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Posts Tagged ‘Estella’

Tomorrow is the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, probably the greatest of all nineteenth century novelists — and a contender for the greatest novelist of all time.

His works also provide a mine of wonderful names. To celebrate his birthday, today and tomorrow I’ll be featuring a selection of those which have fabulous potential for a baby born two hundred years on…

And others which make fine names for cats!

  • Abel — a name which features in more than one Dickens novel; there’s Abel Garland in The Old Curiosity Shop, and Abel Magwitch in Great Expectations. Abel is a biblical name still waiting in the wings somewhat,  though he has been rising steadily for years and years and broke the US top 1000 for the first time since records began in 2010. If you like him, use him now!
  • Affery — Affery Flintwinch is a maid in Little Dorrit. Dickens was an avid collector of names, and Affery was one of his finds. A form of Aphra.
  • Agnes — Agnes Wickfield is David’s childhood friend and second wife in David Copperfield.
  • Arabella — buzzing round the baby name boards as a successor to Isabella, Dickens used Arabella in Pickwick Papers for Miss Arabella Allen. In the UK, a name which until recently was regarded as rather archetypical of the Upper Class.
  • Avenger — “The Avenger” is the name by which Pip’s serving boy is known in Great Expectations.
  • Bamber — In Pickwick Papers, we meet with a Jack Bamber. The name  was made familiar to most in the UK by the TV presenter Bamber Gascoigne (b.1935), but not many know there were two eighteenth century politicians also called Bamber Gascoyne, the first born in 1725 — his father was called Crisp.
  • Barnaby — eponymous hero of Barnaby Rudge. Barnaby is another name mostly heard in British public (i.e. very expensive fee-paying) schools. It has never reached the US top 1000, but 224th in England and Wales in 2010.
  • Belle — yes, there is another Belle besides the one in Beauty and the Beast.  Belle was Scrooge’s fiancée in A Christmas Carol.
  • Betsy — with unpretentious and old fashioned charm, Dickens used Betsy more than once. The best known is Betsy Trotwood is David’s crunchy but kind old great-aunt in David Copperfield.
  • Brownlow — Mr Brownlow is the kind old gentleman who adopts Oliver in Oliver Twist.
  • Bumble — the famous beadle of Oliver Twist. Would suit a very fat cat.
  • Buzfuz — what a fabulous name for a cat! Serjeant Buzfuz (Serjeant is his name) is a not-very-nice barrister in Pickwick Papers.
  • Caddy — pet-name of Caroline Jellyby in Bleak House.
  • Charles — how can I leave out Charles? Dickens used his own name a few times, including Charles Darnay in A Tale of Two Cities, and Charles Cheeryble in Nicholas Nickleby. Use of Charles is surprisingly consistent on both sides of the Pond; in 2010 it was ranked 63 in America, and 62 in England and Wales.
  • Cherry — traditional pet-form of Charity, and used as such in Martin Chuzzlewit  for Charity Pecksniff.
  • Chuzzlewitsurname of the eponymous hero of Martin Chuzzlewit, I’d say Chuzzlewit falls firmly in cat-name territory, although there is a Chuzzlewit Mcclintock on the 1880 American Census!
  • Clara — a favorite of Dickens’s, borne by both David’s mother and nurse in David Copperfield and Clara Barley in Great Expectations.
  • Darnay — Charles Darnay, the son of a French marquis, is one of the heroes of A Tale of Two Cities.
  • Dodger — once I would have said Oliver Twist’s “The Artful Dodger” fell firmly in cat name territory, but actually, in today’s climate, maybe the world might be ready for Dodger as a bona fide name? The Artful Dodger’s real name was Jack Dawkins.
  • Dorrit — the surname of Amy Dorrit, invariably known as “Little Dorrit” in Little Dorrit. Could make an interesting variation on Dorothy — but is it too similar to Doritos?
  • Ebenezer — Ebenezer Scrooge is one of Dickens’s best-known characters, and although at the end of the tale he becomes a kind, happy and philanthropic old gentleman, his miserly former self has blighted Ebenezer ever since. But is that changing? With a number of great nickname options, such as Eben, Ben, Eb and Zer, and the meaning “stone of help,” it’s a great name.
  • Estella — the rather tragic Estella Havisham is Pip’s great love in Great Expectations. 
  • Fan — a short form of Fanny, the well-known pet-form of Frances, Fan was Scrooge’s sister in A Christmas Carol.
  • Fern — Will Fern, a character in The Chimes.
  • Fezziwig — another for the cats rather than the children. “Old Fezziwig” was Scrooge’s generous and happy employer in A Christmas Carol.
  • Fizkin — cat name! A candidate for parliament in Pickwick Papers.
  • Granger — Edith Granger is one of the characters in Dombey and Son.
  • Grewgious — what a name for Puss! Grewgious can be found in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
  • Herbert — the genial Herbert Pocket is Pip’s best friend in Great Expectations.
  • Hexam — the surname of more than one character in Our Mutual Friend, including the beautiful and good Lizzie.
  • Hominy — Mrs Hominy is a rather stereotyped “brash American” in Martin Chuzzlewit, her name no doubt a direct pluck of hominy, the dried kernels of corn (maize) used a lot in Southern, Latin American and Caribbean cooking.
  • Jarvis — Jarvis Lorry appears in A Tale of Two Cities, bearing a name which originated both as a medieval form of Gervais and a surname derived from it.
  • Jemima — a name which gets a number of minor mentions in the works of Dickens, such as Lady Jemima Bilberry in Little Dorrit.
  • Job — borne by Job Trotter in Pickwick Papers, Job is a suprisingly neglected biblical name (although it was 88th in Holland in 2010), presumably hindered so much by the fact it looks like the word “job,” even though the pronuncation is different (rhyming with “robe”). Roll it around a few times — I think it makes for a distinctly contemporary choice if you want a simple, one-syllable name with heritage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the greatest of meanings (“persecuted”), but that’s not stopped many another name…
  • Jupe — the wonderful Cecilia “Sissy” Jupe is a daughter of a circus clown in Hard Times.
  • Kit — Kit Nubbles (Nubbles makes a great name for a cat) is a character in The Old Curiosity Shop.  A classic, old short form of Christopher, Kit has been in quiet independent use in the UK for some time.
  • Lillian — Will Fern’s little niece in The Chimes.
  • Lowten — a clerk in Pickwick Papers.
  • Lucretia — Lucretia Tox is found in Dombey and Son.

Part II tomorrow!

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Pagan Name of the Month here at the Nook explores a name in the US or UK top 100 which has plenty of Pagan umph.

This month, it’s the turn of the sparkling, seasonal Stella.

As most people know, Stella means “star” in Latin.

“Stella Maris,” meaning “star of the sea” in Latin, is a well-known title of the Virgin Mary — and widely believed to have originally been an epithet of the Goddess Isis.

Although, there is actually no document from Antiquity explicitly linking Stella Maris with Isis — we do know that the ancients used “Stella Maris” of the star Polaris, and it is likely as a title to have originally belonged to Isis.

It was Eusebius, writing in the fourth century, was the first to say that Mary was “Stella Maris” (although it is not actually recorded as a title until the ninth), and it is well-established that Mary acquited many of Isis’s attributes and associations after Christianty became the official religion of Rome.

Stella was first used as a given name in the seventeenth century, possibly inspired by Sir Philip Sidney’s use of it in his Astrophel and Stella (1591). The Stella of the sonnets is often identified with Lady Penelope Rich, first cousin twice removed of Queen Elizabeth I (and possibly even the Queen’s great-great niece — a question mark hangs over the paternity of Penelope’s grandmother, Catherine Carey, daughter of “the other Boleyn Girl,” Mary).

Sidney himself is virtually universally identified with the Astrophel of the poems, a coinage of Sidney’s own from the Greek astêr “star” and philos “lover.”

Stella was 85th in the USA in 2010, having risen rapidly since 1998 when it re-entered the top 1000.

It left it slighty over ten years earlier, having been dwindling slowly with the passing decades since its previous peak almost 100 years exactly; it was 55th in 1889.

In the UK, it was a much lowlier 372nd, with its use possibly influenced negatively at the present time by the popularity of the Belgian lager, Stella Artois.

Stella did, however, enjoy a fair amount of popularity in the UK in the late ninteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was at its most popular in the 1920s, reaching 81st place in 1924.

Amongst real and fictional bearers are Stella Mayfair, a witch in Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches series (1990–94) and Paul McCartney’s daughter, designer Stella McCartney (born 1971).

Stella also lies behind Estrella, Estelle and Estella, as well as the more unusual French Étoile.

So, as you can see, if you want a Pagan Witch or Wiccan name that doesn’t scream Pagan, Stella makes a stellar name!

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This week is ‘Sneak Peek Week’ at Nook of Names. Each day, I shall be previewing the entry or entries for the names of five friends who first ‘put their hands up’ when I announced it on Facebook.

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to Estelle. It’s a good name to start with, as it demonstrates very well how one entry often leads to another — a name in capitals indicates that name has an entry of its own. And Estelle leads us on a journey that takes us to Rome and beyond…

Estelle

A French name. It may be from an old form of French: étoile ‘star’ < STELLA. A comparative development of how the word étoile arose from stella can be seen in the development of Étienne from Stephen. However, another plausible option is that Estelle developed as a variant of ESTHER. The -er ending sits awkwardly in French, and the linguistics involved in a shift to -elle in French are slight. Certainly, the resemblance to the Latin stella, if not an archaic form of étoile (no coincidence, as stella and Esther are probably cognate anyway), may have encouraged the development. The name was rare in France before the 19th Century, being found only in Les Charentes and Provence – another hint that its origins lie in Esther; Provence was where Isabella developed from Elizabeth. Although it had become more widespread by the 2nd half of the 19th Century, Estelle’s use in France still largely postdates the publication of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (1860-61), the heroine of which is Estella – which naturally became Estelle in the French version. Bearers: Estelle Masterson, a (shrewish mortal) character in the US film I Married a Witch (1942).

Stella

Latin: stella ‘star’. Stella was used by Sir Philip Sidney in his Astrophel and Stella (1591). Stella Maris meaning ‘star of the sea’ is now considered a title of the Virgin Mary, but it is likely that the title was originally bestowed upon the Goddess Isis. 17th Century. Bearers: Stella Mayfair, a character in Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches series (1990-94).

Esther

In The Bible, Esther was the name given to Hadassah when she entered the harem of King Ahaseurus. It is widely believed to have derived from the Old Persian stāra ‘star’. However, it may actually be from ISHTAR. Esthêr was the Greek form used in The Bible; the Latin forms were Esthera and Hestera, with Esther deriving from the former and HESTER from the latter. Both came into use in the 16th Century and quickly became confused with EASTER and each other. Variant: Esta (modern). Diminutive: ESSIE. Czech, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Portuguese: Ester, Finnish: Esteri, Dutch, French, German, Spanish: Esther, Hungarian: Eszter; Eszti (diminutive). Bearers: Esther Vanhomrigh (c.1688-1723), probably the inspiration for Jonathan Swift’s VANESSA; Esther Forbes (1891-1967), the US writer among whose works was A Mirror for Witches (1928) about the Salem Witch trials. Esther (1689) is a play by Racine.

As you can see, Estelle’s journey doesn’t end with Stella and Esther – but that’s quite enough for today :).

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