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.

  • 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]

  • 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. :)

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