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Norma (f) A name that was almost unknown in the
English-speaking world until the American actress Norma
Shearer began to appear on cinema screens in the 1920’s. Norma then had a fashionable run in the U.S.A. and Canada, and was used to some extent in England and Wales. Scottish parents took to the name immediately as a suitable feminine form of Norman. By their extensive use of the name they have to a large extent made it their own. It reached 47th position in Scotland in 1935, but it then dropped to 82nd place in 1958. The name was known in musical circles because of
Bellini’s opera Norma, based on a poem by Saumet. This
was first performed in 1831, but it is absurd to say, as do a number of reference works, that Norma became a popular name in the nineteenth century as a result.

Such works often add that Sir Walter Scott had a character called Norma in The Pirate (1821), whereas the name he used there was Norna, the name of one of the Fates in Scandinavian mythology.

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