Names of the Week: Rafferty and Cynthia

Rafferty is originally an Irish surname, meaning prosperity. It is currently enjoying much popularity in the birth announcements section of the London Telegraph, and as it is not far removed sound-wise from the current popular Alfie, which could even be used as a nickname, thus it is in a good place to spread in popularity. 

As for Rafferty’s ranking in the US Top 1000, he has not been in the Top 1000 for the last 110 years. Admittedly, if you told a passerby in a street in, say, New York, that your little boy was called Rafferty, they’d likely ask you to repeat it.

You may have heard of Frances Rafferty, a wellknown pin-up girl during WWII. Her elder brother was Max Rafferty, a politician in California.

Cynthia is the name of the epithet of the Greek moon goddess Artemis, who was called Cynthia because, according to legend, the Goddess was born on Mount Cynthus. It was not used as a name until the Renaissance, and did not become common in the English-speaking world until the 19th Century. The name itself comes from the Greek name Kynthia, and it means of the moon.

Back when Cynthia peaked during the 50s, hitting #8 in ’56, ’58, ’59, ’61 and ’62 ,she was often reduced to a spelling variant of Cindy, nowadays we could consider other nicknames: Thea, Cynders, and my personally favourite, Indie. Nowadays, Cynthia sits at a healthy #362.

As the name of a epithet, this gives this name a sophisticated, feminine edge, often not heard amongst some popular female names today notably the furor surrounding Madison, Ashley and Alexis, which originate as male names.

Notable Cynthias include the Sex in the City actress, Cynthia Nixon, the model Cindy Crawford, Angelica’s doll from Rugrats, the occasional nickname of Cinderella. There’s also Cyndi Lauper, who was born a Cynthia.

I actually quite like both names this week, I like how Rafferty sounds in conjunction with some of my other names, whilst Cynthia has that edge that many female names lack. Since she’s not as popular nowadays, I like to think of her as a quirky choice, and Rafferty also has this quality. So perhaps that’s our theme this week, Quirky.

I recently stumbled across a female name similar to Cynthia: Cymbeline, and I feel myself drifting towards it, perhaps out of curiousity.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Names of the Week: Rafferty and Cynthia

  1. CJ

    Cynthia gets too much stick. She’s actually quite nice when you look past the godawful Cindi-nickname.


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