By Linda Rosenkrantz
For what seems like forever, this pair of sainted sister names, Agnes and Agatha, have seemed like the quintessential starched, buttoned-up, high-lace-collared, mauve-dressed Great-Great-Grandmother appellations.
I’d like to propose that we let the unbuttoning commence.
By K. M. Sheard, Nook of Names
Here are some alternatives!
Agastya — A name from Hindu mythology. Agastya is a name of Shiva, as well as the name of a legendary Hindu sage, believed to have received many of the earliest mantras which feature in the Rig Veda from Brahman. It is also the Indian name for Canopus. It comes from the Sanskrit, and is usually translated as ‘mountain-thrower’.
Angus — a classic and very old Gaelic name, from the Old Irish óen ‘one’ + gus ‘excellence’, ‘force’ and ‘courage’. The standard modern Gaelic form is Aonghas, but Aengus, Aonghus, Oenghus and Óengus are all known. In Irish myth Aengus is the God of love, youth and poetic inspiration.
Like Peter Parker and Clark Kent, everyday names that helped hide their bearers’ secret superhero identities, these nicknames shouldn’t cause anyone to bat an eye. If you want to pick an exotic name that will give your child the option of an “ordinary” nickname—or if you love a common nickname but not the common full name—or if you just enjoy playing with names—here’s a handful of under-the-radar nicknames for some long, bold, strange, or otherwise guilty-pleasure-worthy firsts.
Annie—Formal options for the cheerful Annie abound, from the classics Ann(e) or Anna through the French Antoinette and the Welsh Anwen. Today my favorite is another Greek choice, the mythological Andromeda.
We got the idea for this Question of the Week from a forum thread titled, Loving Frederick, hating Fred, by a mom who wants to name her son Frederick but really, really, really does not want him to be called Fred or Freddie.
This is an issue that plagues many parents: Loving a name, but not its logical short form. Or sometimes, it’s the other way around: An affection for Theo or Edie, say, but not so much for Theodore or Edith.
So our question of the week is: What name, is any, inspires this love-hate relationship in you?
Did you choose a name — or do you have a name — whose long form you love and short form you don’t or vice versa, and how do you handle it? How does that work out for you? Would you put the short form you love on the birth certificate and sidestep the long form you don’t entirely?
by Linda Rosenkrantz
A Berry recently posted a request for a blog explaining the origins of some of the common nicknames—more properly diminutives or pet forms– for classic names that seem to be miles apart. And of course we aim to please, so…..
There is a certain logic to it all, as well as some whimsy. The simplest road to a pet form is, obviously, by shortening it to its first one or two syllables, as in Di for Diana, Ben for Benjamin, Archie for Archibald and Eliza for Elizabeth. Occasionally, a middle syllable will do the job, leading to Liz for Elizabeth and Xan for Alexander. (Where this gets a little tricky is when the pronunciation of the base name has changed over the years—Richard seems to have been often pronounced Rickard at one time, resulting in the nickname Rick and his rhyming cousin Dick, with Dick then becoming so popular that the phrase “every Tom, Dick and Harry” became a euphemism for Everyman. Or a sprinkling of the letters in the name could lead, say, from Dorothy to Dot.