"Tristan" now feminine given name

Sally Donlon sod at LOUISIANA.EDU
Fri Feb 24 17:32:03 UTC 2006

There's a professor of education at Louisiana Tech called Laurie (for
Laurence). Most folks think nothing odd about it, as far as I can tell.

He's on the far side of 50.

My colleague's son, who is mid-20s, is Robin and reports no problems.


On Feb 24, 2006, at 11:24 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> Like the English (masculine) poet and novelist Laurie (for
> "Laurence") Lee (1914-1997).
>   JL
> Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
>   ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Laurence Horn
> Subject: Re: "Tristan" now feminine given name
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> At 3:06 PM -0800 2/23/06, FRITZ JUENGLING wrote:
>> We have some friends whose daughters are named Robbie and Dani
>> (sp?). Of course, the tendency to use traditionally boys' names for
>> girls is well known. How often does it go the other way? Examples?
>> I have two brothers-in-law whose names are Robin and Kerry. The
>> former I know has been used as a boy's name for a long time, but
>> even as a kid, I always felt uneasy about a boy being named Robin.
>> Well, I still can't get used to Kerry.
>> Fritz
> My brother is a (male, American) Robin, but named (by me) for
> Christopher Robin, who was of course British. Most Robins in the
> U.S. are female (no, I'm not including robins). But then I was
> "Laurie" growing up, my name having been chosen on the basis of Teddy
> Laurence of _Little Women_, who was known by the Marches as "Laurie".
> To survive junior high school, I had to become Larry, but there are
> male Lauries elsewhere in the English-speaking world, perhaps chiefly
> in Scotland (and, by osmosis, Canada). But in general the fate of
> these names like that of so many others reflects the Gresham's Law
> principle found also in taboo avoidance: once a previously masculine
> name is widely androgynized, it becomes more and more difficult to
> apply it to boys.
> ex-Laurie
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