Sunday, December 18, 2011


Changing the spelling of a name, no matter how critics may rail against it, is really nothing new. But, while parents today change a spelling to make it "look better" or to be "more unique", in the past, spellings were often altered to make name look like it meant something better. I suspect the main culprits were those most likely to care about that sort of thing (not to mention most likely to be literate)--the clergy and the well-educated.
After all, it looks much better to say: "My daughter's name means 'pure'."
rather than: "We're not really sure where it came from. Possibly, it relates to a pagan goddess."

  • Agnes--original form: Hagne (Greek, "chaste"). Changed to resemble Latin agnos, "lamb".
  • Anthony--original form: Antonius (prob. Etruscan, meaning unknown). Changed to resemble Greek anthos, "flower".
  • Avis--original form: Aveza (Germanic, "desired"). Changed to resemble Latin avis, "bird".
  • Beatrix--original form: Viatrix (Latin, "traveller"). Changed to resemble Latin beatus, "blessed".
  • Cyrus/Kyros--original form: Kurush (prob. Persian, meaning uncertain; poss. "sun", "caregiver", or "young"). Changed to resemble Greek kyrios, "lord".
  • Heloise/Eloise--original form: Helewidis (Germanic, "healthy and wide"). Changed to resemble Greek helios, "sun"
  • Ignatius--original form: Egnatius (Etruscan, meaning unknown). Changed to resemble Latin ignis, "fire".
  • Katherine--original form: Aikaterine (Greek, meaning uncertain). Changed to resemble Greek katharos, "pure".
  • Lance--original form: Lanzo (Germanic, "land"). Changed to resemble French lance, "spear".
  • Leopold--original form: Leudbald (Germanic, "of bold people"). Changed to resemble Latin leo, "lion".
  • Oliver--original form: prob. Alfher (Germanic, "elf warrior") or Aleifr (Norse, "ancestor's descendent"). Changed to resemble Latin oliva, "olive tree".
  • Percival--original form: Peredur (Welsh, meaning unknown). Changed to resemble French percer, "to pierce".
  • Philbert--original form: Filibert (Germanic, "very bright"). Changed to resemble Greek philos, "love".
  • Rose--original form: Rohese (Germanic, "of famous kind"). Changed to resemble Latin rosa.
  • Rosamund--original form: Rosmunda (Germanic, "horse protector"). Changed to resemble Latin rosa munda, "pure rose".
  • Skyler--original form: Schuyler (Dutch, "scholar"). Changed to resemble English sky.
  • Tristan--original form: Drustan (Pictish, "little riot"). Changed to resemble Latin tristis, "sad".
  • Veronica--original form: Pheronike (Greek, "bringer of victory"). Changed to resemble Latin vera icon, "true image".
  • Winifred--original form: Gwenfrewi (Welsh, "holy reconciliation"). Changed to resemble Old English win fred, "friend of peace".

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