Thursday, July 16, 2009

Steve Evans: Etymologies 10-12

What's in a name?


Gender: Masculine
Usage: English
Pronounced: AN-thə-nee, AN-tə-nee [key]
English form of the Roman family name Antonius, which is of unknown Etruscan origin. The most notable member of the Roman family was the general Marcus Antonius (called Mark Antony in English), who for a period in the 1st century BC ruled the Roman Empire jointly with Augustus. When their relationship turned sour, he and his mistress Cleopatra were attacked and forced to commit suicide, as related in Shakespeare's tragedy 'Antony and Cleopatra' (1606).
The name became regularly used in the Christian world due to the fame of Saint Anthony the Great, a 3rd-century Egyptian hermit who founded Christian monasticism. Its popularity was reinforced in the Middle Ages by the 13th-century Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of Portugal. In English it has been commonly (but incorrectly) associated with Greek ανθος (anthos) "flower", which resulted in the addition of the h in the 17th century.

Gender: Masculine
Usage: English
Pronounced: STEEV-ən [key]
Medieval variant of STEPHEN.
Gender: Masculine
Usage: English, Biblical
Pronounced: STEEV-ən (English), STEF-ən (English) [key]
From the Greek name Στεφανος (Stephanos) meaning "crown". Saint Stephen was a deacon who was stoned to death, as told in Acts in the New Testament, and he is regarded as the first Christian martyr. Due to him, the name became common in the Christian world. It was popularized in England by the Normans. This was the name of kings of England, Serbia, and Poland, as well as ten popes. It was also borne by the first Christian king of Hungary (10th century), who is regarded as the patron saint of that country. More recent bearers include British physicist Stephen Hawking (1942-) and the American author Stephen King (1947-).


The Welsh for John, the same as Johns. Evan, eofn, fearless, bold. [Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names with an Essay on their Derivation and Import (1857).]

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