Monday, February 13

let's talk about: George

George-lovers Orwell and Eliot, aka Eric and Mary-Anne


Sometimes I get obsessed with a set of names and start seeing them everywhere. After I posted about Edith, I thought how lovely another featured name, Nina, sounded next to it. Then, at the playground, I met a little Nina with a brother called George. There three sound so well-suited, as a group. Nina, Edith & George, classics with some edge, interesting sounds, grown-up yet workable for a small child.

George has been in the top 200 for as long as the SSA list is available (it goes back to 1880 online) and its recorded peak was at #4, a position it held steadily from 1884 to 1909. That's quite a chunk of time, enough to ensure its popularity for years to come — George is currently at #164, still very high. On the decline since 1926, in recent years it's gone up and down a few points, off and on. This indicates that, in the US at least, George is on the verge of either giving up entirely and going out of style, or hanging on, pulling through and remaining a regularly-used classic. I wonder if it'll settle at a lower or higher spot, or just keep falling until it's no longer in the top 1,000.

George's rich history of use is why it's managed to be such a presence on the charts for so long. It's a name associated with saints, royals (I counted 21 king Georges from at least 3 countries, and 12 princes), writers and artists. 

It's comprised of Greek elements meaning "earth" and "worker," often translated as "farmer." Some great variants include Croatian Juro, Dutch Joeri, Finnish Yrjö, Frisian Joris, Galician Xurxo, German Jürgen (say that 10 times fast), medieval German Jurian, medieval Scandinavian Yrian, Swedish Örjan and Welsh Siôr. Some feminine variants include Georgia, Georgiana, Georgina, Georgeta and Georgette.

3 comments:

  1. I work with a guy named George (aged mid-late twenties) he is the first person my age I've ever met with that name. At first it seemed awkward to call him a name that I would have considered rather old fashioned, but it is growing on me. My favorite variation of George would have to be Georgiana...I'm seriously considering it as a middle name for Edie.

    BTW you forgot the spanish variant, Jorje.

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  2. I want to like George since I'm obsessed with George III and IV, but I don't really like how it sounds all that much. Still, I think it is a nice name, just one I wouldn't use myself. I do like Georgiana and Georgia though.

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  3. I love sturdy classic George, and he is quite close to the top of our list. Some days he even makes #1.

    I'm not a huge fan of feminised forms of male names anyway, but the feminine forms of George really irk me. I'd prefer girls just to be called plain George, like George Sand and George Eliot! (And George from "The Famous Five").

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