Posts Tagged With: Cora

Downton Abbey of Names Pt. I

Snapshot of the charming Dame Maggie Smith in character, from madblackcat.com

I would be a sham of a Brit if I didn’t admit to visiting a few castles/abbeys in my time. I’ve dedicated a whole post to Chatsworth House, and have been thinking about other castles to mention in the near future. But today, it seems time to cover a famed British estate, which may not exactly be real – but it has certainly captured our attentions, and the attentions of those abroad.

Downton Abbey is a period drama, which airs on ITV here in the UK and it set up north in Yorkshire. At the time of the series, George V was the King – and future grandfather of our current monarch – Elizabeth II.

The series was created by Julian Fellowes, so it seems apt to begin our look into names there. In 2010, the name Julian ranked at #311 in England&Wales, whilst Jules is experiencing something of a boom over in France. The name Julian is the English form of the Latin name Julianus, which means belonging to Julius. The name Julius derives from Jupiter, although it is often claimed that he derives from Greek and means downy-bearded.

As an aside, in 2009, Elizabeth Adeney gave birth at the age of 66 to a son she named Jolyon – a medieval variant of Julian – making her then the eldest mother in the UK.

Julian Fellowes is married to Emma Joy, and together they have one son named Peregrine. Emma was born in 1963, and her name means whole, universal, whilst Peregrine means stranger, traveller.

Moving away from real-life, and into the fictional world of Downton Abbey, let’s start with the Crawley family as the focus for Part I. At the top of the pile is The Right Honourable Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham. The name Robert is a classic staple, currently ranking at #90 in England&Wales. He means bright-fame, whilst charming Rupert is a German form of him and ranks at #360.

This character is played by Hugh Bonneville. The name Hugo has been enjoying increased attention of late, not least in thanks to the BAFTA-nomintated 2010 film of the same name. Hugo is the Latin form of the name Hugh, which himself is the English form of the Germanic name Hugi, a name that means heart. It was brought to Britain with the Normans.

Of all three names, Hugi does not rank in England&Wales, but both Hugh and Hugo do. Despite the star-power of comedian-come-actor Hugh Laurie, the name Hugo outranks Hugh at #149 to #364. It’s worth noting at this point that Hugh Laurie isn’t actually a Hugh – his real name is James Hugh Calum Laurie.

Going further with the actor’s family, Hugh Bonneville is married to a lady named Lulu Evans, and together they have a son called Felix. The name Lulu is a common short form for plenty of names, such as Louise; Lucy; Louisa; Lucia, and indeed plenty moreLulu ranked at #840 in 2010, England&Wales. Felix, on the other hand, derives from Latin and means lucky, successful. Felix is another slightly-outside Top 100 lurker at #122.

The wife of the Earl of Grantham is The Right Honourable Cora Crawley. The name Cora is likely to have been derived from the Greek Kore, which means maiden, however there may have been influence from similar names such as Coralie. Cora ranks at #438, whilst Coralie ranks at #2589, with only 8 of them born in 2010.

This character is played by Elizabeth McGovern, whose name means God is my oath. She has two children, called Matilda and Gracie. The name Matilda means strength of battle, whilst Gracie is a diminutive of the name Grace. The name Matilda ranks at #53, whilst Gracie is slightly higher at #51. Elizabeth, meanwhile, is at #49 – so all three names are separated by just 2 other names – Leah at #50 and Amber at #52.

The children of the Earl and Countess of Grantham are called Mary Josephine, Edith and Sybil. As an aside, my sister recently declared dibs on the name Edith, along with a handful of other names. But that’s for another time, another post.

Mary has enjoyed ferocious popularity for centuries, mostly thanks to her prominent role in the Bible. Despite this, it’s never been certain what exactly the name Mary means, but what we do know is that she currently ranks at #213. Her origins could be:

  • Egyptian, meaning to love/desire
  • Hebrew, meaning rebellious/disobediant, or even sea and star.
The name Josephine is the feminine form of the name Joseph, which derives from Hebrew and means he will add. The eldest sister is played by Michelle Dockery, whose name is a feminine form of Michael and means who is like God? In 2010, Josephine ranked at #303, whilst Michelle leads her #251.
The name Edith derives from Old English, and it’s elements means rich and war. She is played by Laura Carmichael, and Laura means laurel. Edith is surprisingly high at #259, whilst Laura is at a respectable #125.

The youngest sister’s name, Sybil, derives form the Latin name Sibylla and means sibyl – which is a title given to a female whom utters prophecies. She is played by Jessica Brown-Findlay. The name Jessica made her début in William Shakespeare’s play Merchant of Venice. Shakespeare likely based the name on the minor Biblical character Iscah – who was known as Jesca/Jescha in his time. Either way, the name derives from Hebrew and means he beholds. The name Sybil was only given to 4 girls in 2010, whilst Jessica was given to a pretty impressive tally of 4102 – rewarding her with a ranking of #6.

Our next character to mention is The Right Honourable Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess, who is played by the rather wonderful Dame Maggie Smith – born Margaret Natalie Smith. She was married to Robert Stephens before divorce and married to Beverley Cross until his death. She has two sons: Toby and Christopher.

Let’s start with Violet, which derives from the plant. The name is currently lurking just outside the Top 100 at #123. Out of Maggie and her long form of Margaret, it is Maggie who ranks higher – at #276 to Margaret’s #505. The name Margaret means pearl.

The name of her second husband highlights the once masculine edge Beverley possessed – a name which means beaver stream. As for the names of her two sons: Christopher derives from Late Greek and means bearing Christ; Toby is a short form of Tobias, the Greek form of Tobiah, which means Yahweh is good. Christopher dropped out of the Top 100 in 2010 to #104, whilst Toby has recently entered the Top 100 at #54.

The name Beverley no longer ranks for males, whilst 6 female Beverleys were born in 2010.

The last two Crawleys are called Matthew and Isobel. The name Matthew means gift of Yahweh, and is a Top 100 favourite at #41. Then we have Isobel, which is the Scottish form of Isabel. The name Isabel herself is a medieval variant of the already mentioned Elizabeth. There are currently a few versions of Isobel in the England&Wales Top 100:

  • Isabella at #12
  • Isabelle at #17
  • Isabel at #58
  • Isobel at #75

Matthew Crawley is played by actor Daniel Jonathan Stevens. Daniel derives from Hebrew and means God is my judge, whilst Jonathan is also from Hebrew and means Yahweh has given. Daniel lurks just outside the Top 10 at #11, whilst Jonathan is a little lower down at #141.

Last, but by no means least, we have Isobel Crawley who is played by Penelope Alice Wilton, and both names are rather in vogue in Britain at the moment. Alice is currently at #43, whilst Penelope is at #272; her common short form of Penny is at #396.

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Categories: Names from the Box | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Homestyle Names

Nothing is more homely than a good brew, snapped by me in Covent Garden.

Not content with having a gazillion different blogs to read new posts on a regular basis, I’ve recently taken a delve into vlogs as well.

One video that really caught my eye was by littlelunaful, who is a northern lass a few years younger than me. She talked about what she described as homestyle names, defining them as being comforting, familiar, informal and simple. I must say I found myself really liking some of the names she placed in this category. The names she selected for her list included:

Girls:

Bonnie

Celia

Cora

Effie

Kitty

Lottie

Nina

Tilly

Vera

Willa

Boys:

Cal

Clay

Cy

Cyrus

Eli

Grady/Gradie

Leo

Admittedly, I found the male names a more eclectic list than the female one, but it’s a good collection of names nevertheless. Of course, I couldn’t resist coming up with my own ideas of names which one could consider homestyle:

Alice

Connie

Hattie

Molly

Petal

Poppy

Susie

Freddie

George

James/JamieJimmy?

Jools/Jules

Rupert

Sid

Anyone care to suggest others?

Categories: Name Themes/Styles, Name Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weekend Post: Flora and friends

Silent film actress Musidora, from simondrax.wordpress.com

I used to dislike Flora. I used to dislike Nora. I used to dislike Cora. Now I love all three in a rather unexpected reverse of fortunes for them. I’m not the only one who has had a change of heart, consider these stats from England&Wales:

  2005 2010
Cora #545 #438
Flora #432 #409
Nora #866 #695

The biggest jump is for Nora, who was outside the Top 1000 back in 2000, so she’s certainly enjoying more usage that before. Naturally, therefore, I’ve been taking a look into other names of similar quality – because you can never love two many two-syllable -ora names.

The first one which came to my mind is Sora. I have a few friends who are really into the whole Japanese anime thing, and this name came from one of them who used it recently in a short story she wrote; strictly speaking, the female character was actually called Ano Sora. The name Sora is, as you’ve probably guessed, Japanese and means sky. I really think that Sora is just as pretty as Sky is, so she’s a great choice if Skye’s current ranking of #73 puts you off the name. That said, a key character in the video game Kingdom Hearts is called Sora, who is a teenaged male.

A second Japanese name to consider is Tora, which means tiger. Certainly, at the very least, another great alternative to shorten Victoria to. You can also find use of the name Tora in Scandanavia, as a modern form of Þóra. You may also see Tora written as Thora, both being the modern, female versions of Thor which comes from Old Norse and means thunder.

Rather fittingly for this time of year, Albania gives us Bora which means snow. There is also a masculine name in Turkey of the same spelling which means hurricane instead. The Hungarians also use Bora as a short form of Borbála – their version of Barbara, which has me thinking one could also use Bora as a nickname for Deborah, too.

Next in the alphabet is Dora, with the most famed one being the explorer. There are a couple of names from which Dora could derive, most notably: Dorothy, Isadora and Theodora.

There are a few Dora smoosh names I’d like to take the opportunity to mention. The first is Elladora. Remember how J.K.Rowling managed to single-handedly ignite popularity for several names thanks to her books? Sadly, we’re not talking about the possibility of using either Dumbledore or even Dumbledora, but about Elladora. You may not remember a character given this name, but she gave Elladora as a name to not one of her characters, but three, albeit very minor, characters.

The first is Elladora Black, sister of Phineas Nigellus Black – the most unpopular Headmaster Hogwarts has ever had. The second is Elladora Gruffy, who really had no notable part to play in the books at all. The third and final is a lady called Elladora Ketteridge, who discovered the use of gillyweed.

The best known Dora smoosh J.K. used will probably be Nymphadora, much hated by her bearer: Tonks. Nymphadora comes from Greek and means gift of the nymphs. The inspiration for J.K with this name was likely the be a trio of virgin martyrs venerated by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. As well as Nymphodora, there was also her two sisters: Menodora and Metrodora.

There’s one more Dora smoosh I caught J.K use, and it’s Musidora. She gave it to a minor character who was noted for composing Wizarding Suite. It really says a lot that J.K would take the time to give her minor characters such fascinating names. The French had a popular silent film actress, whose stage name was Musidora (Real name: Jeanne Roques). The name Musidora is infact Greek, and means gift of the muses. There’s a really nice write-up of her over at Bewitching Names.

A Dora smoosh name which J.K didn’t use is Pandora. As well as being the name of a rather expensive jewellery store, Pandora is a famed character from Greek mythology. She was the first mortal woman and Zeus gave her a box/jar, telling her not to open it as it contained all the troubles that mankind now knows. Her curiosity got the better of her and she opened it, unleashing evil spirits into the world. Her name means all gifts.

The name Calidor was used by Spenser in his epic The Faerie Queen, for a male character who was the Knight of Courtesy. The female version is Callidora, and it comes from Greek, meaning gift of beauty.

The final Dora smoosh I’ll mention before stepping aside to other names is Eudora. She’s also from Greek origins (noticing a pattern?) and means good gift.

Aside from all the Dora names, we do then have Zora, who comes from the Slavic regions and means dawn. Aurora also means dawn, but in Latin. She’s three-syllables, not two but Rora is a legit short form if you’re after one.

Categories: Weekend Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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