Posts Tagged With: Bets

Buzzing Bs

Bonnie of Toy Story 3 fame, from wikipedia.org

Short names should in theory be coming back into style, given that nicknames have here in the UK, and there’s one brand in particular thats caught my eye over the past few weeks. Before I say what, consider this: Nameberry recently penned Betty as an unlikely comeback name, and we known that her siblings are called Belle and Beau. What’s more, I devoted an entire post to nicknames for Beatrix/ce earlier on this month, for which many names were also in this category. I try not to let name spotting take over my life, but something that has really struck me of late is the amount of four-letter, one-syllable B- names I’ve met recently. Everywhere I turn, I’ve been seing them. As far as I’m concerned nowadays, there’s literally tons (well, maybe a slight exageration there) of them. Here are a few of my favourites I’ve seen recently.

Buzz Aldrin, born Edwin Eugene, was one of the first men on the moon, but for him Buzz was simply a nickname derived from one of his sisters – however I do recall from reading somewhere that he has legally changed his name to Buzz. Buzz Lightyear was a character in the hugely successful Toy Story films. The word buzz has excelled in terms of colloquial English of late, since if I were to say that I’m buzzing about my upcoming birthday (which I am), I’m saying that I’m excited for it. It has also been abused in the sense that a drug high can also be referred to as a buzz.

What goes Buzz? Bees of course, and I had one doodled onto the back of my hand last week. Bee is one of those nicknames you can get from a huge variety of names: from Phoebe to Annabel; Beryl to Elizabeth. Sticking to the Elizabeth theme, she of many short forms, as Biff, Chip and Kipper were the three [fictional] siblings who taught me how to read, since my Infant school was stocked to bursting point with books about them starting at basic picture books up to more ‘advanced’ learner books, one of which my sister recently brought home. I’m not into one-up-manship, but when I was in Year 4, I distinctly remember reading Harry Potter 5, but we all develop at our own pace and Dips is much better at her times tables than I ever was at her age. Going back to the books, Biff was the girl and the eldest, whilst Chip and Kipper were her younger brothers. I used to believe they were actually their names, but thinking about it now, they were probably more like Elizabeth, Charles and Christopher – not that I’ve ever seen confirmation of that fact. They had friends named Wilf and Wilma, so it really was a child’s introduction to old-timey names. Other nicknames for Elizabeth such as Biff include Beth, Bets and Bess.

You could even derive Bass from the name Elizabeth at a stretch, and I recently met someone nickname Bass – predictably he played bass guitar, and his ‘real’ name was Sebastian, which still could shorten to Bass anyway. I also doodled my first Christmas tree of the year today, and a well-know singer with a bass-baritone voice, and King of Christmas tunes is Bing Crosby, born Harry Lillis. I really like the upbeat sound of the name Bing, and maybe that was one of the swaying factors in why Microsoft have named their internet search engine Bing. A similar name to this which I spotted on the news last Saturday was Buck. As well as being American slang for a dollar, the name also has another usage in the English language: the name for a male deer (where doe is the female deer equivalent).

Bolt is another English word, used for the eponymous name of the dog in the film Bolt. I remember my sister trying to convince me that it would be a good idea to take her to see it. There’s also the champion sprinter Usain Bolt. A well known film critic duo here in the UK are called Floyd and Boyd, who occasionally sub in for Mark Kermode when he’s not available to do the film reviews for 5Live on Fridays afternoons; their full names are Nigel Floyd and Boyd Hilton. Boyd was also the surname of Peter Boyd in the BBC crime drama Waking the Dead which recently closed up shop after a near 10 year run. I loved Waking the Dead, even if it [briefly] convinced me that a murderer lived at the end of my bed, despite being a mostly rational person. Keeping with the Christmas theme, I’m thinking of gifting a boxset to someone over the holiday season; not sure who exactly I want to target with it yet though.

And with the partying season drawing near, it seems an apt time to mention Beck, as in the lager Becks. I know that I’ve mentioned Beck a few times recently, but that means he really does qualify for this list since I’m hearing Beck everywhere. To be fair, I discovered recently that Rebecca was the most popular female name for England&Wales in 1994, which is the closest year to my birth year that has data published about it. No wonder every Beck I’m currently running into is my age or thereabouts.

I recently mixed some chemicals together to make a wonderfully inky blue colour – and by chemicals I mean sodium carbonate and bromothymal blue. That may mean something to you, but it probably doesn’t. Suffice to say that bromothymal blue is an indicator which goes blue in alkaline solutions and yellow in acidic solutions, thus sodium carbonate is the former. In terms of using Blue as a name, I’m all for it since Blue is a fantastic colour, but I still take issue with anyone using Bleu and saying it exactly the same as Blue. But I’m a French student, so you can understand my nit-picking. My littlest sister has just started to learn French, quite sweetly anglicising the pronunciations of all the words she’s being taught.

Earlier on in the year we mentioned the sisterly trio of Bliss, Blythe and Elfie, or which the first two names kind of fit into this category if we ignor that fact that they’re both a letter too long. In the almost category with them is Bonnie, which nicely rounds off this post since it takes up back to our first name, Buzz, as Bonnie was featured in the third, and currently most recent, Toy Story film.

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Categories: Name Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

‘Beatrix/Beatrice Has No Decent Nicknames’

A rather artsy picture of mine taken on a beach. The same beach as the background photo, I believe.

I’ve been planning a post along these lines for a few weeks given how much love both versions of this name get on the ‘boards, but recent conversations have suddenly made it a very topical post for me to write about since I had a friend say the above statement to me today. I found myself initially agreeing with her, in that the obvious two have never really ‘rocked my boat’ – and when I say obvious two, I’m talking Bea and Trixie. This post therefore goes out to my friend who is at a sticking point with her relationship with Beatrix, and thus this post is likely to be a bit of a shambling walk through my mind as ideas pop into it.

My problem with Bea is quite simple: I want to give it two syllables and rhyme it with Leah. Proof even we ‘pros’ still have issues with pronunciations. If I were to use Bea, I would insist on it being spelt with two ‘e’s, hence, Bee. I remember once doing a monologue about a cat called Bumblebee, and I actually prefer Bee as a short form for Phoebe, Thisbe or even Belphoebe. This is what I spend my days thinking about. That and wondering why UCAS hates me.

It seems rich of me to not particularly like Trixie, since I’m actually a closet Pixie fan. I’m not sure if I’ve ever made this clear, but I plan on changing my middle name sometime in the future because I just can’t agree with it, and Pixie is actually one of the names in consideration. Alas Lucy Pixie is borderline cutesy. I guess you could use Pixie as a nickname for Beatrix should you so choose. Jacqueline Wilson gave one of her characters, in her novel Diamond Girls, the name Dixie. It could work, but the slang of today makes it nigh on impossible. Dixie’s sisters were called Martine, Jude, Rochelle and Sundance. Their mother? Sue.

We mentioned a Beatrix who goes by the name Betty last week, and I maintain that it’s a fantastic interpretation of Beatrix, as indeed are her the names of her siblings. As an extension of Betty, there’s also several other Elizabeth nicknames which could work, specifically Betsy, Bets and maybe Elsie at a stretch. Could Beth work as well? Maybe, I think nicknames really are an open arena.

Kristen mentioned on her guest post over at Nameberry today the possibility of using Birdie as a nickname for Beatrice, and one could take things further by suggesting the slightly re-arranged Bridie. It also reminds me that I think the name Beatrix looks a lot like the word biscuit – that may say more about my inner psyche than I really want people to analyse (did I mention I had a psychology teacher pin me down as an affectionless psychopath a few weeks ago for smirking during a video on violence?). There’s a French film, titled in English A Very Long Engagement, which featured a WWI soldier named Biscotte, which translates to the English word rusk. I think it mentioned in the film why he was named so, but I fail to remember exactly what the backstory behind it was.

Simply using the end three letters of Beatrix could work, and there are several other ways to exploit Rix, first off by pulling off some letterphilic substitution to create Ria, or indeed the very jazzy, yet slightly gender neutral depending on your interests name Rio. When I say depending on your interests, I’m talking about the song Rio (her name is Rio and she dances….) and the footballer Rio (Ferdinand). There’s a Japanese name, Riko, which is also worth considering. It can either mean child of truth or child of jasmine. The Spanish name Rico is a shortening of Ricardo. Rix also could go to Ricky/Rikki/Ricki, or if you’re feeling very brave, the word Risk.

Specifically targeting Beatrice, and going back to my favourite sport, we could put forward the case for Becks, or simply Bec(k). That therefore opens the door to most of the imaginable Rebecca nicknames – I know a Rebecca who is most often referred to simply as Rebs. Simple, yet effective. Another simple option is Rae, or even Bay. I promised myself as a child that I would always live in a country with a coastline, and always be at least 2 hours away from it. I love the beach, specifically what one finds at a beach; we’re talking good ol’ fashioned British seasides here, not palm trees etc. rather donkey rides, piers and rock. Just to give you a scale of my seaside addiction, over the summer period I visited no less than 6 seaside locations in England and won a game of mini golf at each one, so Bay’s a nice way for me to acknowledge that I have this addiction, and plan to pass it on to up-and-coming generations. You can splice Bay and Rebs together to get Babs, which was the name of one of the chickens in Chicken Run, set up north in Yorkshire and made by those who gave us one of the best comedy duos: Wallace and Gromit. As a rather unexpected finale, if you love cats but dislike the name Tabitha, there’s also Tabby as an option.

There ya go friend of mine. Proof there are some great possibilities for nicknames of Beatrix/Beatrice if you put some hard thought into it. Or just read this post and nick one of my ideas, in which case fair enough. That’s what the internet is for.

Categories: Girl Names, Nicknames | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Straining Bookshelfs

The Thief Lord cover, from amazon.com

One of the best places to root around for names inspirations is books. The fictional world is where anything goes really – I once read a book named Storm’s Child where the main characters were called Rail (male) and Moa (female). Whilst I never got into Garth Nix’s main successes, I did love his book Shade’s Children – where the main characters were called Drum (male), Gold-Eye (male), Ninde (female) and Ella. Eoin Colfer once wrote a book called Supernaturalist, with characters Cosmo, Stefan and Mona. I digress, I read too much as a mid-teen and now my bookshelfs strain under the weight of all the books I own.

Since both Abby and Elea have both covered names of fictional characters this week in their own ways, I’m instead going to bring you inspiration from the names of the author’s which I read back when every waking moment of my life curled up with a book, along with the name of one of my favourite titles by them and some names from said title:

Benjamin Zephaniah (Teacher DeadJackson)

Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah is his full name, and I’m in awe of the mix of styles he’s been bestowed. I’ve met two young Zeph’s recently – one was a Zephyr and twin of Asher, whilst the other was a Zephaniah.TV’s Julia Bradbury welcomed a son named Zephyr earlier on this year in August.

The name Benjamin is of Hebrew origins and means son of the south/right hand, whilst Zephaniah is also of Hebrew origins and means Yahweh has hidden. For the sake of completion, Zephyr means west wind, whilst Asher means happy or blessed.

And a quick breakdown of each name’s popularity in 2010 in England&Wales:

Benjamin Zephaniah Zephyr Asher
Rank 22 1407 3332 364
Births 3005 17 5 112

Blue Balliett (Chasing VermeerPetra and Calder)

Balliett purposefully chose unusually names, believing that’s exactly what would appeal to her readers. When I initially read Chasing Vermeer about 3 years ago I didn’t like the name Petra all that much, but she’s grown on me. She’s the female form of Peter, which means rock, although the character was named with reference to the ancient city of Petra and as part of family naming tradition.

Now, for some hard data from the 2010 data for England&Wales. Blue doesn’t rank for girls (the author is female), but does for the boys:

Blue Calder Petra
Rank 1801 n/a 1472
Births 12 n/a 20

Cornelia Funke (The Thief LordProsper, Boniface ‘Bo’, Scipio, Esther and Ida)

I adore the name Prosper, and it’s from this book that my love for him was first sparked. I acknowledge that Funke’s other work, the Inkheart trilogy, is better known, but this one has a special place in my heart.

As for the name of the author, first we must note that the author is German, and then note the name is the female form of the Latin name Cornelius. The name comes from the Latin element cornu, which means horn. 4 girls were named Cornelia in 2010 in England&Wales, putting it at #4688. On the flip side, 6 lads were named Cornelius last year, and thus at a ranking of #2941. And for the names of her characters I mentioned above? (The ranking for Bo is the male ranking)

Prosper Boniface Scipio
Rank n/a n/a n/a
Birth n/a n/a n/a
Esther Ida Bo
Rank 156 878 1483
Birth 334 40 16

Cressida Cowell (How To Speak DragoneseHiccup, Fishlegs and Camicazi)

I know that I’m probably too old for Cowell’s books these days, but I am still eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Hiccup franchise next month (the film adaption of the first book dissolved me into tears-the only film to ever do so). I love the name Cressida, and she’s the medieval form of another name I love: Chryseis and also means gold. In Greek legend, Chryseis was the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo. Since Hiccup and friends don’t rank, but Cressida does at #4688, with 4 births – same as Cornelia.

Enid Blyton (The Mystery of the Burnt CottageFrederick ‘Fatty’, Margaret ‘Daisy’, Lawrence ‘Larry’, Philip ‘Pip’ and Elizabeth ‘Bets’)

Enid is almost synonymous nowadays with the author, and the name comes from Welsh and means either soul or life. As an author, she chose rather classic names, all of which are not as popular nowadays as they were back when the books were first published, the one mentioned above came out in 1943:

Enid Frederick Lawrence
Rank 2104 95 355
Births 12 688 117
Philip Margaret Elizabeth
Rank 296 505 49
Births 152 80 1356

Compare the rankings of 2010 with that of 1934 when  all six names were in the Top 100:

Enid Frederick Lawrence
1934 68 24 72
2010 2104 95 355
Philip Margaret Elizabeth
1934 56 1 14
2010 296 505 49

Malorie Blackman (Noughts & CrossesPersephone ‘Sephy, Jasmine and Meggie)

The Noughts&Crosses trilogy was the one which first introduced me to the name Persephone, although I wasn’t sure of the pronunciation until I watched the television show Firefly. My copy of the first book is also signed by the author, Malorie Blackman, which I won, rather than stood in a line for.

The name Malorie is a variant spelling of Mallory, a name that comes from Norman French and means unfortunate. Rather makes me think of the CBBC show Trapped, where the contestants are known as unfortunates. Persephone’s meaning is not established, although she has been linked to Greek words which means murder or to destroy, whilst Meggie is a short form of Margaret and Jasmine is a lovely botanical name. They rank, as such:

Malorie Mallory Persephone
Rank n/a 4688 3156
Births n/a 4 7
Jasmine Meggie
Rank 41 5707
Births 1466 3

Tamora Pierce (The Magic In The WeavingSandrilene ‘Sandry’, Trisana ‘Tris’, Daja, Briar (male) and Lark)

I actually took this book out of my local library by mistake more than anything, but found myself reading it anyway. Whilst a little difficult to follow to begin with, I loved it enough to read all it’s sequels. This is the first real occasion I came across the name Briar, since I was never really shown Sleeping Beauty as a child, and I actually like it. The character himself chose the name, wanting something botanical, yet masculine. I think he achieved that, since I’ve often misread the name as Bear.

As for the name of the author, Tamora, she’s a variant spelling of the name Tamara, which is a variant of the name Tamar, which means palm tree in Hebrew. Predictably, none of the names have really made an impact in the popularity data for England&Wales (the data for Briar is the female one, since there is no male ranking):

Tamora Tamara Sandry Lark
Rank n/a 458 n/a 5707
Births n/a 90 n/a 3
Trisana Daja Briar
Rank n/a n/a 5707
Births n/a n/a 3

Tom Becker (DarksideCarnegie, Vendetta and Marianne)

I listed him because of his surname, rather than his first name. Becket is a nouveau name getting some attention right now, and I think I like Becker a tad more. He’s a German surname and variant of another surname, Becke, which means baker. The Carnegie Award is given out annually to a single children’s book which has impressed, and named after Andrew Carnegie.

Out of all the names, only Marianne ranks in the England&Wales data – at #946 with 36 uses.

Categories: Book Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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