Names of the Week: Lewis and Jessica

I watched the Belgian Grand Prix on the BBC Live Text Commentary whilst standing in a field in the middle of the English countryside today, and it sounded like I missed a good one. Poor Lewis Hamilton crashed out early on after a shunt with Kobayashi, and was also swiped by Maldonado the day before, just after Q2 Qualifying. All in all, another bad race weekend for one of the more entertaining drivers in the current Formula 1.

Lewis Hamilton entered the F1 as a fresh faced rookie in 2007 as a team mate for Alonso and quickly impressed. His first race at the Australian Grand Prix resulted in a podium finish and he managed to remain in contention for the World Champion title for the majority of the season. Sadly, it was not to be, so he instead had to wait until his second season of F1 to win the Championship, which occured when he came fifth at the last moment in the last race, clinching the title from Massa, who’d crossed the line in first place whilst Hamilton was still sixth, and hence won the title for himself for a brief few moments.

At the time, that meant Lewis was the youngest driver to win the Championship, and indeed, the first black one to do so. He lost the former title to Sebastian Vettel last year when the smug German clinched the Championship in the last race, and appears to be on his way to a second, unlike Hamilton.

The name Lewis is the English form of Louis, with it dating back to the medieval ages. The name Louis was given to no less than 18 Kings of France, which includes Louis XIV, the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe; he came to power at the age of 4. His reign was 72 years and 110 days, whilst the current Queen Elizabeth II is a decade or so behind at 59 years, although she is likely to beat Queen Victoria’s 63 years and 7 months, and claim the longest reigning female monarch and British monarch. Perhaps even overtake Louis XIV, especially when one remembers that the Queen Mother was around until the age of 101.

The name Louis is the French form of Ludovicus, coming from the Germanic name Ludwig which means famous warrior. Indeed, Mr. Hamilton is known for his competitive driving style, certainly when one compares it to Jenson Button’s more laid-back approach.

As for rankings, it may do nothing to cheer up Lewis’ mood:

  2003 2004 2005 2006
Rank 13 14 19 21
Births 4056 3850 3343 3238
  2007 2008 2009 2010
Rank 16 14 21 27
Births 3468 3482 3008 2565

The name Lewis was on the way down in the mid-noughties, picked up slightly by Hamilton entering the F1 scene in 2007 but he’s started falling again, down to #27 in 2010. It may take another World Championship win from Hamilton to bump the name back up into the Top 20.

As for Jessica, one of the best Team GB Athletes we have right now is young Jessica Ennis, whom my father voted for in the 2009 BBC Sports Personality Awards, when Ryan Giggs received the top prize instead whilst she went home with the 3rd place trophy (Jenson Button came 2nd). How times change.

Jessica is the current World and European Heptathlon Champion and World Indoor Pentathlon Champion. She also lives down the road from me in Sheffield, a city famous for steel and for possessing the railway station where the light refreshments trolley lady gets on for the EastMidlandsTrains service.

The name Jessica first appears in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, as the name of the daughter of Shylock. It is likely that the name is based on the Biblical name Iscah, which means to behold. An Iscah appears, albeit briefly, in the Old Testament as the neice of Abraham.

The name Jessica did not transfer into popular use until the middle of the 20th Century, and she’s only made it to #1 for one year in England&Wales in 2005. She dropped down the #3 the following year, but still hangs on in the Top 10 at #6. The full break down of the last eight years is:

  2003 2004 2005 2006
Rank 4 3 1 3
Births 4928 4838 5030 4908
  2007 2008 2009 2010
Rank 5 5 6 6
Births 4595 4672 4291 4102

Chances are, then, that Jessica will be dropping out of the Top 10 in the coming years, but she has maintained a Top 10 position since the 90s, which isn’t bad going given how quickly names can come in to favour and then drop out again, but this may also date the name when it does start to fall out, if it does so rather rapidly.

Of course, had this post been written even later than usual, one would’ve considered covering names from Manchester United, who have just beaten Arsenal 8-2 as I get ready to post this. Not a good day for North London football.

Categories: Names of the Week | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Names of the Week: Lewis and Jessica

  1. Awkward Turtle

    Personally I prefer the French Louis.


    • I think my personal problem with Louis is I know some who say is the same as Lewis, and other who go French. But if I were after the French pronunciation, I would rather Louis than Louie.


  2. Jessica is a modern survival story – she’s lasted a good while now. (I know lots of kids with pets named Jessica!)


  3. Pingback: The Tide is High at Mer de Noms | Waltzing More Than Matilda

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