Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in 1806 in the south of England. The name “Isambard” came from his father, Marc Isambard Brunel (originally from France), and the name “Kingdom” came from his mother, Sophia Kingdom.
Years later, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s unusual name would become almost synonymous with engineering: he was perhaps the most eminent Victorian engineer.
He built the Great Western Railway, the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamer (SS Great Western), and various important bridges and tunnels.
The name Isambard can be traced back to a old Germanic name Isambert, which is made up of elements meaning “iron” and “bright.” Other spellings include Isembart, Isembert, Isambart, and Isembard.
Do you like the name Isambard? Do you like it more or less than Eisenhower (which is also iron-related)?
Gillings, Annabel. Brunel. London: Haus Publishing, 2006.
Next Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, 30-year-old identical (and alliterative) triplets Leila, Liina, and Lily Luik of Estonia are expected to run the women’s marathon. This will make the “Trio in Rio,” as they call themselves, the first set of triplets to compete in an Olympics.
In comparison, about 200 sets of twins have competed in the Olympics over the years. Here are some of the Olympic twins with similarly alliterative names:
Åke & Arne (Sweden) [not technically alliterative; see JJ’s comment]
According to data from the Balearic Institute of Statistics (Ibestat), the most popular baby names in the Balearic Islands (an archipelago that belongs to Spain) in 2013 were Maria and Marc.
Here are the Balearic Islands’ top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2013:
1. Maria, 113 baby girls (2.2%)
2. Julia, 102 (1.99%)
3. Carla, 100 (1.95%)
1. Marc, 157 baby boys (2.91%)
2. Pau, 106 (1.97%)
3. Hugo, 102 (1.89%)
Maria and Marc were also the #1 names on the islands of Mallorca (which hosts about 80% of the population) and Menorca (9%). On Ibiza (11%), the winners were Martina and Hugo. On Formentera (1%), the winners were Lucia and Aitor — a name invented by Basque writer Agosti Xaho in the mid-19th century.