The 100 Poshest Names in Britain
Here is the first of two posts examining “posh names” in Britain. This first one looks at the names rarely used outside of the upper classes ; the second to follow will examine the most common names.
Posh. It’s a term I dread, and try to avoid whenever I can. You see, it’s a very tetchy and subjective word that brings up all sorts of connotations. To call something “posh” can equally be a compliment of elegance and refinement as much as it can be a derogatory slur of aloofness and pomposity.
But, if I avoid the word to avoid offence, I’m in the minority. “Posh” is so bandied around in Britain, it can mean anything from “pertaining exclusively to the aristocracy” to “a little bit fancy.” Though ironically, the aristocracy to which it usually refers don’t actually use the word.
The fact is, Britain has an upper class, a social elite, who have their own set of habits, preferences and even names. Some names are so indicative, that you may assume as person is aristocratic just from their names. I didn’t need to know anything about fashion editor Pandora Sykes, to guess that she was upper class (sure enough, she is the granddaughter of Lord Buxton of Alsa) because Pandora is one of those delightfully eccentric names from classical mythology that has been used by the aristocracy for centuries
Almost legendary in recent years are the likes of twins Biggles George Fittleworth and Posie Betsy Winifred and their big sister Tuppence; Wulfstan Wallace and his sisters Dorothy, Cleopatra and Elektra; sisters Mimi Magenta Poodle and Ruby Rhapsody Panda; Samuel Badger, who goes by Badger …. I could go on and on, they’re so delightfully eccentric.
The following 100 names are the names most indicative of the upper class in Britain over the last thirty years based on peerage birth announcements compared with national statistics.
In other words, these names are uncommon choices in Britain except for among the upper class where they are well used.
- St John
Disclaimer: These names aren’t exclusively used by the British upper classes, and the upper classes don’t only use these names. However, these names have been statistically more common among the peerage compared with nationally in the last thirty years.
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on March 26th, 2017 at 11:22 pm
And these names are part of why I am an anglophile.
on March 27th, 2017 at 2:11 am
I love this post. I enjoy many of these names (and others are just too much, even for me, and others such as Flora seem quite normal).
I often say of a name that I could never use it if I lived in England, for the connotations, but being a continent away I think an Ottilie or Henrietta would be fine.
It’s interesting how many of these names are extremely flouncy (Araminta, Willoughby), while others are more nicknamey (Coco, Kit). Also interesting how the royal family itself seems to play it much safer in their naming — perhaps so as not to seem out of touch. I feel like a Prince Marmaduke might have people calling for a revolution!
on March 27th, 2017 at 3:28 am
Whilst I’d agree that the mass majority of these names are mainly used by the upper class, I have to say that a few certainly aren’t.
Iona particularly stand out as one of those. It’s been in the Scottish top 100 for most of the last 20 years, and there isn’t enough of a Scottish upper class to make up that, even mostly, by themselves.
on March 27th, 2017 at 5:14 am
I love this post. I love most of these names and love the eccentricity of Posie and Biggles siblings.
All my grandparents are of English decent and we were told as children that the word ‘posh’ was vulgar and crude and to never use it. It may well also be a generational issue as I still squirm when I hear it – yet it’s used quite frequently these days.
on March 27th, 2017 at 11:57 pm
Really like this post. My favourites are Xanthe, Guy, Orlando, Kit (although for a girl), Hugo and Willoughby.
on March 28th, 2017 at 5:51 am
Actually, quite a few of these names are on my own favourites list (even in my signature!) but I laughed out loud at ‘Purdy’.
on March 28th, 2017 at 8:57 am
I agree, the word “posh” makes me cringe — although it is descriptive of a certain something hard to explain in any other way.
I knew two little girls named Perdita “Perdy” and Araminta “Minty” when I was small. I believe their family had some sort of aristocratic connection, and in any case their names are certainly in character for it.
on March 28th, 2017 at 3:13 pm
Turns out, I’m posh! Just kidding, I’m common as muck, but I do love a lot of these; in fact my top girl and boy name are up there as well as some favourites high up my list.
Poshest Names in Britain, Part 2: Crunching the Numbers – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on March 28th, 2017 at 10:41 pm
[…] previous post on Posh Name in Britain looked at the names most typically associated with the upper class. Uncommon they may be, but if […]
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