Maureen and Mavourneen – Too Close for Twin Names?
|20 February 2013|
Maureen O’Connor, former San Diego mayor (1986-1992), was charged with money laundering in federal court earlier this month.
I don’t know much about the situation, but I was intrigued to learn that Maureen had 12 siblings, including a twin sister with a very similar name — Mavourneen.
(The other siblings are Patrick, Michael, Dennis, Sharon, Dianne, Colleen, Sheila, Timothy, Karen, Thomas and Shawn.)
The names Maureen and Mavourneen [pronounced muh-VOOR-neen] are both Irish, but they have different etymologies:
Maureen is an anglicized form of Máirín, which is a pet form of Máire, which — like the English name Mary — is based on the French name Marie, which comes from the Latin name Maria. In Ancient Rome, Maria was originally a feminine form of Marius, but it was later popularized as a version of the Hebrew name Miriam. The meaning of Miriam is unknown, though hypothesized definitions abound: “beloved,” “rebellious,” “strong sea,” “bitter sea,” “drop of the sea,” etc.
Mavourneen is an anglicized form of the Irish phrase mo mhúirnín, meaning “my darling.” It began as a term of endearment, but morphed into a given name probably when the song “Kathleen Mavourneen” (1837) became popular in the mid-1800s. (A number of the 19th-century Mavourneens I’ve tracked down were named “Kathleen Mavourneen.” Many of the 20th century Mavourneens too, actually.)
And now the main question: What do you think of the names Maureen and Mavourneen for twins? Cute? Too close? Somewhere in between?
[Related poll: How Similar Should Twin Names Be?]