Posts Tagged With: Sorrel

Names of the Week: Jazz and Sorrel


Two word names last week, ‘lo and behold, two word names this week. Even more in keeping is that one of last week’s names was a musical name, and the other was a nature name; this time we’ve switched genders, at the very least.

Back in my days of secondary school I was in the same form as a guy named Jared and he went by the name Jazz on a day-to-day basis. Then again, one could also argue the case for using Jazz as a short for of Jasmine, a female name. Speaking of gender ambiguity, remember the debate that erupted over a Canadian gender-neutral baby last year? The baby in question was called Storm, and the elder siblings were called Kio and Jazz (we know them to be male).

As a word, Jazz is difficult to define; a jazz critic by the name of Joachim Berendt has attempted to do just that, describing as:

form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of blacks with European music…a spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation plays a role….sonority and manner of phrasing which mirror the individuality of the performing jazz musician

Pretty wordy, but I guess it does the job of defining Jazz well enough. The origin of the word also happens to be a bit of a grey area (of course it would be). The American Dialect Society even named Jazz as the Word of the 20th Century. Since Jazz began life as a slang word, that’s why it’s exact origins are hard to place.

I think that Jazz has a certain vibrancy to him, and he ends with some snazzy zs – almost as fantastic as ending-in-x. You could also link him to Jack on the basis of sound, since both are short, 1-syllable names starting with J.

In terms of his popularity, the name Jazz only ranks on the female list in England&Wales – and only just with 3 of ’em born. That means that I still see the gender of Jazz as fluid since he’s hardly used right now.

Then we have Sorrel, another name which lives in the grey area of gender-ambiguity. It ends in -el, like plenty of female names do – but then again, so does Lionel and that’s one name that is quite firmly male. British author, Sir Julian Sorell Huxley was a notable male bearer, as is Sorrell Booke, an American actor.

Sorrel, in botanical terms, is a plant with acidic leaves, sometimes used in cooking. Personally I’ve never used sorrel before in the kitchen in my life, but there we go.

There’s a plant in the Caribbean known as Jamaican Sorrel, or otherwise as Roselle, and another link to Jamaica is that they have a hibiscus tea there known as Sorrel.

Related names could include Sora on the basis of sound-similarity (a name which we’ve previously covered in this feature) and perhaps even Perenelle.

On to popularity and it’s not exactly an exciting set of statistics: in 2010 the name Sorrel was given to 8 girls born in England&Wales. Not a sizable number by any means, but if you’re looking for a less-than-often used name this may be a statistic you’re happy to hear about.

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Name Spot of the Week: Marks&Sparks

Father Ted logo, from

Marks&Spencers have re-opened an outlet in France this week, which makes my standard M&S chocolate box gift to any French friend feel somewhat threatened. The store is also colloquially named Marks and Sparks, and was predictably founded by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer. Marks originally came from the area now known as Belarus and Spencer married a lady named Agnes. The last time I was in M&S was over the summer, when I was served as the till by a lovely lady named Hettie.

There are several models which M&S use on a regular basis for promotion; the one with my favourite name is also French. Her name? Noémie Lenoir, who has a son named Kelyan Makélélé.

I’m sure you’re all probably aware by now that the mascots for London 2012 are called Wenlock and Mandeville, but another recent sporting find of mine is that one of the leaders of the failed Qatar bid for the 2017 World Athletics Championships was called Aphrodite. Speaking of sporting events, how is this for patriotic? A guy in my littlest sister’s maths class is called Churchill.

In what a former teacher of mine called ‘webby-land’, I somehow ended up looking at Yahoo’s article on Where do the best baby names come from?. Whilst most of the comments weren’t perhaps the best examples of how to wield the English language, there were several fascinating names brought up by a few of the commenters:

  • Britannia
  • Brook-James
  • Bryn
  • Cashel
  • Christy
  • Elyon
  • Hebe
  • Kailua
  • Lilac
  • Maeve
  • Rosalind
  • Rudi
  • Sorrel
  • Talia
  • Ted

Speaking of Ted, I watched an episode of Father Ted quite by chance the other day, in which Dougal spelt his name sans g. The character of Dougal is played by a man named Ardal, who has also appeared in the comedy series My Hero, in which he was the father of Apollo ‘Ollie’ and Cassandra ‘Cassie’. The name of some of the backing characters from the Father Ted series are notable, however:

  • Assumpta
  • Concepta
  • Cyril
  • Danita
  • Fintan
  • Imelda
  • Ned
  • Noel
  • Polly
  • Romeo

Another religion-based sitcom in the UK is called Vicar of Dibley, for which script contributions were made by a man named Kit Hesketh-Harvey – but Kit is short for Christopher. The lead character in Vicar of Dibley is a female vicar called Geraldine.

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Alternative Botanical Choices to Lily, Violet and Rose

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

F-, Fern/Ferne/Fearne, Flora

H- Hadassah, Hana

I- Ianthe, Iris

J- Jonquil, Juniper

K- Kiri

L- Laurel, Leilani, Linnea

M- Magnolia, Mimosa

N- Neriette

P- Peony, Pomeline

R- Rowan, Rush

S- Senna, Shoshannah, Sorrel

T- Tamarind, Tamaris, Tansy

V- Verbena, Veronica

Z- Zizanie

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