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The Origins of the name "Wendy"

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Ian Dunn
715559.  Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:58 am Reply with quote

The name "Wendy" was not invented by J. M. Barrie.

Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up was first written as a play in 1904, and then was published as a book, Peter and Wendy, in 1911.

However, the earliest known use of "Wendy" as would be recognised in English is in 1828, with Wendy Gram of Ohio. The name is also mentioned in the US Census of 1880 and the UK Census of 1881. Some claim the name comes from a derivative of the name Gwendolen or Gwendolyn.

Possibly the earliest known use of a "Wendy" was actually a "Wendi". There are two Chinese Emperors called Wendi, one from 541 AD-604 AD and another from 179 BC-157 BC.

Source: The Straight Dope and Wendy.com.

 
Spud McLaren
716177.  Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:55 am Reply with quote

Ian Dunn wrote:
Some claim the name comes from a derivative of the name Gwendolen or Gwendolyn.
That would make sense, given older forms of William (Gwillim) and Gavin (Wawain).

 
monzac
716181.  Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:32 am Reply with quote

That's interesting. I've always known the J. M. Barrie version of the name's origin

 
bobwilson
716400.  Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:56 pm Reply with quote

I think the J M Barrie version is so well known that it'd definitely be a contender for a W question (assuming this spoiler hasn't messed it up now).

 
monzac
716413.  Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:46 pm Reply with quote

I'll ask the Wendys I work with what they know of their name's origin.

The version I recall is that Wendy is a diminutive/pet form of Gwendolyn, but that Barrie was the first to use it as the formal name of a character in print.

I'd never thought much more about it, as it is not a significant name in my life, but it makes sense that the diminutive form would be widespread.

 
Spud McLaren
716496.  Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:15 am Reply with quote

monzac wrote:
I'll ask the Wendys I work with what they know of their name's origin.
Been revisiting Saxon poetry, monz?

 
monzac
716507.  Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:29 am Reply with quote

?

 
Spud McLaren
716516.  Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:44 am Reply with quote

Sorry - I meant it was very alliterative.

 
monzac
716525.  Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:04 am Reply with quote

Sorry, wasn't getting that in the written form. I see what you mean.

Sometimes what something looks like on paper is important. I remember getting a student to change a line in which she had written that so and so 'had had bad' experiences of some kind. It just looked weird on the page, but would sound ok out loud.

 
tetsabb
723974.  Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:01 pm Reply with quote

My better half is a Wendy, and has always believed it to be the inveniton of JMB. I shall let her know of the above.
Wendy Gram sounds like a measure of weight, or some kind of sound recording device.

 
Jenny
724373.  Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:14 pm Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:

Wendy Gram sounds like a measure of weight, or some kind of sound recording device.


Sounds like a singing telegram of some kind to me.

 
Bondee
725182.  Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:37 pm Reply with quote

Thanks Jenny!

I now have "Wendy red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbin' along..." stuck in my head!
; )

 

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