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:
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.”
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:
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 Elea, is a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the excellent, highly recommended blog British Baby Names.
Our top UK correspondent, Eleanor Nickerson, has the following lead story on today’s release of the new popularity data from the UK Office for National Statistics on her blog British Baby Names. Check there for a lot more fascinating statistics on top names by region and month and those most popular in England and in Wales, plus how the Top 100 have changed in rank since 2011. Here are the new Top 10:
Proving their staying-power, both Amelia and Harry have retained their grip of the #1 spot. Amelia was so popular, she even managed to knock Lily off the top spot in Wales. Jacob, on the other hand, proved the most popular Welsh choice.
New to the Top 100 are Hugo, Sonny, Seth and Theodore for boys, and Ivy, Darcey and Violet for girls. Tilly, Sara, Mollie, Elliott, Roryand Ellis are back in the Top 100 after a brief spell out of it.
These replaced Joel (101), Hayden (102), John (104), Ashton (111),Jackson (113), Ben (118) and Reece (122) for boys and Lexie (102), Lauren (103), Rebecca (108), Tia (116), Nicole (119) and Kayla (135) for girls, which have fallen out of the Top 100 since 2011.
When asked for some comment on the Anglo-American divide, here’s what Elea had to say:
Overall, the Top 100 in England and Wales isn’t a world away from that of the US. They both have the stalwart classics such as Jacob, William, Joseph, Alexander, Isabella, Amelia, Charlotte, Lydia; the surnames-turned-first names Tyler, Mason, Madison, and the vintage revivals. But, where there are differences, they are often very polarized. Alfie, Archie, Finlay, Jenson, Ollie, Poppy, Freya, Maisie, Florence, Imogen, Rosie, Harriet, Niamh and Darcey didn’t make the US Top 1000, yet are all high rankers in England and Wales. On the flip-side Landon, Angel, Colton, Bryson, Easton, Avery, Aubrey, Riley (for girls), Genesis, Mackenzie (for girls), Gianna, Kennedy, Kimberly and Jocelyn all rank outside the top 800 over here.
But, with Cooper, Hunter, Parker, Hudson and Carter among the fastest risers of 2012, it looks like we Brits are looking across the Atlantic more for inspiration, slowly incorporating them amongst our beloved vintage florals, cheeky-chap diminutives and Celtic gems.
Eleanor Nickerson, better known to nameberry message board visitors as Elea, is a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the excellent, highly recommended blog British Baby Names
The Tudor Age was an interesting time for names. Tudor itself is actually a given name – a Welsh one, roughly (and rather appropriately) meaning “ruler of the people”. Henry VII, once known as Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, came to power after victory at Bosworth Field, effectively ending the Wars of the Roses, and from him came some of the most famous – and infamous – monarchs in British history.
Most of the names the Tudors favoured are still well loved today. The most popular boys’ names included John, Thomas, William, Robert, Richard, Henry, Nicholas, Edward, George and James, while the girls favoured Elizabeth, Joan, Agnes, Alice, Mary, Anne, Margaret, Jane, Catherine and Margery.
There are those, however, that have become severely neglected over time; and some have dropped out of use completely. Let us take a few moments to examine and marvel at these faded Tudor relics.
Traditionally, members of British royalty have not only been given a whole string of middle names, most have also been given an affectionate nickname. Queen Victoria’s children, for example, answered to Vicky (Victoria), Bertie (Albert), Alee (Alice), Affie (Alfred), Lenchen (Helena), Loosy (Louise), Leo (Leopold) and Baby (Beatrice).
Previously, these names were kept within the family. But more recently, Charles and Diana broke the mold by formally announcing after their sons’ births that they were going to call William “Wills” and that Henry was to be called “Harry”.
This then opens up a variety of options for William and Catherine. Let’s say they choose the name “Elizabeth Diana Catherine Charlotte” for a daughter. They could use a nickname for the first name – Bess, Betsy, Lily, Eliza? – or announce that they will call her by one of her middle names, or even a nickname from the middle name – Lottie, say, or Kitty.
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.