A Blog For Name Lovers Everywhere
Considering 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)
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:
Novels Written By Her: