Is it time to put me out to pasture now? Is it time to commit me? Run for the hills, I’m going to talk about Edna!

Two things have brought me to my Edna musings. One is my genealogy research: Edna is a family name on my mother’s side. Her grandmother was an Edna, and it is my Aunt Louise’s middle name. The other is a thread on Doris on BNaBBT. I really like Doris, and the thread got me thinking about “frumpy” names.

I like Edna’s sound and history. It’s got two roots: one as an Anglicisation of Eithne, and another from Hebrew, meaning “pleasure.” I know I’m going waaay against the grain when I say I like the sound of Edna, but I personally don’t see the problem with it. Hannah is top 10 and I find it unpleasantly breathy; I much prefer the solidity of Edna. Edie is an adorable nickname, too. Edna’s a great alternative since I don’t care overmuch for Edith; seems dirty to me in a weird way. Too pioneer girl. I know a ton of people think Edna Krabappel from The Simpsons, but that doesn’t bother me too much. It’ll fade.

A few Edna combos for your perusal

  • Edna Daisy
  • Edna Beatrix
  • Edna Frances (unrepentantly “frumpy”)
  • Edna Lucienne
  • Edna Penelope
  • Edna Catherine
  • Edna Marianne
  • Edna Jessamine

Too lazy to do some three namers. I’ve been on a single middle name kick lately anyway. There are two or three up there that make my heart go aflutter, but I’m not going to bias you guys!

So, let me have it. Tell me what you think of Edna. You won’t hurt my feelings, promise.

Hey guys. First, some non name related stuff. First, how do you all like the new layout? I was tiring of how dark the other one was. Plus, I think green is the best color in the world. Second, happy April Fools! I wasn’t on the receieving end of any stupid jokes today, so I’m in a good mood. BNaBBT changed the board to Sweedish, and my favorite news blog,, said that comments would be closed! Although I don’t comment I was a little upset, because the people who post there are usually insightful and witty as hell. I thought about pulling a joke on you guys, but I didn’t have the heart to. You’d probably know right off though, wouldn’t you, you crafty devils?


I was thinking today about one of the most perfect names I’ve ever heard: Ada Lovelace. Born Augusta Ada Byron in 1815, she is widely regarded as the first computer programmer. She was the daughter of Lord Byron, the poet (who I love, by the way; I’m not incredibly familiar with his work, but what I know, I like) and Annabella Milbanke. She was the countess of Lovelace, which is where she got the name she is most known by.

Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace

Ada Lovelace

I think she’s a fantastic role model for any young girl, and an especially auspicious namesake for any programmer or coder.

Anyway, thinking about Ada Lovelace made me love Ada. It’s simple but sturdy and feminine without drowning in frills. The only problem is its similarity to Ava and Eva. She’d probably get called Ava most of the time these days. Although Ava is pretty, I vastly prefer Ada for its old fashioned charm and more sturdy feel.

Don’t count Ada out of the fashion game, though. It’s top 100 in Norway and has recently re-entered the charts here for the first time in a while. As of 2007, it sat at 646, and I expect it to rise some more, especially given the continued popularity of Ava.

I think Ada is a fantastic name, overall. It’s short but substantial and packs a great punch. For such a short name, it manages to sound serious, but still retains its playful, almost nickname like feel. (For you origin buffs, it was originally a nickname for Adelaide, but I think it stands alone fine now.) I fully endorse it as a full name, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it as a nickname. A few ideas if Ada isn’t substantial enough for you: Adelaide, Adara, Adela, Adeline, Zenaida. However, I really feel that this one stands on its own. I like Ida, too, for the record.

A few Ada combos:

  • Ada Juniper
  • Ada Beatrix
  • Ada Cecile
  • Ada Jane
  • Ada Prudence
  • Ada Penelope
  • Ada June
  • Ada Susan

What do you guys think of sweet, simple, Ada?

First, some news: I put in my paperwork to transfer to the college of Education at my university today! I should be enrolled as a student of secondary English in about six weeks, and I’m super excited! GAHHH I WILL SHAPE THE YOUTH OF TOMORROW AND MAKE THEM LOVE JANE AUSTEN AS MUCH AS I DO! Okay, maybe not, but I am really excited.


I’ve been really into Allegra lately. Its bouncy sound, open look, and effortless femininity have been appealing to me big time. Of course, there’s the allergy medication problem. I don’t seem to see the commercials too much anymore, though, do you?

I think the primary appeal to Allegra is the sound. It’s open yet strong, feminine yet grounded. It’s unabashedly joyous but down to earth. Honestly, it’s quite perfect, going completely on sound. To my mind’s eye, Allegra is pink/red/green/yellow, god knows why. Very colorful, like its sound. I also love the general look of the name. It’s balanced, but the hanging tail of the g lends it a little quirk. That’s why I sometimes find names like Hannah boring; they’re so regular looking in writing. Sometimes I like balance, but a little quirk is likely to intrigue me more. Another possible plus, depending on your point of view, is the possible nickname Allie. If Allegra would rather blend in, she’s got that.

The problem with Allegra is obviously the allergy medication. that’s the first thing most people think of. In my traditional weirdness vein, though, that’s not my first association. I think of Allegra’s Window, the mid-90s children’s show. I don’t know if I ever watched it, but that’s my first association. It’s not unpleasant, and a lot better than medicine!

Some Allegra combos, for the halibut:

  • Allegra Corinne
  • Allegra Beatrix
  • Allegra Daphne
  • Allegra Frances
  • Allegra June

I’m in a two name combo mood today. I’m also lazy and don’t feel like thinking about second middles too much.

So what are your thoughts on Allegra? Would you consider it usable? Would you use it yourself? What would you pair it with?

So, I’m still head over heels in love with Alice. I think it’s sweet, unusual (for the moment- we’ll get to that), and refreshingly down to earth. The sound is gorgeous and the associations positive. So, it’s gone from an infatuation to a long term relationship, you might say. Speaking of, Sean likes it too; I asked him if he could see naming a girlchild Alice and he said yes, so, I’m good there. Honestly the Alice arc is very similar to the Daphne one, if I think about it; names I thought were short term loves that have stuck around much longer than expected. The only qualm I have is that between Twilight and the vogue for “honest names,” Alice is due for a comeback in a big way. I hope not! I love the name, but I want to use it! Anyway, of my combos back from December, I’m still fond of:


Still completely charmed by Mary Augusta, Chanel’s brilliant Mary double barrel, so I thought I’d do a post on some double Mary names. I’ll be honest, usually I’m not a fan of double barrels because I think they have a tendency to sound either too Catholic, too pretentious, or too twee. Can you imagine “Mary Beatrix, can you come here, dear? Mummy needs you to freshen her drink,” or see Mary Agnes without picturing a nun? It’s a fine line you need to walk to make a double Mary name work. Some barreled names, such as Marybeth and MaryAnn, have become decently popular “smush” names, so they are to be avoided as well. As for the hyphen: no! The hyphen is just awful, in my opinion. My hatred of punctuation in names does not stop at apastrophes.

I’m going to try my hand at some double barrels with Mary. I probably wouldn’t use a Mary- name, so these might get a little fanciful! I think Mary works best with an unexpected 2nd half:

  • Mary Violet (saw this on a board I frequent and I love it)
  • Mary Scarlett (ditto)
  • Mary Alice (Love this)
  • Mary Frances
  • Mary Petra (Be still my beating heart! I love this one.)
  • Mary Zelda
  • Mary Charlotte
  • Mary Eden
  • Mary Iris

Of cpurse, there’s always the “First middle nickname” route. Mary Elizabeth called Mary Beth, Mary Katherine called Mary Kate. I think that’s a really good way to double barrel without fully committing, in case you’re not sure it would work for you. Mary Jane is beautiful too, but there’s that pesky drug connection. I’ve also got Mary Clementine knocking about, but I’m not convinced that it would be acually usable. Also, what would you do about middles with a double barrel first? I usually play with 3 name combos, so putting a middle in wouldn’t bother me, but if you ony want 2 names, do you add a middle or not? What are your opinions on hypenating the two names? What do you think of these names as a “genre?” I would love to hear your thoughts!

I’ve been really digging Augusta lately, inspired by Chanel’s lovely double barrel, Mary Augusta, as well as her combo Martha Augusta. I think that Martha and Augusta sound like sisters; slightly severe yet friendly, and dignified as anything. It last charted in the 30s, so I think Augusta is due for revival. The male “August” names are gaining steam, so why not this equally dignified female equivalent? I think that the strait-laced aspect is more fun than anything these days. People know that you aren’t trying to sound particularly formal, given today’s casual environment, so the name comes off as funky and cool instead of stuffy and pretentious.

To me, Augusta is a stately forest green, which is interesting, considering August and Augustus are shades or orange and red. I think this is probably because of the city in Maine. I think it’s got a nice New England feel to it.

The cons to Augusta would be the very formal feel of the name in its entirety, exacerbated by the lack of nicknames aside from Gussie. If you don’t like Gussie, you have Augie, which isn’t cute at all, or Usta, which reminds me of estuary. Gusta sounds like gusto and Aug is just sort of unfortunate. So, you either use Gussie or the full name, which could be very difficult for people to envision on a tiny baby; this might delay a revival or prevent a full one. I like Gussie, though; it feels very flapper to me.

And, some combos:

  • Augusta Marianne
  • Augusta Daphne
  • Augusta Fern
  • Augusta Lucille
  • Augusta Ivy
  • Augusta Daisy
  • Augusta Ruby
  • Augusta Scarlett (usually I dislike Scarlett but I like it here)
  • Augusta Marisol

I feel like you can go with something a little less substantial in the middle, since Augusta has such heft. And I think I prefer it with one middle, just because of that same weight. I also love to play to the 20s vibe with Augusta Ruby and the like. What would you pair Augusta with?

So what do you think of Augusta? Is it due for a comeback? Am I crazy? Would you use it yourself? What kind of middles do you think work? So many questions, as usual!

I’ve been loving these two lately. I think they’re unusual and exciting, maybe a bit flighty (I’m looking at you, Henrietta) and a great way to honor an Uncle Harry or Grandpa Henry without using their names, exactly. Honestly, I just feel like singing the virtues of these two from the rooftops! I seriously am loving them.

First, Harriet. I love the sound of the name (no “hairy” problem here) and the energetic -t ending. It’s quaint and charming, and very uncommon; it last charted in the 60s, and probably isn’t due for a comeback yet. You would think it would be, but I think the consonant heavy sound keeps it on the distant, rather than near, horizon. I don’t even see it too much on message boards, which are usually decent predictors of trends. The nickname possibilities are good, too: Etta, Ette, Hattie, etc. Just avoid Harry! Some Harriet combos, off the cuff:

  • Harriet Cecilia Alice
  • Harriet Dahlia Daphne
  • Harriet Felicity Fern
  • Harriet Margareta Iris
  • Harriet Emma Jane (Jane Austen for the win!)
  • Harriet Eliza Jane

Henrietta is girlier than Harriet, no doubt about it. It also seems more “upper-class,” in much the same way Henry sounds more upper class than Harry. However, I feel as though the name might be a little too flighty for a real girl. Whichever way you slice it, it’s a whole lotta name. The sound is softer than Harriet’s, so that might make it a contender for revival down the line. Feminised male names aren’t incredibly in vogue, though (although I wouldn’t say they’re particularly unfashionable).  I think Hen or Henny is a darling nickname, and I would love to see Henrietta revived. I think I would view it as more usable if I saw it on an actual person! Again, some off the cuff ones:

  • Henrietta Dorothy Jane
  • Henrietta Georgia Beatrix
  • Henrietta Juniper Josephine
  • Henrietta Rosemary Joan/Jane
  • Henrietta Daphne
  • Henrietta Josephine

Just having some fun, as you can see; I would never name a kid Henrietta Juniper Josephine! I still think it’s awesome, though, and if I had a superhero to name, that would be it!

How do you like Harriet? Henrietta? What combos do you like, and do you have any of your own?

I know what some of you guys are probably thinking: “She’s hopped onto the frumpy wagon towards frumpville, hasn’t she?” Well, obviously I don’t think Judith (or Martha) are frumpy, but if you think they are…oh well! Actually, my recent thoughts about Judith have been prompted by yet another singer, this time Wir Sind Helden’s Judith Holofernes (born Judith Holfelder von der Tann). I’ve been quite obsessed with this band as of late, and let me say: Anyone who thinks German is an ugly language should listen to her sing. Anyway, I’m still feeling ambivalent about Judith the name, so I’ll do a post to sort it out, I think.

So, let’s start with what I like about the name Judith. First and foremostly, Judy. I think it’s a great nickname, sprightly yet adult. I even think it stands alone anymore, although I wouldn’t use it in that fashion. Second, I like the history of the name; it’s legitimate without a doubt. Third, the Wir Sind Helden singer/songwriter. She’s the awesome-sauce, without a doubt. Last, I suppose, would be the strong sound of Judith. I miss strong girl’s names. All in all, I think Judith is a nice name and a refreshing choice for a daughter these days.

Now for the cons. The name is dated, no two ways about it. It screams 40s. In addition, it reminds me of my senior year biology teacher, who was a nutcase of the highest order and sort of creepy besides. Third, I don’t think it fits with my other favorites at all, and honestly, there are a lot of names I like better. I’m also not fond of -th endings.

Hm. Judith isn’t for me, I think. It’s like knee high boots: I can admire them from afar, but they looks like hell on my short legs. Judith is very much the same. I’d love to meet little Judys but the name isn’t for me. I think it’s the Bio teacher that really put the nail in the coffin. She was freaking bizarre, and couldn’t teach besides. It’s a super-unpleasant association. Well, some Judith combos for your trouble of reading this post:

  • Judith Felicity Fern
  • Judith Viviana Eve
  • Judith Christabel/Annabel
  • Judith Lucienne
  • Judith Rosemary
  • Judith Mina Melisande

That’s it, really. Just off the cuff, since I realize I’m not wild about Judith anyway. I still think Judy is swell, though. Judit, maybe. Actually, I think I like Judit a lot better. JOO-deet. Hm. Could be Yoo-deet though, I’m not sure. I think I like it, though!

What’s your opinion, guys?

Next Page »