October 7, 2015 § 1 Comment

Alternate spelling of “Perceval”, a name created for the poem Perceval, or the Story of the Grail, written in the 12th century by French poet Chrétian de Troyes; possibly influenced by the Old French for “to pierce the valley” or “to perceive the veil (of religious mystery)”.

Parsifal, Parzifal, Perce, Perceval, Percevale, Percie, Percy, Percyvelle.

Percival Tweedie, the “eligible bachelor” silversmith who comes to join Lapham as partner after Johnny’s accident, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

Percival Everett (b. 1956), American novelist, professor, and short story writer.
Percival Pickering (1865-1965), pen name of English author Anna Marie Wilhelmina (A.M.W.) Pickering.
Percival Pollard (1869-1911), American critic, novelist, and short story writer.
Percival Serle (1871-1951), Australian bibliographer and biographer.
Percival Spear (1901-1982), English educator, government worker, and historian.
Percival Stockdale (1736-1811), English poet, reformer, and writer.
Percival Wilde (1887-1953), American author and playwright.
Percival Christopher (P.C.) Wren (1875-1941), English author and educator.


September 9, 2015 § 2 Comments

Diminutive of “Prisca”, from a Roman family name meaning “ancient” or “of ancient birth”.

Cece, Cila, Cili, Cilka, Cilla, Cille, Pricila, Pricilla, Pris, Prisca, Priscila, Priska, Priskilla, Prissie, Prissy, Scilla, Sileas, Silja, Silje, Silke, Sile, Sille, Sisi, Sissie, Sissy, Zilla, etc.

– Priscilla Lapham (called “Cilla“), Mrs. Lapham’s devoted, reliable, practical teenaged daughter, who remains a true friend to Johnny through all the turmoil of Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

Priscilla (1735-1812), pen name of English activist, reformer, and writer Ann Jebb.
Priscilla Buckley (1921-2012), American author and editor.
Priscilla Galloway (b. 1930), Canadian children’s book author.
Priscilla Napier (1908-1998), English author and biographer.
Priscilla Uppal (b. 1974), Canadian novelist, playwright, and poet.
Priscilla Wakefield (1751-1832), English activist, children’s book author, and writer.


June 10, 2015 § 6 Comments

An English variation of “Susanna”, from the Hebrew “Shoshannah”, meaning “lily” or “rose”.

Sanna, Sanne, Sawsan, Shoshana, Shoshannah, Sooki, Sookie, Sooky, Sousanna, Su, Sue, Susana, Susanita, Susann, Susanna, Susannah, Susanne, Suse, Susey, Susi, Susie, Susy, Sukey, Suki, Sukie, Suzan, Suzana, Suzann, Suzanna, Suzannah, Suzanne, Suze, Suzelle, Suzette, Suzey, Suzi, Suzie, Suzy, Zana, Zanna, Zooey, Zooie, Zsazsa, Zsuzsa, Zsuzsanna, Zsuzsi, Zsuzsu, Zu, Zula, Zuza, Zuzana, Zuzanka, Zuzanna, Zuzi, Zuzia, Zuzka, Zuzu, etc.

Susan Hassan, one of Lily’s best friends, and a natural enemy of her other best friend, Diana, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

– Susan Coolidge (1835-1905), pen name of American children’s book writer Sarah Chauncey Woolsey.
– Susan Glaspell (1876-1948), American actress, journalist, novelist, and playwright.
– Susan Eloise (S.E.) Hinton (b. 1948), American children’s book writer, novelist, and screenwriter.

– From the popular ballad “Black Ey’d Susan, or Sweet William’s Farewell“, by John Gay, first published in 1730: “The noblest captain in the British fleet, / Might envy William’s lips those kisses sweet. / ‘O Susan, Susan, lovely dear, / My vows shall ever true remain; / Let me kiss off that falling tear, / We only part to meet again. / Change, as ye list, ye winds; my heart shall be / The faithful compass that still points to thee. / ‘Believe not what the landsmen say, / Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind: / . . . ‘If to far India’s coast we sail, / Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright, / Thy breath is Afric’s spicy gale, / Thy skin is ivory, so white. / Thus every beauteous object that I view, / Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue. / ‘Though battle call me from thy arms, / Let not my pretty Susan mourn; / Though cannons roar, yet safe from harms, / William shall to his dear return.’”


August 29, 2014 § 3 Comments

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

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

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).

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


August 2, 2014 § 4 Comments

Diminutive of “Frances” or “Francisca” (feminine versions of “Francis“, meaning “Frenchman”), or of “Stefania”, etc.

Chica, Cissie, Cissy, Fan, Fannie, Fran, Franca, Franci, Francie, Francka, Franka, Frankie, Franky, Frannie, Franny, Franzi, Paca, Paquita, Sissie, Sissy, etc.

Fanny, a cousin of Col. Brandon’s, who Mrs. Jennings guesses may have recently married, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility(set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).
Fanny Bludyer, a friend of the social-climbing Maria Bullock (née Osborne) Fanny Bludyer, a friend of the social-climbing Maria Bullock (née Osborne) in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Fanny de Butterbrod, a Countess of Pumpernickel who nearly captures Joseph Sedley’s all-too-susceptible heart in Vanity Fair.
Fanny Crawley, one of the Rev. Bute Crawley’s daughters in Vanity Fair.
Fanny Dashwood (née Ferrars), John Dashwood’s wife and Edward Ferrar’s sister, a cold, greedy, snobbish woman with no consideration for others, in Sense and Sensibility.
Fanny (called “Fan“) Fletcher, a friend of Jessie Delano who needs dancing lessons, in “An Ivy Spray and Ladies’ Slippers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Fanny Hamlin, Susy’s best friend in “Susy’s Dragon”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Fanny Magenis, one of the army wives who make up the social circle for Amelia Sedley after her marriage to George Osborne, in Vanity Fair.
Fanny Scape, who, with her sister and mother, “fade away to Boulogne” after her father’s failure in the firm of Fogle, Fake, and Cracksman, in Vanity Fair.
Fanny (Frances) Wentworth, Will’s conceited, snobbish cousin in “That Little Smith Girl” from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).

Fanny (Frances) Burney (1752-1840), English diarist, novelist, and playwright.
Fanny Crosby (1820-1915), American composer, lyricist, mission worker, and poet.
Fanny de Beauharnais (1737-1813), French salon-holder, socialite, and woman-of-letters.
Fanny Fern (1811-1872), pen name of American children’s book writer, columnist, humorist, and novelist, Sara Willis.
Fanny Howe (b. 1940), American novelist, poet, and short story writer.
Fanny Kemble (1809-1893), English actress and writer.
Fanny Lewald (1811-1889), German activist and author.


August 2, 2014 § 14 Comments

Alternately spelled “Anne”, this is an English variant of “Anna”, from “Hannah” (as used in the Greek and Latin Old Testament), a version of the Hebrew name “Channah”, meaning “favor” or “grace”.

Ana, Anabel, Anabelle, Anabella, Anais, Andie, Andy, Aneta, Ani, Anica, Anika, Anita, Anitra, Anka, Anke, Anna, Annabel, Annabella, Annabelle, Annag, Anne, Anneke, Annella, Annetta, Annette, Annick, Annicka, Annie, Annika, Anniken, Annis, Anouk, Antje, Anya, Chana, Channah, Hanna, Hannah, Hanne, Nan, Nancy, Nanette, Nannie, Nina, Ninon, Ona, Onna, etc.

Ann, a maidservant in the Lloyd household, in “The Egg-Boy” from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Ann, a maidservant in the Lambert household, in “The Thanksgiving Guest”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.
Ann, one of the Boston children roused to their chores at the start of Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).
Ann, the little Dunbars’ aunt, married to the wealthy, somewhat cantankerous Uncle Timothy, in “The Little Dunbars, and Their Charming Christmas Plans”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Aunt Ann, Agnes Brendon’s aunt, who she relies on to introduce her to the splendid Pelhams, in “That Little Smith Girl” from A Flock of Girls and Boys.
Aunt Ann, Jim Marlowe’s aunt, who hosts the get-together where all the trouble starts, 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)
Ann Dobbin, one of William Dobbin’s sisters in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Ann Fleming, Ally’s aunt, who is perhaps too quick to judge, in “Ally”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.

– See this post for a starting list of writers named Ann.


August 2, 2014 § 7 Comments

Anglo-Saxon, meaning “keeper of prosperity” or “rich / blessed guard”.

Duarte, Eadweard, Ed, Edd, Eddi, Eddie, Edouard, Eduard, Eduardo, Edvard, Eddward, Eddy, Eideard, Eward, Ned, Nedd, Neddie, Neddy, Ted, Tedd, Teddie, Teddy, etc.

Edward Dale, a young stockbroker who is sweet on Amelia Sedley in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Edward Ferrars, Fanny Dashwood’s brother, a shy, unambitious man who, though he may lack the passion Marianne looks for in a man, possesses the warm heart, affectionate temper, and good sense that Elinor finds attractive, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).
Edward Fairfax Rochester, the moody and passionate master of Thornfield, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

– Edward Anhalt (1914-2000), American film-maker, producer, and screenwriter.
– Edward Bradley (1827-1889), English clergyman and novelist.
– Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883), English poet and writer.
– Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), English historian.
– Edward S. Hudson (b. 1947), pen name of American fantasy, science fiction, and Western author Robert E. Vardeman, who has also published under the pen names “Cliff Garnett”, “Daniel Moran”, “F.J. Hale”, “Jackson Lowry”, “Karl Lassiter”, “Paul Kenyon”, and “Victor Appleton”.
– Edward Zane Carroll (E.Z.C.) Judson, Sr. (1821-1886), American journalist, publicist, publisher, and writer who also wrote under the pen name Ned Buntline.
– Edward Lear (1812-1888), English artist, author, and poet.
– Edward (Ned) Ward (1667-1731), English publican and satirist.

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