Tag Archives: austen names

Austen’s Bad Boys

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Jane Austen is known for her love stories and social commentary. There are many noble, witty, and comical characters in her novels, but today let’s look at the characters that are lacking in virtue.

John Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility
A wolf in sheep’s clothing, Willoughby appears to be a dashing knight in shining armor, but those of us who love Austen know that appearances can be deceiving. Austen often repeated names in her novels, including the classic John. John is a Hebrew name meaning God is gracious that is quite common at Number 26 in popularity. Willoughby may be a scandalous heart-breaker but his surname is fun to say. Willoughby is an English surname meaning farm by the willows. I always thought it would make for a cool pet name. If you’re looking for an alternative to more popular names Willow or William, Willoughby may make for a great choice. In 2014 six boys and seven girls were named Willoughby.

George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice
Perhaps Austen had a thing for the letter ‘W’ when she was naming her scoundrels. I wonder if she picked the name Wickham because it fittingly mirrors the beginning sound of the word wicked. The name Wickham comes from the Old English word wicham, which was a term for a town settlement. George, a Greek name meaning farmer, is currently Number 134 in popularity. Though George has recently risen a bit in the United States, it remains most popular in England and Wales where it is currently Number 7. I wonder if Prince George of Cambridge will inspire more usage of this classic choice.

Henry Crawford from Mansfield Park
Henry Crawford stands out among Austen’s antagonist because we know from the start that he’s up to no good. Jane Austen had a few sets of conniving sibling duos, Henry and Mary Crawford being one of them. Henry is a German name meaning estate ruler that has steadily been rising in charts. Currently ranked at Number 33, Henry hasn’t been this popular since the early 1940s. Crawford would be a cool way to get to the nickname Ford. Crawford comes from an Old English surname meaning the ford where crows gather. Sixty boys and surprisingly six girls were named Crawford last year. Fordham and Bradford are also cool choices if you like the sound of Ford.

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Frank Churchill from Emma
Frank Churchill is arguably most forgivable of Austen’s antagonists. While Churchill is a selfish flirt, he does not ruin the honor of naïve young women, unlike most on this list, and we do come to understand his reasoning. Churchill may be a surname not fitting to cross over as a first name, though Frank makes for a classic choice. Frank comes from the name Francis meaning Frenchman. Frank is beginning to slip in popularity, currently coming in at Number 336. Other great variations of Frank include Franklin, Francisco, and Franco.

John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey
John Thorpe one half of another unvirtuous sibling set. John and his sister Isabella are irritating and unscrupulous. Thorpe is the second of Austen’s antagonists to be named John, a familiar name that has numerous variations in other languages. A few familiar forms of John include Evan, Giovanni, Ian, Juan, Sean, and Shane. If you’re looking for a less common variant, you might consider Ivo, Johan, Johannes, or Yannick.

William Elliot from Persuasion
I could argue that the situation itself is the antagonist in Persuasion, but I think William Elliot is deceptive enough in his intentions to share in that title. William Elliot is obsessed with his title and inheritance, but he does have two very handsome names. William is the most popular name on our list today at Number 5. English from a German name, William means resolute protection. Elliot is another well-loved name that is increasing in popularity for both boys and girls. Elliot comes from an English surname meaning Jehovah is God.

Weigh in on your favorite name from Austen’s Bad Boys:

Happy New Year!

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Names of the Bennet Sisters

bennsistersI grew up watching film adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels with my Mom long before I could read them.  I love literature, period pieces, and classic names.  One of my favorite sibling sets is that of the Bennet sisters in Pride and Prejudice.  All five of these names are classy, beautiful, and usable.

Jane
jbennJane is the eldest of the Bennet sisters. She’s kind, shy, and sensible. I’ve always thought of her as a sweet character.
An English name, Jane means “God’s gracious gift”. One of my least favorite name sayings is “plain Jane”. Jane is a simple, classic, beautiful little name. As a fan of Austen, I also like that Jane reminds me of the author. Austen used the name Jane in several of her stories.

Elizabeth
lizzebenElizabeth, also known as “Lizzy” or “Eliza” is the protagonist in Pride & Prejudice. She’s intelligent, witty, and one of the most beloved literary characters.
Elizabeth is the epitome of a timeless name. It worked in 1813, when this novel was published, and it was the 10th most popular name for girls last year. Elizabeth is a Hebrew name, meaning “pledged to God”. I love all the potential nicknames that stem from Elizabeth.

Mary
marbennetMary is the plain sister. She’s often off by herself and probably the least memorable of the five sisters.
An important name in the Christian faith, Mary is Hebrew, meaning “bitter”. There are many lovely names that come from the name Mary, such as Molly, Mae, and Mariel. There are also tons of beautiful variations of Mary in other languages.

Catherine “Kitty”
kittybennettKitty is a silly, frivolous young woman. she’s often giggly and imitating her younger sister, Lydia.
Catherine is a classic Greek name, meaning “pure”. There are numerous literary and historic women named Catherine. There are also many popular variations and nicknames to this classic. Kitty has youthful, playful feel, fitting for this Bennet sister.

Lydia
lydia bennetThe youngest, least sensible, and headstrong on the Bennet girls is Lydia. The only thing that I don’t like about this name is that I associate it with this self-absorbed character.
Lydia is one of my favorite names. Greek, meaning “woman of Lydia”, Lydia has been climbing back up the charts in popularity. It’s a lovely name with a Victorian feel that easily lends it’s to the cute nickname, Liddy.

P.S. I also love the name Bennet

Her heart did whisper that he had done it for her.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Curl up with a good book ❤
~Meagan