Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The -ette's

Image via Wikipedia

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...

Amorette 8
Annette 213
Antoinette 82
Arlette 142
Bernadette 82
Bette 5
Bridgette 189
Chrisette 48
Claudette 11
Colette 424
Cosette 85
Danette 7
Evalette 12
Everette 12
Georgette 23
Jeanette 105
Jette 15
Josette 51
Juliette 1025
Lisette 65
Lizette 104
Lovette 10
Lynette 100
Nanette 13
Nicolette 158
Odette 40
Paulette 85
Scarlette 264
Suzette 38
Violette 104
Yvette 152

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:

1913
Jeanette #159
Antoinette #181
Jeannette #192
Annette #241
Bernadette #359
Harriette #408
Juliette #493
Margarette #586
Everette #601 (boy)
Antonette #659
Violette #666
Bette #712
Janette #727
Lafayette #729 (boy)
Yvette #747
Laurette #876
Burdette #952

Fifty years ago, there were 27:

1963
Annette #71
Jeanette #158
Yvette #170
Lynette #251
Antoinette #280
Bernadette #285
Paulette #321
Jeannette #333
Nanette #347
Suzette #388
Janette #414
Lynnette #437
Colette #438
Bridgette #453
Danette #462
Nannette #540
Claudette #586
Ivette #668
Georgette #717
Everette #723 (boy)
Antionette #799
Collette #857
Lanette #881
Evette #887
Brigette #895
Juliette #901
Babette #939

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...

Jeanette/Jeannette 1880-1945
Paulette 1946
Jeanette 1947
Paulette 1948-1949
Jeanette 1950-1955
Annette 1956-1978
Jeanette 1979-1992
Nicolette 1993-1998
Lizette 1999-2000
Juliette 2001-2012

What do you think of -ette names? Are they "old" or dated? What is your favorite -ette name?
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2 comments:

  1. I love the Frenchy, old-fashioned sound of them! My favorites are Amorette, Colette, Cosette, Juliette, Odette and Scarlette.

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