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I recently returned from a fabulous vacation where I was surrounded by people from other countries. I heard several names of course, but one that stuck out to me was Lambette. Lambette was a young French woman, probably in her 20s, who didn't speak English or else I probably would have asked her about her name. I cannot find much use of the name online, and while there were five boys named Lamb in the United States in 1924, there have been no recorded uses of Lambette. Interesting.
This inspired me to look up names ending in the lovely -ette. Just as Lambette was French, the -ette suffix has a very French feel, probably because most of the names are French diminutives. Words ending with -ette are also diminutives, such as kitchenette, which is a small kitchen and novelette, which is a brief novel or long short story. While some may see this as an inferiority or insignificance, I personally love these names, and I am astounded to find that they do not seem to be used as much currently. I mean, they provide for the great nicknames of Etta and Ettie!
I've compiled a list of -ette names from the 2012 list. Some are alternative spelling of other names, some are oldies but goodies, and some are just unique...
In 2012, the only exclusively male name ending in -ette is Lafayette, which was given to 15 boys. Lafayette is popular in the United States due to the French general who aided the US during the Revolutionary War. So, while the name may not be a French diminutive, it is French.
Historically, there were more -ette names in the Top 1000 than there are now. In 2012, the only -ette names ranked are Juliette #310, Collette #659, and Scarlette #956. One hundred years ago, there were 17:
Everette #601 (boy)
Lafayette #729 (boy)
Fifty years ago, there were 27:
Everette #723 (boy)
The number of -ette names in use has definitely decreased of late. Another interesting thing to note is the change in which -ette name was/is the most popular...
What do you think of -ette names? Are they "old" or dated? What is your favorite -ette name?