Monday, March 11

Old Québec Names

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Name blog The Diving Bells recently linked to a site listing tons of names used in Québec in the mid-19th to early-20th century. I thought I'd be a copycat and list some of my favorites, but when I started going through the list I realized there were just too many good ones to compile into a reasonably-short post. So here are my favorites that start with "A," for girls and boys — 

Adalaïs — an old, obscure variant of Adelaide, which means "noble kind." This one could roll quite nicely into modern English use, I think, with its easy nickname (Ada) and its sweet, reminiscent-of-Madeleine sound. I love the look of it as well, flowery and well-balanced

Adéléosa — this one's a bit more exotic. I might even like Léosa on its own. It's so over-the-top feminine, I can't help but love it. I imagine it's inspired by the name Adele, though I can't seem to find any information on it from a source other than the list itself. Very rare, and very pretty

Adéliska — I have such a weakness for "-iska" girl names. Now that I think of it, "Adel—" is a good element to have in a name-smush, since it works well with so many different endings and sounds

Agnéline — I wonder if this one was recorded as a misspelling of Angéline. Funny how you switch a couple of letters around and the name loses all its charm. I prefer to think of this one as an Agnes + "-line" combination. If you're going for an "old lady chic" name, I think French old lady is the way to go

Almaïs — I've always liked the name Alma, mostly because it has a perfect meaning: "soul." Almaïs takes it up a notch in my book, looking a bit more exotic. It may also be inspired by the Arabic name Almas, which means "diamond" and can be used for girls or boys  

Ambéline — anyone else thinking of Thumbelina? This one might be better-suited to a bakery than a child, but I think it's really interesting. Always liked the "Amb" sound but just can't get into tired "Amber"? Lots of nickname possibilities, too

Abdon — found in the Bible (on various figures, including sons of Hillel, Gideon and Micah) and on a saint (Saint Abdon was a martyr killed on the same day as Saint Sennen) this is a Hebrew name meaning "servile." It's also found in Spanish-speaking countries like Spain, Uruguay and Bolivia, as Abdón 

Accasius  possibly from the Greek Akakios, meaning "not evil." Nice meaning, huh! I guess you could interpret that as "innocent," too, but I kind of like "not evil," you know? High hopes for Accasius! I am a fan of Cassius, so this one stood out

Achélias — pronounced "a-kay-lee-us,"  this one's really handsome. These elements wouldn't necessarily read as masculine to an English-speaking ear, but I think this one manages to bridge the gap nicely. The right boy could totally pull it off

Adalor  no information on this one, I just liked the look of it. Might be a nice surname. Does anyone know more about it?

Adelphi  Delphi is one of my favorite girl names, so I'm always looking for similar boy names. However, these two have very different meanings: Delphi comes from the Greek word delphys, meaning "womb," and Adelphi comes from adelphoi, meaning "brothers"

Alexire — I've never had an "Alex-" name on my list, but this one is pretty cool. I can see it being used in the US, for sure. The question is, how would you pronounce it? Something like "alec-zire," or maybe "alec-zeer"?  

Améleus — perhaps a variant of ancient Roman name Aemilius, the ancient form of Emil, meaning "rival"

Arpad — Árpád is an Hungarian name meaning "seed," and I've always found it appealing. It's fun to say, has an unusual sound (for English, anyway) and seems playful, yet mature. The Árpáds were the ruling dynasty of Hungary from the 9th century all the way until the beginning of the 14th, and the name is still in regular use there. It's probably the most popular name on this list! 

Here's a bonus: the second Grand Prince Árpád ruled from 895-907 and had five sons. Their names were LiüntikaTarkatzusJelekJutotzas and Zoltán.


  1. Deja vu, ha! I'm awful at keeping up with my bookmarked name blogs and just saw this now.

    I'll definitely come back to check on C to Z. ;)

  2. Adéléosa -- might just be another elaboration of Adalaide; Leosa was a Dabo girl on Star Trek, so that's all I think of there; pron. ah-day-lay-oh-sah

    Agnéline -- femme form of Agnélin, relating to lambs (agnel); pron. ahn-yel-een

    Almaïs -- the suffix -is = Occitan [e.g. Anaïs]; pron. ahl-mah-ees

    Ambéline -- Ambel is the name of a town; pron. ahm-bay-leen

    Achélias -- pron. ah-shay-lee-ahs

    Alexire -- pron. ah-lek-seer


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