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The Origins Of Character Names!

The Origins Of Character Names!

Whilst sorting through our latest delivery of vintage books, we came across the book ‘The Pan Book Of Girls Names’, dubbed ‘the best answer to all those infuriating name suggestions from the grandparents.’ We thought it would be fun to search for the names of some of our favourite female characters from literature and find out what they mean, and where they originated from. Was the name given to the character for a reason?




One of our favourite ladies from the brilliant Harry Potter series. Here’s what the book has to say about the name:

“The feminine form of Hermes, used by Shakespeare in his ‘Winter’s Tales’ - the messenger of the gods and protector of travellers.”

The trio’s quest in the Deathly Hallows comes to mind?



A fiercely intelligent little girl who stands up and fights for what’s right, (and gets into a little bit of mischief along the way).

“The meaning of this name, which derives from old german, is ‘mighty battle maid’.” This is definitely applicable to Roald Dahl’s character. She may be small, but she is also undeniably mighty.



Friend of Peter Pan, the girl who nearly made him grow up. The book itself actually insinuates that it was J.M Barrie who created this name specifically for his character!

“Wendy seems to be essentially a theatre name. Even its origin is said to have been the baby-word ‘fwendie’ used be a very young girl friend of Sir James Barrie, the playwright, as a pet name for the great man; he changed it slightly for the Wendy Darling of his Peter Pan.”  



Effie is the escort for both Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games. Effie is actually a pet name, with her real name being Euphemia, which the book describes as the following:

“Derived from the greek for ‘pleasant speech’. The name also has the implied meaning of ‘silence’, for when the ancient greeks prepared for a sacrifice the priest would call out, ‘speak pleasantly, citizens!’ meaning that nobody present should utter an unlucky word that might anger the gods; so for safety’s sake, nobody spoke at all.”

This is really quite fitting for Effie, who is always careful in what she does and doesn’t say, weary of those she is fearful of, yet continuously tries to impress.


We’d love to know if you’re named after a particular character for a particular reason? Or maybe it was you who named your child after a character based on a certain set of qualities and attributes?

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