Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)


New girls' names are often formed by adding a common suffix to an existing name or name element.

Suffix Variants Origin

-a   Latin feminine ending
-anna -ana, -enna, -onna Biblical name often used in blended, invented and extended names
-andra -awndra, -ondra Used to create feminine forms of Greek names Alexander/Alexandra, Cassander/Cassandra (original masculine forms Alexandros, Cassandros)
-e   French feminine ending. The Louis/Louise, Simon/Simone pattern is used to create feminine forms of other male names.
-een -in, -Í n Irish diminutive ending (Doreen, Noreen, Kathleen) and Arabic names such as Yasmeen provided a model for imitations
-elle, -ella -ela, -el, -ell The suffix '-elle' occurs in English but not French, where it is found only in feminine forms of names already ending in '-el', such as Danielle/Daniel or Noelle/Noel.
-essa   Jonathan Swift's adaption of the name Esther Vanholmrigh to make 'Vanessa' may have been influenced by the '-issa' suffix.
-ette -etta French feminine diminutive ('Annette', 'Georgette' and 'Jeanette')
-ice -ease, -eese, -ese, -ise, -iece, -isse This occurs in French names such as Clarice. It is particularly popular with African Americans.
-ina -ena Latin form of -ine
-ine -ene Greek suffix used to create feminine forms of male names
-issa -ecia, -esha, -icia, -iesa, iesha, issia, isha, ysha, -yssa The Latin form of -ice produced names such as Clarissa and many variants which are influenced by 'Lisa' as regards pronunciation.
-ita -eta, -eeta Spanish diminutive ending, popularised in America.
-ique -ika, eka, -eca, ica Borrowed from the French names Monique and Dominique and the word name 'Unique'.
-lee -lea, -leah, -leigh, -ley More commonly a boys' name until recently, this surname adaptation is now becoming common as a addition to girls' names.
-linda, -inda -lynda, -ynda Spanish word for 'pretty', but name suffix developed as a phonetic version of the Germanic -linde, possibly a derivation of lind, 'a serpent' or an earlier meaning of the English word 'lithe', gentle/agreeable/pleasant. Linda has been popular as an independent name since the 1950s, and revived older names like Rosalinda and Belinda.
-lyn -lin, -line, -linn, -lynn, lynne, lyne 'Lin' is a Welsh male name but this pet form of Linda and Lynette has now become well-established as an independent girls' name. As a suffix, it changes more traditional spellings and produces new names.

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

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