The name Ellesse started popping up in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1980s:
1988: 12 baby girls named Ellesse
6 born in California
1987: 12 baby girls named Ellesse
8 born in California
1986: 10 baby girls named Ellesse [debut]
Where did it come from?
The Italian sportswear brand Ellesse (pronounced el-ES), the name of which was derived from the initials of the founder, Leonardo Servadio (“L. S.”).
The brand grew popular during the 1970s and 1980s thanks to close associations with the sports of skiing and tennis. Tennis stars Guillermo Vilas, Chris Evert, and Boris Becker were all sponsored by Ellesse. In fact, Becker was wearing Ellesse outfits when he won Wimbledon in both 1985 and 1986.
Advertisements and tennis sponsorships may have been enough to boost “Ellesse” into the baby name data in 1986, but two more things that might have helped as well include:
Ellesse’s sponsorship of the New York City Marathon from 1984 to 1986, and/or
Ellesse’s partnership with Philadelphia 76ers player Maurice “Mo” Cheeks — at that time, a recent NBA champion and recent All-Star — to create Maurice Cheeks basketball shoes in 1985.
All that said…I can’t account for the particularly high usage of Ellesse in California. Any ideas? (Is there a telenovela I’m missing here?)
In 1916, the London Globe mentioned twins named Jere and Miah:
There lived for many years in the village of Twerton, Bath, one named Miah. He was born a twin, and his parents thriftily divided the predestined name of Jeremiah between them, the other babe being christened Jere.
What other names could we divide into two usable mini-names like this?
Here are a few ideas to kick things off…
Abigail, Abi + Gail Anastasia, Ana + Stasia Calista, Cal + Ista Drusilla, Dru + Silla Elizabeth, Eliza + Beth Mozelle, Mo + Zelle Valentina, Valen + Tina
Alexander, Alex + Ander Christopher, Chris + Topher Denzel, Den + Zel Donovan, Dono + Van Joseph, Jo + Seph Rexford, Rex + Ford William, Wil + Liam
According to an article I spotted a few days ago in a Singaporean newspaper, Taiwanese baby names are more traditionally Chinese than Chinese baby names are, thanks to the Cultural Revolution. Here’s an excerpt:
In Taiwan, housing agents I met had words like meng or lun in their names, linking them to Mencius and Confucius. (Meng for Meng Zi or Mencius; Lun, as in lun li, or ethics, often used to refer to Confucian ethics).
In China, there is no sign of the sages in names so far. Rather, a guest on a TV show is named Zhou Mo, which means “weekend”. “My mum said a name only had to be easy to remember,” she explained.
Instant recall is not a quality that Taiwanese parents would normally look for in choosing baby names. By far more important is the hope that their children would grow up under the positive influence of the ancient philosophers they are named after.
In many ways, the Taiwanese are more “Chinese” than their compatriots on the mainland, where age-old traditions went up in flames in the bonfire of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Much was lost as young Red Guards set fire to books, including the classics, and smashed altars in the chaos of those years.
In contrast, Taiwan under the Kuomintang (KMT) went the other way, stressing the learning of the classics to show that the island represented the true China.
For anyone who’s lived in Taiwan and/or China: What names did you encounter there? Did they follow this pattern?
A reader named Michelle has a son named Saylor Dorian. She’s expecting a baby girl in May and would like some name suggestions. She says:
We originally picked shiloh for a girl but we aren’t liking how popular it’s getting [due to a celebrity finding it first..grrr] we want a unique name that’s still ‘easy on the ears’ as in easy to get used to. I try to stay away from the too feminine popular vowel names like ava, bella, etc… though we like them we don’t want a trendy name like piper, stella, etc…
We are currently tossing around names like vega, remy…. though what i loved about shiloh was that O ending.. but we are open to whatever.
First let’s try to come up some more o-endings. How about:
Callisto Calypso Clio Flo (Flora/Florence) Jo (Josie/Josephine) Juno
Leo (Leona) Margot Marlow Meadow Mo (Maureen) Willow
And here are some other names that came to mind:
Audra Briar Darcy Dylan Emery Fiona Gillian Greer
Heidi Ione Jaya Lotus Lyra Mina Morgan Nadia
Naomi Nova Phoebe Rory Tess Violet Vita Zillah
Which of the above do you like best for Saylor’s sister? What other girl names would you suggest to Michelle?