Jon

October 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Shortened form of “Jonathan“, or variation of “John“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Eoin, Evan, Ewan, Gianni, Giannino, Giovanni, Hankin, Hans, Ian, Iain, Ioannes, Ivan, Jack, Jackie, Jackin, Jacky, Jan, Janko, Jannick, Jean, Jeannot, Jenkin, Jens, Jo, Joan, Jock, Johan, Johannes, John, Johnnie, Johnny, Jonas, Jonel, Jonny, Joop, Jovan, Juan, Juanito, Nino, Sean, Shane, Shawn, Yan, Yannick, Yochanon, Yon, Yvan, Vanya, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Jon the Cook, one of the servants who was supposed to look after Robin while his parents were away, in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.

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Anna

August 6, 2014 § 9 Comments

ORIGIN:
From “Hannah” (as used in the Greek and Latin Old Testament), a version of the Hebrew name “Channah”, meaning “favor” or “grace”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Ana, Anabel, Anais, Andie, Andy, Aneke, Aneta, Ani, Ania, Anica, Anika, Anissa, Anita, Anitra, Anka, Anke, Ann, Annabel, Annabella, Annabelle, Anne, Anneke, Annetta, Annette, Annick, Annicka, Annie, Annika, Anniken, Annis, Anny, Anouk, Antje, Anushka, Anya, Channah, Hana, Hanna, Hannah, Hanne, Nainsi, Nan, Nancie, Nancy, Nanette, Nannie, Nanny, Nina, Ninon, Ona, Onna, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Anna Kronborg, Thea’s jealous and priggish older sister, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).
Anna Page, Sidney’s mother, who takes in boarders to help pay the bills after her sister, Harriet, leaves to start a dressmaking business, in K. by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1914).
Anna Raymond, the girl Dolly Lorton is gossiping about when her friend Sally Ware calls her on it, in “The Youngest Miss Lorton”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Anna Richards, Mary Marcy’s friend and seat-mate, in “An April Fool”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Anna Snezak, co-owner (with her husband, Morris) of AnaMor Towers apartments, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).
Anna Weston, the baby girl possibly named for her mother, who signs her name “A. Weston” (née Taylor), in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
Anna Winslow, president of the Mayflower Club in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.

WRITERS:
– Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966), pen name of Russian poet Anna Andreyevna Gorenko.
– Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825), English critic, editor, essayist, poet, and children’s book writer.
– Anna Maria Bennett (c. 1750-1808), English novelist (sometimes credited as “Agnes Maria Hall”)
– Anna Maria Bunn (1808-1889), Australian author.
– Anna Maria Falconbridge (1769-c. 1816), English writer.
– Anna Katherine Green (1846-1935), American poet and novelist.
– Anna Maria Hall (1800-1881), Irish novelist (sometimes credited as “Mrs. S.C. Hall”)
– Anna Maria Hussey (1805-1853), English scientist, writer, and illustrator.
– Anna Kavan (1901-1968), English novelist, short story writer, and painter.
– Anna Maria Lenngren (1754-1817), Swedish poet, translator, and writer.
– Anna Maria Ortese (1914-1998), Italian poet and short story writer.
– Anna Maria Porter (1780-1832), English poet and novelist.
– Anna Quindlen (b. 1953), American author, columnist, and journalist.
– Anna Maria Rückerschöld (1725-1805), Swedish author.
– Anna Seghers (1900-1983), pen name of German writer Anna Reiling.
– Anna Sewell (1820-1878), English novelist.
– Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-1678), German-Dutch engraver, painter, poet, and scholar.
– Anna Marie Wilhelmina (A.M.W.) Stirling (1865-1965), English author who published under the pen name “Percival Pickering”.
– Anna Maria Wells (c. 1794-1868), American poet and children’s book writer.
– Anna Wheeler (c. 1780-1848), Irish activist and writer.

Maria

July 28, 2014 § 11 Comments

ORIGIN:
Pronounced either “ma REE’ a” or “ma RYE’ a”, this is the Latin form of Mary.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Maia, Maike, Maja, Malia, Mara, Mairen, Mari, Mariah, Marie, Mariele, Mariella, Marietta, Marijeke, Marika, Mariska, Marita, Mary, Maureen, Maya, Mia, Mimi, Mirele, Moira, Reena, Reeta, Ria, Riele, Riella, Rina, Rita, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Maria, maid-of-all-work for Maggie Bradford’s family in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
– Maria Johnson, the farmer’s wife in The Song of the Cardinal, by Gene Stratton Porter (1903).
– Maria Lucas, the younger sister of Lizzie Bennet’s best friend Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (written in 1797, published in 1813).
– Maria Mirvan (called “Molly” or “Moll” by her father), Evelina’s dearest friend, with whom she enters into London society, in Evelina, or, The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World (1778), by Fanny Burney.
– Maria Frances Osborne, the younger of George Osborne’s sisters in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
– Maria Porter (called “Ria“), a shopgirl Anna Winslow helps in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls.
– Miss Maria Temple, head teacher and superintendent of Lowood Institute, whose kindness to Jane encourages and consoles her, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte. 
– Maria Todd, Miss Osborne’s goddaughter and sister to Osborne Todd, Georgy Osborne’s friend, in Vanity Fair.

QUOTATIONS:
– “They Call The Wind Maria” is a song from the 1951 musical Paint Your Wagon by Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe: “Away out here they got a name / For rain and wind and fire / The rain is Tess, the fire Joe / And they call the wind Maria”. (Obviously, you have to go with the “ma RYE’ a” pronunciation for this song, or it doesn’t really rhyme. Also, I have serious doubts about anyone actually calling fire “Joe”.)
– “Maria” is a song from the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim: “The most beautiful sound I ever heard. / Maria! . . . Say it loud and there’s music playing, / Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.”
– “(How Do You Solve a Problem Like) Maria” is a song from the 1959 musical The Sound of Music by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II: “How do you solve a problem like Maria? / How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? / How do you find a word that means Maria? / A flibbertigibbet! A will-o’-the-wisp! A clown! / Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her / Many a thing she ought to understand / But how do you make her stay / And listen to all you say / How do you keep a wave upon the sand? / How do you solve a problem like Maria? / How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”

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