Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved Anne of Green Gables novels bring back warm childhood memories for me. I believe these books positively impacted my imagination as well as my naming style. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the title character, Anne Shirley, and her insistence on spelling her name Anne, with an ‘e’. “But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne with an ‘e’.” Let’s explore some of the rich and wonderful names for girls that Montgomery used in this series!
I have to start with the name Cordelia as it inspired me to write this article. Underwhelmed with her own sensible name, Anne requests to be called Cordelia. Cordelia has a bit of an unknown meaning. It may be a Celtic name meaning daughter of the sea, or a Latin name meaning heart. A personal favorite of mine, there are many lovely nickname options for Cordelia, such as Cora or Delia. At 993 in popularity, Cordelia is a familiar, but still underused name choice.
Sybil is a Greek name meaning prophetess. According to an ancient Greek legend, the sibyls were women that prophesied at holy sites. Sybil peaked in 1919, though it has dropped significantly, used by only 86 girls last year. Audiences were reintroduced to this lovely, understated name as it was used by the admirable youngest Crawley sister on Downton Abbey. Sybil in the Anne of Green Gables series is affectionately called “Dovie.”
My love of the name Aurora often makes me overlook the stunning and grand Aurelia. If you are looking for an Aurora alternative, Aurelia is a mirror in beauty, and less commonly used. Aurelia is currently Number 832, whereas Aurora sits at 116. That said, Aurelia was one of the most rapidly-rising names in 2013. The name of many early saints, Aurelia is a feminine form of the Latin Aurelius, meaning golden or gilded.
The Biblical Esther was a heroic Jewish queen in the Old Testament that saved her people from obliteration. Esther’s original Hebrew name was Hadassah. A Persian name meaning star, Esther peaked in 1913, though it is still wearable ranking at Number 203. As a lover of nicknames, I love that Essie, Estee, Etta, and Tess could all stem from Esther.
Theodore is all the rage right now, rising 150 spots just in the last five years. If you’re worried about the recent spike that Theodore has made, you may want to consider the less popular, feminine variation, Theodora. A Greek name meaning gift of God, Theodora has a sophisticated old world charm. Robbie Williams used the name Theodora “Teddy” Rose for his daughter born in 2012.
Blythe is a surname in the Anne of Green Gables series that makes for a fresh and spirited first name. Blythe comes from an Old English surname meaning happy and cheerful, a wonderful meaning to bestow upon a child. A rarely used virtue name, 167 girls and 9 boys were given the name Blythe last year. Perhaps the most well-known bearer of this name is actress Blythe Danner.
Muriel is derived from a Celtic name meaning bright sea. There are forms of the name Muriel in Irish, Breton, and Scottish Gaelic languages. Muriel peaked in 1922, but dropped off the charts in the mid-1960s. Last year only 30 girls were given the first name Muriel.
Flora is a sweet, chic, vintage name prime for a comeback. Nora and Cora have both had recent dramatic leaps in popularity, could Flora be next? Flora peaked in 1902 and was given to just 167 baby girls last year. A Latin name meaning flower, Flora is a Roman goddess of flowers and springtime. You may also recognize Flora as the name of one of sweet fairy-godmother’s in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
A few more beautiful names from this series include:
What are your favorite names from Avonlea?