Israel

August 31, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Hebrew, meaning “ruling with the Lord” or “wrestling with the Lord” (from “Yisra’el”, meaning “God contended”).

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Is, Iser, Israhel, Isreal, Isreel, Issur, Issy, Iz, Izrael, Izreel, Izzy, Sroel, Yisrael, Yizreel, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Israel Thomas, a friend and neighbor of the Creighton’s, who sometimes brings their mail over from Hidalgo, and who joins in the watch over the Creighton farm when it’s threatened by Guy Wortman and his gang, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).

WRITERS:
Israel the Grammarian (c.895-c.965), Breton (?) philosopher, poet, scholar, theologian, and writer.
Israel Belkind (1861-1929), Russian activist, author, educator, historian, and writer.
Israel Davidson (1870-1939), American publisher and writer.
Israel Friedlander (1876-1920), Polish activist, educator, rabbi, scholar, and translator.
Israel Dov Frumkin (1850-1914), Russian-Palestinian author and journalist.
Israel Gollancz (1863-1930), English editor, professor, scholar, and translator.
Israel Gutman (1923-2013), Polish-Israeli historian.
Israel Horovitz (b. 1939), American actor, director, and playwright.
Israel ben Moses Najara (c.1555-c.1625), Ottoman poet, preacher, and rabbi.
Israel Orenstein (1831-after 1888?), Russian novelist.
Israel Pinkas (b. 1935), Israeli poet.
Israel Regardie (1907-1985), Anglo-American occultist and writer.
Israel Segal (1944-2007), Israeli author, commentator, and journalist.
Israel Joshua Singer (1893-1944), American novelist.
Israel Zangwill (1864-1926), English activist and author.

Jessica

May 11, 2015 § 7 Comments

ORIGIN:
Probably invented by William Shakespeare for his 1596 play The Merchant of Venice; possibly inspired by the Hebrew “Ischa” / “Yiskah” / “Jescha”, meaning “to behold” or “Jehovah is watching”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Gessica, Iekika, Ischa, Janet, Jean, Jescha, Jess, Jessa, Jesslin, Jessalyn, Jesse, Jessenia, Jessica, Jessika, Jessy, Teasag, Yesika, Yessica, Yiskah, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Jessica Hurstwood, George Hurstwood’s frivolous and self-centered daughter, in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (published in 1900; set 1889-1890s).

Felipe

November 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Spanish or Portuguese form of “Philip” / “Phillip”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Felip, Felipinho, Filib, Filip, Filipe, Filippos, Filippus, Flip, Phil, Philip, Philippe, Philippos, Phillip, Pilib, Pip, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Felipe Ramas, one of Miguel’s flirtatious cousins, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).

WRITERS:
– Felipe Alfau (1902-1999), Spanish-American novelist.
– Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala (ca. 1535-ca. 1616), Peruvian chronicler.
– Felipe Sassone (1884-1959), Italian-Peruvian writer.
– Felipe Trigo (1864-1916), Spanish writer.

Miguel

November 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
The Spanish or Portuguese form of “Michael“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Maikel, Micha, Micah, Michael, Michail, Michel, Mick, Mickey, Micky, Miguelito, Mika, Mikael, Mike, Mikel, Mikelo, Mikey, Mikhael, Mikhail, Mijo, Mikkel, Mikki, Misha, Miska, Mitch, Mitchell, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Miguel Ramas, Spanish Johnny’s friend, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).

WRITERS:
– Miguel Ángel Asturias (1899-1974), Guatemalan journalist, novelist, playwright, and poet-diplomat.
– Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), Spanish novelist, playwright, and poet.
– Miguel Delibes (1920-2010), Spanish editor, journalist, and novelist.
– Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936), Spanish educator, essayist, novelist, philosopher, playwright, and poet.
– Miguel Hernandez (1910-1942), Spanish playwright and poet.
– Miguel Méndez (1930-2013), Mexican-American author.
– Miguel Mihura (1905-1977), Spanish playwright.
– Miguel Morayta (1907-2013), Spanish director and screenwriter.
– Miguel Piñero (1946-1988), Puerto Rican actor and playwright.
– Miguel Sánchez (1594-1674), Hispanic priest, theologian, and writer.
– Miguel Serrano (1917-2009), Chilean author, diplomat, explorer, and poet.
– Miguel Otero Silva (1908-1985), Venezuelan humorist, journalist, politician, and writer.
– Miguel Torga (1907-1995), pen name of Portuguese writer Adolfo Correia da Rocha.

Christopher

September 16, 2014 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
From the Greek “Christophoros”, meaning “bearer of Christ”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Chip, Chris, Christie, Christoffel, Christoffer, Christophe, Christophoros, Christy, Cris, Cristobal, Cristoforo, Hristo, Hristofor, Kester, Kit, Kris, Kristof, Kristoffer, Kristofor, Kristopher, Krsto, Krystof, Krzys, Krzysiek, Krzysztof, Risto, Toph, Topher, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Christopher Badcock (called “Kit“), the innocent farmer whose young child is murdered while his wife, Margery, is carried off by the Doones, the final outrage which causes the locals to rise up against this scourge in their midst, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).

WRITERS:
– Christopher Fry (1907-2005), English poet and playwright.
– Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011), Anglo-American author, debater, journalist, and polemicist.
– Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986), English novelist.
– Christopher Koch (1932-2013), Australian novelist.
– Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), English dramatist, poet, and translator.
– Christopher Morley (1890-1957), American essayist, journalist, novelist, and poet.
– Christopher Nolan (1965-2009), Irish author and poet.

Esther

August 29, 2014 § 3 Comments

ORIGIN:
Possibly Persian, meaning “star”, or derived from “Ishtar”, the name of the Babylonian and Assyrian mother goddess of love, fertility, and war.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Aster, Eistir, Esfir, Essi, Essie, Esta, Estee, Ester, Estera, Esteri, Eszter, Eszti, Hester, Ishtar, Istar, Yesfir, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Esther Bowdoin, whose shabby home life belies her blue-blooded ancestry and artistic heritage, in “Esther Bodn”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Esther (or Edna or Etka) Kroll Shaine — “Esther in Hebrew, Edna in English, and Etka in Russian” — Lily’s increasingly-senile grandmother in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

WRITERS:
You can find a good, solid starter list of writers named “Esther” in this post.

Alexander

August 22, 2014 § 14 Comments

ORIGIN:
Latin version of the Greek “Alexandros”, meaning “defender of men”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Ace, Al, Alasdair, Alastair, Alastar, Ale, Alec, Alejandro, Aleks, Aleksander, Aleksandr, Alessandro, Alex, Alexandre, Alexandros, Alexis, Alick, Alisander, Alistair, Alister, Ally, Eskandar, Iskandar, Lexi, Olek, Oleksander, Oleksandr, Sacha, Sander, Sandor, Sandy, Sandro, Sascha, Saunder, Sawney, Sender, Shura, Sikandar, Skender, Xander, Xandinho, Zander, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Middle name of James Alexander Creighton (1849-1852), one of the three young Creighton boys who died of “paralysis” the year Jethro was born, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
Alexander Herron, Ruth Jameson’s grandfather, “who made a concession”, in The Harvester (1911) by Gene Stratton Porter.

WRITERS:
– Alexander Brown (1843-1906), American historian and writer.
– Alexander Hamilton (1755 or 1757- 1804), American essayist, economist, and political leader.
– Alexander King (1899-1965), Austrian-American humorist and memoirist.
– Alexander Mollin (b. 1947), pen name of English author Jim Williams, who also publishes as “Richard Hugo”.
– Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet.
– Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), Russian author and poet.
– Alexander Ross (c.1590-1654), Scottish writer.
– Alexander Scott (c.1520-1582/83), Scottish poet.
– Alexander Scott (1920-1989), Scottish poet and scholar.
Alexander Tayler (1870-1937), British author and historian who published under the pen name of “Alasdair Tayler”, and often published jointly with his sister, Hetty.
– Alexander Wilson (1893-1963), English writer and spy.

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