Veora: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on March 19, 2013

Sheet music for "Florodora", 1899

Sheet music for “Florodora”, 1899 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She’s a rarity with a quirky, vintage sound.

Thanks to Anna for suggesting her grandmother’s name as our Baby Name of the Day: Veora.

Veora is a rarity, but she’s not completely unknown.  First I stumbled across Veora Johnson, an educator inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame.

Then I looked at the numbers.  From the 1910s into the 1940s, a few girls a year were given the name, but only a few.  Rarely more than a dozen newborns answered to Veora in any of those years.  And yet, that’s not zero.

Since then she’s become even rarer.

But never mind where Veora is going.  Where did Veora come from?

It’s not clear.

There is Veor Cove, a beach in Cornwall.  Veor means great, as in large.  But there’s nothing to suggest a link between Veor and Veora.

Then there’s the Romanian name Viorica - bluebell.  The masculine form is Viorel.  What I can’t tell is whether Viorica and Viorel are traditional given names, the kinds that could have come to the US with immigrants, or newer innovations.

Viorica Agarici was a Romanian heroine of World War II, a nurse who risked much to help provide relief to the Jewish community.

Viorica and Veor aside, Veora’s sound belongs to another era.

Back in the 1920s, Leora was having a good run.  Cleora ranked briefly, too.  I assume that all three are pronounced ee OHR ah, but it is possible that I’m wrong.  George and all of his various feminine forms were successful, too.  Still, I don’t see Leora, Cleora, and Veora rhyming with Laura.  After all, Leo names were well-established in the same era.

Could they all be logical extensions of the -ora trend?  From the 1920s into the 1940s, American parents embraced names like:

There’s Izora, too, though she might be a respelling of a Spanish name inspired by an ancient place name.

Nameberry has drawn the link between all of these ends-with-ora names and an early twentieth century pop culture phenomenon.  The musical Florodora opened in London back in 1899.  A year later, it came to Broadway and became a smash hit in the new century.  None of the characters were called Flora or Dora, much less Leora.  Instead, Florodora is an island in the Philippines, named for the (fictional) florodora flower.

It was the chorus line of six lovely ladies that became known as the Floradora Girls, and helps explain the success of the -ora sound in the early part of the 1900s.

Marion Davies played the lead in 1930’s The Florodora Girl.  She played a good-hearted chorine in love with a privileged young man.

Then there’s Vera, a Top 100 pick from 1891 through 1929.  Could Veora just be a mixing of Vera and the stylish -ora ending.

It seems like Veora was the sound of the times, akin to our Hailey-Kaylee or Zoey-Chloe names.  It’s a good reminder that trends are nothing new.

Veora sounds like a vintage gem, a long-lost discovery due for a comeback.  After all, Nora, Cora, and company have attracted quite a bit of attention.  So has the elaborate Aurora.  It could be time for an -ora revival, and Veora would wear as well as any of them.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Rutu Patel March 30, 2013 at 7:46 AM

Excellent…Like this. My site is http://www.babynamesnumerology.com/. In this site you can get a number of names on Greek baby names, English baby boy names, African baby girl names with meaning & numerology.

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Elle March 23, 2013 at 8:24 AM

My oldest sister is Leora…she has exclusively gone by Lori since she was a child. She doesn’t really care for her name. I try to convince her that it is really a beautiful Hebrew name but she just won’t buy it! I suppose she is a product of her generation. She went to high school in the 80’s so all of her friends were Jennifer, Amy, Michelle, Kimberly, Lisa, and Melissa…Leora just doesn’t fit in there I suppose.

I still LOVE her name! I told her I would trade…lol!

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Jordanna March 21, 2013 at 10:40 PM

I like it. But I’ve loved Leora (lee OHR ah, the ones I know anyway, an earlier transliteration of the Hebrew name that’s now more often spelt Liora – used by early 20th C. Jewish immigrants) a really long time and I have a weakness for V’s.

I do wonder if Izora ties to Izarra, which is a Basque word for ‘star’ or some sort of linguistic mating between that and Zora and it’s ties to star/dawn etc. I secretly really like Izora, too.

Veora is appealing but I think it would need an interesting meaning/story to edge out Izora/Leora/Liora/Flora for me. Otherwise I’d be likely to stick to a “real-er” V name like Vivien or Viveca or Viola etc.

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Nicki March 21, 2013 at 4:34 PM

This name was actually on my list for our daughter, who we ended up naming Florence. There was an old lady with the name Veora who went to my grandparent’s church. She was very sweet and was one of those cute little old ladies who always wore hats and had extra candy in her purse. I have always loved the name since meeting her.

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Anna March 20, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Yay! I am happy to see you posted about Veora! I have always loved it! I think I would use it, but my sister kind of “claimed” the name. Thank you for you research, it is very interesting and I love hearing about the evolution of names and naming trends. Thank you!!!

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Hettie March 20, 2013 at 12:34 PM

I’m a huge fan of ends in ora names. I have never heard this one! It’s really pretty, one of those names that sneaks up on you with its potential. It reminds me of the first time I heard Ottoline mentioned, I thought “Wow, that’s unusual, probably not usable” and now it’s on my long list. Interesting post Abby, I’m surprised there aren’t more comments!

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