Friday, May 12, 2017


florizel perdita
Florizel and Perdita by Mary F Raphael

Florizel is a rare boy's name seen in many literary works, and sometimes on influential men both past and present.

Florizel's name undoubtedly comes from the Latin flor, meaning "flower," while the zel element might be a rare medieval Germanic ending (as in Etzel and Wenzel). However, it could just be a medieval spin on an otherwise Latin name. It's also recorded as Florisel, as seen in Florisel of Nicea (1532), Book X from the Amadis of Gaul tales. Florisando may be another variant of the name, as seen in a novel that was possibly titled Florisando by Ruiz Paez de Ribera, which was a sixth book in the Amadis of Gaul romances. The books were published starting in 1508. It looks like this was a chivalric name based on a play on flore-sindo, Sindo being a nickname for Latin names such as Gumersindo.

Florizel was later used in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (1623), and it was the name King George IV assumed when writing to Mary Robinson, who went by Perdita in the letters.

Later the name appeared in Benjamin Disraeli's novel Endymion (1880), Henry Beston's Firelight Fairy Book (1919), Sir Arthur Somervell's operetta Princess Zara, and the last book in a cycle of four by Robert Louis Stevenson titled The Adventure of Prince Florizel and a Detective. Florismart and Florival are also seen in literature; Florival in George Colman's The Deuce is in Him, Florismart in Song of Roland.  Florimel (Florimell) is a similar name, used for a female character by Edmund Spencer in The Faerie Queene. The etymology for this name is more clear: flor, "flower," and mel, "honey."

In real life the name Florizel was worn by Sir Florizel Glasspole, a Governor-General of Jamaica, and also Florizel von Reuter, a violinist and composer. Elaborate female forms of Flora, or perhaps feminizations of Florizel, include Florizella and Florizelle. Fun fact: supposedly the original name of TV series "Coronation Street" was "Florizel Street."

There may be some concern over Florizel sounding too "feminine" for a modern boy's name. In case the literary and historical namesakes haven't won you over, the potential nickname Zell isn't enough, and you have no Flora to honor, perhaps consider Florian, which is similar to other popular boy's names such as Adrian, Julian, Cillian, Dorian, Finnian and Damian.

Source for list of names above

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