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french3-kls

By K. M. Sheard, Nook of Names

During a month spent in France a little while back, I came across quite a few interesting names.

These are some of the zestiest:

FILLES:

Aglaé. French form of the Greek mythological name Aglaia, “splendor” and “beauty.”

Alizée. Modern French name from alizé, “trade wind.” Popularized by the French singer Alizée Jacotey (b.1984).

Bérengère. Feminine form of the Old German name Berenger, “bear-spear.”

Cerise. Adoption of French word cerise, “cherry.”

Flavie. French form of Flavia, a Roman family name from Latin flavus “yellow.”

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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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Baby Name Nicknames: Getting to Gus

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gus2

By K. M. Sheard, Nook of Names

Do you like Gus as a short name, but are not so keen on Augustus and its related names August and Augustine?

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.

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artistrock

By K. M Sheard, Nook of Names

I’ve been musing for a while now on the rich mine of names that are the surnames of artists.

Many of them have a great ring in themselves, as well as carrying strong artistic connotations.

With the most famous, it is as though their names “mean” their paintings.

Say Monet, for instance, and lovely, soft, impressionistc images float into the mind.

Here, then, is my pick of the artists:

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Twelfth Night Names: From Airi to Wren

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twelve-days-of-christmas_ornament

By K. M. Sheard, Nook of Names

Today is the Christian feast of Epiphany, the traditional date among Catholics and Protestants when the legendary “Three Kings” visited the baby Jesus.

In parts of Italy, it is at Epiphany, not on Christmas Day, that children get their presents — delivered by a witch called Befana by broomstick last night.

In Britain and America, however, Epiphany — which also happens to be the twelfth day of Christmas, that is to say “Twelfth Night” — is often entirely neglected now, though once, when the twelve days were kept with full festivity, it was a big event — so big, it even got a Shakespearian play named after it.

The fabled “Twelve Days of Christmas” have their roots in the Norse Jól, and were originally kept between December 20th and the 31st.

They also have very prosaic origins; at this darkest time of the year, with the harvest gathered in, animals slaughtered, and crops requiring sowing in the autumn sowed, there really wasn’t much that needed doing – making it a perfect time for relaxing, and enjoying the year’s produce while it was still fresh.

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