Names of the Week: Dougie and Alesha

Dougie Poynter after winning I’m A Celebrity etc. from

A few weeks ago, my littlest sister decided that she would choose that week’s names for this feature. She chose Cloud and Nuala – and now wants another go. So for this weeks edition, Sophie makes her triumphant return to influencing names by demanding I talk about the name of her favourite singer: Aleesha. That’s Aleesha Dixon. I countered by saying yes, if we could cover the name of someone from a band that was cool when I was a kid. After much sifting through Google, she chose Dougie, the bassist from McFly, a band I didn’t actually like all that much when they first came out in 2004 but it is great she chose him, because I’ve been thinking about Dougie recently as he’s been competing in I’m A Celebrity, winning it last night – plus thoughts on his name were spurred on by Anna who mentioned Douglas the other day.

The really interesting thing to note about Mr. Poynter is that he appears to simply be just Dougie, not Douglas. Dougie really seems to be a great alternative to Alfie, in terms of short forms for ‘old man’ names. I’m going to have to revise that Alternatives to Alfie list sometime soon, or maybe extend the list to Part II?

Other names which never made it onto the original list, but could be applicable are: Albie, Howie, Percy and Donnie. Alfie is mostly popular because of the movie of the same name, starring Michael Caine in the original and Jude Law in the 2004 remake – with the character Alfie Moon in Eastenders helping the name along as well. The film, Alfie, tells the story of a young man who leads a promiscuous lifestyle until several life reversals make him rethink his purposes and goals in life. Alfie frequently breaks the fourth wall by speaking directly to the camera narrating and justifying his actions. It depicts one of his conquests undertaking a hush-hush abortion because at the time it was illegal to do so; a turning point in the film was when Alfie broke down at the sight of the aborted foetus.  About a year later the Abortion Act 1967 was passed in the UK, legalising the act of abortion.

Another quick thing to note is that all members of McFly are known by nicknames. Tom, Dougie, Danny and Harry. Out of the four of them, we’ve already established Dougie is not a Douglas, and it’s not surprising that Harry isn’t a Henry. The other two, though, were born as Thomas and Daniel, so it’s split half and half.

Going back to Dougie, other relatively well-known Dougie’s include the step-father of Formula 1 driver Paul DiResta: Dougie McCracken – he was a Scottish footballer.

Dougie is, clearly, derived as a short form of Douglas. A name that has his origins as the name of a river, which in turn gave it’s name to a village and it’s associated castle. The name itself derives from Gaelic origins of:

  • dubh, meaning dark
  • glas, meaning stream

In terms of popularity, Douglas still outranks Dougie in the England&Wales 2010 data, whilst Doug doesn’t rank at all:

  • Douglas – #402 (98 births)
  • Dougie – #1801 (12 births)

One of my favourite name facts to roll out is that Douglas or Douglass has historical use as a female name. That nicely leads us to this week’s female name. The slightly cheeky thing behind this week’s female name? Aleesha Anjanette Dixon was also part of a band from my childhood – not that Sophie realises this. Aleesha was one third of Mis-teeq, who were hugely popular at the start of the 2000s and disbanded in 2005 when Sophie was still crawling – so Sophie only knows her as a solo artist and judge from Strictly Come Dancing – the latter a role that cause cries of ageism at the BBC when 30-something Aleesha replaced the then 66-year-old Arlene Phillips on the panel for the 2009 series.

The apt thing is that Mis-teeq are hot on the heels of Steps and S Club with rumours of their reunion starting to circle. This one, unlike the S Club one, seems to have been confirmed. Good news, because I much prefer the Mis-teeq material to Aleesha’s solo attempts. It’s worth noting at this point the name of Aleesha’s on-off band mates: Su-Elise Michelle and Sabrina Fredrica.

Alesha is a variant of Alicia, and one could easily pick Alesha to show which pronunciation you’re using. With Alicia, it could be any of the following:

  • a-LEE-thya
  • a-LEE-sya
  • a-LIS-ya
  • a-LIS-a
  • a-LISH-a
  • a-LEE-sha

With Alesha, only the last pronunciation is really applicable. That may be why Alesha appeals to you or indeed others as a name – it’s certainly part of the appeal for me. Checking out her ranking on the England&Wales 2010 list shows that despite the star-power of Ms. Dixon, there are a handful of other Alicia-esque names which are currently outranking her:

  • Alicia – #101
  • Alesha – #197
  • Alicja – #324
  • Aleeza – #354
  • Alishba – #425
  • Aleisha – #801
  • Aleesha – #821

The name Alesha herself goes back to the much popular name Alice, which sits at #43. Alice ultimately comes from the Germanic name Adalheidis, of which Alice derives from it’s variant Adelais’ shortened form Aalis. Therefore, the names Alice and Adelaide are pretty much just different forms of each other as both come from the Germanic elements adal meaning noble and heid  meaning kind, sort or type.

Categories: Names of the Week | Tags: , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Names of the Week: Dougie and Alesha

  1. I must say that Aleesha, or Alicia, is one of those names that I just don’t get. I much prefer the simple and sweet Alice. Dougie is very cute, though, but I hear it so often from my cousin who is obsessed with Mcfly that it’s sort of lost its appeal a little bit.


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  5. And a-lee-ci-a


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