Baby Name of the Day: Amoret

A scarlet letter

A scarlet letter by Monceau via Flickr

Take one part Juliet, add a dash of popular picks from Amy to Amanda to Amelia and you’ll arrive at this poetic rarity.

Thanks to Heather for suggesting Amoret as our Baby Name of the Day.

File Amoret with Belphoebe and Clarinda – names invented by Edmund Spenser for The Faerie Queene.  She’s a relatively minor character in the epic poem.  Amoret is twin to Belphoebe.  The sisters are opposites; while Belphoebe is a virgin, Amoret is married.  Belphoebe and other female characters set off on quests and adventures, fight off their attackers, and generally do all sorts of exciting things, while Amoret is relatively passive.  She’s kidnapped on her wedding night, and rescued by Britomart, a female knight who handily defeats the evil sorcerer responsible for separating the newlyweds.

Then again, the sisters didn’t grow up together.  Spenser tells us that Belphoebe was raised by the goddess Diana, and trained to hunt.  Amoret was fostered by Venus in the Garden of Adonis.

Her name is fitting.  Amoret comes from the Latin amor – to love – plus the ending -et.  You might find the meaning listed as “little loved one.”  It’s the tiniest bit of a stretch – Amor was never a given name, so Amoret isn’t exactly a diminutive form, like Annette or Juliet.  She’s more like Scarlett or Bridget, a name in her own right that just happens to end in -et.

Edmund Spenser wasn’t the only one to use Amoret in his era.  In the early 1600s, Sir John Fletcher was an incredibly popular playwright – Shakespeare’s successor.  He penned The Faithful Shepherdess around 1608.  Clorin is the main character, and Amoret is her fellow sheperdhess.  When a meddlesome rival intereferes in Amoret’s romance with her beau Perigot, Clorin intervenes and ensures that the couple live happily ever after.

Later in the 1600s, Welsh poet Henry Vaughan published a volume with most of his work addressed “to Amoret.”  Doubtless others did the same.

She’s been sparingly used as a personal name through the years, just like many of Spenser’s inventions.  But parents today might discover her through another source: Jenny Nimmo’s series, The Children of the Red King. Nimmo’s hero is a boy named Charlie Bone.  He’s descended from Amoret, the youngest daughter of the Red King.  As he goes on a series of Harry Potter-esque adventures, the backstory of the Red King dynasty is revealed.

There’s a town in Missouri called Amoret, and plenty of women named Amoret appearing in the historical record, including US Census records.  But she remains a rarity, never entering the US Top 1000.  Variants like Amoretta – Spenser even used it – can be found, too.

If you’re looking for a rarity that is feminine but frills-free, that would sound perfectly current and yet truly distinctive, Amoret is one to consider.  Her meaning is appealing, and there are possible nicknames aplenty.

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23 Comments

I found this name in a turn of the century name book in New York. I named my daughter Amoret on December 1, 1988. Her nickname is Rett. She is 23 now and the name has served her well. She is always told it is a very romantic sounding name. She is very lovely and quite a classy lady. She was popular in high school for her kindness and acceptance of others. She is now in college finshing up her studies. She will be traveling over seas to work with orphaned children for a year. She is conservative in views and I feel she reflects her name nicely … little love.

I am an Amoret! I was named after my Godmother, whose parents were literary types so they got it from The Faeirie Queene. I’ve always loved having the name – I don’t think I’ve ever been introduced to anyone who hasn’t said “what a lovely name, where does it come from”! Although lots of people think it’s French and must have an “ette” on the end. I always just say that it’s “Old English”. Rather bizarre that there are lots of references to “Juliet” here, as that’s my sister’s name! I would highly recommend “Amoret”, except that I’m rather protective over my name and so don’t want lots more of us out there!

I love this name! It’s actually one that I had written down to keep in mind. I knew of the Faerie Queene connection, though I never liked Belphoebe as well. Thanks for doing this one!

I want to say this as [am-oar-AY], not [am-or-ETTE]. Is that correct? I think it’s a really pretty, uncommon, and striking name with a great meaning and lots of style, but I think she might be best suited for a middle name…

Abby, I thought I’d report on more interesting name finds at tinyprints.com, the online card/invitation/stationary retailer. I spotted a Melinda and a Yasmine, a Faye and a Sylvia, a Duncan and a Gordon, a Theodore and a Coleman! In the adult stationary section, I noticed Ophelia, Cecile, Naoka, and Bernie. A surprisingly popular name on the site? Samantha.

It’s a pretty name, but almost a little too obvious, if you know what I mean. That is, it’s meaning seems a little too obvious, and therefore rather cutesy. I could see it working well for some couples, but it’s not to my particular taste.

I find Amoret quite lovely, and I too, thought of something to do with love. (I took French) I also didn’t know that it was from the Faerie Queene, I like that story.

I am not sure if it is usable in real life, but it is very pretty and definately unique with a legitimate history of use.

I wrote a paper in college comparing Belphoebe and Amoret/Amoretta. Love both names! At the time, Belphoebe struck me as the more intriguing of the two. Amoretta seems to fit right in with Clarinda and Phyllida and other over-the-top pastoral poetry sort of names.

Amoret is probably more usable than Amoretta, as it sounds less like the liqueur.

I completely agree that these names are over-the top, but as a always find myself saying with AppMtn NotD names: I’d rather meet Amoretta, Clarinda, and Phyllida over Michaela, Mackenzie, etc. 🙂

I was about to comment about how lovely this name is as an alternative to Juliet et al, until I had someone lean over me and comment: ‘Amoret, like the liqueur?’
Whilst it’s actually Amaretto, I’m having second thoughts about Amoret now.

I had a friend in college named Amorette, nicknamed Amy. I don’t think she was aware of the literary connection, because she always explained that it was a stereotypical Utah Mormon name.

It’s a bit too… what’s the word… cutesy? for my taste. I find I don’t often like names with -et/ette on the end, so that’s probably it.

Also, I kind of feel like it’s Scooby Doo trying to get out “amulet” if that makes sense.

Not bad overall, and I can see the appeal for some, but that’s about it.

Me too! I thought ‘aww, how lovely’ when I saw this NotD. And it is lovely, in looks, sound and meaning. I’d consider it; “The Faerie Queen” is easily my favorite read. It’s always on my table.
(Amoret Valentine might be too OTT, but for me it’s worth more than a passing thought or two, I think).
How lovely, indeed. 🙂

Funny.. when I saw the name I immediately thought “little love” and said Awww cute. Could be another middle name contender for a baby born around valentines. I had no idea of her literary connections, how fun. Overall, I think she is wearable in today’s society. Good BNOTD!