Jan

August 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
For girls, a variant of “Jane” or diminitive of “Janet“, “Janice”, “Janelle”, etc. For boys, a medieval version of “John“, or a variation on “Johannes”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
For girls: Jana, Janae, Janelle, Janetta, Janet, Janette, Janey, Janie, Janice, Janis, Janith, Janna, Jannah, Jannetta, Jannette, Jayna, Jayne, Jaynie, Jean, Jeanette, Jeanne, Jenae, Jenna, Jennet, Jenni, Jenny, Joan, Joanie, Joanne, Joanna, etc.
For boys: Janek, Jani, Janne, Jannick, Jean, Jens, Jo, Johan, Johannes, John, Johnnie, Johnny, Jon, Jonas, Joni, Jono, Jovan, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Jan Foot, the first of Lily’s high school friends to have “done it”, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

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Berta

August 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Variation of “Bertha“; or a diminutive form of names like “Alberta”, “Roberta“, etc.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Alberta, Albertina, Albertine, Auberta, Berchta, Berdi, Berdie, Berdy, Berdina, Berhta, Berit, Bert, Bertha, Berthe, Berti, Bertie, Bertille, Bertina, Berty, Birdi, Birdie, Birdy, Burti, Burtie, Burty, Elberta, Elberte, Elbertina, Elbertine, Elbertyna, Hrothbeorhta, Hrothberta, Hrothbertina, Hrothnerta, Perda, Perde, Perdi, Perdie, Perdy, Pirda, Pirde, Pirdi, Pirdie, Pirdy, Purda, Purde, Purdi, Purdie, Purdy, Perchta, Perta, Perte, Perti, Pertie, Perty, Pirta, Pirte, Pirti, Pirtie, Pirty, Purta, Purte, Purti, Purtie, Purty, Roberta, Robertia, Robertina, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Great Aunt Berta, Lily’s elderly relative and Becky’s sister, who is aware their nephew died of heart failure months ago, but has kept the news from her sister, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

WRITERS:
Berta Behrens (1850-1912), German novelist who published under the pen name “Wilhelmine (W.) Heimburg”.
Berta Bojetu Boeta (1946-1997), Slovene actress, poet, and writer.
Berta Golob (b. 1932), Slovene librarian, poet, teacher, and writer.
Berta Hader (1890-1976), American children’s book author and illustrator.
Berta Ruck (1878-1978), British memoirist and novelist.
Berta Zuckerkandl (1864-1935), Austrian critic, journalist, and writer.

August

May 24, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Variation of “Augustus”, meaning “great” or “venerable”, or possibly referring to the month of August.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Aku, Avgust, Augie, Auggie, Augustas, Auguste, Augusto, Augustus, Aukusti, Gus, Gussie, Gussy, Kusti, Og, Oggi, Oggie, Oggy, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Mr. August Viele, owner of the New York property which houses the bar Hurstwood regretfully invests in, in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (published in 1900; set 1889-1890s).

Fortuna

December 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Latin, meaning “fortunate” or “lucky”, after the Roman goddess of Fortune (obviously).

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Fortune? Maybe Lucky, in a roundabout sort of way?

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Mommy Fortuna, the witch who captures the unicorn for her Midnight Carnival, in the fantasy novel The Last Unicorn (1968) by Peter S. Beagle.

Famos

November 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
From Catalan, meaning “famous”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
. . . I . . . don’t . . . know?

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Famos Serreños, Spanish Johnny’s cousin, who moves to Moonstone to work in the brickyard, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).

Diana

August 26, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Latin, meaning “divine”, from the Roman goddess of the moon, hunting, forests, and childbirth.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Dajana, Dede, Dee, Di, Diahann, Dian, Diane, Dianna, Dianne, Dijana, Kiana, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Diana, a girl at school Lily befriends, one of the other “irregular” children in her grade, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).
Diana Duval, one of Lily’s first friends, “a dirty blonde in every sense”, in Sleeping Arrangements.
Diana Rivers (later Fitzjames), one of St. John’s sisters, who befriend Jane after she leaves Thornfield, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

WRITERS:
– Diana Athill (b. 1917), English editor, novelist, and memoirist.
– Diana Gabaldon (b. 1952), American author.
– Diana Gould (b. 1944), American author and screenwriter.
– Diana Hendry (b. 1941), English author and poet.
– Diana Wynne Jones (1934-2011), English writer.
– Diana Mitford, the Hon. Lady Mosley (1910-2003), English socialite and writer.
– Diana Morgan (b. 1913), English novelist.

Clara

August 6, 2014 § 7 Comments

ORIGIN:
Alternate version of “Clare”, from the Latin name “Clarus”, meaning “clear” or “bright”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Chiara, Claire, Clare, Claretta, Claribel, Clarice, Clarinda, Clarissa, Clarette, Kiara, Kiera, Klare, Klara, Klarissa, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Clara, the “honest and quiet; but heavy, mindless, and unimpressible” German woman Mr. Rochester took as a mistress following Céline Varens’ betrayal, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
– Clara, Rosamond Carey’s mother, who sends her to stay with three maiden cousins, in “Little Button-Rose”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
– Clara Carey, wife of Dr. Carey, David Langston’s dearest friend, in The Harvester (1911) by Gene Stratton Porter.
– Clara, Ella Carver’s cousin, for whose baby she buys pretty little things made by Almira Miller, in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls.
Clara Harrington, a girl who unknowingly assisted in the trick on Tilly Drake, in “An April Fool”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
– 
Clara Jeffreys (née Partridge), one of Augusta Elton’s friends from Bath that she cites as an example of how married women always give up their pursuit of music, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).

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