Boy Names

Street Names: Whitton

Screenshot from Dick Whittington shown on ITV, from

This is a case of why have I never heard of this name before? with the name Whitton, which I spotted on a street sign the other day. Of course, it’s likely that this is because there are two similar female names, Britney and Whitney, which experienced their heyday in the late 80s, early 90s, plus boasting two major stars in the music scene bearing them as names: Britney Spears and the recently departed Whitney Houston.

When it comes to connections, as a Brit, I also think of the pantomine character by the name of Dick Whittington when I hear the name Whitton. The first recorded version of the pantomine story was in the early 19th century and whilst it stayed true to the tale of a poor orphan named Dick Whittington leaving up north for a new life in London, it also introduced one of my all-time favourite pantomine characters (aside from Widow Twanky), the King Rat.

First a word about what exactly pantomime is for those of you not lucky enough to experience it. Don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that pantomime is huge here in the UK (traditionally running from late October to the New Year). It’s basically a slapstick theatre adaptation of a popular children’s tale that is adapted for satirical effect, thus much of the original tale is chopped out for comedic scenes, which usually have nothing to do with the plot whatsoever. In short, it’s my kind of entertainment (want to see more?).

Going back to the name we’re supposed to be talking about, Whitton is traditionally a surname (heh, aren’t all the popular baby names these days?) and is also a place name. In the London Borough of Richmond-Upon-Thames you can find a town called Whitton, which is just west of famed rugby venue Twickenham. Other places named Whitton can be found in County Durham; North Lincolnshire; Shropshire; and Suffolk.

The nickname Whit may be a shrewd one to aim for, given the English word wit, which means

the ability to use words in a clever and humorous way

Rather reminds me of the pantomime link, since they’re a breeding ground for wordplay and innuendos. At the other end of the name, it’s worth noting that -ton is a popular ending for boys names, with several names featuring inside the England&Wales Top 1000 – especially interesting to note the several different spellings of Leighton making an appearance.

  • Ashton, #77
  • Leighton, #173
  • Layton, #179
  • Aston, #181
  • Preston, #232
  • Leyton, #347
  • Clayton, #433
  • Anton, #451
  • Keaton, #491
  • Dalton, #970
  • Fenton, #996
  • Lleyton, #996
  • Winston, #996

As for meaning, the whit part of it means white, and the ton part meaning town.

To end, I’m interested in what your opinions on Whitton is; I think it has a boyish charm to it, and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid at brothers named Whitton and Leighton. Well, maybe just a tad – and it would be because of my pleasant surprise. What about yourself?

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Every Tom, Dick and Harry

I had a friend tell me the other day that his father planned on registering his brother as Thomas Richard Harold so that he’d be every Tom, Dick and Harry. Apparently the lady in the registry office didn’t find this amusing and put a stop to it. Whether that’s true or not remains to be proved, but it gives me a chance to talk about alternative names.

Aside from Thomas, an alternative way to get to Tom could be Bartholomew.

Bartholomew is the full name of Bart Simpson, but don’t let that put you off the name. Bartholomew is a Hebrew name meaning son of Talmai. The name Talmai means abounding in furrows. Another famed bearer aside form the cartoon character is St. Bartolomew who was one of Jesus’ apostles – but he wasn’t strictly called Bartholomew, he was infact a Nathaniel.

As for Dick, I’m thinking about the slightly more familiar name of Frederick. He’s the English form of the Old German name Frithuric, which means peace and is another name brought to England by the Normans. Nowadays though, the French tend to spell this name sans the final k as Frederic (accent optional). There have been nine King of Denmark called Frederick, which is a pretty impressive tally. However, I would voice concern over using Dick as a nickname in this day and age.

I had plenty of ideas for Harry, but we’re going less-oft heard with Harrier. I was considering talking about Harper, but since we’ve previously mentioned the name of the blog, the name we’re looking at instead is Harrier. It’s the name of a bird of prey, and the name itself derives from Middle English. There are two distincts types of Harriers: the marsh harrier and the hen harrier. Perhaps a better known link for people is the British military aircraft called a Harrier Jump Jet which was named after the bird. Whilst I think Spitfire is a push, I find myself thinking about why I’ve never considered the name Harrier before. Granted, the name is pretty similar in sound to Harriet – the feminine form of Henry.

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Chatsworth House of Names

Chatsworth House, from

You’d think, given that I’ve spent the last fortnight in the USA that I’d want to talk more about American names. It seems not because Chatsworth House is on my mind, which is one of the closest stately homes to me. It also happens to be home to the 12th Duke of Devonshire and some of the fascinating names you’d expect from the aristocracy.

First, a moment to mention that no, I haven’t quietly moved south. Chatsworth House is in North Derbyshire, but like many rich families, the Cavendishs bought the title Duke of Devonshire in 1616 from James I. The first, William, reportedly paid in the region of £10,000 for it.

But, back to the modern day crop of the family and we’ll start with the eldest living tier. Or, we would do, except Nook has already spoken about the Mitford sisters of which the youngest, Deborah ‘Debo’, is the mother of the current Duke. With Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire, she actually had several offspring, including:

  • Mark
  • Emma
  • Peregrine
  • Victor
  • Mary
  • Sophia

Since Mark died shortly after birth it is her second son who is the current (12th) Duke of Devonshire: Peregrine Andrew Morny. He took the title in 2004 following the death of his father. Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire is still around, though.

The name Peregrine comes from Latin and means traveller – rather setting me on the thought train of ‘Wow! Wouldn’t Beatrix and Peregrine work well together?’. Those feeling in the dark, Beatrix could come from the Late Latin name Viatrix which means means voyager, albeit with influence from the Latin word beatus, meaning blessed.

Morny is an interesting choice, with aristocratic links. French ones, though, as there was once a Duc de Morny. It’s after him that the horse race, Prix Morny, is named since he was a great lover of the sport.

As for Peregrine, Duke of Devonshire, he married a lady named Amanda on 28 June 1967 and together they have three children:

William ‘Bill’



The youngest, Jasmine, was born in 1975, a whole 17 years prior to Aladdin being released in 1992 – a film often associated with the popularity of the name. Then we have Celina, which isn’t all that dissimilar to a rather more modern-day Disney-associated name: Selena, as in, Selena Gomez whom appears in Wizard of Waverley Place – she herself was named after the Mexican singer.
As for their third child, should William become the 13th Duke of Devonshire, he’ll be the 8th Duke to bear the name William. Infact, it was an unbroken chain of Williams from the 1st to the 7th, a pattern broken by Spencer, 8th Duke of Devonshire. This is because his elder brother, William, died young. The 10th Duke’s eldest son was also called William, but he was killed in WWI before the death of his father, hence stopping him from becoming the 11th Duke of Devonshire, which then passed onto the aformentioned Andrew.
Moving onto the youngest generation, William currently has two children with his wife, Laura:
  • Maud
  • James
Maud is certainly one of those names I can see more and more people using – the popular name Madison means son of Maud (Maud as a nickname for Madison? Probably too different in style – no?).  Maud herself is a medieval form of Matilda. Personally, I feel myself leaning towards Maud with an e: Maude and I love the idea of using her with something overly girly: Maude Eulalie; Maude Felicity; Maude Cecily, to name just a few.
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30th December

Mowgli, from The Jungle Book, from

Today’s my birthday, so to celebrate I’ve been through a list of all the famed people also born on the 30th December in search of some interesting names to provide inspiration on one of the best days of the year 🙂

Asa Griggs Candler

Ato Boldon

Bennett Miller

Chandler Burr

Concetta Tomei

Del Shannon (Charles Westover)

Dorothea Lieven

Douglas Alder ‘Doug

Eldrick Woods ‘Tiger

Émile Loubet

Janko Prunk

Jay Kay (Jason Cheetham)

Josée Verner

June Anderson

Kenyon Martin

Leon Jackson

LouisJeanFrançois Lagrenée

Meredith Vieira

Rachid Karami

Rosalind Hurley

Joseph Rudyard Kipling

Skeeter Davis (Mary Frances Penick)

Sylvester Jordan

Sylvie Moreau

I would happily use many of these names – especially Asa and Sylvie. This is also the first time I’ve come across a triple-barreled first name, aside from the ones which occasionally turn up over at Eponymia.

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Comedy&Names Pt.II

Edmund Blackadder, from

I looked at several names from the world of British comedy many many moons ago, and have been wanting to return to the subject for ages. Now I have, and this time the focus is on the names of characters from some of Britain’s most loved sitcoms – since the focus was mainly on stand ups and comedy acotrs last time

To make things simple, we’re going to look at one notable name from the top eight sitcoms represented in the Top 10 of Britain’s Best Sitcom poll from 2004.

#1 Only Fools And Horses (Rodney)

Originally a surname which itself was a geographical one. In Old English, it meant Hroda’s Island, whereby Hroda was a Germanic given name meaning fame. The name really started to take off thanks to people wishing to name their sons after British admiral Lord Rodney during the 18th century.

#2 Blackadder (Edmund)

Edmund was Blackadder’s first name, who was the only character aside from Baldrick to appear in every series – all set in different time periods. This name also has origins in Old English, where it means rich protector. It was one name which remained in use in England, even after the Norman conquest, but did fall slightly out of favour in the 15th Century.

#3 The Vicar of Dibley (Geraldine)

Geraldine is the name of the female vicar, played brilliantly by Dawn French. Her friend Alice names her first daughter, born in 2000, after her (although had originally planned on naming her baby girl Vicar)

Geraldine is clearly the feminine form of Gerald, a name of Germanic origins, coming from the elements:

  • ger, meaning spear
  • walda, meaning rule
This name was supposedly brought to Britain with the Normans, and revived in the 19th century.

#4 Dad’s Army (Godfrey)

Yet another Germanic name, this time from Godafrid which meant peace of God, coming from the Germanic elements:

  • god, meaning god
  • frid, meaning peace

Like Gerald before him, Godfrey was also kindly brought to Britain by the Normans, enjoying popularity in the Middle Ages.

#5 Fawlty Towers (Polly)

Polly is a medieval variant of the name Molly, whilst Molly is a diminuative of Mary. The meaning of Mary is not so certain, but there are several theories including sea of bitterness, rebelliousness, and wished for child.

#6 Yes Minister (Humphrey)

Starting to see a pattern? The name Humphrey was introduced the England by the Normans, and it comes from Germanic elements:

  • hun, meaning warrior
  • frid, meaning peace

#=7 Porridge (Stanley)

Strictly speaking, this character is called Norman Stanley Fletcher, more often referred to as Fletch but we’re going to look at Stanley, for reasons that will become apparent soon.

This name started off as a surname, meaning stone clearing in Old English. It’s had somewhat of a revival here in Britain – he re-entered the Top 100 in 2009 and climbed in 2010. It should be interesting to see where he ranks in 2011.

#=7 Going Straight (Fletcher)

Fletch was on the receiving end of his own spin-off show. So now let’s talk about the name Fletcher which ranks at #253, and comes from the French word flèche, meaning arrow. The art of fletching is intwined with archery, since it’s to do with making the arrows aero-dynamically stable.

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We Named Her/Him Twice

Think Twice, from

International variants of names can be a pain, can’t they? I’ve started to see quite a few girls named Isabella Elizabeth recently, which is odd given that Isabella is an international variant of Elizabeth.

This isn’t just a new thing, though. I’m relatively good friends with a 20-something lass named Megan Margaret; Megan is a Welsh diminuative of Margaret. But it could potentially be a source of annoyance for the child once they get old enough to google their name. However, some may like the fact that both their given names are essentially the same.

So, let’s combat this with a list of often heard English names and a selection of their international variants you may be less well-aware of:

AnneAnelie, Anouk, Anoushka, Hannah, Nancy, Ninon, Ona

CatherineCaítlin, Cato, Catriona, Hecate, Kaia, Karen, Kayley, Kasia, Kateri, Kit, Reina

HenryEnzo, Kendrick, Perry, Rico

JamesDiego, Hamish, Jacob, Seamus

JaneGia, Hannelore, Ivanka, Johanna, Nina, Siobhan

JohnBevan, Eoin, Evan, Ian, Ivan, Ivo, Sean, Shane, Yannick

MargaretGretchen, Magali, Maisie, Maret, Marit, Meta, Rita (Pearl)

MaryMaia, Manon, Maureen, Mieke, Mirele, Miriam, Mitzi, Moira, Molly, Polly, Ria, Romy

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Lies Non-Name Nerds Tell Me

Lie To Me promo poster, from

I find the opinions of people who don’t particularly vest much time researching names fascinating. They always range from one extreme staggering accuracy to the other of misguided inaccuracy. Wandering around from place to place in the world, I very rarely get the opportunity to announce the fact that I author a name blog prior to any name discussion – which has lead to me witnessing some rather bold claims in the past. Here are the five which stood out for me over this past year, feel free to add your own in the comments:

1.  Soffie/Sofie is more popular than Sophie

Location: Wales

Let’s start with the most bizarre statement. It was whilst on a train platform in Wales that I was somehow drawn into a conversation with a lovely Welsh bloke who claimed to me that Sophie spelt with a double f (Soffie) was a more popular name in Wales than Sophie. Perhaps lovely Kay could shed further light on this, because this happened a few months ago, yet I remain perplexed. Consider the statistics: for the separate Top 100 list for Wales the name Sophie ranks at #9 – with Sofie ranking at #910 for the combined England&Wales data.

2. Nature names only work on females

Location: Gt. Yarmouth

A topic quite often alluded to, but my tuppence? The first time I came across the name Briar was on a male, albeit in a book. It is worth acknowledging that this person has reason and it could simply boil down to personal taste. It is, however, worth noting that Rowan is infinitely more popular for boys (#142) than girls (#709) in England&Wales. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rowan Atkinson had a slight role to play in this state of affairs.

I will admit, however, that nature names have caught on more for females than males. Lily is a top 10 name for girls, whilst Rose, Ruby, Amber, Summer and Jasmine are all inside the top 100.

3. The Beckham kids all have weird names no one else uses

Location: CrossCountry Train Service

Said by a friend of a friend, and again, it’s another matter of opinion, but the thing to remember? Out of their four children, only Harper’s name remains outside of the Top 1000 (and only if you’re looking at the female stats – Harper is inside the male Top 1000) in England&Wales. They may have been one of the first to use Brooklyn et al, but you’re no more likely to meet a Romeo in the park than a Laurence; a Cruz than a Brendan or Wyatt; a Brooklyn than a Lloyd. I’m also pretty sure you wouldn’t bat an eyelid to the names Joseph, James and David – which are their son’s middle names.

The bottom line is, all names rising in popularity names may have seemed a little ‘weird’ in their early days of rising, but do they really warrant that title once they’ve broken, say, the Top 250 like Brooklyn has for boys? I would say not. And clearly, people are using the names the Beckhams have used.

4. Some who names their child [insert top 10 name here] hasn’t put much thought/effort into their decision

Location: London Underground

My take? If you knowingly use a Top 10 name, kudos to you. My Auntie rather thoughtfully said the other day that we all strive so hard for status as individuals that we forget the value of a group. My surname is Sycamore, so of course I managed to end up in the same class as a Lucy Moore. Two-syllables difference, and it never particularly bothered me because that Lucy was, and likely still is, an absolutely lovely lass.

There likely are  people who chose the name Lily/James at random when they saw their child for the first time, and that’s perfectly fine. S/he’s their child, thus they have every right to do this. Equally, I see plenty of parents on nameboards agonising over whether they’d be doing their child a disservice by giving them a popular name. These people are clearly thinking about it, and thus immediate disprove the above statement. As a matter of fact, I think some names are simply popular because they are fantastic names. I really like both James and Emily, despite their status as a Top 10 name here in England&Wales.

5. Enzo is popular in France because of Ferrari

Location: Tours

This came from an Englishman who’d migrated to France after retiring. I met him in a French café, which is where he ‘let me in on this little secret’. I’ll admit whilst possibly a turning factor, it’s more likely to be due to former French international football star Zinedine Zidane who helped boost this name in France when he gave it to his son way back in 1995. He was named after a Uruguayan football player: Enzo Francescoli.

The only French person my age who is also into F1 in a big way is a huge Ferrari fan, though. She went nuts when we took her to the Ferrari shop in London. That said, there are no French teams, nor drivers currently [2011 season] competing, so she has free choice on who to support. For the 2012 season, there have already been at least three French drivers confirmed to have a race seat, so it would be interesting to see if she changes allegiances or not.

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Walking in the Air

Screenshot from The Snowman, from

Christmas is coming, and I’ve been tossing and turning about whether or not to do a themed post. I’ve buckled, but predictably, I’m approaching this rather differently to how most would.

Ever heard of the phenomenal TV film The Snowman? It airs every Christmas here in the UK since 1982 and is based on the book of the same name by Raymond Briggs. I love The Snowman, and am completely gutted I won’t be able to watch it this year since I’ll be in the States for Christmas (more on that on Thursday). Quite frankly, it rocks. It also spawned a classic Christmas song: Walking in the Air – which was quite brilliantly parodied by Irn Bru a few Christmas’ ago with them flying over Scotland rather than Brighton:

It’s such a pretty little song, much better than most of the dreary stuff churned out each year – I’ve heard that Geraldine McQueen song three times today and am close to the edge.

Christmas names are an interesting topic for me, since I was due on Christmas Eve – but turned up fashionably late and ruined a midwife’s party dress. I could’ve been one of the many December babies named Holly each year (In December 2010, the most popular girls name was Holly, 440 born compared to the 416 born to the name Olivia), but my parents opted against it. This doesn’t bother me one bit, but it’s fun to speculate on the what-ifs.

Since the song is titled Walking in the Air, I thought it apt to talk names relating to the air – especially since we’ve focused heavily on birds names of late. Let me make this clear: if you don’t want to name your child after a bird, there are still plenty of options out there.

We’ll start with the French. Many children dream of flying, and that’s exactly what the Snowman and the boy do in the film whilst the song is playing. You probably know by now that the French word for butterfly is Papillon, but have you ever considered Libellule? It’s the French word for dragonfly, and I’m quickly falling in love with the idea of using is as a name. The French say: LEE-buh-lool. If you don’t like that, a few fellow Continent-dwellers to the French have their take on the word (all meaning dragonfly):

  • German: Libelle
  • Italian: Libellula
  • Spanish: Libélula

If you ever wish to find an alternative to Liberty which could legitimately shorten to Libby, look no further than here m’dears. It’s also befitting of the Bella trend, which may or may not have been catalysed by Twilight. I’d rather not get into that debate right now, because it would take over this post very quickly.

Going off on a tangent I once more dip my toes into the mystical and unknown world to me of music. There’s a class of intruments called Woodwind, or Wind, instruments and there’s two notable names to mention to you.

The first is Reed. In woodwind instruments, specifically clarinets, oboes and duduks, the player blows in order to cause a reed in the intrument to vibrate, which in turn causes vibrations in the air. The second potential name to consider is Bell. The bell of a woodwind instrument is the round, flared opening opposite the mouthpiece.

Of course, the really easy place to find inspiration is in the many Gods et al associated with the wind. The obvious one I’m seeing batted around more and more is Zephyr – inspired by the name of the Greek God of the west wind. You may be wondering that if there was a God of the west wind, then logic follows there must too be Gods of the north, south and east wind? You’d be right.

The collective name for these Gods is the Anemoi, and the Roman equivalent is Venti (note: the French word for wind is le vent). The Greek God of the north wind is Boreas, and he’s also said to be the bringer of winter. He also had a close association with horses. Boreas had two sons and two daughters:

  • Calais
  • Zethes
  • Khione (Goddess of snow)
  • Cleopatra

His Roman equivalent was called Aquilo.

The God of the south wind is Notus, who was feared for being destroyer of crops. You may find Notus a little too much, but his Roman equivalent was named Auster – which seems like a name truly fit for the modern mama: Part Austin; part Alistair and just a wee bit like Oscar.

Finally, the God of the east wind was callewd Eurus, and this was considered the unlucky wind. He was thought to bring both warmth and rain. His Roman equivalent? Vulturnus. Now, Eurus may not be as unusable as you may think since their is a legit welsh name Euros to contend with. If I’m honest, I only really know this due to Doctor Who – which has had episodes directed by one Euros Lyn. There is the niggling issue of the so-called Eurozone crisis, with people increasing shrieking that the currency of Europe – the euros – could collapse. The Welsh name Euros is often associated with aur – meaning gold. Of course, the chemical symbol for gold is Au.

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Under 30s British Stars Rich List

Mika, from

This little list has been in the news today, courtesy of Heat Magazine, so it seems a good time to talk about some of the names of the 30 honoured rich British stars who are under-30s. All of them are in the world of showbiz, and given their placing on the list are likely recognisable by name to most Brits. To keep it interesting, I’ve decided to focus on the names outside our current Top 100.

That immediately excludes #1, Daniel Radcliffe – known to the world as Harry Potter. It also excludes Keira Knightley (#2), Robert Pattinson (#3), Emma Watson (#4), Katie Melua (#8), Charlotte Church (#10), Emily Blunt (#11), Alex Turner (#13), Sienna Miller (#17), James Morrison (#20), Lily Allen (#21), Sarah Harding (#26), Florence Welch (#29) and Jamie Bell (#30).

Technically speaking, we should also exclude the man at #14, Michael Holbrook Penniman, but it seems fair to mention the name he mostly goes by – Mika. Some take the name as feminine, some go the opposite way. It depends on how you approach it, because Mika is very much feminine in Japan, where it means beautiful perfume. Anyone into F1 will also be aware of two-time world champion Finnish driver Mika Häkkinen who . In Finland, Mika is a short form of Mikael – their version of Michael, but Häkkinen is quite simply just Mika Pauli. Alternatively you have Micah, a short form of the Biblical Micaiah, or Mica, which is also the name of a silverly mineral.

Shooting back up to the top end of the list, we have the final key Harry Potter actor, Rupert Grint, at #5. Rupert is a German version of the once popular name Robert. Historically, Robert peaked in England&Wales at #5 in 1944. By contrast, in the States, Robert was #1 from 1924 to 1939. Currently, Robert sits at #90 in England&Wales, falling 49 places since 2000. Rupert, on the other hand, sits at #360 in 2010, up 208 places from #568 in 2000.

Leona Lewis (#6) is the most successful X Factor UK winner to date, and Chlokie covered her name superbly over the weekend, whilst Elea covered the slightly similar Leonie at the same time. As you might guess, the name relates to the Greek word for lion, leon and the Latin leo, meaning the same thing. An interesting tidbit is the Leona’s middle name is Louise, completely her trio of L-names. In 2010, the name Leona was at #380, but the key figures to consider are these:

  • 2004: #480
  • 2005: #509
  • 2006: #311
  • 2007: #200

Leona Lewis came to prominence in the second half of 2006, causing her name to boost up following a slight fall between 2004 and 2005. She has fallen since then, but we’ve yet to see whether this is just a slight dip all names tend to go through.

#7 is Cheryl Cole, who also found fame via a talent-come-reality show Popstar: The Rivals when she was placed into the girl group Girls Aloud – which in 2011 Guiness World Records named the most successful reality Tv group. The other four members also make the list, of which only Sarah Harding was excluded for having a Top 100 name. It is, in a sense, a false measure however as Cheryl was #68 in 1984. This pattern continues with the two of the three other members of Girls Aloud. The first of these is third member Kimberley Walsh’s (#24) name was #43 in 1984 and she was born in 1981 (only data for 1954, 1964 etc is available until 1996). The fourth member to mention is Nicola Roberts (#27), whose name was even higher up at #12 in 1984. So, in theory that only leaves  final member Nadine Coyle (#25) with non-Top 100 name. However, I’m in a good mood, so we’ll talk about all four.

If you’re wondering why Cheryl ranks so much higher than her four bandmates, you need only look above to Leona; Cheryl Cole spent 2008-2010 as a judge on The X Factor and was generally well-received by the public. This increased exposure for her led to a reasonably successful solo career. The name Cheryl is likely to have been inspired by the name Cherie combined with Beryl.

Kimberley is a place name, and we’re not just talking about the town in Nottinghamshire. There is a diamond mining town in South Africa called Kimberley as well, which was named after Lord Kimberley – the peerage Earl of Kimberley exists to this day in the UK, currently bestowed upon John Armine Wodehouse, who is the 5th Earl of Kimberley; he took the title in 2002.

Nicola is the Italian form of Nicholas, but also a feminine form in the English-speaking world, and whilst she’s the sole Irish member of the group, Nadine Coyle’s name isn’t. Nadine is the French version of the Russian name Nadya, a name that derives from Nadezhda which means hope.

As for the rankings of the four names, it’s clear some have fared better than others since the 1980s, it’s worth noting that Cheryl is the least popular name, despite Cheryl outranking her bandmates on the rich list:

  • Cheryl: #965
  • Kimberley: #383
  • Nicola: #263
  • Nadine: #801

Towards the end of the top 10 is Craig David at #9, whose middle name is Ashley. The name Craig has roots in Scottish Gaelic, specifically with creag, which means either rocks or crag. I’ve had the pleasure of watching a French person try to say this name before, and she didn’t get a gold star for her attempt. Literally, it’s KRAYG, and the name is #89 in Scotland but, crucially, only at #503 in England&Wales in 2010.

Moving further down the list we get to yet another singer, this time Joss Stone at #12. Speaking of the French, the singer’s full name is Jocelyn Eve and Jocelyn is an exclusively male name in France, with the female spelling being Jocelyne. There’s a place called Josselin in Brittany, but the name could have come from a Germanic tribe, the Gauts. Another famed Joss is Mr. Whedon, for whom Joss is a short form of Joseph. Jocelyn is at #840 in England&Wales for 2010.

At #15 is Coleen Rooney: wife of Wayne; mother of Kai. Her name comes from Irish caílin and means girl, but it’s also worth noting that the French word for hill is colline. Coleen doesn’t rank, but Colleen was given to 7 girls in 2010, which gives it a ranking of #3156.

Miss.16 is the now world-reknowned singer Adele, whose full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins. Like Adelaide, the name Adele comes from the Germanic element adal, meaning noble. I wouldn’t hesitate to attribute any rise in Adele to this lady, given her popularity. Adele released Hometown Glory, her breakthrough song, in October 2007, so let’s quickly look at some data from the years around that:

  • 2006: #594
  • 2007: #623
  • 2008: #467

I’m willing to bet she had some doing with the jump between 2007 and 2008. The crunch-point? By 2010, the name Adele had again fallen outside the Top 500 to #683.

At #18 is Natasha Bedingfield and at #19 is Duffy. Natasha was recently mentioned in the post on Natalie over at the newly named The Name Station. Duffy was born Aimée Ann, and we’ve previously mentioned the name Duffy. Quickly sidelining to the French again, there’s a delightful French singer, Coeur de Pirate, who reminds me a lot of Duffy and she herself is called Béatrice. Natasha is at #171, with 310 births, whilst Duffy does not rank.

The 22nd spot is taken up by Paolo Nutini, a Scot. His father is from Tuscany by descent, but the family have lived in Scotland for a handful of generations. Paolo’s music career took off in 2006, when he released his début album These Streets, which was certified 4x Platinum, and was in the charts for a record-breaking 196 weeks. The name Paolo is the Italian version of Paul, which means humble. 23 boys were given the name Paolo in 2010, putting the name at #1144.

Whilst Emma Watson was excluded, Gemma Arterton does make the list with her slightly different name. Arterton played Strawberry Fields in the most recent Bond film, Quantum of Solace. The name Gemma related to the Italian word for gem. In 2010, Gemma ranked at #354, with 128 born.

The final entrant to mention is Taio Cruz. Cruz is the name of the third Beckham boy, which is the Spanish word for cross. As for Taio, I’m at a slight loss. My best guess is that it is related to Tao, which is Chinese and means peach or long life. What’s more likely is that Mr.Cruz is the reason Taio is inside the Top 1000 in England&Wales at #832, with 35 of them born; Cruz ranks higher at #433 with 87 born.

Categories: Boy Names, Girl Names, Names in the News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments


Kyo, from

I’ve haven’t mentioned French names much recently, so let’s get back into the swing of things by talking about one of the biggest bands in France, called Kyo. That’s key-oh. My French teacher was a closet fan, and by the end of our first year of A-Level pretty much my entire class had at least one of their songs on their music player, most likely the brilliant Dernière Danse – which my sister also has possession of. It was one of the first songs I learnt the lyrics, or paroles, to.

Remember how I mentioned a few days ago that I only seem to listen to unactive bands? Kyo went into hiatus a few years ago, before I started to listen to them, but they are reportedly going to reunite next year. Whether they do or not is another matter, but it would be a different experience completely to go and see a French-speaking band live in Frenchland.

Speaking of the French word Paroles, let’s quickly give it some attention. The English word Lyric has seen use as a baby name, so why not Paroles? I recently went to see Alls Well… at Shakespeare’s Globe, and a character in the play is called Parolles. Since the play begins in France, I’m inclined to say Parolles has French blood. I do think he’s a quirky choice to consider, and is said PAH-rohll. The French also use the word Lyrique, but I much prefer Paroles, don’t you?

But back to Kyo. The surname Keogh is of relative use in Ireland and is said mostly the same as Kyo. I know this because I was taught, albeit briefly, by a Mr. Keogh. The surname ultimately comes from Mac Eochaidh, and eoch/each is an Irish word for horse. Kehoe is another popular anglicised form of the name. Other variations of the name one could use are Keeho, Keho, Keyo, Kio and Keo.

A while back, there was a story in the newspapers about how a lady gave birth in the car on the way to hospital, so named her daughter Kia after the make of the car she gave birth in; Kia then gave them a free car. The couple reportedly intended on calling her Tilley. It’s not as extreme as the story going around about the baby named Dovahkiin, after a character in a video game, and won a lifetime supply of video games. There was also the case last week about a baby born in the shoe shop Clarks, and was named Ethan Clark. I don’t think he won a lifetime supply of shoes, though.

51 girls were named Kia last year, plus dozens more named similar sounding names such as Kiara and Saskia. There were 38 boys named Clark in 2010 in England&Wales, putting him at #774. The usage of Kyo is less straight forward, with plenty of slight variations being used:

  • 41 boys were named Keyaan
  • 24 boys were named Keon
  • 17 boys were named Keyan
  • 15 boys were named Kyro
  • 10 boys were named Kynan
  • 6 boys were named Keeyan
  • 6 boys were named Keyon
  • 6 boys were named Kyi
  • 6 boys were named Kyon
  • 5 boys were named Keean
  • 4 boys were named Ky
  • 3 boys were named Keo
  • 3 boys were named Kion
  • 3 boys were named Kylo

But, crucially, Kyo did not rank. Nor Keogh, Kehoe or Kio. Keo did, but barely. The likelihood of Ky being used as a variation of Kai is high, given that footballer Wayne Rooney has a son named Kai Wayne. It’s surprisingly, given the nice, almost bouncy sound of Kyo. It’s likely that the average British parent hasn’t a clue who Kyo is, though.

If Kyo does sound familiar to you, he’s also a Japanese name, which they may spell as either Kyou or Kyo. It is both masculine and feminine and means apricot, capital, cooperation or village. The Japanese band, Dir en Grey, has a male lead singer called Kyo.

We’ll end by talking specifically about the band, which is made up of brothers Florian and Fabien, along with friends Nicolas and Benoît. I love the name Benoît, which is basically their version of Benedict, although the nickname Ned is less natural from the former. Florian is another delightfully French pick, coming from the Latin florus, meaning flower. Fabien is also from Latin, and with an equally natural meaning of bean. I think only in a French-speaking country could Fabien and Florian work best.

Categories: Boy Names, French Names | Tags: | 4 Comments

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