Naming the Fishes

A Blog For Name Lovers Everywhere

All About Austen

jane-austenConsidering that its the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice and I’m currently reading a fun read called Bad Austen: The Worst Stories Jane Never Wrote I thought I might as well do an Austen-themed post.

We’ve all glossed over the classic and stable names used in Austen’s works such as Catherine, Jane, Elizabeth and Henry. Not to mention the popular Darcy! So I decided to focus on some underused and interesting gems, some surnames too.

Lets get to it, shall we?

Elaborate, feminine forms:

Augusta - Feminine form of Augustus meaning “great”, derived from Latin augere. This was introduced to Britain when king George III gave this name to his second daughter. (Emma)

Frederica -Feminine from of Frederick meaning “peaceful ruler,” derived from frid “peace” and ric “ruler, power”. (Lady Susan)

Georgiana -Feminine form of George, from the Greek name Georgios meaning “farmer, earthworker.” This form of the name has been in use since the 18th century. (Pride & Prejudice)

Henrietta -Feminine form of Henry meaning “home ruler.”  It was introduced to England by Henriette Marie, the wife of the 17th-century English king Charles I. (Persuasion)

Fun Surnames:

Clay -Means “clay”, originally referring to a person who lived near or worked with clay. (Persuasion)

Fairfax -a surname meaning “fair-haired.” (Emma)

Fitzwilliam -From an Irish surname meaning “son of William.” (Pride & Prejudice)

Harville -derived from Old English heorot meaning ‘hart’, ‘stag’ + feld ‘open country’. (Persuasion)

Knightley -of Anglo-Saxon origin and a locational surname from any one of the various places called “Knightley”, for example in Staffordshire. The placename is composed of the Old English pre 7th Century elements “cniht”, which mean servant or retainer with “leah”, wood or clearing in a wood. (Emma)

Tilney -meaning is debated, it is believed to mean ‘Tilla’s island from the pre 7th century personal name Till or Tilla and ‘-eg’, an island. Till(a) may be a short form of the popular Anglo-Saxon female name Matilda, or it may have originally described a farmer, one who ’tilled’ the ground. (Northanger Abbey)

Wickham -wicham was an Old English term for a settlement (Old English ham) associated with a Romano-British town. (Pride & Prejudice)

Willoughby -from a surname meaning “willow town” in Old English. (Sense & Sensibility)

Other interesting monikers:

Bertram -Means “bright raven”, derived from the Germanic element beraht “bright” combined with hramn “raven”. The Normans introduced this name to England. (Mansfield Park)

Elfrida -variant of Elfreda. From the Old English name Ælfþryð meaning “elf strength” from the element ælf combined with þryð “strength”. Ælfþryð was a 10th-century queen of England. This name was rare after the Norman conquest, but it was revived in the 19th century. (Juvenilia-Volume The First: Frederic and Elfrida)

For more information on Jane Austen:

Wikipedia Page
Pemberley Community

Novels Written By Her:

Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey
Persuasion
Emma

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5 comments on “All About Austen

  1. waltzingmorethanmatilda
    February 10, 2013

    I really like the name Fairfax, and I have seen a couple of babies named Willoughby in the past 2 years.

    At first Tilney seemed odd, but after a few reads I quite like it as a nickname.

    • namingthefishes
      February 11, 2013

      I know of one Willoughby, his parents nicknamed him “lou.” But it could also get you the lovely, laid back “Will.”

      I had considered leaving Tilney out of the list but he had grown on me as well.

  2. Clare
    February 10, 2013

    Georgiana has been one of my favorites ever since I read Pride and Prejudice, which is odd, considering I dislike George. Knightley reminds me too much of Keira Knightley, I’m afraid.

    • namingthefishes
      February 11, 2013

      Georgiana is one of my favorites too and the more simple Georgia. I suppose it might be the frilliness that attracts you and I.

  3. namingthefishes
    February 11, 2013

    I also want to note that there is a webseries on youtube called the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modern adaptation. It is pretty awesome and if you cannot get enough of pride & prejudice and jane austen it might be it for you.

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