Zephyr

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

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

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Jack

“There’s such a vogue for fancy names nowadays [1890s]. All your Cuthberts and Wilfreds and Percivals. Perhaps I am merely being perverse, but I feel a desire for something absolutely plain for him. I imagine him in a few years’ time when he’s a sturdy boy running about, and I can’t imagine myself calling out ‘Clarence!’ or ‘Algernon!’ or ‘Phineas!’ . . . . Jack. That’s a nice, plain, manly name.”

(Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, The Homecoming, 2001)

Amelia

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)

Alicia

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

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

Agatha

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)

Abdullah

Abdullah
“What a fine name the hero of that story had,” she said aloud. “If I were a man I would wish my parents had called me that.”

(1001 Arabian Nights adapted by Geraldine McCaughrean.)

Henry

He always signed his name “Henery” – strenuously insisting upon that spelling, and if any passing schoolmaster ventured to remark that the second ‘e’ was superfluous and old-fashioned, he received the reply that ‘H-e-n-e-r-y’ was the name he was christened and the name he would stick to – in the tone of to whom orthographical differences were matters which had a great deal to do with personal character.

(Thomas Hardy, Far from the madding crowd, 1874)

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)

Ichabod

Priss felt in awe of a person who could fasten a name like that onto a baby. “Aren’t you afraid he’ll be called ‘Icky’ in school?”

(Mary McCarthy, The group, 1963)

Irene

What a dreadful name!

(William Haggard, The high Wire, 1963)

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