Here at nameberry, we’ve been known to scrutinize trends down to a single letter (are V names in?) or syllable (la-beginnings) or sound (oo), as in Talllulah. The other day, thinking about the names that are emerging as as among the hottest for girls right now, I suddenly realized that several of them have something in common–and that is that they are all three-syllable names ending in the suffix ine:
This is a pattern that hasn’t been seen in the US for a long time–if you don’t count classics like Caroline and Madeline. The ones that are feminizations of boys’ names, such as Geraldine and Ernestine, fell out of favor at a time when a) women didn’t want to be thought of as appendages of men even in their names, and b) the particular male names they derived from were sounding particularly fusty.
But this doesn’t seem like such a burning feminist issue these days, when many parents are eager to honor their dads and forefathers as namesakes for their kids of either gender. And besides–who knows?–names like Gerald and Ernest could make a return at any time.
The ine ending is one of the most popular in French female nomenclature, and there are any number of attractivee choices that have hardly been heard in America. Looking through the French livre des prenoms*, we find, for example:
ALBERTINE (of Proustian fame)
CAPUCINE (possibly too Starbucks)
There are also an equal number of Gallic two-syllable ine names, which are worlds away from the old-style Frenchy and Irish ine/een names – Maxine, Arlene, Darlene, Marlene, Eileen, etal– used here a generation or two ago. Par example:
*Please note that many of these French names have accents, but unfortunately we haven’t figured out a way yet of inserting them without compromising the data base. Stay tuned.