Saturday, April 27, 2013
Cedric (SED-rik) is an Old English boy's name meaning "bounty, loved." The name was invented by Sir Walter Scott for his 1819 novel Ivanhoe. He may have been inspired by or misunderstood Cerdic, the Old English name of the Saxon king that founded the kingdom of Wessex, although this name could be Germanic or Welsh (from Cedrych, meaning "pattern of bounty or from Caradoc, meaning "love") in origin. Cedric was later used by Frances Hodgson Burnett in the 1886 children's novel Little Lord Fauntleroy. Most recently Cedric was used in the Harry Potter series for the character Cedric Diggory.
Cedric comes with the nicknames Ced and Ric. In 2011 Cedric ranked at #751, a decrease in popularity with the name given to 299 boys. It has been accounted for since 1890, but other spellings have been used as well, such as Cedrick, Cederick, Cedrik and Ceddrick.
Cedric the Entertainer, the painter Sir Cedric Morris, and Cedric Bixler-Zavala are three well known namesakes. There have also been four American football players with the name. Dozens more have appeared from France to Jamaica to the Congo. You can also find Cedric as the name of a Franco-Belgian comic series.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Isabeau (IZ-ah-bow, EE-sah-bow) is a French variant of Isabel, derived from the Hebrew name Elizabeth (Elisheba/Elisheva), meaning "God's promise, my god is a vow/oath." There are more alternate forms of the name, including Ysabeau, Esabeau, Isabetta, Ishbel, Isabelle and Isobel. Beau in French is the masculine form of beautiful, or should I say handsome. One possible explanation for this masculine ending could be the way the Spanish translated Elizabeth, and the Occitan (or medieval Gascon language) version: Eisabèu.
While Isabelle was the name of several Spanish queens, Isabeau has its own namesakes. Isabeau of Bavaria, who may have been born "Elizabeth," was Queen Consort of France, wife of King Charles VI. She had quite an amount of power for a medieval queen as regent. There was a different Isabeau that was convicted of being a witch. Another well known Isabeau was the short-lived Isabeau of Brittany.
More recently than historical queens, Isabeau was an opera by Pietro Mascagni, a retelling of the Lady Godiva legend, and Lady Isabeau was a heroine found in the movie "Ladyhawke." She can also be seen in the form of heroic succubus Bo/Isabeau in the TV series "Lost Girl." A quick search on Youtube will reveal "La Belle Isabeau" by Berlioz, which I believe was based on a troubadour song from the 1100's AD. You'll even find a pretty model named Isabeau Hitijahubessy.
Never charting in the U.S., the baby name Isabeau remains rare, even in its native country. In 2011 there were just 13 girls given the name Isabeau, and there have never been more than 18 born in a year. It was, however, popular in the Middle Ages, and the name did make it to several countries.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Tabrett is the first name of Australian actress (former model and cheerleader) Tabrett Bethell, famous for roles in "Legend of the Seeker" and "Cops LAC." Tabrett's parents were disagreeing on names for her, torn between Siobhan and Murray, and when her father was out driving through Sydney he came across Tabrett Street.
In the U.S., Tabrett is such a rare name that it has not charted or been noted in any way. Tabrett is a French surname from the word tabour, meaning "drum, tambourine." This name was likely given as an occupational surname for those who made or played tambourines or small drums, which had value in the military. In one spelling or another, this name can probably be traced back to about 1066 and the Norman Invasion when French was the main language of England. Taboret seems to be a later variant of the surname, and Tabrett the most modern.
Tabrett can have the nicknames Tab, Tabby, Rett or even Etta if so desired. Being an occupational surname, this baby name can be used on both boys and girls.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Tobin (TOH-bihn) is a Hebrew name meaning "God is good" as a variation of Tobias, but it is also an English surname derived from Tobias, and an Irish surname, brought over by the Norman surname St. Aubyn (Latinized as de St. Albino), from the town of Aubyn in France. It also comes with the desired nickname Toby, but can also have the nickname Binx. Both Toby and Tobias were used in Medieval times, but Toby was used more often until the Reformation. Tobia/h and Tobit are alternate forms.
Saint Aubin d'Angers (Aubyn, Albinus) was Bishop of Angers in 529 and was known for his generosity and caring for those who would otherwise be looked down upon, such as slaves, orphans, and widows. His feast day is March 1st. There have been many places named after him, including dozens in France. The names Albinus, Aubin and Aubyn are from the Latin alba, meaning "white."
There have been a range of namesakes over the years, including Tobin Dax from Star Trek DS9, 1950's NFL quarterback Tobin Rote, actor Tobin Bell, Nobel Prize winner James Tobin, and musician Tobin Sprout. Tobin was recently chosen by Karolina Kurkova, the supermodel, for her son.
In 2011 the baby name Tobin was given to 134 baby boys, and by 2015 it decreased slightly to 127. It ranked from 1958 to 1978 on the U.S. top 1000, but low on the charts. Tobias currently ranks at #316 in 2015.