Heptune presents:

Heptune's Baby Names for February, 2000

Archy, Mehitabel, Freddy, Cleopatra

by Brenna Lorenz

    In 1916, Don Marquis wrote a series of newspaper columns for the New York Sun under the name of Archy (or, more accurately, archy). Archy is a free-verse poet who has died and whose soul has transmigrated into the body of a cockroach. Archy the cockroach continues his literary career, typing his messages by hurling his tiny insect body onto the keys of the typewriter head down. Because he can't operate the shift key, his writings are all lower case, and unpuctuated because punctuation takes too much effort. Archy will change your attitude towards cockroaches, or at he'll least try!

    Archy is a diminutive form of Archibald, a Scottish-Norman French-Germanic name meaning "genuine and brave," from the roots ercan and bald. The diminutive is more common than the full name, but neither is widely used in recent times. It reached its maximum popularity in Scotland at the beginning of the 20th century.

    Archy's questionable colleague is Mehitabel, a wild, street-wise alley cat who is Archy's friend when she's not trying to eat him. "Toujours gai" is her motto, kid. Mehitabel is a Hebrew name from Genesis in the Old Testament, meaning "God makes happy." Common during the 1700s in the United States, this name is seldom used today.

    When Mehitabel learns that Archy was once a free-verse poet, she claims to have been Cleopatra in a previous life. We are never sure whether or not to believe her. Cleopatra is a Greek name meaning "her father's glory," from the roots kleos and pater. This name has enjoyed moderate 20th century popularity among African-Americans.

    Freddy the rat is a short-lived character who starts out as a bully and ends up as a hero. He dies saving the others from an evil banana spider. Freddy is a diminutive of Frederick, a Germanic name meaning "peace - ruler," from the roots fred and ric. Of this group of names, Frederick is by far the most popular, although we don't see many babies being given this name lately.

    You can read about the adventures of Archy and Mehitabel in The Lives and Times of Archy and Mehitabel.
 

Archibald

Diminutives: Archie, Archy, R-Chie
 

Mehitabel

Variations: Mehably, Mehatable, Mehetabeel, Mehetabel, Mehetable, Mehetti, Mehitabelle, Mehitable
Diminutives: Metty, Mitty
 

Cleopatra

Variation: Kleopatra
Diminutives: Cleo, Patra
 

Frederick

Variations:
    American: Federic, Federick, Fredderick, Freddierick, Frederic, Frederrick, Fredirick, Fredrich, Fredriche, Fredrick, Frits, Fritzen
    Chamoru: Fredelino, Fredelito, Fredericko, Frederico, Fredirico, Fredrico, Frerico
    German: Fritz
    Greek: Phrederikos
    Latvian: Pridriks, Prizzis
    Lithuanian: Priczus, Prydas, Prydikis
    Pohnpeian: Pederiko, Pedrico
    Spanish: Federico
Diminutives:
    American: Dick, Drick, Fed, Fred, Freddie, Freddy, Fredie, Pfreddie
    Filipino: Pedring
    Hispanic: Quico


Go to last month's names: Akhenaten, Isa, Shelby, Sunil
See next month's names: Jade, Jawahar, Tama, Aruna
Return to Heptune's Journal of Lore and Levity!
Return to Heptune's Baby Names Central.
Check out Names from the Ocean!
Read about A Tragedy Told in Names.
Check out Names in Early Jazz and Blues.


Published 1/30/00.