Posts Tagged With: Hester

Names From Children’s Literature

The Gruffalo from a recent animation of the book, from guim.co.uk

As a kid, I read in most of my free moments. Nowadays, I haven’t properly sat down with a book for nearly a year now. I remember as a child being worried about the local library moving me to the adult’s library when I turned 14 and thus preventing me from taking out books I wanted to read. Of late, our library has added a teen fiction section to their adult section of their library; it’s a tiny cubbyhole, though. Given yesterday’s post, I seem to be getting a kick out of kid’s fiction at the moment so you never know, may go and implusively buy a book tommorow.

Whilst I may not be particularly interested in reading much anymore, there are several names I first came across in the world of make-believe:

Axel (The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson)

The Gruffalo is a modern classic, and whilst Axel Schiffer didn’t author the book, he did illustrate it. I find The Gruffalo an endearing tale, which seems to rub off on the name Axel. Some may accuse him of being in the same clase as Gunner and Cannon, but I find him charming enough. Far from deriving from a vital part of a car, Axel comes from the Biblical name Absalom which means my father is peace. A key wearer of the name who no doubt influenced the tough guy image of the name is Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose, who was born a William. In 2010, 43 little Axels were born in England&Wales giving the name a ranking of #706.

Briar&Lark (Circle of Magic, Tamora Pierce)

There’s a very interesting point to make with these names, and that is that Briar is a male character who chose the name for himself. He wanted a nature name, but nothing too feminine. Since this was the first time I really met the name Briar, I mostly think of him as a male name. Yes, there is Sleeping Beauty, who was known as Briar Rose but I never really watched that particular Disney Classic as a child. Incidently, Briar’s chosen surname was Moss. I’m probably one of the few to see Briar as male, since he does not rank as a male name in England&Wales; however, on the female list, Briar ranked at #5707 with only 3 girls given the name – with a further 5 named Briar-Rose.

Lark was female, and I’m still not wholly won over by the name since I use lark in a verb sense on a fairly regular basis as slang for joke. In terms of popularity, she was also given to 3 girls born in England&Wales in 2010.

Clarice (Clarice Bean, Lauren Child)

Clarice is the third child in a rather interestingly named sibset: Marcie, Kurt, Clarice and Minal Cricket. If you recognise the name of the author, Lauren Child is also the lady behind Charlie&Lola. Both books are aimed at the under 9s market. The name Clarice is part of the Claire family of names, which come from Latin and mean light. In 2010, there were 9 girls named Clarice in England&Wales in 2010.

Keturah ‘Ketty’ (Medusa Project, Sophie McKenzie)

Ketty is only ever called Ketty during the novel – after reading the book I took to the internet to find out what exactly Ketty was short for, if it were short for anything at all. Whilst reading the book, I had my bets penned on Katherine, which seemed the most likely given one can derive Kitty from Katherine – so why not Ketty? On the website for the books it is revealed that Ketty is, infact, a Keturah. She has a brother named Lex, which is short for Alexander.

The name Keturah is of Biblical origins and means incense, with only 3 girls given the name in 2010 in England&Wales.

Persephone ‘Sephy’ (Noughts&Crosses, Malorie Blackman)

Perhaps the most controversial book on this list, I actually won a signed copy of this a few years ago. It deals with the topic of racism, but the situation is flipped, thus those with dark skin (Crosses) have higher social status than those with white skin (Noughts). Sephy was of the former group and the daughter of a wealthy politician. I’ll be honest, I accidently read the third book first, then went back to the third and that’s about as far as I got with this particular series of books.

Persephone was given to 7 girls born in England&Wales in 2010. Most people first come across this name in Greek mythology, where she was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. She was abducted by Hades, and eventually allowed to return to the surface from the underworld for a period of time each year.

Rosen (We’re going on a bear hunt, Michael Rosen)

I was read this book constantly as a child, and after the first time prompty renamed ones of my toys with the name Rosen. There are plenty of Rose-themed names out there, and aptly Bree has recently covered a selection of them, whilst only today has Abby gone in depth with Rosamund. In terms of Rosen, I see the name as somewhat unisex – kind of like Rowan is. Rosen also happens to be the German words for roses – kind of reminds me also of the German word for ruby: Rubin; looks an awful lot like Reuben, doesn’t he?

Wren&Hester (Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve)

Hester is the mother of Wren. I actually hated the character of Wren – so initially cared not for the name; I did really like Hester, though, and thus like her name. Nowadays I do like Wren to an extent, but probably more for a lad since the character did somewhat tarnish the name as a female one for me. The name Hester is a variation of the name Esther.

The names totted up as such in the popularity stakes in England&Wales in 2010:

  Rank Births
Wren (b) #2941 6
Wren (g) #2589 9
Hester #1815 15
Categories: Book Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Closet Chemistry: Amines and Esters

I’ve been thinking about organic chemistry quite a bit recently, and the combining of it with the topic of names struck me when we mentioned Amine last week. It’s a name of relative popularity in France, but it’s also the name of a functional group containing a nitrogen with a lone pair of electrons. For those interested, they can look like this:

Primary Amine, from wikipedia.org

You may have no idea why they’re important but it’s from amines that we get amino acids, which collectively make up proteins. That makes them vital for life. So, one could call Amino a slight variation of the name Amine – especially given that the French slightly altered the Arabic name Amin to get to Amine. Amin comes from the Arabic word for truthful and the female form of the name is Amina(h). Aminah was the name of the prophet Muhammad’s mother, who died when he was young. The Arabic word and name Amina means feel safe. For Bosnia and Herzegovina, Amina was the #1 female name in 2010; the most popular male name that year was Amar.

Names that sound like they’re related to the above ones include the Iranian name Minoo, sometimes seen as Minu, which derives from Persian and means heaven or paradise. Like the English name Heaven, or alas the infamous Nevaeh, Minoo is a feminine name. A name of Arabic origins which means heaven, or indeed sky, is the female name Alya. Going back to the French, in 2009, the name Alya ranked at #259 in France.

The reason Arabic names feature in French name popularity is Algeria and Tunisia. Both are former colonies of France, from which many immigrants have moved to France, and brought their naming tendencies with them. For both, Arabic is the official language and both earned their independence from France in the middle of the 20th century.

Other popular names of Arabic origins in France include Mohamed, Rayan, Mehdi, Nassim, Farah, Naim, Sana, Marwa and Salma, to name just a few.

And for those wondering whether we’re using Amine in England&Wales, we are – to a certain extent. In 2010, 11 boys were given the name Amine with a further 37 named Amin, putting the latter name at #792. Amina ranks even higher for girls, at #182, with 285 girls given the name and Aminah ranking at #254 with 128 of them born.

Another group of organic compounds are called Esters, said pretty much the same as you would the name Esther. She fit’s nicely with our already established post-theme of names inspired by our friends from the East as Esther means star in Persian. An Ester looks like this:

Ester, from tqn.com
Of course, it’s not concrete that Esther derives from Persian and hence means star. The name Esther comes from the Bible, being given to Hadassah upon the moment she entered the royal harem of King Ahaseurus. Esther could also have derived from the name Ishtar, the name of the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love, war and fertility; the Phoenicians called her Ashtoreth. What is worth noting is that the Dutch word for star is ster, which has given birth to the Dutch name Sterre (ster-ra).
Esther has given birth to a plentitude of variations: from Hester to Estee; Eszti (Hungarian) to Esteri (Finnish). What’s worth noting is that the spelling Ester is a legitimate international variant of the name Esther, used by Scandinavians, Spaniards, Czechs, Finns and the Portuguese.
When it comes to Esther vs. Hester in the popularity charts for England&Wales in 2010, Esther wins outright. She’s at #156 with 334 girls given the name compared to Hester, who is much further down at #1815 with only 15 born.
The -er ending for male names is starting to be touted as an upcoming trend, but there are some undoubtedly pretty girls names which end the same way, like Esther and Hester:
  • Amber
  • Aster
  • Clover
  • Demeter
  • Ember
  • Ginger
  • Grier
  • Harper
  • Heather
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Miniver
  • Piper
  • Skyler
  • Summer

Notice how most derive directly from English words? What’s more both Jasmine and Jasper are names popular in England&Wales, and of Persian origins, as Esther could be; Jasper means treasurer in Persian. Colour names Azure and Scarlet also have links with Persian words, and that’s where we shall end this post.

Categories: Chemistry Inspirations, French Words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Weekend Post: #oldpeoplesnames

Famed comedians Ernie Wise and Eric Morecambe, from dailymail.co.uk

#oldpeoplesnames was one of the top trends topics on Twitter when I woke up to this morning, and scrolling through all the suggestions really did make for fascinating reading – I had to stop myself from retweeting every suggestion. I do truly remain interested in the perspective non-name-enthusiasts have on names, because it’s an indication of the general feeling towards said name. How these thoughts line up with ours is an intriguing indication on what names could start to emerge as popular.

One of the most popular name mentioned was Gertrude, which I can completely understand. Nameberry place her on their Names no girl may be cool enough for list along with Bertha and Eunice – two other names mentioned by the good people of Twitter. It is worth noting, though, that quite a few names put forward by them are in the 2010 England&Wales Top 100:

Adam, Alexandra, Alice, Anna, Arthur, Benjamin, Bobby, Charles, Edward, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Evelyn, Florence, Frederick, George, Georgia, Grace, Gracie, Harriet, Henry, Jacob, John, Maria, Martha, Molly, Robert, Rose, Ruby, Stanley, William

That’s 30 out of a possible 200 names, but there are other names which are in the current Top 100, but were also in the Top 100 between 1904 and 1934 are that the good people of Twitter failed to mention:

Alexander, Benjamin, Daniel, David, Evan, Jack, James, Joseph, Lewis, Louis, Matthew, Michael, Oliver, Owen, Samuel, Thomas

Amelia, Amy, Charlotte, Daisy, Eliza, Elizabeth, Ella, Emily, Emma, Eva, Hannah, Isabella, Lily, Lucy, Sarah

Admittedly, one could call the above list of name ‘core classics’, especially in terms of the slightly longer male list. Either way, all of the following names were classed by the people of Twitter as names of the elderly, and there’s no doubt that there are some true gems amongst the names, so see if you can spot them:

Abe, Albert, Albus, Alfred, Amos, Archibald, Barry, Bartholomew, Bert, Bob, Boniface, Carl, Cecil, Cedric, Clarence, Claude, Clifford, Constantine, Cornelius, Cuthbert, Cyril, Darryl, Derek, Donald, Ebenezer, Elias, Engelbert, Eric, Ernest, Ernie, Eugene, Ezekiel, Frank, Francis, Fred, Gary, Gilbert, Godfrey, Harold, Horace, Horatio, Howard, Hubert, Humphrey, Iain, Ian, Jasper, Jeffrey, Jim, Lawrence, Lee, Leonard, Les, Luther, Marmaduke, Marshall, Maurice, Norman, Paddy, Percival, Percy, Peter, Phillip, Ralph, Raymond, Reg, Reginald, Roger, Rolf, Ronald, Ronnie, Rosco, Roy, Rupert, Seymour, Shelton, Sidney, Theodore, Trevor, Vern, Wallace, Walter, Warwick, Wayne, Wesley, Wilfred, Winslow, Winston, Wolfgang.

Ada, Agatha, Agnes, Ariadne, Audrey, Barbara, Beatrice, Betsy, Bernadette, Bernice, Berryl, Bertha, Bessie, Betty, Blanche, Brenda, Claudine, Dierdre, Dinah, Delphine, Doreen, Doris, Dot, Edith, Edna, Eileen, Elsie, Enid, Esmeralda, Esther, Ethel, Eunice, Eve, Flo, Frances, Georgina, Geraldine, Gertie, Gertrude, Gladys, Gloria, Hattie, Heddie, Helen, Hester, Hilda, Hyacinth, Irene, Iris, Ivy, Janet, Janice, Jeanette, Jemima, Joan, Josephine, Joyce, Judith, Kathleen, Kay, Lillian, Loretta, Louise, Lucille, Mabel, Maggie, Margaret, Margery, Margo, Mary, Maud, Maude, Maureen, Mavis, Meredith, Mildred, Minerva, Miriam, Muriel, Myrtle, Nadine, Nellie, Noris, Odessa, Odette, Olive, Pamela, Pat, Patricia, Pauline, Pearl, Peggy, Penny, Petunia, Phyllis, Prudence, Rita, Rosalie, Ruth, Saloma, Sheila, Shirley, Silvia, Sue, Stella, Tess, Thelma, Val, Victoria, Virginia, Wanda, Wilhemina, Wilma, Winifred.

Whilst I personally wouldn’t consider using all of those names, I know that I have a soft spot for such names as Winston, Loretta, Trevor and Judith. One of the suggestions which really perplexes me is Winslow, which I’ve never seen used, but have seen people get uncomfortable about the suggestion of using Winslow as a female name. Either way, the lists are a mix of nicknames and much longer names – rather like the Top 100 of today with it’s Maisie and Annabelle; Sam and Harrison.

Categories: Weekend Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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