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Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of BabyNames.com
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Name origins
Did we invent Charlene?

I’ve noticed the name Charlene is becoming popular and got curious…I checked to see if the name had been used before 1938. My dad and mom named my sister Charlene as a combination of their names Charles and Ethelene. My sister was born January 11, 1938. Sadly she passed away in the summer of 1948 from the aftereffects of rheumatic fever. She was born in Mansfield, Ohio. I was born at home, but don’t know if she was.

I thought you might be interested and I was curious to know if my mom and dad were the ones to introduce the name to society.

Sincerely
Lovina May Stinehour Dunham

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Dear Lovina (great name, BTW!),

According to the U.S. Social Security name database, the name Charlene was already in existence in 1907, ranking at #876. So the answer would be no, your parents didn’t make up the name, but they did help popularize it!

The name Charlene was most popular in the years 1946-1952 where it actually hit the top 100 in 1949. Famous Charlenes include actress Charlene Tilton (Dallas) and Princess Charlene Lynette Wittstock of Monaco, who married the son of Princess Grace.

All about Nene
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Hi,

Just wondering if you would know where the name Nene comes from. Pronounced like “knee knee.”

Jess N.

Hi Jess,TV Guide Magazine's 2012 Hot List Party - Arrivals

The name Nene can be traced back to many cultures: Aztec (Nahuatl), African and even Japanese. Most likely it is a variation of the male name John, meaning “God is Gracious.” It could also be a nickname for someone whose name begins or ends in ne or nee, like Renee.  In the case of celeb Nene Leakes, her real name is Linnethia.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Origin and Meaning of Alyda
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Hi Jennifer!

I love your site; it’s Internet candy for me!  I have a quick question about my middle name: Alyda.  It’s tough to find name meanings for it and I have no idea what the origin of it is.  I inherited it from my grandmother (whom everyone called Lyda) and I’ve only met one other person who has this name.  Can you tell me where it’s from and what it means?  If we ever have a daughter, I’ll be passing the name on and I’d like to know the origin.  

Thanks a bunch!

Lauren

Dear Lauren,

First off, I love the term “internet candy!” Thank you so much for your kind words.

Your middle name, Alyda, is most likely an alternate spelling of the Germanic/Dutch name, ALIDA. Alida was originally used as a diminutive (nickname) for Adelaide, which means “Of noble kin.”  

I have added your spelling to our database. 

Sincerely,

Jennifer

 

Origin of the name Minette
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Hi! I know a girl with the name Minette, but couldn’t find it on your site and thought it was really pretty. Could it be added? I know it is of French origin, but don’t know much beyond that.

Thanks,
Madeline

Hi Madeline,

The root “Min” comes from the name Minnie, which is a diminutive form of the name Mary. “Ette” is a French tag that was originally used for nicknames.  So yes, the origin is French, and the meaning is the same as Mary: “Bitter” or “Of the Sea.”  Thank you for this new name! We will add Minette to our names database.

Sincerely,

Jennifer