She’s a mythical creature with that delicious -x sound. But how would she wear on a daughter?
Thanks to Megan for suggesting Pixie as our Baby Name of the Day.
Bob Geldof, that early baby name innovator, called his third daughter Little Pixie, a sister to Fifi Trixibelle and Peaches Honeyblossom. She’s known as Pixie Geldof today, and stays in the spotlight as a model. It’s said that Pixie’s name was inspired by a magazine lampooning celebrity baby names.
English singer-actress Pixie Lott is also raising the profile of the name, but she was born Victoria Louise. She’s been successful on the UK Singles Chart, and appeared as a judge on the British The X Factor. In the US, she’s best known as Judy, a character on web series-turned-movie Fred.
Farther back, Welsh-Australian artist Pixie O’Harris illustrated dozens of children’s books with fairies and other fanciful creatures.
But what, precisely, is a pixie?
The word could come from the Swedish pyske – small fairy – but that doesn’t quite track with the origins of the myth. They’re big around Cornwall, and are more likely to be Celtic than Norse in origin. Today we think of pixies as sweet little things, with pointy ears. Tinker Bell has been called a pixie. The word has become interchangeable with fairy.
Older tales about pixies were more sinister: they stole children, they led travelers astray. Instead of gentle mischief, they’re quite rotten. There’s a great story from an English village of Ottery St. Mary about banishing the little beasts to caves outside of town. The community purchased new church bells to drive them out, but the pixies retaliated by kidnapping the bell ringers. Ultimately the villagers rescued the abducted, and the pixies were driven out for good. You can still attend Pixie Day in June each year.
References to pixies abound:
- In Harry Potter, pixies were an aggressive nuisance.
- In Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,Longfellow Deeds is called “pixilated” – eccentric, not quite right. But that meshes with an older sense of the word. If you were pixie-led, you’d were lost due to the interference of the creatures; bewildered.
- Pop culture also gives us two mice named Pixie and Dixie, from the Hanna Barbera cartoon Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks, featured on the Huckleberry Hound Show in the 1950s and 60s. This Pixie is not only a mouse, but also a boy mouse.
- The Pixies, alt rock giants of the late 1980s and early 1990s, spring to mind, too. In our era of kids called Lennon and Presley, maybe that’s not a problem.
But is Pixie the girl who never grows up? It is easy to imagine a toddler answering to Pixie. But like the endearments Honey or Sweetheart, she might be too cute when you’re 19 and trying to snag an internship.
What could Pixie be short for? Angela pointed out that P names are stylish – Pippa, Penelope … I like the idea of Pixie from Priscilla, or maybe Philippa Xanthe? At the very least, she needs a very traditional middle, like Pixie Katharine.
Pixie is great, but she’s better with an anchor.