Vinny

September 17, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Diminutive of names such as “Vincent” or “Lavinia“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
For girls: Lavina, Lavinia, Lavena, Viney, Vinie, Vinnie.
For boys: Vin, Vince, Vinn, Vinnie.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Vinny (Lavinia) Lyte, Johnny’s proud and determined mother (and Merchant Lyte’s niece), once the “wildest and handsomest girl in Boston”, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

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Lavinia

September 17, 2015 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Unknown; possibly Etruscan; the name of Aeneas’ wife in The Aeneid.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Lavina, Lavena, Viney, Vinie, Vinnie, Vinny.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Lavinia Lyte (called “Vinny“), Johnny’s proud and determined mother (and Merchant Lyte’s niece), once the “wildest and handsomest girl in Boston”, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).
Lavinia Lyte, Merchant Lyte’s daughter, a beautiful, spoiled, jaded, rich girl who gets what she wants no matter who suffers by it, in Johnny Tremain.

WRITERS:
Lavinia R. Davis (1909-1961), American children’s book author and novelist, who also published under the pen name “Wendell Farmer”.
Lavinia Derwent (1909-1989), pen name of Scottish author and broadcaster Elizabeth Dodd.
Lavinia Dock (1858-1956), American activist, author, and nurse.
Lavinia Greenlaw (b. 1962), English novelist and poet.

QUOTATIONS:
– From Titus Andronicus (c. 1594), Act II, scene 1, by William Shakespeare: “She is a woman, therefore may be woo’d; / She is a woman, therefore may be won; / She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved.”

Victoria

September 2, 2015 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
Latin, from the Roman goddess of victory; feminine form of “Victorius” (which is also, of course, from Latin, meaning “victory”).

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Latoya, Toree, Tori, Toria, Toriana, Torie, Torri, Torrie, Torry, Tory, Toya, Vic, Vicie, Vickey, Vicki, Vickie, Vicky, Victoire, Victoriana, Victorina, Victorine, Victory, Vicy, Vikki, Viktoria, Viktorie, Viktorija, Viktoriya, Vitoria, Vittoria, Wikolia, Wiktoria, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Aunt Victoria, Shad’s aunt in Washington, who works as a nurse during the war, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).

WRITERS:
Victoria Benedictsson (1850-1888), Swedish novelist who published under the pen name “Ernst Ahlgren”.
Victoria Mary Clarke (b. 1966), Irish journalist and writer.
Victoria Chang (b. 1970), American poet and writer.
Victoria Hislop (b. 1959), English novelist and short story writer.
Victoria Newcomb (b. 1974), American novelist.
Victoria Ocampo (1890-1979), Argentine intellectual and writer.
Victoria Strauss (b. 1955), American fantasy author.
Victoria Williams (b. 1958), American musician, singer, and songwriter.

Sandra

August 4, 2015 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Diminutive of “Alexandra” / “Alessandra”, the feminine version of “Alexander“; popularized by George Meredith in his novel Emilia in England (1864; republished in 1887 as Sandra Belloni).

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Alastriona, Ale, Alejandra, Aleksandra, Aleksandrina, Alessa, Alessandra, Alexandra, Alexia, Alexis, Ali, Alix, Alley, Alli, Allie, Ally, Andra, Lesya, Ola, Oleksandra, Ondra, Sandi, Sandie, Sandy, Sandrina, Sandrine, Sasha, Saundra, Shandra, Shondra, Shura, Sondra, Szandra, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Sandra, a schoolmate of Lily’s, who is afraid of Lily’s pet cocker spaniel, Bonny, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

Tai

December 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Possibly Chinese, meaning “great” or “extreme”, or Romanian, meaning “yours”, or Maori, meaning “the tide”, or a shortened version of the Yoruba “Taiwo”, meaning “first of twins” or “taste of the world”, etc. There are many possibilities here.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
I don’t rightly know.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Tai, one of Dr. Archie’s Japanese servants in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).

WRITERS:
– Tai (Augustus Taiwo) Solarin (1922-1994), Nigerian activist, author, and educator.

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).

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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