It’s one of those names that seems perfectly ordinary, expected even – but you probably don’t know more than one.
Thanks to Carey for suggesting her daughter’s name as our Baby Name of the Day: Corinne.
Corinne has appeared in the US Top 1000 every year since 1880. At #756 in 2009, she’s far from common. But she’s also not quite on the edge of obscurity.
The original Corinna was an Ancient Greek poet, probably in the sixth century BC. She may have taught the better-known Pindar, or been his rival, or both. Ovid dedicated his first work, Amores, to a fictional Corinna in 16 BC.
While the name was clearly in use, Corinna could also be little more than an elaboration of the Greek kore – maiden – and thus an appropriate name for Ovid’s beloved. Either way, it is through Ovid’s poem that Corinna came to the English-speaking world.
In the sixteenth century, Christopher Marlowe wrote his own compositions, and translated even more. His translation of Amores was successful, and would have brought Corinna to the attention of a wider audience. A few decades later, the poet Robert Herrick – you know him for “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” – penned Corinna going a-Maying.
Then came the wildly influential Madame de Staël’s 1807 novel Corinne, ou l’Italie. Based on her travels in Italy – and possibly on the Italian poetess Diodata Saluzzo Roero – the tale of the scandalously independent writer Corinne was quite a success.
Other notable Corinnes include:
- Corinne Roosevelt was the little sister of President Theodore Roosevelt, and aunt to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The name was passed on in the Roosevelt family, too, for at least one generation;
- Paris-born actress Corinne Calvet graduated from French radio and film to appear in a string of Hollywood classics in the 1940s and 50s;
- In the 1970s, Corinne Tate was the daughter on the sitcom Soap – complete with plotlines about marrying a former priest, and having her demon-possessed son cured through exorcism;
- Remember Swing Out Sister? Corinne Drewery was the lead singer the pop trio back when they scored their breakout hit “Breakout.” They’re still together, and Drewery remains at the mic;
- 1994’s Corinna, Corinna cast Whoopi Goldberg as a housekeeper who helped a grieving family put their lives back together.
There’s some possible confusion about Corinne’s spelling and pronunciation. While kor IN seems obvious to me, apparently Corinne is just uncommon enough that you might also hear kor EEN or KOR in.
She might also feel the tiniest bit dated. Meilleurs Prenoms indicates that Corinne peaked in France 1963. In the US, the sense that Corinne is past her moment probably has more to do with her similar sound to Karen, which hit #3 in the 1960s.
Circa 2011, how would Corinne wear? Besides Karen, other similar sounding Boomer picks like Carol and Carla are in fashion limbo. But Corinne could also fit with classics like Caroline and French-inspired choices like Vivienne.
All of this leaves Corinne in the middle, but that’s not a bad thing. She’s neither trend-setting nor out-of-step. Instead, file Corinne in that most elusive of categories: perfectly familiar, yet uncommon names.
I am Corrine and pronounce my name Kor-reen, but family usually says Kreen. My mom named me after Corinne Calvet. I don’t know if she spelled it differently on purpose, or just didn’t realize how the actress spelled it. I’m glad, because I like the double R instead of the double N. Mom says she would sit in typing class in high school and type it over and over again, knowing that when she got married and had a daughter, that would be her name. Unfortunately, it’s Corrine Marie, which means “bitter maiden”, LOL. I did go as Corey for a short while as a kid, and Reeny in high school for a while. But nothing ever stuck.
I only recently realized that most Corinnes are pronounced Kor-rin and most Corrines are pronounced Kor-reen. One thing all Corrines and Corinnes have in common is no one seems to pronounce our names correctly. I have a friend also named Corrine who just gave up and goes by Connie. I correct people when I’m feeling brave. I love having an unusual name!
My name is spelled, Korynn. I never cared for my name much. Nobody can pronounce it correctly. Preferably, I would not mind being Kory or Jessie. I’m quite a tomboy! Lol!
Sarah Ann says
I named my daughter Corinne in 2007. When she was 6 we met another little girl named Corinne (pronounced and spelled the same) we heard the mom calling her daughter at a barber shop while both Corinne’s brothers were getting their hair cut. My daughter and I just looked at each other in shock. It was funny because we discussed them having the same name, and the other mother said- I’m sure you probably spell it differently… nope. Both girls had the exact same beautiful name ❤️
My name is Corinne pronounced Kor-IN, and have had so much trouble throughout life being called kor-een by people, at one point I even changed the way i spelt it to – Corin, to avoid confusion! but never-the-less, i kind of like my name, its growing on me, because it doesnt seem like a weird name, but there are hardly any of us! its a memorable name for sure, and its different, which matches my personality 🙂
I named my brand new squish Corinne and we pronounce it ko RIN. And we have gotten such lovely compliments on her name.
I’m a Corinne (kor-IN)! Yay 🙂 I’ve only known of one other Corinne (pronounced the same) during my life!
My mother is named Corinne – pronounced Koh-reen in the French way. Her nickname has always been Coco. I think its a beautiful name and hope to use it someday!
Here’s a question for you – when brainstorming names for our son, I wanted a “C” name (so that he would have my initials) that wasn’t a Chris-tian/topher/etc derivative. I like Cameron and Corin. My husband vetoed Cameron because of the soon-to-be prime minister (we live in England) and said that Corin was the same as Corinne, and therefore a girls’ name and a no-go. I tried to say that KOR-in was completely different from KOH-rinn, but to no avail. We have a Landon that we love, so no regrets, but I am curious if I am the only one that can hear the difference!
You are right, Christina.
Corin and Corinne are two completely different names, from completely different origins.
According to BehindTheName.com, Corin is a French form of Quirinus, which is possibly derived from the Sabine word “quiris”, meaning “spear”. Quirinus was a Sabine and Roman god who was later identified with Mars. The name was also borne by several early saints.
And of course, as you read in the above article, Corinne is a form of Corinna, which is the Latinized version of the Greek name Korinna, which was derived from the Greek word “kore”, meaning “maiden”.
They also happen to be pronounced with the emphasis on opposite syllables. Try writing it down for your husband like this:
Corinne (f) is pronounced kor-IN
Corin (m) is pronounced KOR-in
Maybe he will be more open to it for the next son. 😛
I love my name and always get compliments on it, but even more i love its spelling. Corynne, pronounced “kor-in”, has came with many nicknames thru the years including, “cory”, “ren”, and my mothers favorite “crinny”. Thanks for recognizing the uniqueness of the name!
My SIL is named Corinne. She was born right after my MIL’s grandmother died, and my MIL wanted to honor her grandma. She chose Corinne after the tiny rural Utah town where her grandma had lived. I love the name abd the sentiment!
That’s a great story – and such a meaningful choice!
I love Corinne. I’m only known one, though her name was spelled Koryn. :-/
But she was nice so I like the name.
Charlotte Vera says
When I first saw this listed as the BNotD I said “kor-EEN” in my head. However, I then realised that the double ens would probably make “kor-IN” a more accurate pronunciation. I actually don’t know anyone by the name, although I have known people by the similar-sounding Carin (KAR-in) and Karine (kuh-RIN).
Lady Gwyn says
I am a a lifelong Francophile, so I am madly in love with both Corinne and Corinna. I was thrilled to see it as the Name of the Day today. I like Corinne, but I love Corinna. I like either Corrie or Cora as a nickname. I pronounce it KOR-inn.
Laura Rose says
I acutally know two Corrines. Well, a Korrine and a Corrine. Both pronounce it ko- RINN. the Korrine I know actually has the same birthday as I do, and the same as her mom. And once told me my pants were too wide for the dress code.
Anyway, I dont love it, but I don’t hate it. It’s not quite frilly enough for me.
Thank you for making Corinne the NOTD, Abby! Some really interesting history and facts and it’s great to see what everyone thinks! We’re really happy with her name and it definitely seems to fit her. We say kor IN. She doesn’t truly have a nickname yet but my 4 year old son calls her “Crin.” I thought maybe Rinn or Rinny but that doesn’t feel right yet. And I love Cora. We never ended up calling my son by his nickname either.
Her middle name is Aurelia and our last name begins with a T so there’s always the nn “Cat” if she prefers that 😉
And strangely, I had never known a Corinne!
I babysat for a girl named Corrine whose twin brother called her Nee-Nee, to throw another nickname in the bunch.
In first grade, my partner in crime was named Corinne, pronounced Ko-RINN. I thought she had very cool name. She was blowsy and outgoing and a lot of fun, but after I changed schools I never saw her again, though I tried. My mother wouldn’t let me invite her to my birthday party out in the suburbs. For me, Corinne is a YES.
This would make a great middle name. Also has the nn Cora available. Can’t go wrong.
I’ve known three: My old piano teacher was Corrine (KOHR-reen,) my childhood neighbor was a Corinne (KAH-rin) and an acquaintance in college was also named Corinne, but she pronounced it (koh-REN-nah.)
I really like Corinne, but I like the KAH-rin pronunciation best and that might be the hardest one to enforce.
C in DC says
I went to H.S. with a Corinne (as you predicted I know one and only one). I didn’t know her well, so she didn’t influence the name for me. I think Corinne’s problem may also be that she’s tricky to match with a last name.
I have a very close friend by the name of Corine (spelled like that) and pronounced “kor-EEN”. She is a very lovely person 🙂 I have always thought it was a lovely name, for the exact reasons you mentioned – “She
Barbie is Corinne in “Barbie & the Three Musketeers”! Josie loves the story and the name. She now has a teddy named Corinne. But I went to H.S. with one, my year and she juust about ruined my life, never mind her name. So while Corinne is familiar and lovely to look at, I dislike her sound and will never use her myself. Kudoes to Carey for finding Corinne & using it!