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Terence (m) Also Terrence. Terence (c. 195-159 B.C.),
the Roman comic poet, was born in Carthage but went to
Rome at an early age. He became the slave of Publius
Terentius Lucanus, a senator who eventually gave him his freedom. As the black American slaves were later to do, Terence adopted the name of his ex-master. The original meaning of Terentius (Terence) is unknown.
Terence was popularly used in Ireland as a substitute for
a native name, Toirdealbhach, or Turlough, which
probably corresponds to modern Norwegian Torlaug or
Tallaug, meaning ‘Thor wide,’ or ‘shaped like Thor.’

Terence became fashionable in England and Wales around
1950, when its use also increased in Scotland. Scottish
parents used it for the next ten years or so before leaving it aside. The pet form Terry sometimes occurs as an independent name, but this is often feminine, a nickname from Teresa.

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