Posts Tagged ‘Thea’

Matilda in Australia and her husband have a little boy with the beautiful name of Peregrine.

Their great passion is travel; they love the outdoors and also enjoy reading. Matilda found out she was expecting Peregrine when travelling, and when her husband encountered the name, they thought it was perfect for their child, as they like unusual, but long-established names with a history.

Peregrine, with its meaning  “traveler,” fitted the bill perfectly.

They are now expecting twins and would like help in finding a name which has a similar sort of background to Peregrine, or sounds harmonious with it.

I’m very flattered to be asked my opinion, and these are my thoughts.

There’s certainly a lot of names of Latin origin, like Peregrine, which would complement Peregrine beautifully, and if the search is widened to include Latin’s close partner Greek, then there are even more beauties to tempt the discerning parent to be:


  • Aeneas (ǝ-NAY-ǝs/ǝ-NEE-ǝs) — Greek: ainê “praise.” The son of the Goddess Venus by a mortal, Aeneas according to Greek and Roman myth was one of the few Trojans to survive the Trojan war. The Romans believed he and his followers sailed from the smoking ruins to found a new home in Latium and was the direct ancestor of Julius Caesar and the Emperor Augustus. Virgil’s masterpiece The Aeneid chronicled that epic journey. In use since the 16th C, mostly in Scotland as an “English form” of Angus.
  • Felix — Latin: felix “auspicious” and “happy.” It was very common in the Roman world, and has also been used in the ESW since the 16th C. Seems to be rising in popularity at the moment, but at 122nd in the UK, and 331st in the US, I think it still falls in the not-common quality.
  • Hector — Greek: hektôr “holding fast.” The name of the champion of the Trojans. Although he was eventually killed by the Greek hero Achilles, he was held in high repute in the ancient world, considered an honorable, loyal, brave and noble man. Used since the 16th C, especially in Scotland, where it was used instead of the Gaelic Eachann (“brown horse”).
  • Octavian — English form of the Latin Octavianus meaning “belonging to the Octavius family (gens) “; the Octavii derived their name from octavus “eighth” from octo “eight” — a very auspicious number, associated with infinity. The two circles represent the joining of Heaven and Earth (or this world and the Otherworld, depending on your perspective). This was the Emperor Augustus’s name from the time of Julius Caesar’s death (and Octavian’s adoption as his heir in Caesar’s will) and the time he took the name Augustus on becoming emperor. Used from the 16th C, but always rare.
  • Philemon (FIL-ǝ-mǝn) — Greek: philêma “kiss.” Philemon and his wife Baucis entertained Zeus and Hermes as they traveled in mortal guise. As a reward they were blessed with long life and the gift that neither would outlive the other; at the moment of their death they were transformed into an oak and linden respectively. Philemon was used as a genuine given name in Ancient Greece, and has been found in the ESW since the 16th C. Although it begins with a “p,” like Peregrine, the initial sound is different, so I don’t think it’s a problen.
  • Ptolemy (TOL-ǝ-mee) — English form of the (Macedonian) Ancient Greek Ptolemaios. Ptolemy’s 2nd C Geographica is one of the most important sources of information on the geography of the Roman Empire to survive from the ancient world. It was only one of his works — he was a true polymath. Ptolemy was a very common name in the Greek world; it occurs in mythology and in history; another significant Ptolemy was the Macedonian general Ptolemaios Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt (to which Cleopatra belonged), and most of Egypt’s last pharaohs were also called Ptolemy. The only drawback of Ptolemy, in my view, is its origin; it derives from the Greek ptolemos, a variant of polemos “war,” and ptolemaios carries the meaning “belonging to war,” “hostile” and “enemy.” But this doesn’t have to be interpreted negatively — there are many things which are worthy to be hostile or an enemy of, including war itself, but also injustice, prejudice, intolerance, hatred, greed, etc., etc. And although it also formally begins with a “p,” that “p” is silent.
  • Rufus — Latin rufus “red.” Not just for red-heads :). The name can also be chosen for its positive associations with red. Like Felix, is definitely on the up at the moment, but still has a long way to go before it is in danger of falling out of the unusual category. Occurs as a nickname as early as the 11th C (a famous example being King William II — known as William Rufus), and as a genuine name from about the 16th.
  • Silvanus — Silas is very much coming into vogue at the moment, but I prefer Silvanus, the name from which it almost certainly derived. Silvanus is the Roman God of woods and wild places. Also used from the 16th C or so.
  • Theophilus — meaning “friend of (a) God/Divine Being,” Theophilus makes an interesting alternative to Theodore and, of course, shares the lovely short-form Theo. Used since the 16th C.


  • Althea — the Greek name for the marsh mallow, from althos “healing.” A name from Greek mythology, used by 17th C poets (most famously by Richard Lovelace in “To Althea, from Prison” (1642), containing the famous lines: “Stone walls do not a prison make/Nor iron bars a cage.” A more unusual “long-form” of Thea.
  • Amabel — from the Latin amabilis “loveable.” Amabel has been used since medieval times, though it was quickly eclipsed by its simpler form Mabel. Amabel never quite died out and saw a slight revival in the 19th C, but remains a rarity.
  • Beatrix — Latin: beatrix “she who causes happiness.” Much talked about in name circles, Beatrix is still rare (Beatrice is the more popular spelling, but still uncommon, ranked 834th in the US and 116th in the UK last year).
  • Felicity — Latin: felicitas “happiness.” Felicitas is the Roman Goddess of happiness and good fortune. It’s a name full of cheerfulness and positivity. In use since the 16th C, it has only made it over the parapet in America in the last decade (due to a TV series of the name, which ran 1998-2002), though it has enjoyed a fair amount of popularity in Britain (and Australia too, I think) in the mid 20th C, but is currently still only in quiet usage, ranked 195th in Britain last year.
  • Flora — from the Latin flos “flower”; the name of the Roman Goddess of flowers. Another name used since the 16th C, particularly in Scotland, this time in place of the Gaelic Fionnuala. One of the best-known bearers was Flora Macdonald (1722-90), who famously helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after his defeat in 1745, helping him “sail over the sea to Skye.” The related Florence is one of those names everyone seems to be watching at the moment, but Flora, although increasing, is still under the radar.
  • Hermione — I’ve featured Hermione a couple of times here at the Nook (here and here) and that’s because I think it’s such a beautiful and special name. Despite being catapulted to fame by Harry Potter, it’s not seeing very much use (yet). As essentially the feminine form of Hermes, one of whose spheres of influence was as the proctector of travelers, Hermione would make a nice choice for those for whom travel is important. It has been used as a genuine given name since the 17th C.
  • Ianthe (eye-AN-thee) — Greek: ia “violets” + anthos “flower.” The name of an Oceanid in Greek mythology. A favorite of the poets since the 17th C; Percy Bysshe Shelley called his daughter, born in 1813, Ianthe. Related are the equally attractive Ione (eye-OH-nee) and Iole (eye-OH-lee), both meaning “violet” and the 19th C hybrid of Iole and Ianthe — Iolanthe (eye-oh-LAN-thee).
  • Miranda — from the Latin mirandus “worthy of admiration.” I rather like Miri/Mirie as a pet-form.Used by Shakespeare for the heroine of The Tempest, the lovely noblewoman exiled since childhood with her slightly mad, wizard father on a magical island, which Caliban describes with exquisite beauty in one of my favorite Shakespearean passages:

… the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.

  • Oenone (EE-nō-nee/ee-NŌ-nee) — from the Greek oinos “wine.” The name of a mountain-nymph, the first wife of Paris of Troy.
  • Zenobia — although interpreted as “life of Zeus” in Greek, the name is probably from the Palmyrean form of Arabic Zaynab, the name of a fragrant flowering plant, as the original Zenobia was a 3rd C Queen of Palmyra who defied the Romans. Although she was ultimately defeated, she was said to have lived out her days in Rome as a respected philosopher and socialite. Used since the 16th C, but always a rarity. The American actress Tina Fey called her daughter Alice Zenobia in 2005, but it doesn’t seem to have impacted very much on the name’s use.

Non-classical names which I think also work well with Peregrine are:


  • Diggory — A name of a knight in Arthurian Romance. The meaning is very uncertain; the traditional interpretation has it from Medieval French de “of” + egaré “lost,” but this is unlikely. Diggory is probably a much mangled French form of a name which was probably Celtic in origin. There is a legendary king of Dumnonia (Devon and Cornwall) called Dungarth (meaning “deep love”), who might conceivably lie behind the character. Diggory has been used since the 15th C, especially in Devon and Cornwall, and was used by C.S. Lewis in The Magician’s Nephew, for the hero, whose fantastical journey led to the creation of Narnia and the Wardrobe.
  • Faramond — Old German: fara ‘journey’ + munda ‘protection’.
  • Guy — Old German: witu “wood” or wit “wide” (encompassing the sense of “widely travelled” as well as referring to experience, knowledge, etc).
  • Jago (JAY-go) — the Cornish form of Jacob.
  • Jasper — Jasper is the English form of Caspar, one of the names attached to the fabled three “wise men” in medieval times. Its etymology is not known for certain, but most favor a derivation from the Persian khazāndār “treasurer.” Jasper has been used since the 14th C, and Caspar (the Dutch form) since the 19th. The vampire of the name in the Twilight series has put it in the spotlight, and it is increasing in use, but hasn’t yet reached the top 150 yet.
  • Ludovick — from the Latin form of LouisLudovicus — in orgin an Old German name meaning “loud battle” or “renowned warrior.” As with Ptolemy, the martial element may not immediately appeal, but there are many battles of a non-violent kind to be fought metaphorically in life. Shortens to the fabulous Ludo.
  • Matthias (mǝth-EYE-ǝs) — the Greek form of Matthew “gift of Yahweh.” Depending on your religious persuasion, you may or may not be able to see past the meaning, but it certainly sounds magnificent. A related name which presents the same dilemma is Ozias (ō-ZEYE-ǝs) “strength of Yahweh.”
  • Orlando — an Italian form of Roland dating from the Renaissance, when it featured in two of the most important works of literature of the period, Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato, and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso. It also had an outing in Shakespeare, and has been used in the English-speaking world since the 17th C. It was actually at its most popular in America in the 1970s (reaching the dizzing heights of 247th place in 1975), and although Orlando Bloom has raised its profile, he doesn’t seem to have affected its use all that much. It remains uncommon.
  • Rafferty — The wild-card. Rafferty is an Irish surname, but can be considered the Anglicised form of the Gaelic names behind that surname, both bynames, one meaning “wielder of prosperity” — highly auspicious — the other “spring-tide” — full of the promise of new journeys to be taken. Its use as a given name without connection to a Rafferty is quite recent, but its roots are old.
  • Torquil


  • Christabel — a literary creation of medieval times, a combination of Christ with the –bel ending of names such as Isabel. It returned to modest use in the 19th C thanks to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Christabel” (1816); his own granddaughter was named Christabel in 1843. The suffragette Christabel Pankhurst (1880-1958) is the most famous bearer.
  • Clemency — one of the Puritan names which was first used in the 17th C. With its attractive meaning, it remains a lovely choice.
  • Emmeline — a Norman-French name, starting out as a diminutive of the Germanic Amalia, from amal “work.” Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) was the leader of the Suffragettes.
  • Estrella — a Spanish name used in the English-speaking world since the early 19th C. Its roots lie with the Germanic Austrechildis “Easter battle,” but it has long been associated with the Spanish estrella  “star.” Alfonso and Estrella (1822) is an opera by Schubert.
  • Imogen — the heroine of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, one of the few tragedies with a happy ending. Imogen is a princess who undertakes a physical and emotional journey to be reunited with the man she loves. It is generally accepted that the name arose as a misreading of the Celtic Innogen, meaning “daughter.”
  • Jessamy
  • Rosamund
  • Sabrina — don’t let the teenage witch put you off this gem!
  • Topaz — the wildcard in the girls. The name of the precious stone. It derives ultimately from the Sanskrit tapas “heat” and “fire.” It is one of the gem names adopted at the end of the 19th C. Borne by the wonderful character of Topaz Mortmain in Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle (1949).

So what does everyone think? What would you choose?

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We reach one of my favorite runes today — Giefu.

It means “gift”.

Most felicitous, since today is the feast of St Nicholas, famed for his giving!

Giefu’s forms in the different futharks is as follows:

Giefu is the first of the runes lost in the Younger Futhark. It also has the alternative Anglo-Saxon form Gyfu, along with an alternative interpretation: Gar “spear.”

The old runic poems focus on its meaning “gift,” and all the positive aspects of generosity, both in the honor it gives to the giver and the help it gives to the recipient.

Unsurprisingly, this sense is carried through to modern interpretions. The Giefu rune stands for generosity, and all aspects of giving and receiving, including within relationships. It stands also as a pledge, since, in the past gifts were often given to cement relationships and alliances; they were visual, often long-lasting, tokens of agreements made.

This role of gifts still lingers today in the gift of rings when people get engaged or married.

The meaning “gift” is one frequently seen in names from all cultures and times.

Gyfu itself featured frequently in Anglo-Saxon girls names, such as:

  • Ælfgifu — “elf gift”; Latinized as Elgiva
  • Æðelgifu — “noble gift”; also Latinized as Elgiva
  • Beorhtgifu — “bright gift”
  • Cwengifu — “gift of a queen”
  • Cynegifu — “royal gift”
  • Eadgifu — “rich gift”; Latinized as Ediva
  • Ealdgifu — “old gift”
  • Godgifu — “gift of (a) God”; Latinized as Godiva
  • Goldgifu — “gold gift”
  • Hungifu — “gift of the Hun”
  • Leofgifu — “dear gift”; Latinized as Leviva
  • Leohtgifu — “gift of light”
  • Modgifu — “gift of the heart”
  • Osgifu — “gift of (a) God”
  • Sægifu — “gift of the sea”
  • Sunngifu — “gift of the sun”
  • Wulfgifu — “wolf gift”
  • Wynngifu — “gift of joy”

Many Greek names too featured the element dôros (feminine dôra) and dotos (feminine dota), deriving from the verb didômi “to give.” It was frequently found coupled with the name of a deity. Just some of them are:

  • Apollodorus, Apollodora — “gift of Apollo”
  • Apollodotus, Apollodota — “gift of Apollo”
  • Artemidorus (short form: Artemias), Artemidora — “gift of Artemis”
  • Asclepiodotus (short form: Asclepias), Asclepiodota — “gift of Asclepius”
  • Athenadorus, Athenadora — “gift of Athena”
  • Casiodorus, Casiodora — “gift of a brother”
  • Cleodorus, Cleodora — “gift of glory”
  • Diodorus, Diodora — “gift of Zeus”
  • Diodotus, Diodota — “gift of Zeus”
  • Dionysodorus, Dionysodora — “gift of Dionysus”
  • Dorothea — “gift of a God(dess)”; has the well-known vernacular form of Dorothy, short-forms Dora and Thea, and pet-forms Dot, Dotty, Doll, Dolly, Dodie and Dodo.
  • Eudorus, Eudora — “well given”
  • Hecatodorus, Hecatodora — “gift of Hecate”
  • Heliodorus, Heliodora — “gift of Helius”
  • Herodotus, Herodota — “gift of Hera”
  • Isidorus (usually Isidore in English), Isidora — “gift of Isis”
  • Metrodorus, Metrodora — “gift of a/the mother”
  • Nymphadorus (short form: Nymphas), Nymphadora — “gift of the nymphs”
  • Olympiodorus, Olympiodora — “gift of an Olympian (God)”
  • Pandora — “gift of all (the Gods)”
  • Parthenodorus, Parthenodora — “gift of the Maiden” (a reference to Athena)
  • Philodorus, Philodora — “gift of a friend”
  • Polydorus, Polydora — “richly gifted”
  • Pythodorus, Pythodora — “gift of Pytho”
  • Theodorus (usually Theodore in English), Theodora — “gift of (a) God”
  • Theodosius, Theodosia — “gift of (a) God” — a late variant of THEODORUS
  • Theodotus, Theodota — “gift of (a) God”

Other names inspired by Giefu include

  • Abishai — Hebrew “my father is a gift”
  • Adia — Swahili: “gift” — specifically, a valuable gift
  • Awen — Welsh: “poetic gift”
  • Božidar — Slavic: “divine gift”
  • Bertilak — Old English: “bright gift”
  • Deodatus, Deodata — Latin: “gift of (a) God”
  • Devdan — Sanskrit: “gift of (a) God”
  • Dîyar — Kurdish: “gift”
  • Donatus, Donata — Latin: “given”
  • Doron — Greek: “gift”
  • Hadiah — Malay: “gift”
  • Hadiyya — Arabic: “gift”
  • Jazi — Swahili: “gift” and “reward”
  • Lahja — Finnish: “gift”
  • Mahdiyeh — Persian: “gift of the moon”
  • Makana — Hawaiian: “gift” and “prize”
  • Maon — Old Irish: “gift” and “treasure”
  • Matthew — Hebrew: “gift of Yahweh”
  • Mehrdad — Persian: “gift of Mithras/the sun”
  • Nawal — Arabic: “gift”
  • Shai — Hebrew: “gift”
  • Zawadi — Swahili: “gift” and “memento”
  • Zebedee — Hebrew: “gift of (a) God”

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Os is yet another Rune which ended up interpreted  in different ways in the medieval period.

The form it takes in the various alphabets is as follows:

The Eldar Futhark has been reconstructed as *Ansuz “(a) God; this is the forerunner of the Anglo-Frisian Ós, Macromannic Óss and Younger Futhark Áss. So far so God — sorry, good.

However, in Old English os meant “mouth” while óss also carried the meaning “estuary.”

Hence this rune’s slightly bizarre duality exhibited in the ancient rune poems.

In one, its divinity is stressed.

In another, where the meaning “mouth” is understand, stress is placed on the mouth as the vehicle of language, and therefore of the transmission of wisdom, joy and happiness.

Lastly, the word is interpreted as meaning “estuary,” and thoughts turn on estuaries as places where journeys inland begin — with a curious comparison of swords and scabbards. Both rather carry the understanding of journeying inward, and returning home.

To those who use the runes today, one of Os’s principal associations is with the notion of journeying inward in order to communicate with the Divine within.

Estauries and Gods aren’t quite such separate entities as might initially be thought…

Emphasis is also placed on Os as a symbol of communication.

With the excpetion of Áss, I think Ansuz, Os and Oss all have interesting name potential. But there are many other interesting options to incorporate the spirit of this rune.

Hundreds — if not thousands — of names include an element meaning ” a God.”

  1. The Hebrew el — usually translated as “God” (i.e. the Judeo-Christian one) — originally meant “a God” and there’s no reason not to interpret it that way still. Among this vast source of names are well-known favorites such as Daniel, Elijah, Gabriel, Joel, Michael, Nathaniel and Samuel  as well as biblical oldies which are increasingly dug out of the grandfather’s chest, such as Eleazar, Elihu, Lemuel, Ozias, Raphael, and Reuel, and rarities like Abdiel, Gamaliel, Jophiel, Mahalalel, Mehetabel, Othniel and Uriel.
  2. The Greek theos also meant “a God” rather than “God” in Pagan times. Names which feature it include well-known classics such as Dorothy, Thea, Theo, Theodora, Theodore, Theophilus, Tiffany, Timothy, and lesser known glories such as Panthea, Theano, Theoclea, Theona and Theoxena.
  3. Likewise, the Roman deus was used in Pagan times to mean “a God” and “God” from the Christian period. Names which feature it include Amadeus and Deodatus.
  4. The Sanskrit dev “a God” is also cognate withtheos and deus. In India, Dev (feminine: Devi) is used as a name in its own right, as well as featuring in compounds like Devdan and Devdas.
  5. Old English god “a God” originally, as well as “God”, just like all the others. Names which feature it include Godbert, Godfrey, Godiva, Godric, Godwin and Goodeth.
  6. Our feature Os was also popular in Anglo-Saxon names: Osbert, Osborn, Osgar, Osmund, Oswin and Osyth.
  7. Its Norse cognate Áss was equally popular: Ásbjorn, Ásgeirr, Ásketil and Astrid.

As for the Rune’s other associations, here ‘s just a small selection of other options:

  • Benedict ♂ — Latin bene “well” and dico “to speak”; usually translated as “blessed.” Fem: Benedicta.
  • Campbell ♂ ♀ — Anglicized form of the Gaelic Caimbeul “crooked mouth.”
  • Cato ♂ — Latin catus “wise” and “clear-sighted.”
  • Enigma ♀ — the origin of “enigma” is the Greek ainissomai “to speak in riddles.”
  • Eulalia ♀ — a name of Greek origin, meaning “sweetly-speaking.”
  • Fatua ♀ — the name of a Roman Goddess; her name means “speaking by inspiration” from fatuor “to be inspired.”
  • Frodo ♂ — Old Norse fróðr “wise.”
  • Geneva ♀ — the name of this Swiss city may derive from a Common Celtic word meaning “mouth” and “estuary.” The Italian city of Genoa may share the same source.
  • Keen ♂ ♀ — in the eleventh century, keen meant “wise,” “learned,” “powerful” and “strong.”
  • Metis ♀ — one of the Titans, Goddess of wisdom, and mother of Athena. Greek: mêtis “good advice” and “widsom.”
  • Ninkasi ♀ — the Sumerian Goddess of beer and brewing; her name means “the lady [who] fills the mouth up.”
  • Panya ♀ — Thai name meaning “knowledge” and “widsom.”
  • Phineas, Phinehas ♂ — one interpretation of this ancient name derives it from the Hebrew for “mouth” and either “serpent” or “oracle.”
  • Prophecy ♀ ♂ — derives from the Greek: prophêteia “prophecy” from pro “before” + -phêtês “speaker.”
  • Sage ♀ ♂ — “sage” meaning “wise” derives ultimately from the Latin sapio “to be wise.”
  • Snotra ♀ — the Norse Goddess of Wisdom; Old Norse snotr “wise.”
  • Sophia, Sophie ♀ — Greek sophia “wisdom.” 
  • Sophocles ♂ — a famous Greek playwright, whose name means “wise-glory.”
  • Yeshe ♂ ♀ — Tibetan name meaning “wisdom.”
  • Zaqar ♂ — the Mesopotamian God of dreams, and messenger of the moon-God Sin; his name comes from the Akkadian for “to speak.”

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Mais oui, c’est definitely French week here at the Nook.

Researching the names I’d encountered while away in France inevitably got me browsing the most popular French names of the last few years over at the wonderful Behind The Name‘s Most Popular Names in France 2009.

I can’t resist looking at some of the more intriguing and noteworthy names currently dancing in the French charts.

Today it’s the girls:

Anaë. One of many elaborations of Anne currently far more popular than Anne itself (491st). Anae is 152nd. Also occurs as Anaé and Annaë.

Capucine. In 70th place in 2009, Capucine immediately brings to mind “cappuccino” — with justification, as the ultimate derivation is the same: the Latin caput “head”. It is, in fact, the French for “nasturtium” and Capucine was the stage-name of French actress Germaine Lefebvre (1928-90), as well as featurine in Québécois children’s show Pépino et Capucine.

Fanta. Ranked 486th in 2009, this is not an adoption of the drink, which is little known in France (they prefer Orangina). The name seems to be a short form of Fantine, the name of one of the principal characters in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (1862), thought to derive from French enfant “child.”

Garance.  Although it looks to an English eye like a diabolic coupling of Gary and Clarence, garance is actually the French for “madder” — the plant, and the colour it produces: a rich, pinkish red.  It was 134th (up 36 places) in 2009. It featured in the classic French film Les Enfants du Paradis (1945).

Jade. Yes, Jade. In 2nd place. Demonstrates the French love-affair with names which have enjoyed recent vogues abroad. Other very “English” names include Emma in 1st place, Sarah in 8th, Lola in 10th and Lisa in 25th, as well as French forms of others which have been popular such as Léa, Chloé and Zoé, which were all in the top 10.

Elsewhere in the top 50, you’ll also find Alicia, Anna, Laura, Lily and Melissa, and other ESW names working their way up or down the French charts include Alexandra, Alexia, Aleyna, Alyssa, Amelia, Amy, Anastasia, Angie, Annabelle, Ashley, Audrey, Ava, Candice, Carla, Cassandra, Cassie, Charlie, Charline, Eden, Ella, Emily, Emmie/Emmy, Enola, Erin, Fanny, Farah, Fiona, Flora, Gwendoline, Hannah, Helena, Jenna, Jessica, Kayla, Kelly, Kim, Kimberley, Lana, Lara, Linda, Lindsay, Lorena, Lucy, Madison, Maia/Maya, Marion, Marylou, Maureen, Melinda, Melody, Mia/Mya, Mina, Mona, Nell, Nelly, Nora/Norah, Olivia, Sabrina, Sacha/SashaSavannah, Serena, Sophia, Stacy, Stella, Tessa, Thea, Tiffany, Tina, Vanessa, Victoria and Wendy.

Kessy. A curious name which has made an appearance in recent years and was 459th in 2009. It may be an adoption of the surname, a French take on Kizzie (the usual English pet-form of Keziah), a variant of Cassie, or perhaps the French form of a name of African or Arabic origin. No-one in France seems to know either.

Lamia. Probaby the Arabic name, from lammā’ “shining,” as there are many Arabic and other Ethnic names in use in France by people of all heritages. It is also, however, the name of the Libyan queen turned child/man-eating monster of Greek mythology, responsible for giving Latin the word lamia meaning “vampire” and “witch.”

Louison. Not “son of Louis,” but a pet form of Louise, using the old diminutive ending –on which occurs in other French names such as Manon. In 233rd, place — 58 up on the year before. Also used for boys, as a diminutive of Louis.

Luna. In 43rd place — ranking considerably higher than any ESW country. What’s more, the variant Louna ranks even higher, in 21st place.  Meanwhile, the consonant cluster “-l-n-” is clearly in vogue generally. Others are: Lena (16th), Lina (19th), Lana (52nd), Leane (60th), Leana (78th), Leona (252nd) Line (line 269th), Leanne (303rd), Leyna (339th), Leina (385th). A great many others end in –line or –lina, etc.

The cluster “-l-l-” is also popular; as well as yesterday’s Lilou, English Lily (plus Lilly, Lili, Lilie) and Lola, there’s Laly (132nd), Lalie (183rd) — from EulalieLeila (143rd), Lila (105th), Lilia (120th), Lilya (314th) and Lilas (318st).

Maeva. At first glance, seems to be a French take on the Irish Maeve. In fact, it is the adoption of the Tahitian maeva “welcome,” and is found in 54th place — in 2008, it was 16 places higher.

Pauline. A traditional French name, to be sure, but one thoroughly in “vintage” class now in the ESW. Currently bobbing along nicely still in France in 35th place. Other classic French names which are now considered dated in the ESW but are still top 100 in France (and therefore deserve to be considered “au courant”) include Louise (13th), Juliette (22nd), Marie (28th), Julie (38th), Justine (46th), Gabrielle (63rd) and Adèle (92nd).

Prune. The French for “plum” ranked 444th in 2009.

Shana (130th), with its variants Shaina (226th), Shayna (294th) and Shanna 277th, would appear to be a French feminine on Shane, the phonetic spelling of Irish Sean, or an elaboration of Welsh Sîan (Jane).

Tea. Superficially yet another drink to the English eye, Tea (also Téa — which makes the pronunciation clear), is actually a variant of Thea. 468th in 2009.

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