Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Names that seem related but aren't.

There are a lot of names out there that sound like they are the same, but actually have different sources. Today's example:

Cecilia, Celia and Cecil


All three of these names are Latin in origin, but people often think that Celia is a short form of Cecilia, often to the point where Cecilia is often spelled Cecelia.

Cecilia is a feminine form of the Latin name Caecilius, which means "blind."

Celia is a feminine form of Caelus, which was introduced to English by William Shakespeare for his play As You Like It. It stems from the word caelum, meaning "heaven."

Cecil, in modern use, comes from an anglicization of the Welsh name Sesyllt, which comes from the Latin name Sextilius, meaning "sixth." There are a lot of Latin names that are ordinal numbers:

Primus (still used in its Italian form, Primo)
Secundus
Tertius
Quartus
Quintinus/Quintus (still used in an Anglicised French form-- Quentin)
Sextilius/Sextus
Septimus
Octavius
Nonus (the feminine form, Nona is still occasionally heard today)
Decimus

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The name Cecil is from Latin Caecilius, as is Cecilia.
Likewise, the English usage (popularised as a given name by Shakespeare) is thought to have been a form of Cecilia.
It is the It name Celia that is from the Caelian gens.

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