Posts Tagged With: Prosper

Names of the Week: Prosper and Primrose

The cast of Fifi and the Flowertots, with Primrose on the far right, from mackinnonandsaunders.com

The letter P kicks off plenty of fabulous words: from pretty to perfect, praised to porridge. Unless you’re Sebastian Vettel, when now all you can think of when you see the letter P is puncture. I was honestly drafting this post before he spectacularly exited the Grand Prix with a puncture on the third corner of the first lap earlier on today. But it’s nice to see Hamilton grinning from ear to ear again.

Paul, Peter and Patricia may be considered out-dated (Percy and Perry were both on Nameless No More’s list of old man names), but there are plenty of other P names which are really picking up in popularity as of late. Penelope is apparently considered hopelessly out-dated in Greece, but she’s really making waves elsewhere. Jamie Oliver has four offspring, of which all three of his daughters have P- names: Poppy, Petal and Daisy Boo Pamela. Another famous sibset which loves P- names is the one from Charmed: Prudence ‘Prue’, Piper, Phoebe and Paige.

You’d be surprised (I was when I went through my blogroll) at how much coverage P- names seem to get in the name blogging world: Elea spoke this week about using Peach, Plum and Pomme as nicknames, and Kristen from Marginamia went so far as to use Plum as a middle name for one of her daughters. Pimm is currently one of the names vying for a chance to be covered on Appellation Mountain in the new year, and she also covered Amaru this week for Frank, who named his son Pax instead. In a similar vein, Christina suggested Paz as a nickname for Topaz. Chlokie mentioned Poppy and Dove in her Saturday Ramblings, which reminds me that Paloma is the spanish word for dove. Zeffy mentioned the French medieval name Patriz, and last Sunday Rowan mentioned Procopio, Pia and Perdita in her latest list of Olympic Names. Pearl, Patience and Phoenix were all spotted by Names4Real in New York and Nancy reported about Shayne Lamas naming her newborn daughter Press. Anna also made mention of Percy.

And of course, on Wednesday Bree mentioned the French equivalent of one of this week’s name: Primavère. Speaking of nature names, she also mentioned Pivoine (Peony) and Persil (Parsley). One of my favourite French words is Papillon, which means butterfly.

Since we’ve already started to talk about Primrose, let’s begin with her today. She’s inspired by a clearly emerging favourite pasttime of mine – watching my littlest sister’s TV programming. This time, it’s not Story Makers, it’s Fifi and the Flowertots, which to be fair, has some wonderfully named characters:

  • Fifi
  • Buttercup, twin of Daisy
  • Daisy, twin of Buttercup
  • Violet
  • Primrose
  • Poppy
  • Bumble
  • Flutterby
  • Pip
  • Tulip
  • Webby (female)
  • Hornetto

Primrose was the rather prim and proper character, one who wouldn’t look out-of-place in Kensington. That’s probably why can find a reasonable number of  usages as either a first or middle name in the London Telegraph birth announcements, sister of siblings named such things as:

  • Arthur
  • Beatrice
  • Elizabeth
  • Ivo
  • Kitty
  • Matilda
  • Ned
  • Wilfred

Does this mean Primrose can only work in the upper class part of society? It depends. The prim part of the name certainly puts many people off, who might then go and simply use Rose, or another Rose inspired name, such as Rosamund, Rosalinde or even Rosalie. There’s nothing wrong with the name Rose, she was rather superbly worn by Rose Marion Tyler as the companion of Doctors no.9 and no.10, but she does suffer from extensive middle name syndrome: where parents love using her as a middle name so much it almost seems that no ones actually using her as a first name. In the England&Wales 2010 data, Rosie (#59) ranked higher than Rose (#90), Rosa (#238), Rosemary (#634), Rosalie (#664), Rosanna (#840), Rosalind (#965) and finally Primrose (#1180).

To conclude, Primrose is a bold choice, but floral names are going down a treat right now, meaning she could very well start to pick up in use in the future. I’d sure like to see a few more Primroses and a few less Lilys.

As for our second name, the first time I came upon the name Prosper was in a book I read as a child: The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. All the names in the book are fascinating pickings, but the two central characters are brothers called Prospero ‘Prosper’ and Boniface ‘Bo’. Of course, the less English literature-naïve will probably cite their first meeting with the name as William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, where the main character was called Prospero – unless you first came across the play in the 2010 film adaption starring Helen Mirren as Prospera. Of course, there’s also Spock’s legendary line: Live long and prosper, so it’s a great, slightly subtle nod to your inner trekkie.

Prosper is one of my first favourites if we were to trace back to a time when I was a budding name enthusiast. I’ve always loved the name Prosper, and still do to this day. Like Patience and Prudence, he’s a softly-spoken virtue name, but he’s also strikingly similar to the current #1 name in England&Wales: Oliver. Both have prominent O sounds, and both also end with -er. Prosper is one syllable less, though, but also lacks an obvious nickname. This may be to your advantage if you don’t like nicknames, but also a slight put-off if you’re like me and shorten people’s names to show affection. That’s why I seldom call my siblings by their ‘real’ names, it’s because I love them really. There are options, though, after a quick brainstorm of mine:

  • Props
  • Ross
  • Perry
  • Wossy (Jonathan Ross reference!)
  • Pop(py)
  • Pepi
  • Spyro
  • Oz
  • Press 😉

He makes a great name to mention with Primrose, since if you steal the letter s from him, he becomes the word proper, and whilst Promise ranks at #4678 for males in England&Wales for 2010, Prosper doesn’t rank at all, which saddens me slightly to see a name I adore floating around in obscurity. Some people hate it when their favourite names starts to explode in popularity, but I think it’s nice to see a name you love getting love from other people. But not too much 🙂

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Categories: Names of the Week | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Straining Bookshelfs

The Thief Lord cover, from amazon.com

One of the best places to root around for names inspirations is books. The fictional world is where anything goes really – I once read a book named Storm’s Child where the main characters were called Rail (male) and Moa (female). Whilst I never got into Garth Nix’s main successes, I did love his book Shade’s Children – where the main characters were called Drum (male), Gold-Eye (male), Ninde (female) and Ella. Eoin Colfer once wrote a book called Supernaturalist, with characters Cosmo, Stefan and Mona. I digress, I read too much as a mid-teen and now my bookshelfs strain under the weight of all the books I own.

Since both Abby and Elea have both covered names of fictional characters this week in their own ways, I’m instead going to bring you inspiration from the names of the author’s which I read back when every waking moment of my life curled up with a book, along with the name of one of my favourite titles by them and some names from said title:

Benjamin Zephaniah (Teacher DeadJackson)

Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah is his full name, and I’m in awe of the mix of styles he’s been bestowed. I’ve met two young Zeph’s recently – one was a Zephyr and twin of Asher, whilst the other was a Zephaniah.TV’s Julia Bradbury welcomed a son named Zephyr earlier on this year in August.

The name Benjamin is of Hebrew origins and means son of the south/right hand, whilst Zephaniah is also of Hebrew origins and means Yahweh has hidden. For the sake of completion, Zephyr means west wind, whilst Asher means happy or blessed.

And a quick breakdown of each name’s popularity in 2010 in England&Wales:

Benjamin Zephaniah Zephyr Asher
Rank 22 1407 3332 364
Births 3005 17 5 112

Blue Balliett (Chasing VermeerPetra and Calder)

Balliett purposefully chose unusually names, believing that’s exactly what would appeal to her readers. When I initially read Chasing Vermeer about 3 years ago I didn’t like the name Petra all that much, but she’s grown on me. She’s the female form of Peter, which means rock, although the character was named with reference to the ancient city of Petra and as part of family naming tradition.

Now, for some hard data from the 2010 data for England&Wales. Blue doesn’t rank for girls (the author is female), but does for the boys:

Blue Calder Petra
Rank 1801 n/a 1472
Births 12 n/a 20

Cornelia Funke (The Thief LordProsper, Boniface ‘Bo’, Scipio, Esther and Ida)

I adore the name Prosper, and it’s from this book that my love for him was first sparked. I acknowledge that Funke’s other work, the Inkheart trilogy, is better known, but this one has a special place in my heart.

As for the name of the author, first we must note that the author is German, and then note the name is the female form of the Latin name Cornelius. The name comes from the Latin element cornu, which means horn. 4 girls were named Cornelia in 2010 in England&Wales, putting it at #4688. On the flip side, 6 lads were named Cornelius last year, and thus at a ranking of #2941. And for the names of her characters I mentioned above? (The ranking for Bo is the male ranking)

Prosper Boniface Scipio
Rank n/a n/a n/a
Birth n/a n/a n/a
Esther Ida Bo
Rank 156 878 1483
Birth 334 40 16

Cressida Cowell (How To Speak DragoneseHiccup, Fishlegs and Camicazi)

I know that I’m probably too old for Cowell’s books these days, but I am still eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Hiccup franchise next month (the film adaption of the first book dissolved me into tears-the only film to ever do so). I love the name Cressida, and she’s the medieval form of another name I love: Chryseis and also means gold. In Greek legend, Chryseis was the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo. Since Hiccup and friends don’t rank, but Cressida does at #4688, with 4 births – same as Cornelia.

Enid Blyton (The Mystery of the Burnt CottageFrederick ‘Fatty’, Margaret ‘Daisy’, Lawrence ‘Larry’, Philip ‘Pip’ and Elizabeth ‘Bets’)

Enid is almost synonymous nowadays with the author, and the name comes from Welsh and means either soul or life. As an author, she chose rather classic names, all of which are not as popular nowadays as they were back when the books were first published, the one mentioned above came out in 1943:

Enid Frederick Lawrence
Rank 2104 95 355
Births 12 688 117
Philip Margaret Elizabeth
Rank 296 505 49
Births 152 80 1356

Compare the rankings of 2010 with that of 1934 when  all six names were in the Top 100:

Enid Frederick Lawrence
1934 68 24 72
2010 2104 95 355
Philip Margaret Elizabeth
1934 56 1 14
2010 296 505 49

Malorie Blackman (Noughts & CrossesPersephone ‘Sephy, Jasmine and Meggie)

The Noughts&Crosses trilogy was the one which first introduced me to the name Persephone, although I wasn’t sure of the pronunciation until I watched the television show Firefly. My copy of the first book is also signed by the author, Malorie Blackman, which I won, rather than stood in a line for.

The name Malorie is a variant spelling of Mallory, a name that comes from Norman French and means unfortunate. Rather makes me think of the CBBC show Trapped, where the contestants are known as unfortunates. Persephone’s meaning is not established, although she has been linked to Greek words which means murder or to destroy, whilst Meggie is a short form of Margaret and Jasmine is a lovely botanical name. They rank, as such:

Malorie Mallory Persephone
Rank n/a 4688 3156
Births n/a 4 7
Jasmine Meggie
Rank 41 5707
Births 1466 3

Tamora Pierce (The Magic In The WeavingSandrilene ‘Sandry’, Trisana ‘Tris’, Daja, Briar (male) and Lark)

I actually took this book out of my local library by mistake more than anything, but found myself reading it anyway. Whilst a little difficult to follow to begin with, I loved it enough to read all it’s sequels. This is the first real occasion I came across the name Briar, since I was never really shown Sleeping Beauty as a child, and I actually like it. The character himself chose the name, wanting something botanical, yet masculine. I think he achieved that, since I’ve often misread the name as Bear.

As for the name of the author, Tamora, she’s a variant spelling of the name Tamara, which is a variant of the name Tamar, which means palm tree in Hebrew. Predictably, none of the names have really made an impact in the popularity data for England&Wales (the data for Briar is the female one, since there is no male ranking):

Tamora Tamara Sandry Lark
Rank n/a 458 n/a 5707
Births n/a 90 n/a 3
Trisana Daja Briar
Rank n/a n/a 5707
Births n/a n/a 3

Tom Becker (DarksideCarnegie, Vendetta and Marianne)

I listed him because of his surname, rather than his first name. Becket is a nouveau name getting some attention right now, and I think I like Becker a tad more. He’s a German surname and variant of another surname, Becke, which means baker. The Carnegie Award is given out annually to a single children’s book which has impressed, and named after Andrew Carnegie.

Out of all the names, only Marianne ranks in the England&Wales data – at #946 with 36 uses.

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As Popular As…

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.

Alec had 66 uses, as did Abbas and Shayan.


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