Saturday, November 17, 2012

Medieval Madness

'-ee' names are big right now, especially for girls. No denying that! But, it's not a new trend, in fact, it's been decently common since the Middle Ages. Quite often when a name was imported from Latin to English and/or French, the '-ius/ia' was replaced with simply '-y/ie'; and in Norman French in particular, names of any origin were altered to end in '-y'.
Later in English, this expanded to '-y/ee/ie' becoming a diminutive of any name, but it has stayed more common for girls. Quite often, just like today, these regional forms and nicknames became accepted as separate names on their own.

Boys:
  • Anthony [Antonius]
  • Aubrey [Alberich]
  • Avery [Alberich/Alfred]
  • Barnaby [Barnabus]
  • Emery [Emmerich]
  • Geoffrey/Jeffrey [Walahfrid/Gaufrid]
  • Godfrey [Godafrid]
  • Gregory [Gregorius]
  • Hilary [Hilarius]
  • Humphrey [Hunfrid]
  • Jeremy [Jeremiah]
  • Stacy [Eustace]
  • Toby [Tobias]
  • Zachary [Zacharius]

Girls:
  • Audrey [Etheldred]
  • Barbary [Barbara]
  • Cecily [Cecilia]
  • Clemency [Clementia]
  • Dorothy [Dorothea]
  • Dulcie [Dulcia]
  • Idony [Idonea]
  • Jenny [Jane]
  • Lucy [Lucia]
  • Margery [Margaret]
  • Mary [Maria]
  • Nancy [Annis/Anne]
  • Sibley [Sibyl]
  • Sidony [Sidonia]
  • Tiffany [Theophania]

It is rather interesting how names evolve. In some cases, the original forms & the '-y' forms stayed separate; in others the '-y' is currently regarded as a nickname. Many of the forms have died out entirely. And of course, a few have inevitably changed from male to female. 
Really makes me wonder what the naming pool will look like in 500 years. :)