Names of the Week: Prosper and Primrose

The cast of Fifi and the Flowertots, with Primrose on the far right, from

The letter P kicks off plenty of fabulous words: from pretty to perfect, praised to porridge. Unless you’re Sebastian Vettel, when now all you can think of when you see the letter P is puncture. I was honestly drafting this post before he spectacularly exited the Grand Prix with a puncture on the third corner of the first lap earlier on today. But it’s nice to see Hamilton grinning from ear to ear again.

Paul, Peter and Patricia may be considered out-dated (Percy and Perry were both on Nameless No More’s list of old man names), but there are plenty of other P names which are really picking up in popularity as of late. Penelope is apparently considered hopelessly out-dated in Greece, but she’s really making waves elsewhere. Jamie Oliver has four offspring, of which all three of his daughters have P- names: Poppy, Petal and Daisy Boo Pamela. Another famous sibset which loves P- names is the one from Charmed: Prudence ‘Prue’, Piper, Phoebe and Paige.

You’d be surprised (I was when I went through my blogroll) at how much coverage P- names seem to get in the name blogging world: Elea spoke this week about using Peach, Plum and Pomme as nicknames, and Kristen from Marginamia went so far as to use Plum as a middle name for one of her daughters. Pimm is currently one of the names vying for a chance to be covered on Appellation Mountain in the new year, and she also covered Amaru this week for Frank, who named his son Pax instead. In a similar vein, Christina suggested Paz as a nickname for Topaz. Chlokie mentioned Poppy and Dove in her Saturday Ramblings, which reminds me that Paloma is the spanish word for dove. Zeffy mentioned the French medieval name Patriz, and last Sunday Rowan mentioned Procopio, Pia and Perdita in her latest list of Olympic Names. Pearl, Patience and Phoenix were all spotted by Names4Real in New York and Nancy reported about Shayne Lamas naming her newborn daughter Press. Anna also made mention of Percy.

And of course, on Wednesday Bree mentioned the French equivalent of one of this week’s name: Primavère. Speaking of nature names, she also mentioned Pivoine (Peony) and Persil (Parsley). One of my favourite French words is Papillon, which means butterfly.

Since we’ve already started to talk about Primrose, let’s begin with her today. She’s inspired by a clearly emerging favourite pasttime of mine – watching my littlest sister’s TV programming. This time, it’s not Story Makers, it’s Fifi and the Flowertots, which to be fair, has some wonderfully named characters:

  • Fifi
  • Buttercup, twin of Daisy
  • Daisy, twin of Buttercup
  • Violet
  • Primrose
  • Poppy
  • Bumble
  • Flutterby
  • Pip
  • Tulip
  • Webby (female)
  • Hornetto

Primrose was the rather prim and proper character, one who wouldn’t look out-of-place in Kensington. That’s probably why can find a reasonable number of  usages as either a first or middle name in the London Telegraph birth announcements, sister of siblings named such things as:

  • Arthur
  • Beatrice
  • Elizabeth
  • Ivo
  • Kitty
  • Matilda
  • Ned
  • Wilfred

Does this mean Primrose can only work in the upper class part of society? It depends. The prim part of the name certainly puts many people off, who might then go and simply use Rose, or another Rose inspired name, such as Rosamund, Rosalinde or even Rosalie. There’s nothing wrong with the name Rose, she was rather superbly worn by Rose Marion Tyler as the companion of Doctors no.9 and no.10, but she does suffer from extensive middle name syndrome: where parents love using her as a middle name so much it almost seems that no ones actually using her as a first name. In the England&Wales 2010 data, Rosie (#59) ranked higher than Rose (#90), Rosa (#238), Rosemary (#634), Rosalie (#664), Rosanna (#840), Rosalind (#965) and finally Primrose (#1180).

To conclude, Primrose is a bold choice, but floral names are going down a treat right now, meaning she could very well start to pick up in use in the future. I’d sure like to see a few more Primroses and a few less Lilys.

As for our second name, the first time I came upon the name Prosper was in a book I read as a child: The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. All the names in the book are fascinating pickings, but the two central characters are brothers called Prospero ‘Prosper’ and Boniface ‘Bo’. Of course, the less English literature-naïve will probably cite their first meeting with the name as William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, where the main character was called Prospero – unless you first came across the play in the 2010 film adaption starring Helen Mirren as Prospera. Of course, there’s also Spock’s legendary line: Live long and prosper, so it’s a great, slightly subtle nod to your inner trekkie.

Prosper is one of my first favourites if we were to trace back to a time when I was a budding name enthusiast. I’ve always loved the name Prosper, and still do to this day. Like Patience and Prudence, he’s a softly-spoken virtue name, but he’s also strikingly similar to the current #1 name in England&Wales: Oliver. Both have prominent O sounds, and both also end with -er. Prosper is one syllable less, though, but also lacks an obvious nickname. This may be to your advantage if you don’t like nicknames, but also a slight put-off if you’re like me and shorten people’s names to show affection. That’s why I seldom call my siblings by their ‘real’ names, it’s because I love them really. There are options, though, after a quick brainstorm of mine:

  • Props
  • Ross
  • Perry
  • Wossy (Jonathan Ross reference!)
  • Pop(py)
  • Pepi
  • Spyro
  • Oz
  • Press 😉

He makes a great name to mention with Primrose, since if you steal the letter s from him, he becomes the word proper, and whilst Promise ranks at #4678 for males in England&Wales for 2010, Prosper doesn’t rank at all, which saddens me slightly to see a name I adore floating around in obscurity. Some people hate it when their favourite names starts to explode in popularity, but I think it’s nice to see a name you love getting love from other people. But not too much 🙂

Categories: Names of the Week | Tags: , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Names of the Week: Prosper and Primrose

  1. I adore Primrose! I seem to have a thing for P names: Primrose, Penelope, Perdita, Portia, Patience, Peony, Priya…


    • I seem to be the same, but have only just come to realise how many P names I love. I’d use Pearl, Prosper, Penelope and Peony in a heartbeat, and maybe even Parthenope at a push.


  2. Prosper is lovely!

    Rose is a Top 100 name here, but Rosie isn’t (I’m sure many if not most of the Roses are Rosies to friends and family though).


  3. Primose is so delightful. I think it might become a bit more popular with the release of the Hunger Game films and all that.


  4. Love both too. Great names.

    My small child has outgrown Fifi now, and we only used to watch it in Welsh, so it was quite entertaining reading the English names for the characters (where Fifi is Ffi-Ffi).


  5. namemuststay

    Paisley is another P name that’s getting bigger in North America. And Peta, especially with The Hunger Games 🙂


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