Mailbag April 2019Time for the April 2019 Mailbag! You ask questions … and I try oh-so-very diligently to answer them.

They’re question too short for Facebook, but not quite right for a #namehelp post, either.

Let’s dive in!

Was there ever a prince named Crispin?

Fiction must have given us one, right?

A little bit of digging turned up one: The Witcher Saga, first written in Polish by Andrzej Sapkowski and since translated into dozens of languages. It includes a character named Crispin. He’s illegitimate, but his dad is Prince Amavet. So maybe that’s one regal bearer of the name. The series has inspired adaptations on television, film, video games, and graphic novels. Netflix will unveil a new series, featuring Henry Cavill as the lead in The Witcher sometime this fall. And yet, Crispin seems like a minor character – so unless this show spawns a Game of Thrones-like following and spans a half-dozen seasons, I’m not sure if we’ll ever Crispin on screen.

Instead, you might be thinking of:

  • In Shakespeare’s Henry V, the young king delivers the rousing St Crispin’s Day speech. Even if you don’t know it, you know it, thanks to the line “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.” The Battle of Agincourt fell on Saint Crispin’s Day … hence the the name of the speech. The saint was martyred under Diocletian in the third century, along with his brother, Crispinian. So … not a prince, but maybe prince adjacent?
  • Then there’s Prince Caspian, a creation of CS Lewis for his Narnia series. It’s not quite the same name, but it’s similar … and it’s a fast-rising boy’s name of the moment.

I found a few dozen more real-life Crispins, and other fictional ones, too. But not a prince among them!

It could make a spectacular name for a fairytale prince, though.

What are some stylish takes on Lily?

My favorite, hands down, is Lilou. It might be a super old-school medieval French form of Lily. Or maybe it’s a smoosh of Lili and Louise. Either way, I think it’s darling.

But darling might not be good enough for a child’s formal name. I’ll also suggest:

  • Liliane, the French form of Lillian. Sure to be mispronounced in the US, but still very pretty.
  • Or how ’bout Liliosa, the name of a ninth century Spanish martyr?
  • In Welsh, mash up Lily and Gwen to arrive at Lilwen, an intriguing sound.
  • A reader suggested Lillemor. It’s not a botanical name; instead, it’s Norwegian, and means “little mother.” That said, I think it belongs on the list of names that shorten naturally to Lily.

I’ve listed more here.

You might also consider Lilia, Liliana, or similar names. They’re all long and lovely elaborations. But they give me pause, if only because they blend in with a host of popular choices: Layla, Eliana, Alaina … and so on. Gorgeous choices, yes. But maybe not the stylish stand-outs you’re after.

If it fits your style, I think the unexpected ‘o’ sound in Liliosa makes it one of the most appealing possibilities.

How would you spell Meeka?

Well … Meeka works, right? 13 girls were given the name in 2017. It’s clearly pronounced with a long ‘e’ sound, followed by a hard k: mee-kah.

I tend to think of it as Mika, though. Maybe because we pronounce Mila with a long ‘e’ sound, too. Or maybe because there’s a Japanese feminine name spelled and pronounced exactly the same.

But it’s easy to mix up Mika with Micah, as well as all of those Mc- names for girls. Mikaela might be Mika. It might work for Mackenzie or similar choices, too. Those might be pronounced like Mike-with-an-a.

The -ika spelling ranks higher, too. 200 girls were named Mika in 2017. Some credit might go to Mika Brzezinski, the journalist and MSNBC talk show host; there’s also a Walking Dead character by the name during the fourth season.

One last option: Mieke is a Dutch nickname for Maria, pronounced just like Meeka and Mika. But I doubt you’d want to go there. (Unless, of course, you were of Dutch heritage and didn’t mind a lot of let-me-spell-it-for-you.)

Overall, I’d go with Mika. While it’s likely to cause the occasional pronunciation headache, I think it works well given our affection for Mila.

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Original photo credit: Image by InspiredImages from Pixabay

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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