibed a good deal of Marianne’s romance, without having much of her sense, she did not, at thirteen, bid fair to equal her sisters at a more advanced period of life”, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).
Margaret Pelham (called “Peggy“), a simply-dressed, sweet girl who experiences a case of mistaken identity, in “That Little Smith Girl” from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).

– Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), Canadian activist, critic, essayist, novelist, and poet.
– Margaret Blake (1921-1995), pen name of English mystery and romance author Barbara Margaret Trimble, who also published under the pen names “Barbara Gilmour” and “B.M. Gill”.
– Margaret Major Cleaves (b. 1946), American romance author who also publishes under the pen name “Ann Major”.
– Margaret Gibson (b. 1944), American poet.
– Margaret Gibson (1948-2006), Canadian novelist and short story writer.
– Margaret Millar (1915-1994), American-Canadian mystery author.
– Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949), American novelist.
– Margaret Oliphant (1828-1897), Scottish novelist and historical writer.
– Lady Margaret Seymour (1540-????), English writer.
– Margaret Truman (1924-2008), American historian, novelist, and singer.
– Margaret Wilson (1882-1973), American novelist.


August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Alternate spelling of “Selena”, a variation of “Selene”, the name of a Greek moon goddess.

Celena, Celene, Celina, Celine, Lena, Lina, Selena, Selene, Seline, etc.

– Selina Hawkins, Augusta’s older sister, whose marriage to the wealthy Mr. Suckling, owner of the Maple Grove estate, seems to be the family’s only claim to fame, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815). 


August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Feminine form of “Augustus”, meaning “majestic” or “venerable”.

Gus, Gussie, Gussy, Gusta.

– Augusta Brocklehurst, the second daughter of the formidable and hypocritical supervisor of Lowood Institute, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
– Augusta Hawkins, the vain and self-important younger daughter of a Bristol merchant, who Mr. Elton selects for his wife after being disappointed in his first choice, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).

– Augusta, Lady Gregory (1852-1932), Irish dramatist, folklorist, and theatre manager.


August 21, 2014 § 5 Comments

Alternate spelling of “Hettie”, diminutive of “Henrietta“, “Hester“, “Harriet“, “Mehetabel”, etc.

Essie, Essy, Etta, Ettie, Etty, Halle, Hallie, Hattie, Hatty, Hen, Hennie, Henny, Het, Hettie, Yetta, etc.

Miss Hetty Bates, a silly, chatty, good-hearted woman who is always delighted to talk about anything, particularly her beloved niece, Jane Fairfax, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
Aunt Hetty Walker, who used to frighten young John and Bill with “witch stories” when she’d come to help Ellen with work on the farm, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).

Hetty Burlingame Beatty (1907-1971), American children’s book author, illustrator, and sculptor.
Hetty Tayler (1869-1951), pen name of British author and historian Helen Tayler, who also published as “Henrietta Tayler”, and often published jointly with her brother, Alexander.
Hetty Verolme (b. 1930), Belgian-Australian author and educator.
Hetty Wright (1697-1750), pen name of English poet Mehetabel Wesley Wright, who was also known as “Kitty Wright”.


August 21, 2014 § 2 Comments

From the Greek “Philippos”, meaning “friend of horses”.

Felip, Felipe, Filib, Filip, Filippos, Filippus, Flip, Phil, Phillip, Philippe, Philippos, Pilib, Pip, etc.

– Philip Canning, the narrator of “The Portrait” (1885), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.
– Rev. Mr. Philip Elton, the handsome and seemingly-agreeable vicar of Highbury, who turns out to be rather conceited and inconsiderate, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
– Philip Frederick Ottenburg (called “Fred“), 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).

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982), American essayist, novelist, philosopher, and short story writer.
Philip Freneau (1752-1832), American editor, poet, and polemicist.
Philip Latham (1902-1981), pen name of American astronomer and science fiction author Robert S. Richardson.
Philip Pullman (b. 1946), British fantasy author and playwright.
Philip Roth (b. 1933), American novelist.
Philip Van Doren Stern (1900-1984), American author, editor, and historian.


August 17, 2014 § 6 Comments

Medieval diminutive of “Annis”, or of “Ann” / “Anne” (via “Nan“).

Ann, Anne, Annie, Anny, Nainsi, Nan, Nancie, Nana, Nance, Nandag, Nanette, Nanice, Nanine, Nannie, Nanny, Nanse, Nansi, Nansie, Nansy, Nenci, Nensi, Neske, Nest, Nesta, Nina, Ninette, Ninon, Nona, Nonna, etc.

Aunt Nancy, who might be a fallback matron for Hope should something happen to Mrs. Bell, in “What Hope Bell Found in Her Stocking”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Nancy Creighton, John’s quiet and withdrawn wife, “amiable, but aloof to the friendly Creightons” in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
Nancy (Annie) Ridd (sometimes called “Nanny“), John’s favorite sister, a sweet little homemaker, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).
Nancy (Anne) Steele, Lucy’s well-intentioned but empty-headed ninny of an older sister, a woman of “vulgar freedom and folly”, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).

– Nancy Boyd (1892-1950), pen name of American poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay.
– Nancy Cato (1917-2000), Australian activist and writer.
– Nancy A. Collins (b. 1959), American horror novelist.
– Nancy Farmer (b. 1941), American author and children’s book writer.
– Nancy Garden (1938-2014), American author.
– Nancy Holder (b. 1953), American novelist.
– Nancy Huston (b. 1953), Canadian essayist and novelist.
– Nancy Kress (b. 1948), American sci-fi writer.
– Nancy Milford (b. 1938), American biographer.
– Nancy Meyers (b. 1949), American director, producer, and screenwriter.
– Nancy Mitford (1904-1973), English biographer, journalist, and novelist.
– Nancy Oliver (b. 1955), American playwright and screenwriter.
– Nancy Pickard (b. 1945), American crime novelist.
– Nancy Brooker Spain (1917-1964), English broadcaster, columnist, and journalist.
– Nancy Springer (b. 1948), American author.
– Nancy Werlin (b. 1961), American author.
– Nancy Willard (b. 1936), American novelist, poet, and children’s book writer and illustrator.

– From “Wages“, by Norman Rowland Gale: “Because I bowed / content, I fancy, / He gave me you / for wages, Nancy!”


August 17, 2014 § 10 Comments

From the Hebrew name “Channah”, meaning “favor” or “grace”.

Aina, Ana, Anabel, Anabela, Anabell, Anabella, Anabelle, Anais, Anca, Ane, Aneta, Ania, Anica, Anika, Aniko, Anita, Anja, Anka, Anna, Annabel, Annabela, Annabell, Annabella, Annabelle, Annabel, Anne, Annetta, Annette, Anneli, Anni, Annica, Annick, Annie, Annika, Anniken, Annikki, Annukka, Annushka, Annuska, Anny, Anushka, Anya, Chanah, Channah, Hana, Hanna, Hanne, Hannele, Hania, Hena, Henda, Hendel, Hene, Henye, Jana, Janna, Joanna, Joanne, Johanna, Johannah, Nainsi, Nan, Nancie, Nancy, Nanette, Nannie, Nanny, Nina, Ninon, Ona, Onna, etc.

– Hannah, a houseservant at the Elliston’s, in “Major Molly’s Christmas Promise” from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
– Hannah, the servant in the Rivers household, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
– Hannah, “a civil, pretty-spoken girl”, housemaid at Randalls and daughter of Mr. Woodhouse’s coachman, James, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
– Aunt Hannah, who might be a fallback matron for Hope should something happen to Mrs. Bell, in “What Hope Bell Found in Her Stocking”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).

– Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), German-American political theorist and writer.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Elizabeth” (published in 1873, but set in 1701-02; from Tales of a Wayside Inn, Part the Third: The Theologian’s Tale) tells the love story of John Estaugh (1676-1742) and Elizabeth Haddon (1680-1762), with her servants Joseph and Hannah as supporting characters, and Hannah described thusly: ” . . . Hannah the housemaid / Laughed with her eyes, as she listened, but governed her tongue, and was silent, / . . . Hannah the housemaid, the thrifty, the frugal . . . / . . . for a season was silent the penitent housemaid; / . . . Nothing was heard for a while but the step of Hannah the housemaid / Walking the floor overhead, and setting the chambers in order. / And Elizabeth said, with a smile of compassion, ‘The maiden / Hath a light heart in her breast, but her feet are heavy and awkward.’ / . . . Hannah the housemaid, the homely, was looking out of the attic, / Laughing aloud at Joseph, . . . / . . . Hannah the housemaid / Diligent early and late, and rosy with washing and scouring, / Still as of old disparaged the eminent merits of Joseph, / And was at times reproved for her light and frothy behavior, / For her shy looks, and her careless words, and her evil surmisings, / . . . And not otherwise Joseph, the honest, the diligent servant, / Sped in his bashful wooing with homely Hannah the housemaid; / For when he asked her the question, she answered, ‘Nay;’ and then added: / ‘But thee may make believe, and see what will come of it, Joseph.'”

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