Jake

August 29, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Variant of “Jack“, or diminutive of “Jacob”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Cobus, Coby, Jaak, Jack, Jackie, Jacko, Jacks, Jacky, Jacob, Jak, Jakes, Jakey, Jakin, Jaks, Jax, Jaxon, Jaxson, Jeb, Jeppe, Jock, Jockie, Jocky, Koba, Kobe, Koby, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Jake, a “tough” who lives in Cove Street and adores sharp little Becky Hawkins, in “Becky”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Jake Roscoe, an elderly neighbor of the Creighton’s, whose son (also named “Jake“) is off fighting in the war, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).

WRITERS:
Jake Arnott (b. 1961), English novelist.
Jake Copass (1920-2006), American poet and storyteller.
Jake Halpern (b. 1975), American author, commentator, and producer.
Jake Holmes (b. 1939), American singer and songwriter.
Jake McDonald (b. 1949), Canadian novelist and writer.
Jake Saunders (b. 1947), American businessman, novelist, and science fiction author.
Jake Thackray (1938-2002), pen name of English journalist, poet, singer, and songwriter John Philip Thackray.
Jake Adam York (1972-2012), American 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.

Naomi

August 25, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Hebrew, meaning “pleasant”

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Na’omi, Noemi, Noemia, Noémie, Noemin, Nohemi, Nomi, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Naomi Brocklehurst, the lady who built the new part of Lowood Institute, and whose son overlooks and directs the school, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

WRITERS:
– Naomi Alderman (b. 1974), English author.
– Naomi Jacob (1884-1964), English actress, author, and broadcaster.
– Naomi Klein (b. 1970), Canadian activist and author.
– Naomi Lewis (1911-2009), English anthologist, author, critic, essayist, and poet.
– Naomi Mitchison (1897-1999), Scottish novelist and poet.
– Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), Palestinian-American novelist, poet, and songwriter.
– Naomi Ragen (b. 1949), American-Israeli activist, author, and playwright.
– Naomi Wolf (b. 1962), American activist and author.

David

August 22, 2014 § 4 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Hebrew, meaning “beloved”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Dai, Daividh, Dauid, Dave, Daveth, Davey, Davide, Davie, Davis, Davit, Davy, Daw, Dawid, Dawud, Dewie, Dewey, Dewydd, Dovid, Taavetti, Taavi, Tavi, Taffy, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Brother David, the stonemason, one of the monks at St. Mark’s in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.
David Langston, the titular clean-living “harvester of the forest”, in The Harvester (1911) by Gene Stratton Porter.
David Wyburn, Esther’s cousin, who works as a clerk at Weyman & Co.’s importing-house, in “Esther Bodn”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).

WRITERS:
David Craig (b. 1929), pen name of Welsh novelist James Tucker, who also publishes as “Bill James” and “Judith Jones”.
David Herbert (D.H.) Lawrence (1885-1930), English critic, essayist, novelist, painter, playwright, and poet.
David Malouf (b. 1934), Australian novelist, playwright, and short story writer.
David McCullough (b. 1933), American author, historian, and lecturer.
David Mitchell (b. 1969), English novelist.
David Sedaris (b. 1956), American author and humorist.
David Foster Wallace (1962-2008), American essayist, novelist, professor, and short story writer.
David Walliams (b. 1971), English activist, actor, children’s book writer, and comedian.

James

August 2, 2014 § 14 Comments

ORIGIN:
From the same source as “Jacob”, from Hebrew, meaning “supplanter”, or possibly, “may God protect”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Giacomo, Hamish, Iago, Jae, Jacques, Jago, Jai, Jaime, Jaimie, Jamie, Jameson, Jamieson, Jamey, Jay, Jaymes, Jeames, Jem, Jemmy, Jim, Jimbo, Jimi, Jimmie, Jimmy, Jimsy, Seamus, Shamus, Sheamus, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
James, the manservant at 999 Marlborough Street, in “Ally”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
James, butler for the Joy family while in Newport, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
James, Mr. Woodhouse’s coachman in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
James, 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).
James Cooper, whose wife is one of those married friends from Bath that Augusta Elton cites as an example of how married women always give up their pursuit of music, in Emma.
James Alexander, the alias chosen by the con man who persecutes Georgie Gray and Berry Joy in A Little Country Girl.
– James Crawley (sometimes called “Jim“), one of the Rev. Bute Crawley’s sons in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
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).
James Marlowe (called “Jim“), the impetuous young man whose impulsive nature leads to a sorrowful mix-up, 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)
James McMull, the “young sprig of Scotch nobility” Miss Rhoda Swartz ends up marrying after Mr. Osborne fails to add her to his family, in Vanity Fair.

WRITERS:
– See this post for a long list of writers named James dating all the way back to the thirteenth century.

Jim

August 2, 2014 § 5 Comments

ORIGIN:
Shortened form of “James“, which derives from the same source as “Jacob”, from the Hebrew, meaning “supplanter”, or possibly, “may God protect”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Jae, Jaime, Jamie, Jamey, Jay, Jaymie, Jem, Jemmy, Jimi, Jimmie, Jimmy, Jimsy, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Jim (James) Crawley, one of the Rev. Bute Crawley’s sons in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Jim Lorton (sometimes called “Jimmy“), the teasing, critical brother of the Lorton family, in “The Youngest Miss Lorton”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Jim (James) Marlowe, the impetuous young man whose impulsive nature leads to a sorrowful mix-up, 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)
Jim Murdoch, a “hoop-pole man” who would like to court Virginia Herrick, if either she or her father would allow it, in Virginia of Virginia, written by Amélie Rives in 1888.

WRITERS:
– See this post for a list of writers who go by the name “Jim”.

Laura

July 31, 2014 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Latin, meaning “laurel”. Feminine variant of “Laurence” / “Lawrence“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Lallie, Lally, Lara, Laraine, Laure, Laureen, Laurel, Lauren, Laurene, Lauressa, Lauretta, Laurette, Laurey, Laurie, Laurinda, Laurine, Laurissa, Laurita, Laury, Lavra, Llora, Lollie, Lolly, Lora, Loreen, Loren, Lorene, Loretta, Lorette, Lori, Lorie, Lorinda, Lorita, Lorraine, Lorri, Lorrie, Lory, Lowri, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Laura, the fake name used by Berry Joy and Georgie Gray to play their Lonely Hearts prank, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
Laura, the “fairy princess” Ted Shaffer plans to marry, in “In a Rag-Bag”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Laura Brooks (sometimes called “Brooksie”), who refuses to give up her friendship with Esther, in spite of the judgment and disdain her friends and family may heap upon her head, in “Esther Bodn”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Laura Delano, an invalid who sells her artwork to try and support herself and her sister, Jessie, in “An Ivy Spray and Ladies’ Slippers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Laura Fleming, Ally’s cousin, who perhaps expects too much, in “Ally”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.
Laura Martin, a little orphan girl who worships Amelia Sedley during her time at Miss Pinkerton’s academy in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Laura Selwyn, one of Marian’s cousins, who knows all about the trick, in “An April Fool”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.

WRITERS:
Check out this post for a starter list of writers named “Laura”.

QUOTATIONS:
– From “To My Brothers” by Norman Rowland Gale: “O brothers, who must ache and stoop / O’er wordy tasks in London-town, / How scantly Laura trips for you — / A poem in a gown!”

Barbara

July 31, 2014 § 4 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Greek, meaning “strange” or “foreign”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Babs, Barb, Barbary, Barbera, Barbie, Barbra, Barby, Bobbie, Bobby, Varvara, Varvora, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Barbara, a servant at Lowood Academy, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
Barbara, a “severe and devout Princess of the House of Bolkum, widow of the monarch of Pumpernickel, where Dobbin, Amelia, Jos, and Georgy stop for a while on their Grand Tour, in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Lady Barbara Fitzurse is an heiress who serves as a topic for gossip between Miss Crawley, Rawdon Crawley, and Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair.
Barbara Pinkerton, the formidable sister in charge of Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for young ladies in Vanity Fair.

WRITERS:
Want to learn more about writers named “Barbara”? Check out this post for starters.

QUOTATIONS:
– “Barbara Allen” is a traditional folk song with origins in England and Scotland in the 17th century, though it has undergone hundreds of variations since it was first recorded by Samuel Pepys in 1666: “In Scarlet town where I was born / there was a fair maid dwellin’ / and every youth cried Well-a-day / For her name was Barb’ra Allen”.

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!”

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.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with 1970s at The Art of Literary Nomenclature.