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Erisabel

eris


I passed by a beauty salon with this name in the title, and it immediately struck me as a name I had to write about. However, when I looked for information, none was found. So like many -bel names, I assumed it was simply Erisa + bel. Truthfully, people can find a way to add -bel or -belle to just about anything, from Annabel to Corabelle. I also came across Onabelle recently.

Erisa is known as a Japanese name that I cannot find an accurate meaning for (most Japanese name meanings vary by how they're written in kanji). Eris, meaning "strife," was a Greek goddess of discord, the equivalent of the Roman goddess Discordia. Eris charted in 1923 and 1924, and is a recently named dwarf planet. If Eris is the main component, Erisabel would essentially mean "beautiful chaos." Erisa in English could come from Iris by way of Irisa. Unfortunately, the letters of Erisa are also an acronym for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, so adding -bel makes all the difference. While Eris may have been pronounced EE-riss in Greek, many insist on AIR-iss, and even though Erisa in Japanese would be AY-ree-sah, in the U.S. people would likely say AIR-ee-sah. K. M. Sheard writes in Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names that Erosabel is a Romani girl's name that was a version of Rosabel influenced by the Greek name Eros (who was god of love), and that Erosabel has been recorded at least since the 19th century. It is also entirely possible, however, that Eris was the influence here, too. I'd also like to mention Isabel is a possible element in Erisabel - Eris + Isabel.

Since Eris has been around for ages, it's no surprise we're still seeing it today. It was last used in Sinbad, produced by DreamWorks Animation, where Eris is the goddess of discord working against the hero. It is also said the fairytale Sleeping Beauty was inspired by the efforts Eris made to bring chaos to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. She is most famous for presenting Zeus the Golden Apple of Discord, which was the first step in starting the Trojan War. Eris happens to be an anagram of 'rise,' which ironically may have been the original Pre-Greek meaning of her name.

While Erisa itself is a rare baby name, only given to six girls in 2014 before falling back into complete obscurity, none were given the name Erisabel. Even so, pulling up ancestry records reveals many women named Erisa from all over the world, and a search on White Pages tells me Erisa has been used enough to be considered a "real" name, or an ancestral name. Eris, on the other hand, was given to 78 girls in 2016 - the highest it's been since 226 births in 1923.

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Allifair

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The baby name Allifair, alternatively spelled Alifair, Alafair, or Alafare, has a very interesting history. This girl's name suddenly popped into existence in the U.S. around the mid 1800's, with no mention why or how.

Some history buffs may be familiar with the Hatfield-McCoy "New Year's Day" Massacre, in which a long-time hatred between families (including Union vs Confederacy differences) finally escalated into an all-out violent battle. Alifair was the name of Randolph McCoy's daughter, born in 1858, who suffered from Polio as a child but remained productive. During an attack on the McCoy home, Alifair was shot and killed. There was later a legal trial for her murder. Ironically, there was an Alifair Hatfield born in 1873 in Kentucky.

So how did she get her name? There are records of others in 1809, 1815, 1819, 1831, 1870, 1883, 1920 and 1923. 1767 or 1787 seems to be the earliest it was recorded. It could come from Alfher/Alvar/Aelfhere…