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).

Igor

August 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Russian variation of “Ingvar”, from the Old Norse “hero” name “Yngvarr”, meaning “warrior of the god Yngvi-Freyr“; sometimes used as a variation of “George“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Ingvar, Ingvarr, Yngvar, Yngvarr, Yngvi, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Igor, the (possibly false) name of more than one of Uncle Len’s mysterious friends, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

WRITERS:
Igor Akimushkin (1929-1993), Russian writer and zoologist.
Igor M. Diakonoff (1915-1999), Russian historian, linguist, scholar, and translator.
Igor Goldkind (b. 1960), American lecturer, poet, science fiction author, and writer.
Igor Guberman (b. 1936), Russian-Israeli poet and writer.
Igor Marojević (b. 1968), Serbian novelist, playwright, short story writer, and translator.
Igor Severyanin (1887-1941), Russian poet.
Igor Škamperle (b. 1962), Slovenian essayist, novelist, sociologist, and translator.
Igor Štiks (b. 1977), Croatian author, editor, reporter, and scholar.
Igor Talankin (1927-2010), Russian director and screenwriter.
Igor Torkar (1913-2004), pen name of Slovenian poet, playwright, and writer Boris Fakin.
Igor Yefimov (b. 1937), Russian-American philosopher, publisher, and writer who also publishes as “Andrei Moscovit”.

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).

Minnie

May 10, 2015 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Diminutive of “Wilhelmina” (the feminine form of “Wilhelm”, which is the Germanic version of “William“), or a Scottish variation of “Mary“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Mame, Mamie, Manon, Mari, Mary, Mayme, Mien, Mimi, Mina, Minette, Minna, Minni, Minnith, Mira, Miri, Miriam, Mitzi, Vilma, Wilhelmina, Willa, Willie, Willy, Wilma, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Minnie Hanson, Carrie’s married older sister in Chicago, in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (published in 1900; set 1889-1890s).

Aurelia

November 15, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Alternate spelling of “Auralia”; feminine form of “Aurelius“, from the Latin for “golden”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Aura, Auralee, Auralia, Auralie, Aurelie, Ora, Oralee, Oralia, Oralie, Orelia, Orelie, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Aurelia S. Larsen, the Rev. Larsen’s wife, who writes devotional poetry,  in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).

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