Posts Tagged With: jacqui

Names of the Week: Horatio and Jacqui

Nelson's Column, from

Probably not names you’d instinctively pair together, but since both have been on my mind of late, it seems apt to talk about them now. That, and I was originally planning on covering the names Sawyer and Sora this weekend – but then realised I’ve already covered Sawyer in a Names of the Week post previously. I’m now on the hunt for another male name to pair up with Sora for a future post, suggestions are welcome, but come with no guarantee.

I once read a book entitled Horace by a man named Chris D’Lacey. In the book, Joel finds a bear named Horace in a bin – and later discovers that Horace is worth a small fortune.

Aside from this, Horatio does make for a good patriotic choice should you be British – Vice Admiral Nelson’s was voted at #9 on a 100 Greatest Britons poll and his first name was Horatio, he who won the Battle of Trafalgar and now has a column named after him in the middle of Trafalgar Square, London. He had only one, illegitimate child with Lady Hamilton – a daughter named Horatia. As a child I remember a skipping rhyme we used to sing referencing Lord Nelson:

Lord Nelson sailed across the ocean, Waves got higher, higher and over (The song starts with the rope going to and fro at less than 180 degrees, at the end of this line it starts going 360 degrees)

Lord Nelson lost one leg, Lord Nelson lost the other leg

Lord Nelson lost one eye, Lord Nelson lost the other eye

Lord Nelson lost one leg, Lord Nelson lost the other leg, Lord Nelson fell down dead

The above is the rhyme I learnt at school, and seems to be a slight variant on what other people sing. A notable difference is that I used to sing Lord Nelson, whilst others usually call him Old Lord Nelson. Some also leave out the first line as well. The actions remain the same though, thus when Lord Nelson loses an eye, one closes one of their eyes and so forth. The rhyme itself comes from the early 19th century according to one source I found, and is a humourous re-telling of how Nelson lost several limbs over his lifetime.

I’ve always thought that Horatio could come into vogue, should a high-profile, modern bearer come about. Rather tragically, something in line with this occured in 2011, when a group of British teens were attacked by a polar bear whilst on a trip to Norway. Of the group, it was 17-year-old Horatio Chapple, a student at the prestigious Eton College, who lost his life.

Another literary link you get with Horatio is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet where Horatio was a friend of Hamlet. The name Horatio itself is a variant of the name Horatius, which itself likely came from the Latin hora, which meant time, hour or season.

These days, Horatio isn’t particularly common – only 10 of them were born in 2010 in England&Wales. I seen the name often dismissed as being too pompous a name for today’s parents, and can see where they may get this idea. Another thing to note is that aside from Horace, there isn’t much in the way of names that Horatio instinctively shortens to. Given how much nicknames are thriving right now in Britain, I guess one can see why Horatio is being overlooked.

As for this week’s female name, Jacqui comes as a short form of the name Jacqueline. One of the best known Jacquelines in the UK is the author Jacqueline Wilson – and we’ve previously covered some of the names she’s used in her works.

From 1964-1993 there was a weekly British magazine entitled Jackie, and urban rumour dictates that it was named for the author, since she was working at the establishment prior to launching her rather successful career as an author. In truth, the name of the magazine was simply picked from a list of girls names, but was almost dropped following the JFK assassination in 1963 – since his wife was called Jackie. The owner, Thomson, chose to close the magazine in 1993 than follow the route of increased sexuality and fashion that it’s competitors of the 90s were following.

It must be said that shortening Jacqueline to Jacqui makes sense when it comes to the spelling of the names. However, most still assume the spelling to be along the lines of Jackie. Jacqueline is the feminine form of the French name Jacques – which isn’t their version of Jack, rather Jacob, a name which means supplanter.

In England&Wales, the name Jacqueline peaked at #4 in 1964 and is now at #1257, whilst Jacqui doesn’t even rank.

To my ears, Jacqueline isn’t that far removed from Josephine. The latter name is popping up all over the place at the moment – she currently ranks at #308 in England&Wales and I can see her rising further in the coming years. A key difference between the names, however, is which generation they’re most attributed to. Whilst Jacqueline peaked in the 60s, Josephine peaked in 1934 at #38. This means that Josephine classifies as an old lady name, and the same is mostly true for Jacqueline when you think that a lady born in 1964 will turn 48 this year – thus 50 in 2014. Whilst not necessarily likely to be a grandmother, nor a holder of a free bus pass, the name Jacqueline must certainly soon join the ranks of Josephine, Edith and Ethel.

It’s also worth noting that the only Jacqueline ‘Jacqui’ I know is in her mid-30s, which isn’t rocking-chair-ready by any stretch of the imagination. More than likely, this name will remain relatively out of fashion for the following few years, which makes it a good time to choose the new if you like the whole concept of naming ahead of the curve, so to speak.

Indeed, when it Jacqui, I find myself fond of her, more so than the variant spelling of Jackie. This could be because I see real-life Jacqui a couple of times each week, and it’s through day-to-day interaction that I’ve come to appreciate this name more than I would otherwise have felt. My opinion is just one, however. I’m sure there are plenty of other people who can’t understand my fondness for the name, but that’s just how things are with names. It’s all very subjective – and it’s worth remembering that even the most popular of names aren’t liked by everyone which was the basis of the post before this one.

Categories: Names of the Week | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Au Revoir Les Enfants

Jean and Julien, from

What do you know, a complete drought of French name-related posts and two come along in quick succession. Yesterday we looked at one of my favourite French language films, and this week we’re looking at one based in the same period of French history, and this one is also based in a all-boy boarding school and was released in 1987. It is based on the childhood of the director – Louis Malle.

For me, this film is the origin of my love of the name Quentin, for in French he sounds so much better to my ears – more like CAWN-ten. The main character was called Julien Quentin, and he had an older brother who also attended the school called François. Julien was played by Gaspard Manesse, and the name Gaspard always brings to mind Gaston from Disney classic Beauty and the Beast. His mother was played by actress Francine Racette.

The film revolves around the Nazi occupation of France. The boarding school which Julien attends has taken in a Jewish boy by the name Jean Kippelstein (although renamed Jean Bonnet), a secret revealed by kitchen-hand Joseph to the local Nazis after the school dismisses him when they discover that he was running a black market amongst the boys. This is based on a real-life experience of the director, who also attended a boarding school which took in Jews. Tragically they were discovered and both them and the headmaster ended up at concentration camps.

The name Jacqueline was the name of two minor actresses in the film; I work with a lady named Jacqueline, who more often goes by the name Jacqui. A much disliked ex-politician here in the UK is called Jacqui Smith, famed for her husband’s rather seedy expenses claims. Thanks to Jacqui from work, I actually love the name Jacqui and we used to call my brother this when he was little because his hair grew so quick he looked very feminine for most of his toddler-days. I think this is very much proof that who you know with a name really does have an impact on how you view their name.

Speaking of the names of the actors, a couple of notable surnames amongst the actors which stood out to me are:

  • Genoud
  • Henriet (One part Harriet, one part Henrietta)
  • Rivet

There were some interesting first names used too. I won’t deny that Benoït – the French form of Benedict – is a pet-love of mine. Then there is also the French form of ArnoldArnaud which is pronounced ar-NO and means eagle power. I always think of the 90s cartoon Hey Arnold! and indeed the character Rimmer from Red Dwarf when I hear the name Arnold. With Archie and Alfie so popular here in England&Wales, one does have to wonder as to whether Arnie could follow in their steps. I’d call it a long-shot, but wouldn’t rule it out.

My love for the name Marcel derives from another French-language film: La Gloire de mon père. The main character was a young boy named Marcel, with a brother named Paul. They had a male friend named Lili and a sister whose name was never revealed in the film. However, the film is based on a book by one Marcel Pagnol, which was autobiographical. Alongside real-life brother Paul, Marcel had two other siblings: another brother named René and a sister named Germaine. His mother was called the rather lovely name Augustine.

An interesting point to make with the name Germaine, despite having nothing to do with the main film focus of this post is that she ultimately comes from the Latin name Germanus, which meant brother. This does rather pose the question: if you feminise the name, do you feminise the meaning? This rings home for the name Caroline too, since she’s the feminised form of Charles, a name which means man.

Moving back to the names given to characters, you come across the cutesy Babinot, the rather eyebrow raising Hippolyte and the rather modern sounding Perrin.

Categories: Film Names, French Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekend Post: Girlish Nicknames on Boys

Tiff Needell, from

Last week we talked Boyish Nicknames on Girls, and Anna suggested that we make it a two-parter and look into Girlish Nicknames on Boys. It’s certainly a trickier subject to attack, since there are parents who will refuse point-blank to use a name once it goes to the girls on the grounds of bullying. Since I view the future as unpredictable timey-whimey, I don’t particularly view this argument as having solid grounds on which to abandon names you love.

I see nothing wrong with using slightly more feminine names for males, only the other day I was thinking about the plus sides of using Piper as a male name, and still thinks the lads can rock the name Harper. Personally, I know that if I ever were to use the name Cassius, he’d end up being referred to as Cass or Cassie. And Jenson? I’d rather use the cheery Sunny than the slightly less-upbeat spelling of Sonny.

Tiff Needell and Ruby Walsh are two sportsmen who go by less-than-masculine nicknames, but that hasn’t hurt their careers one bit. Tiff is a former racing driver who came into this world as Timothy, whilst Ruby started off life as Rupert and is a jockey.

Some say that not gender-specific names breed confusion, and I can’t argue against that. It does. I was given the book Housewife on Top last Christmas, or was the one before that? It could even have been a cheeky christmas/birthday present, come to think of it. It’s the third book in the series, so how was I to know that Helen lived in the appartement below a gay couple. Especially when they were called Paul and Sally. I spent much of the book wondering why Sally appeared to think she was a guy, and why Helen had the hots for her, and then it dawned on me that Sally was short for Salvador.

Then we have my brother, Jack – who is more often than not referred to as Jackie/Jacqui or even Jacqueline. This is because, like me, he has curly hair which grows faster than is really natural. There have been times in our childhood where his hair has been roughly the same length as mine – I kid ye not, so there must be people out there who think I have three sisters. Or a sister and two dwarfs for siblings, since the two ‘legit’ sisters are frequently referred to as Happy and Dopey.

There is some overlap between male and female nicknames. Allie can be short for both Alexander and Alison, and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if you call little Charlotte or Charles by the name Charlie. There are times, though, when a little less vagueness in gender of the name occurs. Like Olly is more likely to be short for Oliver than Olivia, Ruby is more likely to be a female name than short for Reuben. I won’t lie, the idea of using Ruby in this capacity intrigues me. It especially works when you think that the German word for Ruby is rubin, which sounds like a cross between the names Robin and Reuben.

Speaking of our favourite O- names: Oliver and Olivia are top of the pecking order in England&Wales. Both could shorten to Olly, both could also shorten to Liv. Steve Tyler of Aerosmith has a daughter named simply Liv. In a similar vein, William could easily shorten to Lil; Daniel to Nell; Samuel to Mel. I also know of a Lenny whose name has morphed over time to Lainey.

One name that has been growing on me as of late is Beck. Normally given as a short form of Rebecca, he could easily transfer over to be associated with Becket(t), or maybe even Benedict. My sister informs me that there is a male character named Beck in the tween show Victorious.

Speaking of the box, there was a man named Jody on the news this morning. The name Jody is a legitimate short form of Joseph – although most men named Joseph seem to prefer to go through life as Joe instead.

The name Scout is emerging as a female choice, thanks to my sister’s favourite book, To Kill A Mockingbird, but he still has potential for the lads. I have a friend who suggested him as a short form of Sebastian. It’s certainly an eclectic option, but worth a look into.

Let’s end the post on a bold suggestion: Cleo, which I’ve genuinely been thinking about of late. It starts off with a French play, L’Avare, which has a male lead character called Cléante. The name is roughly said as CLAY-ohnt, so maybe say it CLAY-oh, not CLEE-oh? The name itself could possibly come from Cleanthes, which itself could come from the Greek kleos, which means glory and is also exactly where we get Clio from.

Not such a crazy idea after all.

Categories: Weekend Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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