A Word In Your Ear - February 23, 2017

Roy Edmonds
Roy Edmonds
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What’s in a name? We were in a South Shore café bar amidst a christening party with the baby in a pushchair just by us, so we asked his name.

“André,” his mother replied – which was picked by the proud father no less. I liked the name, too, having fancied sounding more foreign and interesting when younger.

Perhaps André might have some explaining to do through life, like those Jons and so on who spell their names differently. However, he looked jolly and likely to cope.

Recent baby names among friends have more distant origins. Seb, for a boy, is apparently short for the Greek Sebastos, meaning ‘revered’ with, of course, saintly overtones from Sebastian. Indie, for a girl, is a diminutive for India, a place name for ‘river’, like the Indus, and the Sanskrit name Indira, meaning ‘beauty’.

Roy was picked because mum hated Christian names being shortened into nicknames (like brother Michael, who became variously Mike, Mick or Mickey). Even so, at school they called me Edmundo, after popular radio band leader Ross.

When writing novels I ponder names. For posh characters there are Oscar, Tobias or Miles, even Montague – the name of that café bar we were in (though She Who Knows’ terrier was called Monty).

For the ladies there are Sloane monickers like Tara or Pippa, even quaintly older-fashioned Felicity. However, virtuous Victorian names like Constance – and certainly Faith and Obedience – are now rare, though Grace remains rightly popular.

Action heroes have shortened, no-nonsense names like Sam, Jack or Ben; tenderer ones enjoying trendier diminutives such as Freddy, Alfie and Harry. For older men, Henry and Arthur still have a noble ring. Then, for the girls, there’s sexy Tanya or, perhaps, Camille... Who might even be a match for young André!

* For Roy’s books, visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com, Amazon or stores.