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posted by: Nook of Names View all posts by this author
peake

By K. M. Sheard, Nook of Names

The first volume of the magnificent Gormenghast trilogy by British novelist Mervyn Peake was published in 1946, and his books are still widely read today. Here are some of the best names (and characters!) from the trilogy:

Titus. Titus Groan, 77th Earl of Groan is the hero of the series, and Titus Groan is the title of the first book, despite the fact that Titus is only a baby in it. He becomes the major protagonist, however, in the following novels, and though he doesn’t actually do much in Titus Groan, he is the pivot around whom the story unfolds. Titus was a Roman praenomen — i.e. the closest thing Romans had to a first name. Probably the best-known bearer was the Emperor Titus (39-81 CE). The origins are very obscure; it may possibly be related to Latin titulus ‘title’ or titio ‘fire-brand’. It was first used as a given name in the English-speaking world in the sixteenth century.

Fuchsia. Lady Fuchsia Groan is Titus’s sister, a girl on the cusp of womanhood. Virtually ignored by her parents, she is half-feral,  fiercely proud and passionate. Her name is taken from the delicate, ballerina-like flower, named in the eighteenth century in honor of the sixteenth century German botanist Leonhard Fuchs — a surname meaning ‘fox’ in German. Fuchsia is first found as a given name in the nineteenth century, when flower names first came into fashion.

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posted by: Elea View all posts by this author
royalprince

by Eleanor Nickerson of British Baby Names

It’s July!  Which means, the month of the Royal Baby’s arrival is here. Many assume that the Royal couple only have a very small pool of names to choose from and, while this is true, royal history shows us that William and Catherine actually have a lot of flexibility in the way they can use those names.

Let’s take the example of King George V and Queen Mary who named two consecutive kings: Edward VIII and George VI. Their eldest son was given the appropriately “kingly” first name of Edward, but was actually known as David to the family – his full name being “Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David”.

The second son was named “Albert Frederick Arthur George”, but called Bertie by his family and friends. When he became king, the name Albert had no precedent as a regnal name (and was deemed a bit too ‘Germanic’ in the aftermath of WWI) so it was easy enough to use one of his middle names instead.

They were also creative with their daughter’s name. She was given the names “Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary“, but was always known as Princess Mary.

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abby-11-12-12typing

This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel investigates some of the factors affecting the shifts in names’ popularity.

Last week we wanted to write about babies named Mitt Romney and Sandy, and as it happened, the world gave us both.  Name nerds and regular folk alike respond to the idea that dramatic, world-changing events have an impact on what we name our children.

But while everyone else is confidently predicting an uptick in little girls called Sandra, berries know that the picture is far more complicated.  Besides, wouldn’t Sandrine or Alessandra be the more stylish option?

The truth is that the real shifts in names are rarely caused by a headline-grabbing event.  While it was easy to be distracted by tales of Kenyan twin brothers given the names Barack and Mitt, last week was also rich with stories that show longer-term change in how we think about the names we give our children.

Last week’s nine biggest names in baby name news were:

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