Isabel’s popularity led to the rise of Annabel. Parents who loved Annabel quickly discovered Arabella. Could this choice be the next logical favorite?
Thanks to Lola for suggesting our Name of the Day: Araminta.
We’re not quite certain about Araminta’s origins. What’s known is that two authors used the name in their works at the tail end of the 1600s. William Congreve’s The Old Bachelor featured an Araminta in 1693. Sir John Vanbrugh used it in The Confederacy a few years later, in 1705. Since Congreve and Vanbrugh knew each other, there’s speculation that they also knew a woman named Araminta.
If that’s the case, the muse’s identity is lost to history. It’s possible that Araminta is a variant of Aminta – the title of a sixteenth century play by Italian Torquato Tasso. Tasso might not be a household name today, but he was well known then. His life inspired a Goethe play and a Donizetti opera.
In any case, Araminta caught on. She might not have rivaled Mary or Anne, but we find plenty of Aramintas in the historical record. A US census search suggests that it was a reasonably common choice for women in the 1800s. In fact, in 1880 five newborn girls were given the name – enough to rank Araminta #842. She’d chart again in 1884, but never afterwards.
Early 20th writer John Collis Snaith titled a novel Araminta around 1909, but by then the name was already dying out in the US. She appears to have fared better in the UK, still sparingly used for many generations. For example, Tamara Mellon – the woman responsible for bringing Jimmy Choo footwear to the masses – called her daughter Araminta in the early 2000s. One of Winston Churchill’s descendants is the two year old Lady Araminta.
The most notable Araminta we know actually dropped her given name. Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Ross in Maryland – but she was also born into slavery. Harriet was her mother’s name.
There’s also Araminta Wraith, a dancer with the English National Ballet. But most other Aramintas are fictional, including:
- A character in David Garrick, a popular 19th century comedy written by playwright Thomas William Robertson;
- A nanny in Debi Gilori’s Pure Dead series, caring for the Strega-Borgia children – Titus, Pandora, Damp and Nieve;
- Minor Harry Potter figure Araminta Melliflua, who appears on Sirius Black’s family tree;
- With her twin sister Arabella, Araminta was the subject of a sweet series of stories for children written by Gertrude Smith in the 1890s;
- Angie Sage pens the Araminta Spook series of books for young adults.
Overall, Araminta has two identities. The first is the lacy, vaguely English and slightly aristocratic cousin of Arabella. The second is a surprisingly edgy alt goth vibe, thanks to her popularity with writers of sci fi and fantasy.
The only real drawback is the quirky nickname Minty, but you might also call her Minna or even Amy.
If your surname is simple, this is a pleasingly feminine choice with lots of literary oomph.