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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Nina

August 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Usually, a diminutive of names ending in “-nina”, such as “Antonina” or “Giannina”, or a variation of “Ann” / “Anne“. Possibly referring to the Spanish word, meaning “little girl”; or from the Native American (Quechua) word, meaning “fire”; or the Russian feminine version of “Nino”; or to the name of a Babylonian and Assyrian fertility goddess.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Ani, Ann, Anne, Anni, Annie, Anny, Antonina, Giannina, Nainsi, Nan, Nana, Nance, Nanci, Nancie, Nancy, Nandag, Nanette, Nanice, Nanine, Nannie, Nanny, Nanse, Nansi, Nansie, Nansy, Neena, Neenah, Nena, Nenci, Nensi, Neske, Nest, Nesta, Nina, Ninette, Ninon, Nona, Nonna, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Nina Leffer, the sophisticated girl who becomes Lily’s first new friend after moving to a new neighborhood and a new school, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

Josef

August 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
German, Scandinavian, or Czech variation of “Joseph“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Beppe, Giuseppe, Jo, Joe, Joep, Joey, Jojo, Joop, Joos, Jos, José, Joseph, Josephus, Josip, Osip, Pepe, Pepito, Peppe, Peppi, Peppino, Pino, Seph, Sepp, Sjef, Youssef, Zef, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Josef Shaine, Lily’s grandfather, who married Etka to “share her interests”, not to gain a subservient housewife, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

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.

Linda

July 22, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Meaning “soft” or “tender”, a diminutive of names ending with “-linda” or “-linde”: e.g., “Belinda”, “Melinda”, “Rosalinda”, “Sieglinda”, etc. Also associated with the Spanish word, meaning “pretty”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Lin, Lindall, Lindell, Lindie, Lindsay, Lindsey, Lindsie, Lindy, Linette, Linn, Linne, Linnet, Linnette, Linnie, Linsay, Linsey, Linsie, Lyn, Lyndee, Lyndi, Lyndie, Lyndsay, Lyndsey, Lyndsie, Lynette, Lynn, Lynna, Lynne, Lynnette, Linza, Lynda, Lynzee, Lynzie, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Linda, one of the Lexington girls clamoring to partner with Rab at the Silsbee country dance in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).
Linda, one of the other “irregular” children at Lily’s school, so deemed because of her pink plastic prosthetic arm, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

Oliver

December 3, 2014 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
Variation of the French “Olivier”; either from German, meaning “elven army”, or from Latin, meaning “olive tree”, or from the Nordic “Olaf”, meaning “ancestor’s descendant”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Oli, Olivier, Oliviero, Ollie, Noll, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Oliver Landry, Thea’s accompanist, and friend to both Thea and Fred, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).

WRITERS:
– Oliver Crawford (1917-2008), American author and screenwriter.
– Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774), Anglo-Irish novelist, playwright, and poet.
– Oliver Herford (1863-1935), American artist, humorist, illustrator, and writer.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), American author, lecturer, physician, poet, and professor.
– Oliver Lodge (1851-1940), English physicist and writer.
– Oliver W.F. Lodge (1878-1955), English author and poet.
– Oliver Onions (1873-1961), English writer.
– Oliver Sacks (b. 1933), Anglo-American author and neurologist.

Adam

October 4, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Hebrew, meaning “man”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Aatami, Adamo, Addy, Adem, Adhamh, Adomas, Akamu, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Adam Bowyer, a guardsman in Sir Peter’s castle, in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.

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