Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Feb 22 19:38:51 UTC 2003

>I believe that the now-common first name Gary did not exist until a press
>agent came up with the name Gary Cooper for an actor.

No doubt it was popularized by Gary Cooper. How would one prove that it was
fully nonexistent previously? It is said that the stage name was taken from
the name of the place in Indiana, which was named after somebody with the
surname Gary. Are all surnames fair game in choosing given names? Also,
"Gary" looks like a hypocorism for Gareth ... perhaps it was or is so used?

>I also believe that Wendy originated in Barrie's _Peter Pan_.

I believe it did (said to be from a child's "fwendy" = "friend"). But it
looks like a hypocorism for a Welsh name such as Gwendolyn, and perhaps an
indistinguishable name occurred long ago ... although probably independent
of the modern one.

I believe there are numerous names simply made up from 'euphonious'
syllables, others from combinations of parents' names, etc. No doubt many
of these have currency within certain families.

Probably there are good-sized classrooms wherein every third female student
is named Brittany or so ... but there were none with this name in any of my
classes (just a few years ago!) ... whence this name?

-- Doug Wilson

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