Thursday, March 14, 2013

Campbell

There's Campbell's Soup, Campbell University, Campbell in California, and then... 273 baby girls and 147 boys named Campbell in 2011. That does not include variant spellings Cambell for boys, which was given to 6 boys in 2011, and female variant spellings Campbelle (6), Cambell (9), Cambelle (9), and Cambel (5). Campbell is the only spelling to rank, at #936, which is actually down from years before. It has only ranked since 2003.

Campbell started as a nickname-turned-surname (cam beul) of a Scottish clan. The leaders of the Campbell clan were respected Dukes of Argyll. In Scotland, it remains a masculine name and common surname. For being so popular as a given name now, it has a funny meaning - "crooked mouth," originally referring to a facial characteristic (not a smile). One very feminine plus to this name is the nickname Cammy.

Cambell was a heroic Knight of Friendship in Edmund Spencer's The Faerie Queene. His wife in this tale was Cambina, which may have been the feminization of the name.

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