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Evelyn

Evelyn (f) This name became very popular in Scotland
in the 1920’s. It was still 28th most frequently used name
for girls in 1935, but it had dropped to 66th position by
1958. It has occasionally been used as a male name, where it probably derives from the surname, itself a diminutive of Eve. A comment on the male use of Evelyn is to be found in Robert Heinlein’s novel. Glory Road. It makes a general point as well as a particular one, and echoes to some extent the well-known comments of actor John Wayne, born Marion Morrison, about his real name: My daddy had been proud of a couple of his ancestors— but is that any excuse for hanging ‘Evelyn Cyril’ on a male child? It had forced me to learn to fight before I could read. The girls’ name also occurs as Evalyn, Evelina, Eveline, Evelynn, Evelynne, Evlyn, Evlynn, though Evelyn is the usual spelling. The forms suggest that parents think of the name as Eva or Eve, both of which are also used in Scotland as independent names, plus an additional element. Ernest Weekley (Jack and Jill) saw the name as a derivative of Old French aveline, ‘hazel nut.’ E. G. Withycombe (The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names) links it with the German names Avi and Avila. Woulfe (Irish Names for Children) says that Evelyn may derive, like Eileen and Aileen, from the name Avelina. Whatever the origin, Evelyn is now little used by Scottish parents.

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