"Tristan" now feminine given name

Landau, James James.Landau at NGC.COM
Fri Feb 24 13:32:40 UTC 2006

/'ker ee/ to me is a boy's name, probably because my father for many
years worked for a man named Cary Robertson.

In high school I had male classmates named Carroll and Lynn.  Lynn, as I
recall, got kidded not for his first name but for his surname, which was

I once had a female secretary named Johnnie Gee Carter.  Apparently Gee
was her maiden name (she was divorced).  

I once met a woman named Wyatt Ryder.  It seems her parents, perhaps
influenced by their last name, were great fans of Wyatt Earp.

Kay to me is a girl's name, mostly because my female first cousin is Kay
Elizabeth.  However, I have an African-American co-worker who is called
"Kay" because his given name is Kayoma.

How's this for a doubly-androgynous girl's name:  Billie Jay Grey?  (She
claims to be a great...greatniece of Lady Jane Grey).  On the other
hand, "Billy Jo" is a common man's name in the South ("Billy Jo
McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge").

I once worked with a woman called "Bee Head" who, of course, enjoyed
putting on a battleaxe act.  I never did find out what "Bee" was short
for.  She had a friend called "Bud Weiser" who never would admit his
real first name was anything except Bud.

First names/nicknames which are also names of letters:
   Dee or Didi
   Elle  (only encountered in the Legally Blonde movies)
   Em  (Auntie Em in Wizard of Oz)
Male sportswriter Shirley Povich, whose son is Maury Povich.  Shirley
came from an area (somewhere in Maine?) where Shirley was a common boy's
name, and once found himself in Who's Who in American Women.

And then there was the Wheel of Fortune episode which had as contestants
Ms. Pat (Patricia) Sajak and Mr. Van A. White.

        - Jim Landau

P.S.  Don't forget Jack E. and Jack F. Kennedy

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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