“Her godparents or whoever wished it on to her should have been guillotined!”

(Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, Jo to the Rescue, 1945)


There’s a lot you can do with a name like Amelia. You can play with it, sure, is what you think I’m going to say. Make it cute (Amy), or cuter (Millie), complaining (Meelie), or French, I guess, like the movie (Amelie). You can step right into that name, is what I mean, and walk around. Swim with it or spill it on your shirt. Whisper it over like a sad, soft ache, or bark it out aloud like a mad, manic message: camellia, come heee-re, a-million, ah murder you, ye-ah.

(Jaclyn Moriarty, Dreaming of Amelia, Macmillan, 2010)


If you say “Alicia” quickly it sounds just like a well-behaved sneeze.

(Diana Wynne Jones, The Merlin conspiracy, Collins, 2003)


Agatha Mary Clarissa was named after her mother and grandmother, the name of Agatha, she believed, being added by Clara … as a result of a suggestion made on the way to the christening. (One of Clara’s favourite novels was, moreover, Miss Mulock’s Agatha’s Husband.)

…. As her publisher told her in 1920, it was an unusual and therefore memorable name.

(Janet Morgan, Agatha Christie, 1985)

Virtue Names

Hope or Charity. One of those sorts of name, if you know what I mean. Used to be used a lot in Victorian times but you don’t hear them so much nowadays.”

(Agatha Christie – Nemesis, 1971)


What a dreadful name!

(William Haggard, The high Wire, 1963)


“Your father, being clean besotted about you, must needs choose some fanciful name for you. Star-bright eyes you had, he said . . . and the starlight was bright on your face when I looked at you for the first time, so Stella it had to be, though the name don’t go well with Sprigg to my way of thinking.”

(Elizabeth Goudge, Gentian Hill, 1950)


Magdalen! It was a strange name to have given her? Strange indeed; and yet, chosen under no extraordinary circumstances. The name had been borne by one of Mr Vanstone’s sisters, who had died in early youth; and, in affectionate remembrance of her, he had called his second daughter by it…

Magdalen! Surely, the grand old Bible name – suggestive of a sad and sombre dignity; recalling, in its first association, mournful ideas of penitence and seclusion – had been here, as events had turned out, inappropriately bestowed?

(Wilkie Collins, No Name, 1862)


“She’s called Kylie or Krystal, or one of those made-up names.”

(Terry Pratchett, Only You Can Save Mankind, 1992)


I rather like Judy. It’s such a silly name. It belongs to the kind of girl I’m not – a sweet little blue-eyed thing, petted and spoiled by all the family, who romps her way through life without any cares.

(Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs, 1912)

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