Constance: Baby Name of the Day

Constance: Baby Name of the Day

Love Eleanor, Charlotte and Grace, but looking for a less common name? Consider Constance.

Thanks to Corinne for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.

Constance: Steadfast

In Latin constantem means constant or steadfast. Names have been based on this word for millennia – think of Constantine.

In Late Latin, Constantia appeared as the usual feminine form. It wasn’t until Medieval England that the -stance ending became common for girls.

Credit to William the Conqueror, whose daughter answered to the name.

Constance: History Galore

Besides the Anglo-Norman princess, plenty of other notable women have worn the name, including:

  • A twelfth-century Duchess of Brittany; a character based on the duchess appears in Shakespeare’s King John
  • Members of the royal family of Sicily
  • Mozart’s clever wife, Constanze
  • A passenger on the Mayflower, sometimes called Constanta

Lake Constance sits at the foot of the Alps, and touches Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The lake takes its name from neighboring city Konstanz, and Konstanz comes from Roman emperor Constantius I.

Constance: 40s Favorite

During the late nineteenth century, the name would have felt familiar in the US. It ranked in the 300s most years.

Then it started to climb. Some credit goes to Constance Bennett, a 1930s Hollywood favorite, best remembered for starring opposite Cary Grant in 1937’s Topper.

By the 1940s and early 1950s, it had become a Top 100 favorite.

And therein lies the problem: we’re not naming our daughters Barbara, Linda, or Carol. Constance feels stuck in style limbo with other Baby Boomer favorites.

Perhaps concerned that the name would lead to dated nickname Connie, parents have skipped over this name for years.

In fact, Connie ranked far higher than the formal version, reaching Number 35 in 1955.

Singer Connie Francis – born Concetta – found great success in the late 1950s. But that’s probably another reason the name feels dated, not a reason Connie caught on in the first place.

Still, it comes a surprise that this name is so far off the charts in recent years.

Constance has yet to chart in the US Top 1000 during the twenty-first century. A mere 142 girls were given the name in 2015.

Constance: Underused Gem

Actor Constance Marie, who rose to fame as Angie in The George Lopez Show, helps keep the name familiar.

There’s another reference Disney fans will recognize. The Haunted Mansion rides at both Disney Land and Disney World include a black widow bride by the name.

If you watched Gossip Girl, you might think of the fictional prep school attended by Blair, Serena, and friends: Constance Billard School for Girls. It’s referred to simply the founder’s first name.

Altogether, that’s not nearly enough to bolster the name.

And yet, parents seeking a strong name for a daughter might add this to their lists. It’s far less common than Eleanor, but with every bit as much backbone.

Caroline and Amelia don’t require nicknames, so surely at two-syllables, Constance will not need one, either.

But if you like the idea of a short form, may I suggest Tancy? While I’ve never heard this combination used in real life, Tancy flows naturally from the second syllable. Tansy is an herb often considered a weed, so perhaps that’s not the best association – but I do think it’s wearable.

What do you think of Constance? Would you consider this name for a daughter?

This post was published on September 18, 2009. It was revised and reposted on September 5, 2016.

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26 Comments

I like my name- and also my nickname. I think more people should use it and I’ve never met anyone who had an issue with ‘Connie’ other than the usual playground bullies, but everyone gets those for something or other.

I don’t get it, what’s wrong with Connie? Maybe its because I love the movie Mona Lisa Smile, but I’ve always liked the name Constance/Connie

I think it tends to feel dated, because in the US, it’s very much a Baby Boomer name – along with Linda, Barbara, and company. They’re mom names, aunt names, grandma names – not baby girl names again yet. Nothing’s wrong with Connie, but it’s off-cycle. Of course, lately I think Bonnie is showing signs of revival, so maybe I’m underestimating Connie’s potential …

Maybe I dont feel the same way because the name was less popular in Australia or I just havent met any baby boomer Connies.
Theres a Bronnie at work, short for Bronwyn but she firmly prefers the nickname. Bonnie is cute, like ‘bonnie wee lass’…unfortunately our surname ends in a short i sound so they’re all off our list.

I like Constance but always balk at the unfortunate Connie. I think I dislike Connie even more than the much-hated-upon Ethel, Thelma, and Bertha (which all have a pleasant soft “th” sound in them), and only a little less than Nevaeh.

Actually, I think that if it weren’t for the Archie connections Ethel would be very close to, if not actually in, my top ten.

Constance reads very Catholic school girl to me too. I think this is probably because I went to high school with a Constance (who went by Connie) in a very Catholic town (though it was a public school).

LOL, I think it’s called tansy in some places but I believe ragwort isn’t truly a tansy or so many sources cite. Visually, it’s almost identical to me. I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I wonder if if smells as bad as ragwort did? 😉 I know tansy has been used medicinally for generations so don’t let a little bovine poisoning throw you 😉 It harms horses too although sheep avoid any real problems.

I figure that if Nevaeh is heaven spelt backwards, that makes it heaven awry and technically a Hades of some description, photoquilty.

Love it. Although it can’t be first name material for me. Conor and Constance (Connie)? And not to mention my daughter goes by Bonnie much of the time. I’d be cast down into Naming Neaveh for that one. *slap, slap, slap*. I’d want to use Annie as nickname over anything else. Non intuitive I know.

I’ve long thought Tansy attractive but it looks just like the crappy Ragwort weed. I lived on a dairy farm for few years as a child and spent many hours pulling tansy ragwort out of the cow paddocks when it was in bloom lest the cows nibble it and die later. Not cool.

Tansy kills cows? You see – this is the knowledge you miss living amongst buses instead of barns. Were I ever left out in the wilderness, I’d be a goner.

Constance is OK, but not for me. It comes across very Catholic girl to me. Tansy is a very cute alternative to Connie, but I don’t love the sound of the full name, Constance (it’s that ‘stihns’ at the end with a very closed/nasal sound I’m not fond of). Also, as a virtue, ‘stable’ is generally something you hope your child will be, but not exciting or anything (it’s not as desirable to me as a wish for my child as grace, hope, truth, friendliness, or patience – the final of which is something I lack, so I worry my kids will too). In all, my ear leans toward Constanta, Constanze, or Constantia variants, which at least add an open sound to the end of the name and lighten up that ending.