Names of the Week: Ted and Lil

Lil DeVille, from

This weeks names are inspired by two shows mentioned by my sister the other day during her rant on how awful the TV shows of today are. Ebba is the sentimental kind of person who hates change, so this rant was nothing out of the blue.

The first show she mentioned was comedy series Father Ted, featuring a priest called – you guessed it – Father Ted. It first hit the screens of Britain in 1995 and was set in the remote Craggy Island off Ireland’s west coast. The two other main priests were Father Dougal and Father Jack. All three priests answer to Bishop Len Brennan, who banished them all to Craggy Island as a punishment for different incidents in their past:

  • Ted for alleged financial impropriety (apparently involving some money ‘resting’ in his account and a child being deprived a visit to Lourdes so that Ted could go to Las Vegas)
  • Dougal for something only referred to as the “Blackrock Incident” (resulting in many “lives irreparably damaged”)
  • Jack for his alcoholism and womanising.

It was a hit series with the masses, and ranked at #11 in the Britain’s Best Sitcom poll conducted by the BBC in 2004 – making it the highest ranking for a Channel 4 show as the Top 10 were all BBC productions.

Ted is most usually seen as a nickname for Theodore – either him, Theo or Teddie are the usual suspects. If you’re desperate for more short forms of Theodore, here ya go:

  • Eddy
  • Teo
  • Tory/Tori
  • Otto
  • Terry
And for Theodora’s there are plenty more feminine ones to go around:
  • Dotty
  • Dory/Dora
  • Téa, or simply Tea/Tee
  • Heddy
The mention of the name Dotty is apt, since her usual long form of Dorothy has a vague connection to Theodore. Dorothy comes from the name Dorothea, which shares the same origins as Theodore – they both derive from the same Greek elements:
  • theos, meaning God
  • doron, meaning gift
If you’re looking to give boy/girl twins names with some sort of link, feel free to consider naming them Theodore and Dorothy; Teddie and Dotty. Yes, they are slightly similar in sound, but that’s what comes with sharing the same backstory. As for the rankings of the Theodore band of names, they are as follows:
  • Theo: #50
  • Theodore: #137
  • Teddy: #197
  • Ted: #278
  • Teddie: #668

But now, we come to the name Lil. She’s the name of one of the twins in Rugrats – sister of Phil. Her full name is Lillian Marie, which Phil calls her on occasion which is usually when they’re arguing with one another. Aside from Lillian, there are plenty of Lil– names inside the Top 500 right now (we’re discounting all the variant spellings of Lily which would simply take over this list):

  • Lily: #4
  • Lilia: #266
  • Lila: #267
  • Liliana: #330
  • Lillian: #337
  • Lilian: #463

There’s also the name Delilah which ranks at #451 and could also shorten to Lil. Philippa, too, could shrink down to Lil if you don’t want her to become yet another Pippa.

The name Lillian comes as either an elaboration of Lily, of which the Latin word for Lily is lillium. Of course, this is especially true nowadays when I see parents opting to use Lillian with the intention of shortening it to Lily – but wanting their child to not actually ‘be’ a LilyLillian could also be a diminuative of the name Elizabeth, which means my God is my oath.

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One thought on “Names of the Week: Ted and Lil

  1. Lil as a nn for Delilah is such a great idea. For Theodore, I’m afraid I would stick with the more common Theo. I find Ted or Teddy too close to Bob, which always seems kind of generic.


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