Wednesday, March 28

let's talk about: Vincent

Vincents real and fictional — van Gogh & Vega

I've heard Vincent described as "dated," but that never made sense to me. Yeah, call him Vinny and it brings to mind over-tanned Jersey Shore rejects, but Vincent has modern classic written all over it. It's a name with an extensive history of use that has been a steady presence on the US charts since the 1880s. Vincent is cool —  masculine yet soft, recognizable in many cultures, suitable for a troubled artist or young prince (Danish Prince Vincent was born in 2011) — and unusual enough that it'll stand out without being conspicuous. 

Vincent is from the Roman name Vincentius, from the Latin for "to conquer." Popular with early Christians, it has been in regular use since the Middle Ages. A famous early bearer of the name was Saint Vincent de Paul, a French Catholic priest who dedicated his life to serving the poor. The French pronunciation of Vincent is one of my favorites, though probably unworkable for an American boy — you can hear it here, sung by Yves Montand.

In the US, Vincent began to rise in popularity around the late 1800s. By the turn of the century it was at #129, only 20 spots off where it ranks today, at #109. Though fairly steadily in the lower 100s, it saw periods of increased popularity in the 1910s, '60s and '80s — and it reached its highest point in 1966, at #58. It ranks popularly in many countries, including Sweden, where it's well within the top 50, the Netherlands and France, where it's in the top 200.

Vincent has many great variants — Basque Bikendi, Catalan Vicenç, Czech Cenek, German Vinzent or Vinzenz, Hungarian Bence, Italian Vincenzo, original Late Roman Vincentius, Portuguese and Spanish Vicente, Russian Vikenti and Slovene Vinko.

2 comments:

  1. No idea why, but Vincent is suddenly all over the name-blogosphere!

    No WAY is Vincent dated, he's definitely a classic.

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  2. My four year old nephew is a Vincent. Vincent Aureliu$ M@xwell, in fact. I've never understood the "dated" term. His best friends are Ezra and Isaac -- I think they all work just fine together.

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