August 17, 2015 § 1 Comment

From Hebrew, meaning “commander of Aku (Babylonian god of the moon)”.

Shad, Shadd, Shaddo, Shadoe, Shadrak, etc.

Shadrach Yale (sometimes called “Shad“; b. 1841), the well-educated and eminently reasonable, though tender-hearted, schoolmaster Ellen “adopts”, Jethro idolizes, and Jenny adores, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).


“I Named My Baby That Before It Was Cool”

August 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today I have a link for you to an article about hipster baby names. Fair warning: the author of the article is not a fan of hipster baby names, and pulls no punches when it comes to mocking them. If you intend to use one of these names — for your baby, for your character, for yourself — prepare yourself for complaints (some of them, let’s face it, well-deserved . . . especially if you decide to saddle an infant with a name like Salinger) like these:

The List For Hipster Baby Names Is Out And It’s As Bad As You Imagined

For girls: Briseida, Farrah, Inez, Liora, Minnie, Odette, Pandora, Romy, Suzette, Tessie, Wren, and Zola
For boys: Auden, Byron, Enoch, Gulliver, Ignatius, Lennon, Murray, Nico, Orson, Roman, Salinger, and Zane

(Related: “20 Baby Names That Will Become Overused in the Next 100 Years

Would-be hipsters, beware! Use of these names will instantly out you as being bandwagon-jumpers rather than the cutting-edge trendsetters you aspire to be!

Addison, Aiden, Ariana, Audrey, Ava, Avery, Brooklyn, Caden, Carter, Chloe, Emma, Elijah, Jackson, Jayden, Leah, Logan, Mason, Noah, Sophia, and Zoe.)


August 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Diminutive of another of those “last name as first names”, in this case “Stuart” / “Stewart”, meaning “steward”.

Stu, Stuart, Stew, Stewart, Stewie, etc.

Stuie Kriszinski, Sheila’s fitness-obsessed younger brother, the object of Lily’s devotion, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).


August 10, 2015 § 3 Comments

Alternative / Anglicized spelling of “Sile”, an Irish variation of “Cecilia” / “Cecily” / “Cicely“; or an alternate spelling of “Sheela” / “Shila”, a Hindu / Sanskrit name meaning “good character” or “good conduct”.

Cacilia, Cacelie, Caecilia, Cecilia, Cecilie, Cecilija, Cecille, Cecily, Cecylia, Cicely, Cicily, Cila, Cila, Cili, Cilka, Cilla, Cille, Cissi, Cissie, Cissy, Shayla, Shaylah, Shelagh, Sheelagh, Sheelah, Sheilah, Shelia, Shyla, Shylah, Sila, Sile, Sileas, Silja, Silje, Silke, Silla, Sille, Sissi, Sissie, Sissy, Tsetsiliya, Zila, Zile, Zilla, Zillah, Zille, etc.

Sheila Kriszinski, Lily’s new best friend in high school, who counts as somewhat “bad company”, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

Sheila Baxter (b. 1933), Canadian activist and author.
Sheila Bhatia (1916-2008), Indian playwright and poet.
Sheila Burnford (1918-1984), Scottish-Canadian author and traveler.
Sheila Callaghan (b. 1973), American playwright and screenwriter.
Sheila Connolly (b. 1950), American mystery author.
Sheila Cussons (1922-2004), South African painter, poet, and writer.
Sheila Finch (b. 1935), Anglo-American science fiction author.
Sheila Fischman (b. 1937), Canadian columnist, editor, and translator.
Sheila Fitzpatrick (b. 1941), Australian-American author, historian, and professor.
Sheila Meiring Fugard (b. 1932), South African novelist, playwright, poet, and short story writer.
Sheila Gordon (1927-2013), South African novelist.
Sheila Heti (b. 1976), Canadian author and editor.
Sheila Holland (1937-2000), English romance author who also published under the pen names “Charlotte Lamb”, “Laura Hardy”, “Sheila Coates”, “Sheila Lancaster”, and “Victoria Wolf”.
Sheila Kaye-Smith (1887-1956), English novelist.
Sheila K. McCullagh (1920-2014), English author and children’s book writer.
Sheila E. Murphy (b. 1951), American poet.
Sheila Nicholls (b. 1970), English singer and songwriter.
Sheila Nickerson (b. 1942), American poet and writer.
Sheila Quigley (b. 1947), English suspense and thriller author.
Sheila Rowbotham (b. 1943), English activist and writer.
Sheila Stewart (1937-2014), Scottish author, singer, and storyteller.
Sheila Stuart (1892-1974), pen name of Scottish author and children’s book writer Gladys May Baker.
Sheila Walsh (1928-2009), English romance author who also published under the pen name “Sophie Leyton”.
Sheila Watson (1909-1998), Canadian critic, novelist, and teacher.

When Good Names Go Generic

August 5, 2015 § 1 Comment

When a brand name becomes the generic term for an item (as in kleenex, band-aid, aspirin, etc. — you can find a bunch of them here), we call that a “proprietary eponym”. But did you know that something similar can happen to people names as well? Perhaps you are familiar with wellingtons or wellies, the rubber boots named after the Duke of Wellington, or sideburns, the distinctive style of facial hair sported by Gen. Ambrose Burnside. But are you familiar with these names, which ended up in the dictionary as stand-alone words in their own right? Be sure to click through to the article for more information!

26 First Names That Ended Up In The Dictionary

Names included are:
Abigail, Andrew, Anna, Ava, Emma, Eric, George, Harry, Helena, Henry, Isabella, Jacob, James, Jesse, John, Luke, Matilda, Molly, Rebecca, Robert, Sam, Sarah, Steven, Toby, Tony, and Victoria


August 4, 2015 § 2 Comments

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).

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.

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).

Everything Old is New Again, Vol. II

July 31, 2015 § 1 Comment

As in our first installment of “Everything Old is New Again“, here you’ll find an assortment of old-fashioned baby names which are poised to make a comeback. Be the first on your block / friends list to use one! (As usual, you can click through to the article for more information about the names):

Names included are:

For girls: Adelaide, Agnes, Alice, Antonia, Aurelia, Beatrice, Betty, Clementine, Constance, Cora, CordeliaDorothy, Edith, Eleanor, Eliza, FrancesHarriet, Hattie, Hazel, Helen, Ida, India, Isadora, Josephine, Lillian, Louisa, Lucinda, Lula, Mabel, MarcellaMargaret, Margo, Marion, Mercy, Myrtle, Pearl, Penelope, Rosalind, Rosemary, Ruth, Susannah, Theodora, Winifred

For boys: Abner, Archie, Arthur, Augustine, Cormac, Cornelius, Denver, Ephraim, Ford, Francis, Frank, Gordon, Gus, Guy, Harris, Harry, Lawrence, Louis, Magnus, Martin, Milton, Nigel, Oscar, Otis, PatrickPaul, PhilipRay, Simeon, Stanley, Theodore, Walter

A Selection of Très Chic French Baby Names

July 29, 2015 § 1 Comment

If you follow the link, you’ll be able to find out a little bit more about these lovely French names (although a pronunciation guide is not included; you may have to look that up yourself!):

20 French Baby Names You’ll Want to Steal Immediately

(Click here for the Dutch version.)

For girls: Anaelle, Aveline, Coralie, Elize, Fleur, Marielle, Solene
For boys: Bale, Cabot, Danton, Henri, Janvier, Landry, Luc, Mathis, Montgomery, Olivier
For either: Bellamy, Jorden, Remi


July 21, 2015 § 1 Comment

Medieval English version of “Stephen”, or a Dutch variant of “Stefan”, both from the Greek name “Stephanos”, meaning “crown.”

Esteban, Estebe, Estavan, Esteve, Estevo, Estevon, Estienne, Etienne, Eztebe, Fane, Istvan, Pista, Pisti, Staffan, Stavros, Ste, Steafan, Steaphan, Steenie, Stefan, Stefano, Stefanos, Stefans, Stefanus, Steffen, Stefon, Step, Stepan, Stepane, Steph, Stephan, Stephanas, Stephane, Stephanos, Stephanus, Stephen, Stephenson, Stesha, Steponas, Stevan, Steve, Stevenson, Stevie, Stevo, Stevon, Stevyn, Stipan, Stipe, Stipo, Stiofan, Stjepan, Tapani, Tahvo, Teppo, Tipene, etc.

Steven, one of the other “irregular” children at Lily’s school, so deemed due to an accidental sterilization causing him to grow increasingly effeminate, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).


June 10, 2015 § 6 Comments

An English variation of “Susanna”, from the Hebrew “Shoshannah”, meaning “lily” or “rose”.

Sanna, Sanne, Sawsan, Shoshana, Shoshannah, Sooki, Sookie, Sooky, Sousanna, Su, Sue, Susana, Susanita, Susann, Susanna, Susannah, Susanne, Suse, Susey, Susi, Susie, Susy, Sukey, Suki, Sukie, Suzan, Suzana, Suzann, Suzanna, Suzannah, Suzanne, Suze, Suzelle, Suzette, Suzey, Suzi, Suzie, Suzy, Zana, Zanna, Zooey, Zooie, Zsazsa, Zsuzsa, Zsuzsanna, Zsuzsi, Zsuzsu, Zu, Zula, Zuza, Zuzana, Zuzanka, Zuzanna, Zuzi, Zuzia, Zuzka, Zuzu, etc.

Susan Hassan, one of Lily’s best friends, and a natural enemy of her other best friend, Diana, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

– Susan Coolidge (1835-1905), pen name of American children’s book writer Sarah Chauncey Woolsey.
– Susan Glaspell (1876-1948), American actress, journalist, novelist, and playwright.
– Susan Eloise (S.E.) Hinton (b. 1948), American children’s book writer, novelist, and screenwriter.

– From the popular ballad “Black Ey’d Susan, or Sweet William’s Farewell“, by John Gay, first published in 1730: “The noblest captain in the British fleet, / Might envy William’s lips those kisses sweet. / ‘O Susan, Susan, lovely dear, / My vows shall ever true remain; / Let me kiss off that falling tear, / We only part to meet again. / Change, as ye list, ye winds; my heart shall be / The faithful compass that still points to thee. / ‘Believe not what the landsmen say, / Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind: / . . . ‘If to far India’s coast we sail, / Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright, / Thy breath is Afric’s spicy gale, / Thy skin is ivory, so white. / Thus every beauteous object that I view, / Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue. / ‘Though battle call me from thy arms, / Let not my pretty Susan mourn; / Though cannons roar, yet safe from harms, / William shall to his dear return.’”

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