A Ricky-Dicky footnote

Aug 21st 2006

Brother. You go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, maybe even write some fancy-schmancy baby name book, you think you're a grownup, right? Then what happens? You get totally schooled by your dad on your baby name blog.

Yes, after last week's blog on Ricks and Dicks, my father sent an innocent little note. He was shocked, shocked to discover I had neglected to mention a certain Rick. A Rick who hit the silver screen in a white dinner jacket in 1942. Whoopsy-daisy. So kindly insert a big line for Casablanca in the Rick-Dick graph.

Though it's worth noting that Ricky, not Rick, was the major phenomenon, and nobody would have dreamed of calling Humphrey Bogart Ricky. For that matter, nobody got named Ilsa after the movie, either. And...aww, nevermind. Back to the baby naming mines. (And thanks, Dad.)


By Christiana (not verified)
August 22, 2006 12:44 PM

I actually think it's interesting that Cassablanca didn't have more of an effect on naming trends, as popular as the movie was - and still is. I once considered naming my daughter Ilsa based on Ingrid bergman's character (though decided against it now). Maybe Bogart was still so completely Bogart in that movie that no one considered him a Rick? When you talk about it, you don't talk about Ilsa and Rick, you talk about Bogart and Bergman.

By Shelly (not verified)
August 22, 2006 7:47 PM

I wonder if Casablanca and Ingrid Bergman gave a boost to the name Ingrid. It seemed to get a bit of a bump around that time.

By Marjorie (not verified)
August 22, 2006 7:59 PM

Just checked the Name Voyager - Humphrey seems to have had a very short life! Know any little boys named Humphrey these days? :-)

Basically a family name I imagine.

By Christiana (not verified)
August 22, 2006 8:17 PM

Can you imagine nicknaming Humphrey? What do you call him? Humph? Phrey? Humpty? Poor kid.

Ingrid was big overseas for a lot of years, right? Mostly Scandanavian countries, but still very popular. Is it on any of the European lists now?

By sarah (not verified)
August 23, 2006 12:51 AM

I've heard that Humphrey has long held a negative effeminate connotation in the UK. Wasn't the very flamboyantly gay character on "Are You Being Served" called Mr Humphreys? Or do I have that all wrong?

By Jillian (not verified)
August 23, 2006 3:09 PM

I have a friend named Humphrey - he is actually a III. Dad is called Rocky, he is called Chip. Not sure what other is called.

By Holly (not verified)
August 23, 2006 6:20 PM

I knew a guy named Humphrey who was my age (mid 20's now) and it always seemed like a really "old" name at the time. He wasn't a Jr. or anything so I think that made it especially strange.

Anyway Humphrey's nickname was Hump

By Sam (not verified)
August 23, 2006 9:45 PM

You know, as I continue to "grow up" I find more and more that I am not as original and unique as I thought. For example, I thought the fact that I loved names, poured over them, researched them when one interested me, made me weird. (Another example of my non-uniqueness might be the fact that I decided should I ever have daughters, I would name them Isabelle and Emma, though, in my defense, I decided that back in '97, before the craze, and Emma was to be short for Emmeline.) Anyway, I am psyched to find a name blog with so many intelligent and interesting people who comment. What does everyone think of Emmeline? I have never seen on a name list, but I think it is a real name. Maybe not though.

By Sam (not verified)
August 23, 2006 9:47 PM

Oh, and I know a Bogie, named after Humphrey.

By Valerie (not verified)
August 23, 2006 11:51 PM

Yes, Sam, it's so great to have a site like this- thanks Laura! I have to admit I'm checking it daily, and always enjoy all the comments, as well as the blog entries of course! It's great to 'meet' people who love names as much as I do and are interested in their origin and usage.

BTW, I found a website the other day that gives you the equivalent of a name in other languages (for example, Michael becomes Michel(Fr), Miguel (Sp), Mikhail (Russ), etc.). It's really great. But now I can't find it.Does anyone know where it is? I've always been interested in such variants.

By Wendy (not verified)
August 24, 2006 3:51 AM

Laura, I am confused. Looking at the name voyager chart posted in the Ricks and Dicks blog, it looks like Rick was actually more popular than Ricky. Am I reading it wrong?

And Sam, Emmeline is a real name sometimes it is spelled Emeline.

By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
August 24, 2006 1:30 PM

I just looked at the Name Voyager and discovered that Ricky was much more popular than Rick despite Rick having a sharper point on the graph. Ricky still made the charts in 2005 whereas Rick dropped off a few years ago.

By Sarah A. (not verified)
August 24, 2006 3:34 PM

Sam, Emmeline Harris is a character in the Anne of Green Gables books...I want to say it's Anne of Windy Poplars. Her character is a wealthy but socially misfit girl in a school where Anne teaches who blossoms into a talented and outgoing young woman. I've always thought Emmeline is both beautiful and underused.

By Gemma (not verified)
August 24, 2006 4:54 PM

Valerie, the website behindthename.com has a name translator in their features section. You can find not only how the name is spelled in other languages but also in a variety of other styles.

By Christiana (not verified)
August 24, 2006 6:54 PM

Sam, I echo your feelings about this site and what I formerly thought of as uniqueness. I've mentioend before that I first wanted to use isabelle in '96 when a little-watched show came out (it was canceled after 13 eps) had a character I liked named Isabelle. And I've liked Emma since my preteens (early 90s) reading the Sunset Dreams series. I wonder what it is about our generation?

Emmeline is pretty and Sarah A is correct about the Anne of WIndy Poplars book - in the movies, it was Anne of Avonlea where she taught at the school. Big Anne of GG fan here!

By Abi (not verified)
August 24, 2006 7:52 PM

Ingrid was the 8th most popular girl's name in Norway in 2004.

By Becky (not verified)
August 24, 2006 8:43 PM

Sam: Listen closely to the 1975 Hot Chocolate song "Emma" before you name your child Emmeline. It's a very creepy and upsetting song, and it completely ruined both names for me.

By Amelia (not verified)
August 25, 2006 4:33 AM


Just joining the fellow Anne of Green Gables fans here to say that, yes, it's definitely a real name and a classic one at that. I'm not sure how much I like it myself, though, as much as I do love anything connected with Anne (heh, such as wanting to name my daughter Cordelia after Anne's favourite name).

By rachel (not verified)
August 26, 2006 11:53 AM

Ingrid is a very popular name in Europe. I know quite a few of them.

Emeline is a french name. Dunno how popular though.

By Bev (not verified)
August 27, 2006 4:04 AM

[quote]Sam: Listen closely to the 1975 Hot Chocolate song "Emma" before you name your child Emmeline. It's a very creepy and upsetting song, and it completely ruined both names for me.[/quote]

The song about the dead movie star? Agreed. Creepy. I also associate the name with the Judith Rossner novel, which was allegedly based on a true story and also made into an opera, called "Emmeline." The protagonist was a 13-ish textile mill girl who was impregnated by the boss's son. The baby was given up for adoption. Years later, she is back on her family's farm and her dad hires this handsome young drifter. He and Em fall in love despite the fact he's much younger, and eventually they find out from her aunt that he's HER SON. Ewww.

Despite those two negative connotations, I still like the name. Sam, are you thinking of pronouncing it EmmeLEEN (rhymes with green) or EmmeLINE (rhymes with mine)?

By Sam (not verified)
August 27, 2006 2:16 PM

I'm wanting to pronounce it EmmeLINE. I'm surprised that the name is not more popular. Like with the boy's Aidan, names that sound the same (Jaden, Haiden, Caden) are popular as well. With Madeline being so popular, and Emma as well, I thought that Emmeline/Emeline, would gaining in popularity.

By eleni (not verified)
August 29, 2006 4:55 AM

Amelia and Christiana, I am also a big Anne of Green Gables fan, read all the Anne books as a very young girl. I also read the Emily books. I think those books were wonderful for name lovers.

Here's the funny thing - I totally forgot about Anne's favorite name being Cordelia until I read your post, Amelia. And yet I, too, have long planned on naming my daughter Cordelia.
I'll bet it's not a coincidence. Our ideas about names - the images they conjure and our gut-level responses to them - are, I think, deeply rooted in the stories and songs of our childhood.

It makes sense that people with similar backgrounds (that is, people likely to have been exposed to many of the same cultural artifacts) would gravitate toward certain names. Hmmm . . . I think I'm just stating the obvious, here.

Sam, if any of the anti-Emmeline arguments are changing your mind (and they ought not, as far as I'm concerned - Emmeline IS a classic) you may want to consider the beautiful name Evelina.


By Jack's mom (not verified)
August 30, 2006 2:33 AM

The only problem with Emmeline is that the natural nn would be Em, which would make her sound like all the other Emmas, Emilys etc...
That wouldn't necessarily keep me from using it, but it's something to consider.
I love the names Adelaide and Adeline, but I'd hate to call her Addie and have someone think she was one of the uber trendy Addisons, if you know what I mean. Of course, I'm not having any more babies, so I guess I don't need to fret!
BTW, am I the only one amazed at the Evelyn comeback? I love Eva or Evie, but when I hear Evelyn, I think "Evil + Lyn" Maybe it's just me!

By Christiana (not verified)
August 30, 2006 1:36 PM

Jack's mom - never though of the Evil-Lyn issue! SOmething to think about for everyone considering that name as potential playground ammo. I love the nn Emmy (as in Emmy Rossum of Phantom fame) for Emmeline. Yes, I'm sure there will be Emmy's that are actually Emily or Emma, but still, it's a cute nickname. I also love Addie and was briefly considering Addison just so I could call my daughter Addie. But it's a bit too trendy and I don't like it's association with Adam (means Adam's son). I like the association with Addison Montgomery Shepherd of Grey's Anatomy, but that's not strong enough to outweigh the bad. So no Addie for me. I had a friend in high school who's grandmother was named Addie - but I don't think she was an Addison. probably an Adeliaide or something, but she was always just "Addie"

By Marjorie (not verified)
August 30, 2006 5:51 PM

Appropos of L.M.Montgomery novels and names, did any of you read her book called "Blue Castle"? The heroine was a plain 29 year-old spinster named Valancy Sterling. Never heard that used anywhere else either.

Of course, in the end she captures the very eligible rich bachelor. Think his nn was Barney. Anyone remember his given name? Family name was Redfern I think.

By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
August 30, 2006 6:35 PM

You all are making me want to run to the library to re-read the Green Gables series! I can't remember much about it.

So Eleni, I guess in 10-15 years we should expect the name Hermione to surge in popularity, don't you think? What are the other trendy children's books right now? My oldest is only four, so I haven't made it past picture books yet (except that I recently read the Lois Lowry series "The Giver," "The Messenger," and "Gathering Blue" and loved it. I have to confess that my daughter's middle name, Bronwyn, comes from the books "The Keeping Days" by Norma Johnston. So I agree that books are very influential.

By Abi (not verified)
August 30, 2006 9:26 PM

I fell in love with the name 'Jeremy' after reading 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' where the character is called Jem by everyone. Before that I just used to think of that annoying kid in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Also, I am generally really interested in history and mythology, especially that of Northern Europe. I devoured books of myths and history books as a child (they were written for children - I wasn't some kind of child scholar) and tend to gravitate towards Old English, Germanic and Scandinavian names. Also the works of Tolkein just absolutely enthrall me. There is something in the British psyche that yearns for the days of armour, swords, castles and horses before machines and the industrial revolution, and wants to believe in dragons and all that. I think that's maybe why we're conservative when it comes to naming compared to the Americans (who now are FAR more conservative politically). Neveah or Jordan have none of the romanticism and history of Oscar or Matilda.

By Abi (not verified)
August 30, 2006 9:51 PM

Tolkein should be revered by name-lovers. He was in love with languages, inventing several of his own, and managed to invent hundreds of names that sound real, because they had actual meanings in his created languages. I read somewhere that he invented the names first, and then fit the stories to them.

By Tansey (not verified)
August 31, 2006 2:00 AM

Marjorie - his name was Bernard Redfern. Valancy IS different, isn't it? I would like it more if it wasn't a 'V' name - all the Valeries and Vanessas I grew up with put me off them totally.
A sweet little name in another of L.M. Montgomery's books 'The Story Girl' was Cecily. Thats a rarity.
Interesting about Anne and her beloved Cordelia - when she finally had her band of children, none were named Cordelia. I guess she grew out of it.

By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
August 31, 2006 12:45 PM

Valancy reminds me of Delancy, which brings back a horrifying memory. A few years ago on the first day of class (a Spanish class at a local university where I was a lecturer), I asked the first student in the front row to introduce himself. He said, "Hola, me llamo Delanthy". So I said, "Delanthy! Nice to meet you" (in Spanish) and he repeated, "No. Me llamo Delanthy." We went through this three times before I realized he had a lisp! I was mortified.

By Christiana (not verified)
August 31, 2006 3:24 PM

Tansey - I thought Anne did finally have a daughter named Cordelia. Or maybe Diana did? My later years books are pretty blurry in my memory (and I know I haven't read them all).

I like the named Valancy in rhythm, etc, but it reminds me a curtain Valance. On the subject of other V names, I once read a book where there was a mentor teacher in the post civil war Charleston named Verity. It seems so sweet and romantic.

By Tansey (not verified)
September 4, 2006 12:48 AM

Christiana - you are so right! On the first page of Anne's House of Dreams, Diana is sitting talking to Anne, her baby daughter Anne Cordelia sleeping in her arms.
Brilliant recall :-)

By Kate (not verified)
October 24, 2006 7:00 PM

Emmeline (that spelling) is also the name of the famous British suffragete Emmeline Pankhurst. So, it's a pretty name and very strong as well.

By Emmeline (not verified)
November 1, 2006 2:01 PM

My name is Emmeline (pronounced Emme-leen) and I've never met another so it is really rare.
I get lots of comments about how nice my name is and I'm really not creepy at all!!!!
A lot of people do call me Em, but most call me Emmeline, which I prefer.

By Shannon (not verified)
January 9, 2007 4:22 PM

I am adopting a baby girl. We are planning to name her Emeline Susannah. I think it is a beautiful classic sounding, yet unique name. We will pronounce EmeLINE. I also first heard the name from the Anne of Green Gables books. It is different, but does not sound strange because of the closeness to Emily and Madeline, which are both popular names. I am curious for other opinions and unique ideas for nicknames, though I plan to call her EMELINE!

By Amy A (not verified)
January 20, 2007 7:53 PM

Yes, I always think of the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst too. Living in France I've come across one or two Emelines (they spell it with one 'm'), always pronounced Emma-leen. I think that's the usual pronunciation. It's a name that I really like as well (pronounced in the French way). What do people prefer, one 'm' or two? I like two.

By Amy A (not verified)
January 20, 2007 7:55 PM

I like Cordelia too; I loved the character on 'Buffy', she was hilarious! But the name is elegant too, Shakespearean!
Ingrid seems surprisingly popular in both France and Spain.

By Emeline (not verified)
January 28, 2007 11:33 PM

My name is Emeline as well. Pronounced EME - LEEN. I'm named after my Grandmother and I have no idea where her mother got it from. I like my name because it is different, but I am subject to correcting people on its pronunciation all the time. Many people pronounce the LINE, LINE, instead of LEEN. Most of my friends call me Em or Emey and my family, who has never called me by my formal name, has always called me Emey or Emily.

By Emeline (not verified)
May 2, 2007 1:01 AM

My Name is Emeline (EmelEEN) and I was named after my Grandmother. I think its a great name as no one else has it so its unique but still able to be prenounced. I always get people telling me its a beautiful name. so its always a topic of conversation.

By Emeline (not verified)
May 7, 2007 11:03 PM

my name is emeline and people always misprounce it
it is supposed to be EmelEEN not EmelINE
i am constantly correcting people but when they get it right they always comment on how beautiful it sounds
im doing a name paper and i found out it means work or hard working
different forms of it mean intellectual, ambitious and industrious so I would say i love my name!

By Emmeline (not verified)
October 7, 2007 8:31 PM

Hahaha people always mis-pronounce my name...
I have to stress the LEEN everytime I tell them my name for the tenth time.

By jess (not verified)
November 4, 2007 1:04 AM

i love the name emmeline..first heard of it in the blue lagoon when i was younger..plan on naming my future daughter it..pronounced rhyming with 'mine'..love the musical piece that basil poledouris wrote for the movie, entitled "emmeline"..very beautiful piece..all should check it out, especially if your name happens to be emmeline:)