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posted by: Elea View all posts by this author
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By Eleanor Nickerson of British Baby Names

As a new month of the year arrives, it can be easy to forget where the name of October comes from. Though we count it as the tenth month, its name actually derives from the Latin octo meaning “eight,” as it was once the eighth month of the Roman calendar. From the same route as October we also get several other names:

Octavius
Octavian
Octavio
Ottavio
Octavia
Ottavia

Hedra is the Cornish name for October and has actually had some usage as a feminine name in Britain.
October itself has sometimes been put on birth certificates.

The Anglo-Saxons called October Winterfylleþ ”winter full moon” because they considered the beginning of winter marked by the first full moon in October.

Winter and Wynter, therefore, both make very appropriate October-themed names.

For symbols, October counts Opal as its birthstone and the Calendula (more commonly known as Marigold) as its birth flower.

Libra “the scales” is the astrological sign that runs roughly from September 24th to October 23rd. According to Greek mythology the scales belonged to Astraea (Virgo), the goddess of justice. Libra was used occasionally as a given name in Scotland in the 17th century, and in England in the 19th century.

For thousands of years, and in many different cultures, October was a time of the grape harvest.

The medieval wine trade was big business, but it was very much seasonal. The wine vintage usually took place in early October, and within a few weeks new wines were being widely exported, with annual wine fairs taking place in all of the major wine producing regions throughout October.  An Old English name for October was Win-mónaþ “wine month,” also reflected in the Germanic Weinmond.

Wine-inspired names are hard to come by but the importance of the vine is immortalised in a few names:

Oenone – a Greek nymph; her name comes from the Greek oinos ”wine.”
Vinicius
Vinicio – from the Latin vinum ”wine.”
Heilyn – a Welsh boys’ name meaning “wine bearer.”

Famous wine producing towns have also been known to be used as names. Here a few that either have, or potentially could, be used as given names:

Alella
Alicante
Asti
Bordeaux
Burgundy

Chianti
Elba
Graves
Jumilla
Lorraine
Madeira
Madiran
Margaux

Maury
Monti
Navarra
Ovada
Santenay
Tavira

As for the grape itself, the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese know it as Uva, while the Danes and Norwegian call it Drue.

Eleanor Nickerson, better known to nameberry message board visitors as Eleais a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the excellent, highly recommended blog British Baby Names.

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aviateblog

It’s just in the nick of time, but we couldn’t let Women’s History Month go by without a salute to some of the adventurous women who have blazed trails, in this case literally reaching new heights.  Kudos to the the early lady pilots known then as aviatrixes, many of whom have been hidden too long in the shadow of Amelia Earhart. And of course, Nameberry being Nameberry, our choices were based as much on their interesting names as on their accomplishments.

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