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Which names are considered classic? Just biblical or royal?

(56 Posts)
pizzacrisps Sun 06-Jan-19 19:54:52

What do you consider 'classic'? I guess Catherine and Elizabeth make the cut?

MikeUniformMike Sun 06-Jan-19 20:11:10

Royal family names.
Some biblical names.
Saints'names.
Names that have been in regular use for centuries.
Some Shakespearian names.
Some roman and greek names.
Names from classic novels (Jane Austen etc)

As a rough guide, look at their use 10, 20, 30....100 years ago, if they appear regularly, chances are they are ok.

New names, celebrity names etc tend not to be classic.

pizzacrisps Sun 06-Jan-19 20:12:43

Saints' names is a good place to look. Thanks!

OhTheRoses Sun 06-Jan-19 20:16:19

Alice
Victoria
Harriet
Verity
Charlotte
Elizabeth
Helena
Louise(a)
Olivia
Alexandra
Rosalinde
Hermione
Penelope
Isabel
Annabel
Antonia

MikeUniformMike Sun 06-Jan-19 20:16:48

Catherine/Katharine are classic but Cathryn/Kathryn isn't.
Elizabeth was good enough for HM! Elisabeth is classic if that is how it is spelt in your language, but isn't if you are in the UK.

Names from outside your culture aren't classic.

MikeUniformMike Sun 06-Jan-19 20:18:50

Rosalind doesn't have an e on the end.
Ann(e)
Susan
Margaret
Frances

Belindabauer Sun 06-Jan-19 20:20:05

Names that don't relate to a specific date. So Elizabeth could be 100 or 1. The same with Catherine.
A name whereby you can guess the age is not a timeless classic.

Belindabauer Sun 06-Jan-19 20:22:12

Nick name type names are not timeless classics.
So no to Archie, Alfie, Freddie.

MikeUniformMike Sun 06-Jan-19 20:25:43

And with a classic name they don't get tarnished when overused.
I'm of the age group where Sarah was very popular, but it's still nice, but names like Chloe and Freya seem overused when there are several.

MikeUniformMike Sun 06-Jan-19 20:28:20

Names like Darcey will date as before Darcey Bussell there weren't any.
Occupation or Surname like Taylor and Cooper names will date.

pizzacrisps Sun 06-Jan-19 20:32:55

Is Eve classic?

OlennasWimple Sun 06-Jan-19 20:35:23

Classic names tend to have their roots in the Bible (eg Sarah) or used by royal families over the years (eg William)

As pp said, if you can imagine it on a 1 year old, 50 year old and 80 year old, it's more likely to be a classic than a passing fad

OlennasWimple Sun 06-Jan-19 20:37:14

Eve is classic but not posh

pizzacrisps Sun 06-Jan-19 20:39:42

@OlennasWimple What's classic and posh then?

OhTheRoses Sun 06-Jan-19 20:44:59

I had a great aunt called Evelyn. I think that's quite posh - she was quite posh.

ThanksItHasPockets Sun 06-Jan-19 20:47:42

I would argue that a truly classic name is generally also pretty classless.

Fantastiqueangel Sun 06-Jan-19 20:52:14

I think of classic names as ones which have been in reasonable use for hundreds of years. They may have had peaks and troughs but have never really disappeared or been number one either. For girls I think Catherine, Elizabeth, Alice are examples. For boys, James, Thomas, William maybe.

BikeRunSki Sun 06-Jan-19 20:59:22

They are names which are ageless and classless; names you can’t make any assumptions around:

James, William, Henry, Edward, Adam
Caroline, Catherine, Eleanor, Louise, Anna

tammytoby Mon 07-Jan-19 07:30:40

I think Louise is not 'ageless' as it was super trendy in the 1970s. Any name that becomes very fashionable isn't a real classic anymore.

Classic names include

Elizabeth
Catherine
Anna
Helena
Alexandra

Alexander
Quentin
Adam
James
Thomas
Marcus

OlennasWimple Mon 07-Jan-19 11:19:43

Louise's popularity in the 70s was just a blip, though. I'd expect it to regain popularity again in the next generation or so

Posh classic names (to me) are things like Tabitha and Perdita for girls, Quentin and Tristan for boys

MikeUniformMike Mon 07-Jan-19 11:50:24

I agree about Louise. Claire, Rachel and Rebecca too.

MikeUniformMike Mon 07-Jan-19 11:59:28

I would say that some of the names are classic but would be limited to certain classes.
Tabitha is from the bible
Perdita is from Shakespeare.

I wouldn't class Evelyn as a classic, Eve and Adam are but are not likely to be distributed evenly through the classes.
Some of the names listed are a bit 'Jilly Cooper'.

Many of the Jasons (much older than me) I know were privately educated - but the name filtered down the classes until it dropped out of favour.

Clementine19 Mon 07-Jan-19 12:38:12

Alice
Anne
Catherine
Constance
Emma
Elizabeth
Eleanor
Frances
Helen/Helena
Jane
Katherine
Lucy
Margaret
Mary
Ruth
Rachel
Sarah
Susannah

For boys:

John
James
William
Henry
Thomas
Christopher
Alexander
George
Richard
Edward
Robert
Hugh
Charles
Peter

I would define ‘classic’ as names that have remained in regular use by all social classes for hundreds of years without huge surges or dips in popularity.

florascotia2 Mon 07-Jan-19 12:51:54

As other posters have said, names drop in and out of fashion. Many of the names that we consider 'classic' today are remembered from when they were popular in the 18th century, eg 'Jane Austen' names such as Mary, Catherine, Emma, Elizabeth, and, indeed, Jane. Before that, for example, saints' names and some local (non-Latin) names were popular in the Middle Ages; Old Testament names and virtue names were popular in Protestant circles in the 16th/17th centuries, classical names first became fashionable among wealthier families around the same time.

Shakespeare invented several names; he also used names from his very wide reading - everything from ancient history to trendy Italian literature and north-European folk-tales and legends.

Flower names became very popular in the 19th century. Names of legendary heroes (Lancelot etc) were also revived then.

A very good source for UK names is British Baby Names - here is their list of popular medieval names, as an example:
www.britishbabynames.com/blog/2012/06/medieval-favourites.html It is interesting to see that quite a lot of medieval boys' names and some (though fewer) girls' names are still used today. I suppose those are all technically 'classic' - though they include 'Alan', 'Dennis' and 'Roger', which would probably not be regarded favourably by many people today.

Quentin is an ancient name that was quite rare for centuries but became popular in the early 20th cent, after a US president used it for his son, who sadly died in WWI.

Clementine19 Mon 07-Jan-19 13:25:06

@florascotia
www.s-gabriel.org/names/christian/fairnames/givennames.html#women

I like this site which lists popular names 500 or so years ago. Mary, Jane, Catherine, Elizabeth, Emma etc already very widespread in 1500s.
I think it’s fascinating that names like Parnell and Fortune have completely disappeared!

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