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Joyce (f) ‘A curious name,’ according to Mrs Henry
Wood, writing in 1861. In the 1920’s, however, it became
one of the most popular Christian names in Britain. In
Scotland it was 37th most frequently used name in 1935
and it held the same position in 1958. Its diminutive Joy
was also being used during that period. The original name
appears to have been male, that of a Breton saint, Jodocus or Josse, but William Camden (Remains Concerning Britain) listed it in 1605 as a woman’s name, deriving it from Latin jocosa, ‘merry.’ Ben Jonson had a female character called Joyce, a servant girl, in his Tale of a Tub (1633). Perhaps because of its lower-class associations, Joyce seems to have faded from use until its revival this century.

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