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Showing posts from March, 2014

Ramona

Ramona Davies
Ramona (rah-MOH-nah) is a Spanish and German name meaning "protecting hands, wise protector" and the feminine version of Ramon and Raymond. Most people in the U.S. are familiar with the name due to the Ramona Quimby novels by Beverly Cleary and a 19th century novel by Helen Hunt Jackson titled Ramona about a girl of Native American and Scottish descent, which the town of Ramona, California was named from. Later Bob Dylan wrote a song called "To Ramona." Other namesakes include author Ramona Lofton, 1930's singer and pianist Ramona Davies, and Ramona Fradon, a comic book artist.

Romy and Mona are the most prominent nicknames. Ramona had not been in the top 1000 since 1988, peaking just after 1920 and just before 1960. In 2012 there were 197 girls named Ramona, and by 2016 it ranked at #951.

Lorelei

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 There are two different accepted meanings for Lorelei (LOHR-eh-lie), the German place name (Loreley) which, legend has it, the siren Lorelei gave her name to. All three use the Celtic ley, meaning "rock." One meaning is "murmuring rock," from lureln and ley, and the second is "luring rock," from x and ley, and "lurking rock," from lauern and ley. From 1843 the etymology was Middle High German lüren,  "to lie in wait." One of the first to use Lorelei was German author Clemens Brentano in Zu Bacharach am Rheine in 1801. Heinrich Heine then used this to write Die Lorelei (German) in 1824. Mark Twain later used the name for An Ancient Legend of the Rhine in 1880. There have been operas, poems, songs, sculptures and paintings in her name ever since. Marilyn Monroe popularized the name in the movie "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," based on Anita Loos's novel, and then the name saw a revamp with "The Gilmore Girls.&quo…

Alluring A Names

These are A names I think have an intriguing appeal to them, whether they are rare or just pretty.

Avoca - a mysterious Irish place name, (ah-VOH-kah)
Avalon - from the King Arthur legends
Arya - thank you Game of Thrones
Amaryllis - the gorgeous flower
Amalea - "hard working"
Araminta - "defender"
Amelia - Amelia Earhart would be one inspiring namesake
Alanis - "precious"
Aniela - (ahn-YELL-ah) means angel
Antalya - former kingdom, so close to Natalya
Athena - goddess of wisdom
Azalea - (ah-ZAYL-yah) another gorgeous flower
Ayla - trendy sounds, spunky appeal
Amara - "eternal"
Amabel - "lovable"
Amata - "beloved"
Ambrosia - the eternal flower of the gods
Allura - literally alluring
Alison - classic for a reason
Annika - spunky update on Anne, "God has favored me"
Ashera - the Queen of Heaven
Aurora - think Aurora Borealis and the Disney princess
Audrey - "noble strength," like Audrey Hepburn
Aubrey - &quo…

Celia

Celia (SEEL-yah) is from Latin caelum, meaning "heaven," from the name Caelia, a feminine form of the Roman family name Caelius. It is not to be mistaken for Cecelia/Cecilia, although it is used as a nickname or short form for both. Shakespeare introduced Celia to the world via As You Like It in 1599. In the 1940's actress Celia Johnson popularized it once more. In 2016 Celia ranked at #837, with 339 girls given the name that year. That is much lower than its 2001 rank of #594, but it has always been used, and always been mildly popular, since 1880. It is very popular in France and Spain, but the French form Celie has ranked twice as well - once in 1880 and once in 1887.

Since Shakespeare's use of Celia there have been many more appearances in literature, including works by Ben Johnson, George Eliot, T.S. Eliot, Lionel Shriver, and more recently as the heroine of The Night Circus. Many real-life Celia's have made their way through history as well, including singe…

Thea

Amalthea, The Last Unicorn
Thea (THEE-uh) is a Greek origin name meaning "goddess." In mythology she was a titan, daughter of heaven and earth, mother of gods. Exotic pronunciations include TAY-uh and THAY-uh. Thea has not ranked on the popularity charts since 1965, and she always ranked low. However, there were 184 girls given the name in 2012, and that's not too far outside the top 1000. Thea alone has appeared in many pieces of literature, including one by Willa Cather and one by Laurell K. Hamilton. Many names begin and end in Thea.

Dorothea, "gift of God." Dorothy.
Amalthea, from greek mythology, meaning "tender goddess." It is a very regal and mystical name that was also used in the classic animation "The Last Unicorn." Also, the third moon of Jupiter.
Theodora, "gift of God."
Althea, "healing."
Alithea, "verity, truth." (ah-LITH-ee-uh)
Anthea, "flower." Nickname possibilities include Anthy, Ann…

Mirabella

[source]
Mirabella, along with Mirabelle, Mirabel, and Mirabeau, comes from the Latin root word mirabilis. The meaning of these names is "wonderful." Mira is the standard version, and with -bella at the end it creates the meaning "wonderful beauty." Used as far back as the Crusades and medieval times, Mirabel & co. fit rit in with today's feminissima names, such as Miranda, Arabella, and Annabella. Mirabeau, unlike the others, is a surname and title, and that of a few famous Frenchmen - marquis de Mirabeau, comte de Mirabeau and vicomte de Mirabeau. It is also a French place name. Sometimes Mirabel- names can be linked or confused with similar names, such as Maribella and Miabella.

Mirabella was a women's magazine in the 1990's, taken from the last name of it's creator, Grace. In the fruit world, the Mirabelle plum grows gorgeous blossoms. The Baroque-style Mirabell Palace in Austria, built around 1606 by a prince, was a site used for "The S…

Giovanna

Tsaritsa Giovanna
Giovanna (jee-oh-VAH-nah, joh-VAH-nah) is an Italian baby name meaning "God is gracious," and a feminine form of John. Giovanni is the masculine counterpart in Italian. In 2012 Giovanna ranked at #878 in the U.S. with 300 girls given the name that year. Those numbers are down from 407 births in 2005 and a ranking of #681. If you compare Giovanna to her sister name Gianna she is less popular, with Gianna ranking at #73 in 2012 and the alternate spelling Giana at #606. In the early 1900's Giovanna was given to 5 girls if at all, slowly increasing to 20 a decade later.

Giovanna of Italy was born in 1907 and the last Tsaritsa of Bulgaria (equivalent to a queen). She was born to King Victor Emmanuel III and Queen Elena, former Princess of Montenegro, and Giovanna's brother Umberto became the future King of Italy. Benito Mussolini attended Giovanna's wedding to the Tsar of Bulgaria, and she knew the future Pope John XXIII. After her marriage she beca…

Charlotte

Queen Charlotte (UK)
Charlotte ranked at #19 in 2012 (7418 girls given the name in 2012) with an expected rise for 2013. It has risen dramatically in recent years - for example, it was #289 in 2000. As the French feminine take on Charles, meaning "free man," Charlotte has been used in literature and media for years. Charlotte's Web will bring memories to mind, while many women today look to the character Charlotte from Sex in the City. There are nearly 100 variants and alternate spellings of this name, from Carla to Cheryl. Charlotta is a more rare and romance-language take on the name - it's been pretty much ignored since 2000 and was never given more than 22 times a year since records started being kept. Charleta, an even rarer variant, was only given to about 30 girls ever (in the U.S.).

Charlotte has been used since at least the 17th century. In the 19th century, Queen Charlotte made the name even more well known. She was the wife of King George III and they rul…

Roxelana

Roxelana
Hürrem Sultan ("the cheerful one"), from Ottoman Turkish, was known as Roxelana in European languages, as well as Roxolana, Roxolena, Roxelane, Rossa, and Ružica. Roxelana could be a nickname that plays on her Ukranian heritage, from the ancient Roxolani, meaning "bright alan," from the medieval kingdom Alania (by the way, Alania would make an excellent name option). In that case Roxelana would mean "the Ruthenian one," essentially "Ukranian." In Arabic she was known as Karima, "the noble one." It is possible her true name was either Aleksandra or Anastasia by way of Nastia. Roxelana has two known pronunciations: ROH-zell-ah-nah, and ROX-el-ah-nah, but I believe the first option is correct. 

In the 1520's Roxelana was captured by Crimean Tatars, and brought to the palace of Suleiman the Magnificent. It wasn't long before she was promoted from servant to consort of the Turkish Emperor. She was then freed from being a con…

Ottilie

Actress Ottilie "Tilly" Losch, Countess of Carnavon
Ottilie (oht-ee-lee, oht-il-ee) is a Germanic name with some French flair, from medieval Germanic Odila. There are several other forms of the name, such as Ottilia, Ottilina, Odilia, Odalys, Otylia, Odile, Odette, Oda, and Odelia. From the late German Otto, Ottilie could mean "wealth."

There are several namesakes in various forms, from German opera singers to Romanian actresses. Saint Odilia was an 8th century nun, who was supposedly born blind and began to see once she was baptized. Ottilie Godefroy, aka Tilla Durieux, was an Austrian actress at the beginning of the 20th century. Ottilia Adelborg was a children's book illustrator and artist in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Selma Ottilia Lagerlöf won the 1909 Nobel Prize for literature. Ottilie Losch, Countess of Carnavon, was an Austrian dancer, actress and painter who worked in the U.S. and appeared in films in the 30's and 40's. Ottilie…