Ever heard of a TV show by the name of Winx Club? My youngest sibling used to watch it quite a bit a few years ago, but these days seems to be addicted to watching Tracy Beaker instead.
Either way, I wanted to talk about the show, which originates in Italy. The storyline of the series follows the adventures of initially 5 central fairy characters, and are generally do lots of good things in the process.
The names of the key characters very much subscribe to the whimsical theme:
Bloom. A whimsical word name I’ve yet to see used, although I guess it’s only a matter of time, really.
Stella. A name I see more and more these days, which derives from Latin and means star.
Flora. Another name related to nature, deriving from Latin and meaning flower.
Musa. This is an interesting pick, and I’m lead to believe this is the Italian word for muse/inspiration. It also happens to be the Arabic form of Moses.
Tecna. Again, a fascinating pick. She’s the fairy of technology, so her name appears to be a strained nod to that.
The Winx Club aside, I’m due to go and see Skyfall at the cinema tomorrow for the second time, and my sister wailed for some time about wanting to go and see the new Tinkerbell film instead. Thus, I thought it worthwhile to ponder for a moment on some of the names from this film, also.
Clarion. At first glance, I would make a wild guess that this name perhaps derives as another elaboration of Claire. Then again, Clarion also happens to be the name of an instrument, kind of a forerunner to the modern trumpet.
Fawn. The name associated with a young deer. Spell it Faun and you get a creature from Roman mythology. Fawn also happens to be a colour, sort of yellow-ish brown in hue.
Periwinkle. A shade of purple, and I’m certain that an old kids show from when I was little, Blues Clues, had a purple cat character in it with the name Periwinkle, too (Plus a pick dog named Magenta).
Vidia. Possibly a nod to the Latin word vida, which means life, but that seems a long shot (although Vidia is notably similar in sound to other names related to vida, including Vita and Vida).
Did you here the news? François Hollande has kicked Nicolas Sarkozy out of the Élysée Palace, well, not literally, but he’s the new Président de la République française. To be honest, I’m not surprised Hollande won, given the fact that I’ve heard quite a few French people rant and rave about how much they dislike Sarkozy.
But, rather unbelievably given recent posts, we’re not here to discuss politicals. We’re here to talk names and with former partner and former candidate for the French presidency, Segolène Royale, he has four children:
It’s worth noting that the French almost never pronounce the final s on words and names unless the following word begins with a vowel, so Thomas’ name is pronounced to-mah.
It’s also a good enough moment to mention my love of the French name Françoise, the female form of François, pronounced fran-swawz; both are the French form of the name Francis.
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:
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 goodgift.
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.
Claud from the Renault Mégane advert, from carpages.co.uk
I’ve spent all day running up an down a Great Central Railway train giving out gifts with Santa Claus. That means I have now seen a small sample of what names the kind people of the East Midlands are giving to their offspring. Something someone mentioned to me was that they named their 10 week old daughter Nina because there are too many Clover adverts on the TV at the moment – something I never noticed myself. Clover is a brand of margarine here in the UK, and the recent We All Love Clover ad campaign was ripped to shreds by my peers for featuring people getting rather emotional about some margarine:
Their current advertising campaign is about the greatness of being in the middle. Despite this mother’s concerns, I still maintain Clover is a fantastic choice nevertheless. It’s also worth noting that the name of another brand of margarine here is called Flora.
So, we may hate them, but there’s always that occasional gem you need to look out for when it comes the adverts. Whilst the Clover advert doesn’t feature a named character, the product bears a name that a child could. It’s a thin line really between over and under exposure names get from companies desperate to flog their goods.
Therefore, it seems apt to look at a few adverts that have which all heavily feature a named character. Clearly, if Cadbury had named it’s characters, it would’ve easily taken a place on the list for its drumming gorilla and eyebrows adverts:
From the BT adverts we have Adam and Jane, alongside Jane’s children from a previous relationship, Joe and Lucy, and their new baby, Alfie. The main characters are acted out by a Kris and an Esther. The adverts have been following them now for several years, charting the development of their relationship and their use of BT services at the same time.
Whilst you may think that both name are reasonably well used, Jane has fallen down in recent years, now sitting below the 1000 mark:
Adam: #39, 2088 births
Jane: #1040, 32 births
Adam is the Hebrew word for man, whilst Jane ultimately comes from the same sources as John, meaning Yahweh is gracious. I still doubt that the BT adverts really have any effect over whether we use the names Adam and Jane any more or less – but the writers appeared to have picked up on current name trends by using Alfie for the newborn.
Comparethemeerkat.com has never been more popular. Fronted by the rather batty meerkat, Alexandr Orlov, he urges you to go the comparethemarket for cheap car insurance, not comparethemeerkat. Here in England&Wales, you’re more likely to meet an Alexander than a Alexandr:
Alexandr: #4678, 3 births
Alexander: #21, 3025 births
Really, using Alexandr may mean you get simples shouted at your little one, but there are two facts to consider:
The majority of Alexandr’s (with whatever variation) tend to shorten their name.
Alexandr could easily be mistaken for Alexander – it’s your choice to correct them.
We’ve all been told, knock off Nigel buys knock off DVDs. This one, out of all of these, is probably well remembered given that it came in the form of a catchy song. We all love a catchy tune to hum, and that may be a hinderance to the name Nigel. That, and the fact that most see Nigel as a middle-aged name. Currently in England&Wales, the name is at:
Nigel: #1344, 18 births
The name Nigel is commonly associated with the Latin word niger, meaning black. It has also been linked with the name Neil, which either means champion or cloud.
I love David Mitchell, who voiced the rather cynical drug awareness advert for Frank: Pablo the Drug Mule dog. Particularly well-known amongst the younger generation, since David Mitchell’s core fan base is as such.
Pablo: #792, 32 births
Pablo is the Spanish form of Paul – which comes from Latin and can either mean small or humble.
This acts as an additional name. In the shortened adverts which were the core ones shown his name is not given, but if you catch the long version, you do find out his name. It follows the pursuits of a frenchman, Claud, as he goes to Gisburn in Lancashire to discover why there is a correlation between fertility and the presence of Renault Méganes in a town. The really long version is quite amusing because of the stick the people of Gisburn give Claud.
‘Money can’t buy you happiness’…’but lack of money certainly causes misery’
Claude: #2629, 7 births (Claud does not rank)
This advert is certainly the least well known of the five, and I’m sure many of you have no idea what I’m talking about. That’s totally fine, even I’m not sure what I’m saying some of the time. My problem with Claud comes from his meaning: he’s a derivation of the Latin name Claudius which means crippled.
You know that joyful feeling when you find one of your favourite names right down near the bottom of the popularity list, which is popped hen you realise that it’s as popular as, well, a name you may not like as much? I’ve had that a lot recently:
Two of my favourite names, Clementine and Luna, share the ranking of #565, with Mylee, Billie, Jaya, Selina and Laaibah.
Cosmo is below the 1000, with only 24 births, alongside Issa and Ryder.
Wren and Sunny are also under the 1000 mark, with 17 births apiece, alongside Leni, Roxi, Beca, Chelsy, Ellymay and Lacey-Mai.
Rupert had 106 uses, as did Yuvraj and Deacon.
Phineas and Prosper had 5 apiece, as did Muizz, Nixon, Promise, Ramsay and Reily.
Juniper had 8 uses, as did Guste, Kodi and Romie.
Flora had 104 uses, as did Trinity.
Indie had 43 uses, as did Kaydee, Mercy and Mikayla.
Rosalind had 30 uses, as did Mazie, Cindy, Gurleen and Cienna.
Saskia had 94 uses, as did Bailey and Safiya.
On the male side, Rowan shares the #155 spot with Kenzie, and a female Rowan has 81 uses, alongside Alannah and Martyna.
Alistair is as popular as Rayhan, both with 100 uses each, respectively.
Cassius is as popular as Ilyas, each with 72 uses, respectively.
Gideon had 39 uses, as did Kajus, Nojus and Ronny.
We all love Lily, Violet et al, and so to honour my rediscovered love of Rose, we’re going to delve into the depths of the world of all things botanical. Not a Lily nor Rose will be present on this list, because that would just be obvious.
A- Adair, Amaryllis, Aster
B- Briar, Bryony
C- Calendula, Camellia, Cassia, Clover, Cosmos
D- Dara (A male name in Ireland, Dara Ó Briain is an example), Dahlia