Posts Tagged With: Ethel

Downton Abbey of Names Pt. II

Sceneshot from Downton Abbey, from guim.co.uk

Yesterday we talked about the family of the Earl of Grantham from the surprise hit show Downton Abbey. We’re continuing in a similar thread by today looking at the staff of the household. For those wondering, there will be a part III, which I’ll put off until next week to allow you time to recover; that post in question will be looking at the recurring cast of the show.

However, first, we introduced Pt.I with a mention of the creator of the show, Julian Fellowes. It seems fair, therefore to start this post by talking about Shelagh Stevenson who is one of the main writers for the show. Shelagh is likely to be a variant spelling of the name Sheila. The name Sheila herself derives from the Irish name Síle, which is the Irish form of the name Celia; follow that further and you get to Cecilia, which derives from Latin and means blind.

But now, let’s begin with the gentlemen, and the first one to mention is Charles Carson, who is played by Jim Carter. What’s interesting about both men is that their surnames have seen use as first names.

Charles is usually taken as being the English and French form of the German name Karl, which means man. On the other hand, the name Carson is likely of Irish origins, but his exact meaning remains unclear. In 2010, Charles ranked at #62 for boys in England&Wales, whilst Carson ranked at #503.

The name Jim is usually a short form of James – a name which means supplanter. The surname Carter alludes to one who uses a cart. Whilst James ranked at #10 in 2010, Jim ranked at #1620 with just 14 born; he was outranked by both Jimmy (#307) and Jimi (#942).

The actor Jim Carter is married to the rather delightful Imelda Staunton who played Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films. Imelda’s middle names are Mary, Philomena and Bernadette.

Starting at the start of her name and working through in order, we first have Imelda which is both the Spanish and Italian form of the German name Irmhilde, which is derived from the Germanic elements:

  • ermen, meaning whole
  • hilta, meaning battle
We spoke in depth about Mary yesterday, and Philomena is derived from Greek and means friend of strength or loved. As an aside, the word filomena was once used in Italian and Spanish medieval poetry whereon it took the meaning of nightingale. Finally, the name Bernadette is the French feminine form of Bernard, which can be taken to mean brave bear.
In terms of ranking, both Imelda and Philomena failed to achieve a place in the England&Wales data, thus less than 3 were born in 2010. The name Mary ranked at #213, whilst Bernadette was way down at #2235 – with just 11 of ’em born.

What’s more, together the couple have a daughter named Bessie, which is one of the many offshoots of Elizabeth, another name we discussed yesterday.

Moving on we have the character John Bates, who is played by actor Brendan Coyle. The name John means Yahweh is gracious, whilst Brendan could derive from the Welsh brenin, which means king.

We then have the character of Thomas Barrow, who is played by actor Robert James-Collier. The name Thomas is another popular choice – he currently ranks at #6 –  but no doubt many will be unaware that he means twin. Once more, we mentioned Robert yesterday – but in a nutshell the name Robert means bright fame.

The last male staff member we should mention in this post is William Mason. He is played by Thomas Howes. The name William derives from two Germanic elements:

  • vilja, meaning will
  • helm, meaning helmet
The name Mason is simply a word name, in terms of a builder, although many refer to the Freemasons as simply Masons as well.

Moving on to the female members of the staff, we start with Elsie Hughes, played by actress Phyllis Margaret Logan. The name Elsie is the second name we’ve come across in this post alone which derives as a short form of Elizabeth. The name Phyllis we very recently mentioned in a post on old people names, and if you missed it, the name means leaf/leaves/foliage. I’m pretty sure we mentioned Margaret as well in Pt.II, although I will tell you that she means pearl.

Moving slightly away from the Yorkshire home of Downton Abbey, the actress Phyllis Logan was born in Paisley which I’ve recently seen considered for/given to girls. As well as being a place name, it is also the name for a pattern which derived from the town of the same name; Paisley is closely associated with Scotland. The origins of the name Paisley likely lie in the Irish word baslec, which means church. And as for Logan, it heralds from Ireland and means hollow.

Our second female member of staff is Sarah O’Brien, who is played by Siobhan Finneran. The name Sarah is well known to mean princess in Hebrew, whilst Siobhan is the Irish Gaelic form of the name Jane/Joan, both of which derive from the name John we we’ve already mentioned above.

The actress Siobhan is married to one Mark Jordan and together they have two children: Joseph and Poppy – two more names we’ve mentioned recently, but in two different posts. Joseph came up yesterday, whilst Poppy came up last week. The meaning of Poppy is clear, and she ranks at #16. The name Joseph means he will add, and the name ranks at a pretty similar #15.

Next we have Anna Smith who is played by Joanne Froggatt. The name Anna is usually taken as being derived from Ann, whilst Ann herself is usually taken to come from Hannah – which would therefore mean that the name means grace. Joanne is a variant of Joan, mentioned above.

Still with me? Gwen Dawson is one of the household’s housemaids along with Ethel Parks. Gwen is a delightful Welsh name and female form of Gwyn – but she is often seen as a nickname for Gwendolen or even Guinevere. The name Gwyn means white, pure, blessed. Then we have Ethel, which appeared in the same post as the aforementioned Phyllis. The name Ethel derives from Old English and means noble.

As for the actresses, Gwen is played by Rose Eleanor Leslie and Ethel is played by Amy Nuttall. When it comes to the former, both her first and middle names are in the England&Wales Top 100: Rose at #90 and Eleanor at #61. The name Leslie started off life as a Scottish surname, and thus probably derives from Scottish gaelic and means garden holly. Once upon a time, the name Leslie was all-boy. It’s worth noting however that in 2010, there were only 8 girls called Lesley born – and not enough girls named Leslie for that particular spelling to rank. However, on the other side of the fence, 10 male Leslies were born in England&Wales.

One of our last characters to mention is Beryl Patmore, who is played by Lesley Nicol. The name Beryl coincides with the name of a precious gem and just 6 girls were given the name in 2010.

And last, but by no means least, we have Daisy Robinson, played by actress Sophie McShera. Both names are quite popular these days in England&Wales: Daisy ranks at #15 and Sophie ranks at #2. The name Sophie comes from Greek and means wisdom.

 

Categories: Names from the Box | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weekend Post: Comeback Kid (Female Version)

Candace Flynn, from fanpop.com

Today’s post was inspired by a chance meeting with a five-year old Gertie this week. Gertie? I’m still in the dark about whether Gertie was indeed short for Gertrude, given the briefness of the encounter.

The name Gertrude is one which many have labelled as being hopelessly out of fashion, even to this day. Plenty of other names join her in this category, and I’ve picked out a few which could make a comeback based on their similarities to other popular names. If not, maybe another lesser-known name also similar may take your fancy.

Edna

I covered this name a few months ago as part of the Family Names For Sale series. She has potential, when you consider the similarities she shares with both Emma and Ella. Or indeed Eden. Infact, pre-conceived ideas aside, a sibset of Ella, Emma and Edna could be cousins to the Maude, Mollie and Maisie one we mentioned a few posts ago.

The name Edna itself could possibly derive from Hebrew and means rejuvenation, pleasure. An Irish Saint by the name Edana is sometimes referred to as Edna. Other similar names you may never have come across before include Edmé, which is a French short form of Edmund used for either gender – although it may be spelt Edmée for girls. There’s also Eda, which is a name mostly used in Turkey meaning either flirtateous airs or well-mannered. Finally, there is Ede which is usually used as a nickname for Edith. It’s also a name in it’s own right, with several variations: Eadu, Eade, Ead, Edde and Edda. The name means rich, happy.

Ethel

A name to really reconsider given the recent, rather unexpected usage of the name by British singer Lily Allen. I’ve been seeing the name Edith mentioned more and more, which shares similar, soft sounds with Ethel. Then we have names such as Isabel and Mabel which end exactly the same as Ethel, but enjoy much heightened popularity.

The name Ethel has her origins as a nickname for other names such as Ethelred, Ethelbert, Ethelburga and Ethelfleda. She derives from Old English and means noble. A fun fact to remember is that Ethel is, at her most basic, the Old English equivalent of the Germanic name Adela, which also means noble.

Other name I think sound similar to Ethel include Estelle, which is a French name that means star. There is also Estrild, which comes from Old English and is a combination of the name Eastre and the element hild which means battle. The Welsh version of Isolde is also worth a mention: Esyllt and also the Hungarian version of Attila: Etel.

Gertrude

Aside from recently meeting a little Gertie, the name Gertrude also happens to be Candace Flynn’s middle name. Don’t know who she is? Approach the nearest tween you know: Candace is Phineas and Ferb’s elder sister from the Disney Channel show Phineas and Ferb.

Gertrude is a name of Old German origins, from which she means spear of strength. I picked her out not because she’s similar to any popular name, but more that she’s a staple on these kinds of lists. Surely, eventually, she’ll make her move off them?

A slightly similar, equally fusty name is Geraldine. There were two very high profile owners of the name circa the late 90s, but it seems neither inspired the masses. The first is Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell and the second is Dawn French’s character in Vicar of Dibley: Geraldine Granger. The name was coined by poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. It is usually taken as being the feminine form of the male name Gerald, which means rule of the spear.

Another name I wanted to mention is Gerda, which was the name of the wife of Freyr in Norse Mythology. In Old Norse, the name means fenced in. Finally, there is also Gerlinde, which combines the spear element with one meaning soft, tender or even serpent. She’s like a cross between Gertrude and Rosalinde.

Myrtle

Recently covered by Kristen of Marginamia and at first glance she is perhaps hindered slightly by the Moaning Myrtle association. However, the evergreen shrub by the name of myrtle is oft associated with love, peace, fertility and youth. Myrtle is mostly here because I suggested her as a 4th sister in the aforementioned Maude, Maisie and Mollie sibset and at least two of those three names are inside the Top 120.

There are plenty of floral names such as Myrtle which have yet to be embraced by the masses, but the one which I immediately drew similarities with Myrtle is Myristica – the botanical name for nutmeg.

A similar name is the Irish Myrna, which means joy, affection. We also have Morwyn, which comes from Welsh and means maiden. The name Miriam ultimately comes from Mary, and so could Moira if we take her to be the anglicised form of Máire.

Norma

The real name of Marilyn Monroe, and another name striking similar to Emma. The name Norma could either come as a feminine form of Norman – a name which comes from Old England and means northman. It could also derive from the Latin word norma, which means rule.

In terms of lesser known sound-alikes, there is Nona, which is Latin for ninth. There is also Noor, a name of Arabic origins which means light – sometimes, infrequently used as a short form of Eleanor. The name Nora could also be a variation of Noor, but is usually taken to be a short form of Honora. Normina is the Scottish female form of Norman, whilst Nortia was the Etruscan Goddess of fate which rather leads us in a circle back to Nona – the name of one of the three Fates in Roman Mythology.

Phyllis

The name of the youngest sibling from Edith Nesbitt’s The Railway Children. Her elder siblings were Roberta ‘Bobby‘ and Peter. Aside from the literary connection, the name Phyllis also appears in Greek mythology, where she was the daughter of the King of Thrace. The name derives from Greek and means leaves, foliage.

To me, this name is similar in sound to a combination of Alice and Philippa – both names of relative popularity right now. Alice means noble, whilst Philippa means friend of horses. I also find Phyllis to be similar to Top 100 England&Wales name Phoebe, which means bright, radiant.

Going on to lesser-known names similar to Phyllis, we have Philomena. I work at a banqueting-esque establishment and have served no less than three different Philomena’s in the past month, all certainly beyond the 50 mark. The name means friend of strength or beloved. There is also Philomel, which is a poetic word for nightingale. Finally there is Phlox, the Greek for fire.

Categories: Old People Names | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Surprise Time

Myleene Klass with daughters Ava and Hero, from newsmediaimages.com

I have recently seen some, albeit rather slight allegations that this year the celeb-world has let us down somewhat when it comes to picking the slightly crazy names we’ve come to expect. However, as far as I’m concerned, if the choice of name surprises you, I think it makes for an interesting, notable celeb choice and that’s the basis of the following list. I may not personally love all of the names below, they win their spot on the list through merit of surprise and show there were some rather, shall we say, unexpected choices over the last year split into months:

January – Romeo Mokonzi Santos/ Coco Reese Lakshmi

Two interesting combinations of names to kick off the year. Whilst I really liked the choice of Nona by Dutch radio host Dave Peters, with a pre-existing son named Eppo, it seemed almost expected for him to choose another seldom heard name. What really surprised me were these two names and the mix of styles they possess.

Romeo is the son of former Belgian sprinter Kim Gevaert and her husband Djeke Mambo; they already have a son named Vince. Coco is the first child for No Doubt’s bassist Tony Kanal and he certainly threw them all in the cooking pot.

February – Rocco&Coco/Lily Cato

Two Coco mentions in one list? Abby’s got to me, but how could the twinset choice of Scottish footballer Paul Dalglish go without mention? I kind of like the idea that comes behind the choices, but it is too much in terms of matchiness? One things for sure, they’re two completely different names which just so happen to contain pretty much exactly the same letters as one another.

As for the second nomination, Lily Cato grabs it for her unexpected middle name. O names are being tooted as particularly stylish choices for lads at the moment, and this name just proves the girls needn’t be left behind with this trend. Lily is first child for Dutch musical star Martin van der Starre and his girlfriend Roos (whose name just so happens to be Dutch for Rose) and was born in London.

March – Kip&Bowie/ Hero Harper

March brought a second twinset for this list, this time from an Australian. Brodie Holland already had a daughter named Stevie when these two came along and the thing that caught me about it is how homely the names feel to me. Kip is British slang for a nap, whilst Bowie makes me think of the legend that is David Bowie.

For me, the top female name of March was easy. Myleene Klass already had a daughter named Ava Bailey when she came to welcome little Hero Harper in March. Whilst her middle name could have been expected what with her previous use of Bailey, it was Hero which took me by surprise given that her first daughter has a name well inside the current Top 20.

April – Gem/ Belle

Gem is the son of Aussie Alan Tongue, brother of Becky and Heidi. According to Anna, using the name Gem was a spur-of-the-moment decision for Alan, when the name just came to him after looking at his son for the first time. Since I grew up with a good few Gemmas, it’s a change of scene to be talking about Gem for lads but I kind of like it.

As for the female name, yes, Belle isn’t exactly the most uncommon name in the book, there were plently of wacky choices to choose from, but her selection took me by surprise since her mama, Holly Willoughby, was already a mother to a Harry. That had me presuming she would go with a Top 50 especially-popular-in-Britian girly name like Maisie, Poppy or even Lucy. Belle, on the otherhand, has been mostly overshadowed by Bella of late.

Those wacky choices I mentioned earlier on? Whilst Romanie-Sky Angel Shelley could’ve taken the crown for the girls, she just didn’t surprise me as a name Shane Richie would choose especially since his other daughter with the same partner is called Lolita Bell. In the same month James Cracknell welcomed Trixie Bea – but his pre-existing kids are called the equally quirky Kiki and Croyde.

May – Tate/ Isabeau

Emma Bunton welcomed Tate in this month, brother for Beau. So, why did this name surprise me? It surprised me for a few reasons. The first being that I’ve seen a pondering about the name Tate’s gender status this year. You know what else I found out this year? That whilst you may think Beau is pretty much all-boy, Beau ranks higher (#315) than Belle for girls (#463). The second reason is that sometimes it’s nice to be surprised by someone using a relatively unused name with a relatively well-used name, and seeing them work really well together. In 2010 for England&Wales, Beau was given to 300 boys and Tate to 53 boys.

Isabeau and I have only been acquainted for a few years, and in that time I’ve seldom heard her actually used by parents. It seems especially odd, then, that this Isabeau would be the daughter of Belgian boxer Sugar Jackson. It does seem in line with the choice of Ebenezer for her brother, but nevertheless I couldn’t have seen Isabeau coming either way. But, when you hardly hear the name, how can you?

June – Diesel Dean/ Jasmine Orienta

It was hard for this month to pick a male name, but Diesel Dean won out for the alliteration. We’ve had a few this year, notably Poet Poppin and most recently Georgia Geraldine but this one has it’s merits too. I doubt I would ever think to pair Diesel with Dean, but sound-wise they make a pretty good pairing. He’s the son of American softball player Jenny Finch and is brother to Ace Shane.

Jasmine Orienta is the daughter of Julian Lloyd Webber, and it’s her middle name that won her the placing on this list. Generally speaking, orient is a rather romantic way to say east, it comes from the Latin word oriens predictably meaning east. Think Oriental, think Leyton Orient.

July – Bingham Hawn/Bardot

Probably one of the most high profile names on this list, Bingham had to win this place for really making me think. I live near a town named Bingham and it never occured to me to think of him as a potential name. It just goes to show that fascinating names can be found in most places – especially right under your nose. Bingham, or Bing as they are calling him, is the son of Matt Bellamy and Kate Hudon. There’s a really nice post of the name Bing over at The Name Station.

This year I learnt David Boreanaz had renamed his little 2009 daughter Bardot Vita as Bella Vita Bardot so I presumed it would be awhile before Bardot surfaced again since it clearly didn’t work out for them. I was wrong. Dutch TV presenter Regina Romeijn picked up the torch when she welcomed her Bardot in London.

August – Zephyr/ Fritzi Francesca

Julia Bradbury broke my father’s heart when she announced her pregnancy last year, and won mine when she chose Zephyr for her son. I’ve never seen people give much love to the name Zephyr, so was beyond thrilled to see the lady who inspired my father to make us trek in Wales during winter use him.

As for the female name, we’re back to alliteration. As a Brit, Fritzi could probably never work as she’s likely a tad too close to Fritz for the liking of the elder generation. Fritzi is the daughter of Dutch actor Koert-Jan de Bruijn and sister to Keetje Sofia. Whilst the pattern of using a name rather more established in the English-speaking world is maintained (should that have been intentional), I think Fritzi is certainly more accessible to we English speakers than Keetje is.

September – Sid/Delphine Malou

Sid is the fourth child of Mary McCartney, thus yet another grandchild for Sir Paul. Last year Mary’s sister, Stella, welcomed her fourth child – a daughter named Reiley. Same parents, but two completely different choices for each respective fourth child (of course, not forgetting the effect their respective spouses may have had in the name selection process).

I was surprised by the choice of Delphine Malou because, looking at the name, you’d presume her parents to be French. You’d presume wrong, too. Her famous mother, Sarah Connor, is German, whilst her half-siblings are called Tyler and Summer – so this really was completely out of the blue choice of name for me. It was, however, a lovely surprise at the same time.

October – Lex/Teddy Mouna

We’re in the continent once again to talk about little Lex, son of Belgian singer Raf van Brussel. He has two sisters named Sam and Lucca. Alex is certainly very popular, but I don’t think I’ve ever really seen the name Lex used. He’s certainly a quirky alternative nickname for Alexander if nothing else.

Dutch radio host Ruud de Wild is responsable for once more flying the flag of The Netherlands. He chose the name Teddy for his newborn daughter, which was a surprise to me given that she is welcomed by a sister (albeit a half-sister) named Toy. Yes, it the land of the Netherlands the main language is Dutch but most do speak English to a relatively good standard. However, just think how odd a sibset of Reverie and Papillon may seem to the French and I’m willing to accept the cuteness of this. Teddy also has a brother named Johnny.

November – Ace Billy/ Lourdes (Ethel Mary)

With Ace Billy, it’s another case of hold-the-phone – didn’t you give your pre-existing child a name of an entirely different style? He’s the son of Matt and Emma Willis, both reasonably well-known, each in their own right, here in Britain. When Ace came along, they were already parents to the rather more, say, classically named Isabelle Catherine.

The case is the same with Lourdes, chosen by football star Steven Gerrard. His two pre-existing daughters are called Lilly and Lexie, so I was well-prepared for them to use either Lacey or maybe Lucy as the name for the newest member of the clan given that they, too, are in the England&Wales Top 100. That makes Lourdes a rather more unusual choice, especially given their track record.

Ethel gets an honourable mention since her mother Lily Allen has yet to formerly confirm her name, even if her mother has rather let the cat out of the bag. I think if you step back and look at her, Ethel does have her merits. The -el ending can be found on many popular names of today, such as Isabel and Annabel, so really we should be asking ourselves: why was Lily Allen the first to think of resurrecting Ethel?

December – Beaux/ Emilia Lovely

Our final month lets us make one last mention of Beau. We’ve already mentioned both him and sister Belle already in this post but Beau-with-an-x is new. Many parents are embracing the letter x of late, and so this should only feel like a natural progression. Beaux was chosen by one half of 2 Shoes, Charley Bird; the duo competed in 2011’s series of The X Factor.

Our last baby to mention is little Emilia Lovely, who earns her place here for her middle name. Lovely? Why not? We’ve already embraced Grace, Faith and Hope in the masses for middle name fodder, it was only time before other virtue words were given a chance.

Categories: Celeb Baby Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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