The Pop Culture Baby Name Rawnie

Rawnie and Gypsy, Rascals (1938)
Rawnie (Rochelle Hudson) and Gypsy (Jane Withers) in Rascals (1938)

The baby name Rawnie appeared on the SSA’s baby name list just twice in the late 1930s:

  • 1940: not listed
  • 1939: 6 baby girls named Rawnie
  • 1938: 8 baby girls named Rawnie [debut]
  • 1937: not listed

Where did it come from?

It was inspired by a character named Rawnie in the movie Rascals, which was released in mid-1938. The film is about a young woman suffering from amnesia. A group of gypsies take her in, name her Rawnie (“which means “lady” in the Gypsy language”) and teach her how to tell fortunes.

I did some research on the word rawnie and, though I wasn’t expecting it to, it really does mean “lady” in Romany. I’m also seeing it spelled rawni, raunie and rauni in various Romany dictionaries.

What do you think of the name Rawnie?

Source: Rascals (1938) – Full Synopsis – TCM.com

P.S. Rochelle Hudson was a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1931.


6 thoughts on “The Pop Culture Baby Name Rawnie

  1. It sounds like a nickname given by a toddler-aged sibling unable to pronounce a “real” name correctly. The fact that it only appeared on lists for two years in the last century seems about right to me!!

  2. “I did some research on the word rawnie and, though I wasn’t expecting it to, it really does mean “lady” in Romany. I’m also seeing it spelled rawni, raunie and rauni in various Romany dictionaries.”

    Given the historical origins of the Roma, I wonder if it’s connected to the Hindustani word rani. Edit: Google tells me yes.

  3. @Diana – I could totally see that.

    @C baker – Interesting! Thank you for the extra info.

    @Megan – Hahaha. :)

    I’m on the fence about Rawnie. It’s odd, but it also sounds to me like Ronnie, which I do like (due to my girl-crush on Ronnie Spector, born a Veronica).

  4. i love the name Rani so Rawnie doesn’t seem that weird to me…am I the only one who actaully likes Rawnie?

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