Couple of name sightings I had to share

Working on name lists at work, I see lots of, um, interesting names, but today two stuck out so much that I just had to share. These are adults, or at least college-age. I'm guessing they're both female, but I don't have definitive gender information.




December 19, 2018 8:00 PM

Honeybee is kinda sweet (no pun intended). I can see it in families who like nature names. Fightress is interesting. It does challenge the usual trend of saving powerful names for boys... (That -ess ending must be on a female, right?)

December 20, 2018 11:17 AM

"That -ess ending must be on a female, right?" One sincerely hopes so, but in this day and age?

December 20, 2018 3:09 PM

Other female -ess names with their years of debut:
1895 - Princess. 1914 - Countess, Wintress. 1957 - Goddess. 1964- Duchess and Dutchess. 1985- Tempess. 1989 - Empress. 

But it's not an infrequent male name element either.  Interesting longstanding male -ess names in other categories include Printess (I'm guessing this might be a variant of Prentiss?), Fentress (which appears to be a surname as well), and Tyress (a spinoff of Tyrone like Tyrese?). Others involve the -less construction (Peerless, Carless, Loveless, Lawless, Bayless, Harless -- yes, those all make it into the SSA data). Some are legitimately masculine titles (Marquess, which is a male title for someone ranking between a duke and an earl, both of which are used as male given names in a longstanding way as well), some are words (Press, Congress, Guess, Bless, Access, Success).

Point is, while -ess names skew female, they don't always... and that's been the case for a while, not just in this day and age.

December 22, 2018 7:19 PM

It's not just the -ess, but the fact that there is a masculine/neutral version in Fighter. Fightress feels like an intentional attempt to feminize.

December 26, 2018 5:15 PM


December 28, 2018 8:58 PM

Oh my. I misread that as Careless (how careless of me!).

Also, Loveless? Hoping some of them changed their names to Lovemore. 

December 29, 2018 1:54 PM

Or at least Lovelace!

By EVie
December 30, 2018 3:30 PM

Loveless at least is probably a transferred surname—from the Dictionary of American Family Names: 

nickname from Middle English loveles ‘loveless’, ‘without love’, probably in the sense ‘fancy free’. some early examples, such as Richard Lovelas (Kent 1344), may have as their second element Middle English las(se) ‘girl’, ‘maiden’.

And Lovelace is actually just a variant of the same name:

English: variant of Loveless. The spelling is apparently the result of folk etymology, which understood the word as a nickname for a dandy fond of lace. The modern sense of this word is, however, not attested until the 16th century and at the time of surname formation it meant only ‘cord’ or ‘shoelace’. 

Lawless too:

Scottish, Irish, and English: nickname for an unbridled and licentious man, from Middle English laghless, lawelas (a compound of late Old English lagu ‘law’ (from Old Norse) + the native suffix -l(e)as ‘without’, ‘lacking’). Reaney suggests additionally that this name may have referred to an outlaw (i.e. one from whom the protection of the law had been withdrawn), but this seems unlikely.

December 31, 2018 11:15 PM

Thanks EVie! Surnames really are fascinating.

But it still feels a tad harsh as a first name. I do hope their lives were filled with love, because we could use a little more love in this world for 2019. 

By EVie
January 2, 2019 11:26 PM

I wouldn't want it as my surname, either, for that matter! I feel you'd have to be *very* attached to your family to pass that on as a given name to your kids. There are quite a lot of English surnames in the "inherited nickname" category that are pretty unfortunate, one day I'll have to dig into my notes and make a list.

December 20, 2018 12:29 AM

Those are both great finds! I can't say that I would want them to be my name, but I'm delighted to read about them here. Honeybee sounds like a name in a fantasy novel.

January 4, 2019 5:31 PM

I agree that these are not surnames I would like to have... what boggles my mind is that other people felt not just that they should be bestowed as surnames to continue family tradition, but made the transfer to use them in the given name slot!