Names of the Week: Horatio and Jacqui

Nelson's Column, from lararala.com

Probably not names you’d instinctively pair together, but since both have been on my mind of late, it seems apt to talk about them now. That, and I was originally planning on covering the names Sawyer and Sora this weekend – but then realised I’ve already covered Sawyer in a Names of the Week post previously. I’m now on the hunt for another male name to pair up with Sora for a future post, suggestions are welcome, but come with no guarantee.

I once read a book entitled Horace by a man named Chris D’Lacey. In the book, Joel finds a bear named Horace in a bin – and later discovers that Horace is worth a small fortune.

Aside from this, Horatio does make for a good patriotic choice should you be British – Vice Admiral Nelson’s was voted at #9 on a 100 Greatest Britons poll and his first name was Horatio, he who won the Battle of Trafalgar and now has a column named after him in the middle of Trafalgar Square, London. He had only one, illegitimate child with Lady Hamilton – a daughter named Horatia. As a child I remember a skipping rhyme we used to sing referencing Lord Nelson:

Lord Nelson sailed across the ocean, Waves got higher, higher and over (The song starts with the rope going to and fro at less than 180 degrees, at the end of this line it starts going 360 degrees)

Lord Nelson lost one leg, Lord Nelson lost the other leg

Lord Nelson lost one eye, Lord Nelson lost the other eye

Lord Nelson lost one leg, Lord Nelson lost the other leg, Lord Nelson fell down dead

The above is the rhyme I learnt at school, and seems to be a slight variant on what other people sing. A notable difference is that I used to sing Lord Nelson, whilst others usually call him Old Lord Nelson. Some also leave out the first line as well. The actions remain the same though, thus when Lord Nelson loses an eye, one closes one of their eyes and so forth. The rhyme itself comes from the early 19th century according to one source I found, and is a humourous re-telling of how Nelson lost several limbs over his lifetime.

I’ve always thought that Horatio could come into vogue, should a high-profile, modern bearer come about. Rather tragically, something in line with this occured in 2011, when a group of British teens were attacked by a polar bear whilst on a trip to Norway. Of the group, it was 17-year-old Horatio Chapple, a student at the prestigious Eton College, who lost his life.

Another literary link you get with Horatio is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet where Horatio was a friend of Hamlet. The name Horatio itself is a variant of the name Horatius, which itself likely came from the Latin hora, which meant time, hour or season.

These days, Horatio isn’t particularly common – only 10 of them were born in 2010 in England&Wales. I seen the name often dismissed as being too pompous a name for today’s parents, and can see where they may get this idea. Another thing to note is that aside from Horace, there isn’t much in the way of names that Horatio instinctively shortens to. Given how much nicknames are thriving right now in Britain, I guess one can see why Horatio is being overlooked.

As for this week’s female name, Jacqui comes as a short form of the name Jacqueline. One of the best known Jacquelines in the UK is the author Jacqueline Wilson – and we’ve previously covered some of the names she’s used in her works.

From 1964-1993 there was a weekly British magazine entitled Jackie, and urban rumour dictates that it was named for the author, since she was working at the establishment prior to launching her rather successful career as an author. In truth, the name of the magazine was simply picked from a list of girls names, but was almost dropped following the JFK assassination in 1963 – since his wife was called Jackie. The owner, Thomson, chose to close the magazine in 1993 than follow the route of increased sexuality and fashion that it’s competitors of the 90s were following.

It must be said that shortening Jacqueline to Jacqui makes sense when it comes to the spelling of the names. However, most still assume the spelling to be along the lines of Jackie. Jacqueline is the feminine form of the French name Jacques – which isn’t their version of Jack, rather Jacob, a name which means supplanter.

In England&Wales, the name Jacqueline peaked at #4 in 1964 and is now at #1257, whilst Jacqui doesn’t even rank.

To my ears, Jacqueline isn’t that far removed from Josephine. The latter name is popping up all over the place at the moment – she currently ranks at #308 in England&Wales and I can see her rising further in the coming years. A key difference between the names, however, is which generation they’re most attributed to. Whilst Jacqueline peaked in the 60s, Josephine peaked in 1934 at #38. This means that Josephine classifies as an old lady name, and the same is mostly true for Jacqueline when you think that a lady born in 1964 will turn 48 this year – thus 50 in 2014. Whilst not necessarily likely to be a grandmother, nor a holder of a free bus pass, the name Jacqueline must certainly soon join the ranks of Josephine, Edith and Ethel.

It’s also worth noting that the only Jacqueline ‘Jacqui’ I know is in her mid-30s, which isn’t rocking-chair-ready by any stretch of the imagination. More than likely, this name will remain relatively out of fashion for the following few years, which makes it a good time to choose the new if you like the whole concept of naming ahead of the curve, so to speak.

Indeed, when it Jacqui, I find myself fond of her, more so than the variant spelling of Jackie. This could be because I see real-life Jacqui a couple of times each week, and it’s through day-to-day interaction that I’ve come to appreciate this name more than I would otherwise have felt. My opinion is just one, however. I’m sure there are plenty of other people who can’t understand my fondness for the name, but that’s just how things are with names. It’s all very subjective – and it’s worth remembering that even the most popular of names aren’t liked by everyone which was the basis of the post before this one.

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Categories: Names of the Week | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Names of the Week: Horatio and Jacqui

  1. I’ve always thought that you could pinch Harry and Hal as short forms of Horatio. Why not?

    I suspect in Britain (and perhaps elsewhere) its use is also impeded by Horatio Hornblower, although as it’s nearly ten years since the last series, that might be lessening now.

    Like

  2. Horatio is a lovely name and a Shakespearean one as well. For me it’s slightly tarnished by Horatio Caine on CSI Miami, played by the irritatingly non-talented David Caruso.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Ten « Mer de Noms

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