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Desdemona

desdemona-theodore-chasseriau
Desdemona by Theodore Chasseriau


Desdemona (dez-deh-MOH-nah) is an English literary name meaning "ill-fated." William Shakespeare used the name in Othello, but the play was based on the story Un Capitano Moro which was in Giovanni Battista Giraldi's Gli Hecatommithi, where the name was spelled Disdemona, from the Greek word dysdaimonia. It has never been a terribly popular name because of the character, who is murdered by her husband, and the name's meaning. However, Desdemona has been a character name in several other works of fiction since, including the Midnighters trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, the book Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and Jimmy Buffet's Where is Joe Merchant? Desdemona also features in two other plays - Toni Morrison's Desdemona, and Paula Vogel's Desdemona: A Play about a Handkerchief. It's also been used for four songs, is a moon of Uranus, and an asteroid demonically named 666 Desdemona. Desdemona Mazza was an Italian silent film actress, and the Desdemona Underwing Catocala Desdemona) is a beautiful butterfly found in Utah and Arizona. So, Desdemona really has a lot in her favor. Plus, nicknames! Choose from Dez, Dezzie, Dessie, Dessa, Desda, Demi, Demo, Mona and more.

Desdemona has been listed in Social Security Administration name charts in 1904, 1919, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1994, and last year in 2017 when it was given to 8 girls. I'm sure there may have been instances of Othello pop-ups that contributed to the name being used in these specific years. For example, there was a 1993 Otello performance by Luciano Pavarotti.

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