Weekend Post: Bébhinn

You’d be more than forgiven for thinking that I would once again bring you names from the Olympics, but I’ve decided to give you all a day off and instead talk about an Irish pick with no Olympics-relation whatsoever.

Because I’m funny like that.

You see, I finally got around to filming my favourite B names video after a short hiatus whilst I sourced out a better camera. One of the names I mentioned was the very lovely name Bébhinn.

But how does one say the name?

It’s rather easy, really: BAY-vin.

Variant spellings of the name include Bébinn, Béibhinn, Bébhionn whilst the English spelling of the name is Bevin. This is not to be confused with the similar name Bevan, which is infact Welsh, not Irish (and also a male name). The name Bevan means son of Evan, where Evan is one of John’s international brothers.

Going back to Bébhinn, there is also the theory that Vivian as a female name evolved courtesy of Bébhinn as another English version of the name. These days, Vivienne outranks Vivian for girls, at #674 to #1389, but Vivienne definately has nothing to do with Bébhinn since she is the French form of Viviana, the feminine form of Vivian.

The name means fair lady, and this brings me in a roundabout way to the name Milady. You see, my sister made me sit through The Three Musketeers last week and as many of you may know, there is a character in it called Countess Milady de Winter. This had me thinking about whether or not the French use the name, a name inspired by the English word (a contraction of my lady). Well, I pottered over to MeilleurPrénoms, and they’ve some stats about it:

  • the name peaked in 1979, with four births
  • at the beginning of 2010, there were 25 people in France with the name

So no, not really. For those interested, in 2011 alone, 11 girls were born in the US with the name.

Inspired by the novel or the title?

I hope the former.

In terms of the origins of the name, Bébhinn is the modern form of Bébinn which comes from Irish mythology, where there are many bearers of the name.

One such is the goddess of childbirth, who also happens to be the sister of Boann, a river-Goddess. Another is the beautiful giantess of aristocratic bearing who seeks protection from Fianna when an ugly giant pursues her. Subsequently the ugly giant breaks into the palace and kills her.

Not so pleasant really.

To end, I will say this. Bébhinn is another one of those crazy Irish names not many English speakers will get right when saying her for the first time. That said, she makes a great middle name heritage pick.

Categories: Name Profile | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Weekend Post: Bébhinn

  1. I’m amazed the French used Milady at all! It sounds absurd to me as a baby name, but in the US they have Lady as a not-too-out-there baby name, so Milady isn’t much of a stretch.


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