Mystery Monday: Sujey

In 1976 and 1977, several names like Sujey, Sugey and Suhey popped up in the national baby name dataset:

197519761977
Sujey35*36
Sugey13*29
Suehay11**
Sujei10*6
Suhey8*7
Sugei6**
Zujey5*
Sujeiry6*
Sugeiri5**

*Debut; **One-hit wonder

The fact that the letters J, G, and H were used interchangeably — plus the fact that usage was concentrated in states with large Spanish-speaking populations (like California and Texas) — suggested right away to me that these names were being used by Spanish-speaking families.

In fact, I was already thinking “telenovela” when I happened to spot this intriguing Instagram post by sassysugey:

Life always gives you surprises…met another “Sugey” that was named because of the same telenovela! #sugey #telenovela #unamuchachallamadamilagros

That third hashtag pointed me to the 1974 Venezuelan telenovela Una Muchacha Llamada Milagros (A Girl Called Milagros/Miracles), which was indeed airing in the U.S. in 1976.

Everything seemed to be lining up pretty well…until I checked the list of actors and characters in Una Muchacha Llamada Milagros. None of them had a name similar to “Sujey.”

So: either the name was used in the storyline somewhere (and I’m unaware of it), or this is the wrong telenovela, or the answer isn’t a telenovela at all.

Does anyone out there have any information on the name Sujey, or on its possible connection to Una Muchacha Llamada Milagros? If so, please leave a comment!

Sources: Una muchacha llamada Milagros – Wikipedia, Una muchacha llamada Milagros – IMDb

Obscene, but Obscure: Yea or Nay?

While working on the Phaedra post from earlier this week, I came across the fact that Greek playwright Euripides had two wives: Melite and Choerine.

The name Melite I recognized as coming from the Melissa/Melitta/Melita family. All these names can be traced back to the Greek word meli, meaning “honey.”

But the name Choerine didn’t ring a bell, so I went off in search of a definition.

Before tracking it down, I happened to find this enticing little snippet:

“Choerine” is an attested Athenian name, but it could easily be used for obscene puns.

Obscene puns?!

After more digging, I discovered that Choerine (and the male equivalent Choerus) were based on the Greek word choiros, meaning “pig.” And that the equivalent word in Latin, porcus, had given rise to the names Porcius and Porcia/Portia.

But “pig” isn’t he obscene part:

In classical Latin the word porcus was occasionally used as an informal term for the vulva (Greek choiros, ‘young pig,’ was employed similarly).

Here’s more:

Porcus (pig) was apparently a Roman nursery word for the external pudenda of girls […] Perhaps the allusion is to a perceived resemblance between the part in question and the end of a pig’s snout.

In fact, this obscene sense of porcus is precisely how porcelain came to be named. The word porcelain can be traced back to the Italian word for the cowrie shell, porcellana (“young sow”), which was named in reference to its vulva-like shape.

Now for the question of the day: Would information like this (i.e., obscene-but-obscure associations) ever dissuade you from choosing a particular baby name?

Sources:

  • Laqueur, Thomas Walter. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud, Harvard University Press, 1990, p. 270.
  • Porcelain – Online Etymology Dictionary
  • “Pork.” Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories, Merriam-Webster, 1991, p. 371.
  • Scodel, Ruth. “The Euripidean Biography.” A Companion to Euripides, ed. by Laura K. McClure, John Wiley & Sons, 2017, pp. 27-41.

Rare Baby Name: Liati

Liati, name, "love is all there is," acronym

I stumbled upon the quote “love is all there is” in an article I was reading recently. The author of the article said it came from a Beatles song.

I believe the author was actually thinking of the lyric “love is all you need” from the 1967 song All You Need Is Love. So, in this case, “love is all there is” is likely a mondegreen. Regardless, my first thought upon seeing “love is all there is” in quotes was that the acronym Liati — just like Ily, Ilys, and other love-based acronyms — would make a cute baby name.

“Liati” has never popped up in the U.S. baby name data before, but I managed to find one real-life Liati in an article about unusual personal names that ran in the Toledo Blade in 2003. Liati Huff, who was 23 years old at the time, had this to say about her unique name:

Most people think my name is either Italian or Hawaiian. The most unique guess was Russian. When I tell them it’s an acronym for ‘love is all there is,’ they usually think it’s so sweet, or a lot of people will respond by, ‘Oh, your parents loved the Beatles, right?’

What are your thoughts on Liati as a baby name? Would you consider using it?

Source: People share the stories behind their unusual monikers by Rhonda B. Sewell

Another Gun-Inspired Baby Name: Citori

Baby names associated with gun brands — like Barrett, Benelli, Beretta, Browning, Colt, Kimber, Remington, Ruger, Savage, Wesson, and Winchester — are seeing higher usage in the U.S. these days.

And here’s another to add to the list: Citori. It’s a one-hit wonder from 2013 that I spotted in the data recently. “Citori” sounds almost too exotic to be linked to a gun, but here’s a photo of a Browning Citori shotgun:

So how did this shotgun get such a cute name?

It’s “a made-up name, doodled by a company executive on a notepad in a marketing meeting” decades ago. “The name is supposed to sound vaguely Japanese, befitting a gun that has been made since 1973 at the Miroku plant in Japan.”

What do you think of Citori as a baby name? Do you like it more or less than the similar-sounding Satori?

Source: Bourjaily, Phil. “Success Citori.” Field & Stream Jul. 2008: 24.

Polly Peabody to Caresse Crosby

Caress & Clytoris

Here’s an interesting name-evolution story.

Mary “Polly” Phelps Jacob was born in 1891 in New York to a blue-blooded family that could be traced back, on both sides, to colonial America.

She was an enterprising person, and in her early 20s — fed up with the corset-like undergarments of the era — she invented and patented a “backless brassiere.” (She constructed the first one out of handkerchiefs and pink ribbon.) Today, she’s credited with the invention the modern bra.

With her first marriage in 1915 to Richard Peabody, her name changed to the almost cartoonish Polly Peabody. (One of their two kids, legally named Polleen, also went by Polly.)

But that marriage didn’t last and, following the divorce in 1922, Polly married bon vivant Harry Crosby, with whom she’d been having an open affair. At first she went by Polly Crosby, but Harry declared that Polly needed a better name:

Clytoris, an early suggestion, was sensibly saved for the family’s second whippet (the first was named Narcisse Noir). They told Caresse’s daughter Polleen that she was named after a Greek goddess.

After deciding upon “Caresse,” the wealthy couple moved to Paris and “lived a theatrically mad, bad and Bohemian existence.” With the help of their small publishing house, Black Sun Press, they became close to many Lost Generation artists and writers, including Ernest Hemingway.

Harry committed suicide two months after the stock market crash of 1929 (which kicked off the Great Depression). Caresse’s life post-Harry was slightly less colorful, and she used name “Mary Caresse Crosby” slightly more often, but was still primarily known as Caresse.

Sources: Polly Peabody, The Bohemian Blueblood Who Invented the Bra, Mary Phelps Jacob (Caresse Crosby), The Crosbys: literature’s most scandalous couple

P.S. Did you know that the name Caresse started appearing in the U.S. baby name data back in 1949?