Time for this month’s batch of name-related quotes!
From the 2008 novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (which is narrated by character Katniss Everdeen):
The girl with the arrows, Glimmer I hear someone call her — ugh, the names the people in District 1 give their children are so ridiculous — anyway, Glimmer scales the tree until the branches begin to crack under her feet and then has the good sense to stop.
As Catholicism’s hold has eased, American pop culture has stepped in, filling classrooms with Kevins, Jordans and Dylans. Such names, says the study, have become a class marker. They are also popular in regions which support Marine Le Pen, the populist defender of French cultural tradition. Her campaign for the upcoming European elections is headed by a 23-year-old called Jordan.
In a country that bans ethnic or religious census data, names can also serve as a proxy. The number of baby boys named Mohamed has grown sixfold since 1960. The persistence of such names, say some on the nationalist fringe, reflects an integration problem. Ms. Le Pen has argued that naturalised French citizens should adopt a name more adapted to national culture. Hapsatou Sy, a French presenter, understandably quit a TV show after a commentator told her that her name was “an insult to France”, and that her mother should have named her Corinne.
But now researchers have found that picking a distinctive monicker is becoming harder and harder with greater media access, improved global communications and rising immigration increasing people’s exposure to different names and also ensuring they become common more quickly.
“The speed with which modern name choices fall in and out of favour reflects their increased exposure and people’s ongoing desire for distinctiveness.”
Prince George Washington was really Prince Wichaichan, the son of the Second King of Siam [Pinklao, younger brother of Mongkut]. […] Wichaichan’s unusual nickname was the result of his father’s commitment to “modernize” Siam by studying and deliberately emulating Western culture. […] Pinklao wished to communicate that he was a progressive person who was drawn to modern American culture, while never abandoning his fundamental commitment to Siam’s absolute monarchy.
(The post also noted that Anna Leonowens, in her memoir The English Governess at the Siamese Court — the inspiration behind The King and I, which made a star out of Yul Brynner — claimed the prince’s nickname was given to him by an American missionary.)
These websites not only misguide with wrong meanings but also feature “Sanskrit names” that are not from Sanskrit at all.
‘Haroon’ is one such name. Websites, including the popular Prokerala.com that ranks among the top 8,000 in the world, tells us it means ‘hope’ in Sanskrit. However, ‘Haroon’ is an Arabic name. Hugely popular among Muslims, it was also the name of one of the Khalifas (Caliphs).
Similarly, these websites also erroneously trace modern names such as Kian, Rehan and Miran to Sanskrit.
From the book Becoming Something: The Story of Canada Lee (2004) by Mona Z. Smith:
Canada Lee was born in New York City on March 3, 1907, and christened with the mellifluous if somewhat daunting name of Leonard Lionel Cornelius Canegata.
The first time the leather-lunged [fight announcer Joe] Humphries got ready to introduce Lee, he looked down at his notes and saw a peculiar name: “Canegata, Lee.” Flummoxed by those alien syllables, Humphries tossed away the card with a snort and introduced the young fighter as “Canada Lee.”
Everybody liked the transmogrification, including Lee, and it stuck.
Dillon…was not named after a prospector named Tom Dillon who got lost in the woods, as has been a common oral tradition. Rather, the town was named after Sidney Dillon, a powerful railroad executive who became president of the Union Pacific railroad four months before the town was established. The entire point of naming the town Dillon was to somehow appeal to Sidney Dillon’s vanity and persuade him to build a railroad through the town.
But as it turned out, the railroad didn’t wind up going through Dillon or winding along the Snake River. Instead, it went through Tenmile Canyon and the town of Frisco — also named to flatter a railroad company, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Co., in a bid to get them to build their next line through town.
Kaira, Shyra, Akira, Kia, Tia, Sia. Shanaya. These are Bollywood’s cool new names, broadly classified into the “ya” or “ra” nomenclature. The Poojas, Nishas, Anjalis and Nehas of the 1990s are déclassé. These new names carry an unmistakable aspiration to be global.They are unrooted to place, community or any kind of identity except class. They are almost never longer than three syllables and easy to pronounce. They float on coolness and lightness. An ex-colleague memorably christened them “First-World Yoga Names—FWYN”.
On the hunt for a rare girl name with a retro feel?
Here’s a long list of uncommon female F-names associated with early cinema (1900s-1940s). Each of the names below is either a character name or an actress name from that era. For those names that have seen enough usage to appear in the SSA data, I’ve included links to the popularity graphs.
Fabienne was a character name in multiple films, including Fazil (1928) and The Doctor and the Girl (1949).
Usage of the baby name Fabienne (which debuted in the data in 1949).
Fadette was a character name in multiple films, including Fanchon, the Cricket (1915) and The Inner Chamber (1915).
Faire Binney was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1950s. She was born in New Jersey in 1900. Her birth name was Frederica Gertrude Binney. Faire was also a character played by actress Frances Dade in the film The She-Wolf (1931).
Falfi Tumble was a character played by actress Marjorie Daw in the film Fear-Bound (1925).
Faline Faline was an animated character in the film Bambi (1942).
Usage of the baby name Faline (which debuted in the data in 1943).
Fanchette was a character name in multiple films, including A Million a Minute (1916) and The Daring of Diana (1916).
Fanchon was a character name in multiple films, including Fanchon, the Cricket (1915) and The Clown (1927).
Fanette was a character name in multiple films, including Money Mad (1918) and A Gamble with Hearts (1923).
Fania Marinoff was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Russia (now Ukraine) in 1890. Fania was also a character name in multiple films, including When a Girl Loves (1924) and The Yellow Ticket (1931).
Fauvette was a character played by actress Elsie Ferguson in the film His Parisian Wife (1919).
Fay Tincher was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Kansas in 1884. Fay Bainter was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1960s. She was born in California in 1893. Fay Wray (of King Kong fame) was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1950s. She was born in Canada in 1907. Her birth name was Vina Fay Wray. Fay was also a character name in multiple films, including The Rainbow Trail (1925) and Stage Kisses (1927).
Fieda Druse was a character played by actress Ann Little in the film The World for Sale (1918).
Fifi D’Orsay was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in Canada in 1904. Her birth name was Marie-Rose Angelina Yvonne Lussier. Fifi was also a character name in multiple films, including The Blackbird (1926) and While Paris Sleeps (1932).
Fioretta was a character name in multiple films, including The Conspiracy of the Crazy (1941) and Song of Scheherazade (1947).
Flametta was a character played by actress Marion Leonard in the short film The Duke’s Plan (1910).
Flavia Arcaro was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Texas in 1876. Flavia was also a character name in multiple films, including Ponjola (1923) and The Prisoner of Zenda (1937).
Florianne was a character played by various actresses (such as Mary Thurman and Genevieve Tobin) in various movies called Zaza, all based on the 1898 play of the same name.
Florida Kingsley was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Florida in 1867. Florida was also a character played by actress Maude George in the film The Frame-Up (1915).
Florine Hanna was an actress who appeared in 1 film in 1916. She was born in Kentucky in 1883. Florine was also a character name in multiple films, including The Rose of Paris (1924) and Broadway Babies (1929).
Frieda Inescort was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1960s. She was born in Scotland in 1901. Frieda was also a character played by actress Evelyn Brent in the film Spy Train (1943).
Fritzi Massary was an actress who appeared in films from the 1900s to the 1920s. She was born in Austria-Hungary (now Austria) in 1882. Her birth name was Friederike Massaryk. Fritzi Brunette was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in Georgia in 1890. Her birth name was Florence Brunet. Fritzi Ridgeway was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Montana in 1898. Fritzi was also a character name in multiple films, including Broadway Arizona (1917) and One Heavenly Night (1931).
Nalu was a character played by actress Ramsay Ames in the film Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944).
Nan Christy was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in 1894. Nan was also a character name in multiple films, including Nan’s Victory (short, 1914) and Nan of the North (1922).
Nazama was a character played by actress Binnie Barnes in the film The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938).
Alla Nazimova, often credited simply as Nazimova, was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in Russia (now Ukraine) in 1879. Her birth name was Miriam Edez Adelaida Leventon. Alla was also a character played by actress Sally Crute in the film The Cossack Whip (1916).
Nea was a character played by actress Dona Drake in the film Aloma of the South Seas (1941).
Neleta was a character played by actress Steffi Duna in the film Anthony Adverse (1936).
Nelga Petrona was a character played by actress Julia Swayne Gordon in the short film The Tigress (1915).
Nell Craig was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in New Jersey in 1891. Nell Shipman was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Canada in 1892. Her birth name was Helen Foster-Barham. Nell was also a character name in multiple films, including The Reward of Thrift (short, 1914) and Nell Gwyn (1926).
Nennah was a character played by actress Ynez Seabury in the film The Calgary Stampede (1925).
Neola May was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in California in 1891. Neola was also a character played by actress Betty Schade in the short film Olana of the South Seas (1914).
Netta Westcott was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in England in 1893. Netta was also a character played by actress Linda Darnell in the film Hangover Square (1945).
Nirvena was a character played by actress Stephanie Bachelor in the film Lady of Burlesque (1943).
Nista was a character played by actress Caroline Frances Cooke in the film The Devil Bear (1929).
Nita Naldi was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in New York in 1894. Her birth name was Mary Nonna Dooley. Nita was also a character name in multiple films, including Jane Goes A’ Wooing (1919) and Two Gun Sheriff (1941).
A while ago I found a book called “A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names” that was published in Toronto in 1888.
I won’t post any of the poems, which are all pretty cheesy, but author George J. Howson does include an intriguing selection of names. He notes that he wrote acrostics for “all the most popular feminine christian names of the day, and many more that, while not in common use, are known to exist in actual life.”
Here’s the list:
Have any favorites?
Hulda/Huldah is one I like. It’s one of those names that I always see on old New England gravestones but never come across in real life. Wonder when that one will become stylish again.
BTW, has anyone ever seen a good name acrostic? Like, one that’s actually well-written and/or thought-provoking? Because I don’t think I ever have.
I’m expecting baby #2 in spring. Our daughter’s name is Adele. We’re not finding out the gender, so would like options for boys and girls names that go well with Adele. For girls, I’m liking Elise, Caroline, Winifred and Celia as examples. For boys, Foster, Joseph and Thomas come to mind. Welcome all suggestions! Thanks!
Winifred! I was excited to see that one.
Here are some other possibilities:
Which of the above do you like best with Adele? What other names would you suggest to Sara?