Tag Archives: classic baby 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!

Remembering Maureen

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This morning I was saddened to read that legendary actress Maureen O’Hara had passed away. Maureen O’Hara, born Maureen FitzSimons, was an iconic, fiery redhead with the face of an angel. Today I’d like to look back at the names of some memorable characters O’Hara portrayed.

Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Esmeralda is a Spanish and Portuguese name meaning emerald. Esmeralda was the name of the gypsy in Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame who was loved by Quasimodo. Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes named their daughter Esmeralda Amada in September 2014. Esmeralda is currently Number 376 in popularity.

Angharad in How Green Was My Valley
Angharad is an old name Welsh meaning more loved. In Welsh mythology Angharad was known as Angharad Golden-hand, the lover of Peredur. Angharad was used a lot among Welsh royals, most notably by the daughter of King Owain Gwynedd. Angharad is rarely used in the United States.

Lady Margaret Denby in The Black Swan
* O’Hara also played a Margaret as character Margaret “Maggie” McKendrick in the film The Parent Trap.
Margaret is a classic Greek name meaning pearl. Currently Number 169 in popularity, 1,933 little girls were named Margaret in the US last year. My name, Meagan, is one of the many variants of Margaret. A few other great forms of Margaret include Marguerite, Mairéad, and Gretel.

Valentine Lee in Immortal Sergeant
Valentine is a name that conjures up images of love and Valentine’s Day. A French form of Valentinus, meaning strong and healthy, only 46 girls were given the name Valentine last year. If you like Valentine you may also enjoy Valentina, a much more popular choice at Number 112.

Doris Walker in Miracle on 34th Street
Doris peaked in the 1920s. In 2014 only 122 little girls were given the name Doris. Doris is a Greek name meaning gift or woman from Dorian. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph and the daughter of Oceanus. A famous bearer of this name is Doris Day, another iconic actress.

Adelaide “Addie” Culver in The Forbidden Street
Adelaide is a variant of the German name Adelheid, meaning noble. Currently Number 316, Adelaide has steadily been rising in popularity. Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia. There are many great characters by the name of Adelaide, from Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, to Madame Adelaide in Disney’s The Aristocats.

Mrs. Kathleen Yorke in Rio Grande
Kathleen is an anglicized form of the Irish name Caitlín meaning pure. Kathleen peaked in the 1950s and is currently Number 674 in popularity. When I hear this name I think of the song “I’ll take you home again, Kathleen”. There are numerous lovable nicknames for Kathleen including Kate, Katie, Kathy, Kat, Kit, and Kitty.

Mary Kate Danaher in The Quiet Man
The Quiet Man is my favorite of O’Hara’s films. As a little girl I named a red-haired porcelain doll Mary Kate after O’Hara’s character in this movie. A double barrel name, Mary is a Hebrew meaning bitter, and Kate is a diminutive of Katherine meaning pure. Mary Kate Olsen is a well-known bearer of this name.

Prudence “Spitfire” Stevens in Against All Flags
The Puritans loved Prudence, a virtue name meaning cautious. Could Prudence come back into fashion? The Beatles had a song called “Dear Prudence.” Prudence was also the name of one of the Halliwell sisters on the TV show Charmed. There were only 58 little Prudence’s born last year in the U.S.

Olivia Spencer in Spencer’s Mountain
A Latin name meaning olive tree, Olivia was first used by Shakespeare in Twelfh Night. Olivia has steadily been rising in popularity and is currently the Number 2 name for girls. Olivia is also a Top 10 name in Australia, England, New Zealand, Scotland, and Sweden.

Katherine Gilhooley McLintock in McLintock!
* O’Hara also played a Katherine as character Katherine “Kitten” Hilliard in the film Do You Love Me .
Katherine is a classic Greek name meaning pure. There are several attractive variants of Katherine, from familiar names like Caitlin and Karen, to exotic beauties like Yekaterina and Catriona.

Moira in The Battle of Villa Fiorita
Moira is an anglicized form of the Irish name Máire, meaning bitter. Moira is memorable to me as one Wendy Moira Angela Darling’s middle names in Peter Pan. The name Moira was given to 126 baby girls in the U.S. last year.

Martha McCandles in Big Jake
* O’Hara also played a Martha as character Martha Price in the film The Rare Breed.
Martha is an Aramaic name meaning lady. The first First Lady, Martha Washington, wife of President George Washington, is a notable bearer of this name. Martha is a popular character name appearing in a variety of TV shows from Downton Abbey to The Simpsons.

Rest in Peace, Maureen O’Hara

this article is dedicated to my Mom for sharing her love of film

Names of the Orphans from Annie

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A “hard knock life” is so much sweeter with a great name!

Annie is a beloved musical that opened on Broadway in 1977. There have been many stage, film, and TV adaptations of this heart-warming rags to riches story. As a child watching the 1982 film version I used to pretend I was one of the orphans in the movie. Sometimes I was Pepper, but usually I was Molly. The spunky, sweet orphans in Annie have some really sweet names, let’s check them out!

Annie – We have to start with the adorable, red-haired, title character, Annie. Annie is an English name meaning grace. Annie is a diminutive of Ann, though today Annie is number 311 as a given name. Other famous Annie’s include Annie Oakley (born Phoebe Ann Oakley), Annie Lennox, and Annie Leibovitz.

Molly – Molly was Annie’s best friend and the youngest of the orphans. Molly is a diminutive of the name Mary, meaning bitter. Most popular in 1991, Molly is currently number 122. Other notable Molly’s include Molly Ringwald, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (Margaret “Molly” Brown), and Molly Weasley.

Kate – Kate is sweet, shy, and the quietest orphan. Kate is a timeless, crisp, classic name. A diminutive of Katherine, meaning pure, Kate is currently number 207. A few great Kate’s include Kate Winslet, Kate Middleton (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), and Kate Spade.

Tessie – Tessie is easily moved to tears, and often repeats her tag line, “Oh my goodness.” Tessie is an English diminutive of Theresa, meaning to reap or to harvest. I love Tessie as a nickname for Tessa. A few famous women that share this name are Tessie Santiago, Tess Durbeyfield, and Tess Harper.

Pepper – Pepper was the bossy, no-nonsense orphan that sometimes clashed with Annie. Pepper is a spice name that was only ranked in the Top 1,000 for one year. In 1975 Pepper came in at number 956. Other fictional characters named Pepper include Pepper Potts, Pepper Anderson, and Pepper Ann.

July – July is a quiet, nurturing orphan who acts as a mother figure. April, May, and June have long been used as names, how about July? Other namesakes of this month name include July Burkovska and July Johnson.

Duffy – Duffy is the eldest orphan in the bunch and a good friend to all. Duffy is an Old Irish surname meaning dark. Like many of these names, Duffy may work best as a nickname. Duffy shares her name with singer Duffy, Patrick Duffy, and Hugh Duffy.

Who was your favorite Orphan in Annie? Vote below on your favorite name!

A Host of Great Names!

hostnamesThese famous television show hosts have the gift of gab. Let’s have our own chat about their names!

Conan O’Brien
Conan is an Irish name meaning little wolf or little hound.  Conan has long been associated with the character Conan the Barbarian. Only 45 babies were named Conan last year, making it a great alternative to similar, popular names like Connor.

David Letterman
David is a classic Hebrew name meaning beloved. Currently number 18 in popularity, David was in the Top 10 from 1936 till 1992. If you’re looking for a cool spin on David, you might consider Davis, Davidson, or Dawson.

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen peaked in 1946, though I think it’s due for a comeback. Like so many popular girls names, Ellen is two syllables, and lends itself to the nickname Ellie. Ellen is an English variation of Helen meaning bright and shining.

Seth Meyers
Seth is a Hebrew name meaning appointed or placed. Seth Meyers’ is just one of the many funny men with this name. The club of funny Seth’s include Seth Green, Seth Rogen, Seth Macfarlane, and of course Seth Meyers.

oprahOprah Winfrey
Oprah’s iconic name actually comes from a mispronunciation of her given name, Orpah. Orpah is a Hebrew name meaning back of the neck. There’s only one, Oprah.

Craig Ferguson
Craig is a Scottish surname meaning rocks or one who lives near the rocks. Craig peaked in popularity in 1970. Currently at 933, Craig is the lowest it’s ever been in the charts.

Wendy Williams
Wendy is a literary name invented by J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. Prior to Barrie’s use of the name Wendy, it may have also been used as a nickname to Gwendolen.

Stephen Colbert
Stephen is a Greek name meaning crown. Peaking in the 1950’s, Stephen currently comes in at number 258. There are many handsome variations of Stephen, such as Stefanos, Étienne, and Esteban.

Chelsea Handler
Chelsea is an Old English name chalk landing place. Most people know Chelsea as a London and a New York place name. Chelsea first entered the Top 1,000 in 1969 and is currently number 274.

Double John/Jon’s – let’s hear it for Carson and Stewart

jpohnnyJohnny Carson (John “Johnny” Carson)
John is just about as classic as it gets. A Hebrew name meaning God is gracious, John is currently number 26.
Carson is a name that feels very much on trend. At number 91 in the charts, Carson is an Irish and Scottish surname possibly meaning son of the marsh-dwellers. Carson is also the first name of talk show host Carson Daly.

Jon Stewart (Jonathan “Jon” Stewart)
Jonathan is a Hebrew name meaning gift of God. Jonathan peaked in the 1980’s, providing parents with a replacement and way to honor the classic John. Slowly falling in popularity, Jonathan is currently number 44.

Three Cheers for James – we’re talking Leno, Kimmel, and Fallon

Jay Leno (James “Jay” Leno)
James is an English name meaning supplanter. Last year James reentered the Top 10 at number 9. There are many familiar nicknames for James, including Jay, Jim, Jimmy, Jamie, and Jem. Recently several celebrities have used the name James for their daughters as well.

Jimmy Kimmel (James “Jimmy” Kimmel)
Kimmel could make an interesting first name choice. It would follow the surname trend and Kimmel has a similar feel to Kendall and Campbell. Kimmel may come from a German word meaning caraway.

Jimmy Fallon (James “Jimmy” Fallon)
Fallon is an Irish unisex name meaning leader. Fallon was briefly ranked in the Top 1,000 for girls, from 1981-1995. No doubt, the small spike Fallon saw was due to it being the name of a character on the show Dynasty.

What is your favorite Host named?

Eight Great Kate’s

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Wonderful Names of Characters played by Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet is a skillful actress that has brought many characters to life. Here’s a look at 8 wonderful names of characters Kate has portrayed.

Juliet Hulme in Heavenly Creatures
Juliet is a name synonymous with romance. An English form of the French Juliette, meaning youthful, Juliet was first used by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. Juliet has climbed the charts in recently years, currently at Number 258 in popularity.

Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility
Marianne peaked in 1957. A French combination of the names Mary and Anne, Marianne means bitter grace. Marianne is also the National symbol of the French Republic.

Ophelia in Hamlet
Ophelia is a beautiful name best known as Hamlet’s tragic lover. A Greek name meaning help, Ophelia is also now associated with mental illness. Ophelia was last in the Top 1,000 in 1958.

Rose DeWitt Bukater/Dawson in Titanic
Rose is a timeless flower name that is beginning to rise again in popularity. Could a rose by any other name smell as sweet? There sure are many lovely names with Rose in them, from Rosalie to Rosemary.

Clementine Kruczynski in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Oh, My Darlin’ Clementine just reentered the Top 1,000 last year. A French form of the name Clement, meaning merciful, Clementine is definitely a name to watch in the coming years!

Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in Finding Neverland
Sylvia is a Latin name with the beautiful meaning, from the forest. Sylvia is just about in the middle of the Top 1,000 at number 493. It also lends itself to the charming nickname Sylvie.

Iris Simpkins in The Holiday
Iris is a beautiful purple flower name with Greek roots meaning rainbow. In Greek mythology Iris was the goddess of the rainbow. A colorful name in many ways!

Sabine De Barra in A Little Chaos
Sabine is a French and German form of Sabina meaning woman of Sabine. A smooth, feminine name that could work as an alternative to names like Isabella.

Off to watch some movies,
Meagan

My Favorite Greek Names

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I love the history, mythology, and beauty of Greek names.  Here are some of my personal favorites:

What are your favorite Greek names?

αντίο,
~Meagan

Beautiful Names from Road to Avonlea

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Road to Avonlea was a wholesome television show based off of several of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved books. From Hetty to Felix, there were some fabulous names in this early 90’s show.

Sara Stanley
Sara – The series is largely told through the eyes of the adventurous Sara Stanley.  Sara is a variation of the name Sarah meaning princess.  I think most little girls would love to have a name that means Princess.  Sara Stanley pronounced her name SER-ə, though in many parts of the world Sara may be pronounced SAH-rah or ZAH-rah.

Henrietta “Hetty” King
Henrietta – Hetty is one of the spinster Aunt’s that Sara is sent to live with.  Henrietta is a variation of Henry, meaning estate ruler, that I can’t see making a comeback anytime soon.  Henrietta may have a heavy, schoolmarm sound to it, but the nickname “Hetty” is quite delightful.

Alec King
Alec – Alec is a wholesome farmer and Sara’s Uncle.  One of the most modern sounding names on this list, Alec is a diminutive of the name Alexander, meaning defending men. At 469 in popularity for boys in the U.S., Alec is a former nickname that now works well as a full given name.

Felicity King Pike
Felicity – Felicity is one of my favorite names from this series.  Not only was Felicity Sara’s cousin in the series, it was also the name of a popular American Girl doll.  Those two connections put Felicity on one of my first favorite baby names lists.  Felicity is a virtue name meaning happiness.

Felix King
Felix – Felix is an adorable little trouble-maker. Felix is a Latin name, meaning happy and lucky. Don’t Felicity and Felix have great meanings? Felix has a wonderful vintage vibe, but also has a modern feel with its cool “x” ending.

Cecily King
Cecily – Cecily is Sara’s sickly little cousin. Cecily comes from the name Cecil, a Latin name meaning blind. If you’re looking for a pretty, feminine name that isn’t in the top 1,000, you might consider Cecily.  Cecily also comes with a ton of wonderful nickname options.

Gus Pike
Gus – Gus is a wandering sailor. Gus can be a nickname for numerous names, including August, Augustus, and Angus.  With the rise of these name, I think we’ll see more little Gus’ about.

Clive Pettibone
Clive – Clive is a strict widower with a warm heart. Clive comes from an Old English surname meaning high cliff.  Clive has a very upper-crest, British sound to it.  The handsome Clive Owen wears this name well.

Isolde “Izzy” Pettibone
Isolde – Izzy is a tomboy and Clive’s youngest child.  Isolde has Welsh roots meaning ice ruler.  Isolde was the famous ill-fated Irish Princess from Arthurian legend. Isolde, especially with the nickname Izzy, makes a great alternative to the popular Isabella.

Eulalie Bugle
Eulalie – Eulalie is one of the town busy-bodies.  Lovers of vowel-rich, melodic names will enjoy this rare beauty. Eulalie is a French form of the name Eulalia, meaning to speak well.  As a lover of names, I can’t help but be excited when I hear this name.

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May your day be as sweet as a character in Avonlea,
~Meagan