1 2  4 5 6 7 8 15
I rather like the "Hortense" subject line. It reminds me of an old Archie comic book, wherein a girl named ... dance by none other than Jughead an unattractive guy who was ahead of his time, being already dumbed down.

There was a Disney character named Hortense McDuck: http://duckman.pettho.com/characters/hortense.html

Also, an ostrich named Hortense:
http://disneyshorts.toonzone.net/years/1937/donaldsostrich.html

John Varela
(Trade "OLD" lamps for "NEW" for email.)
I apologize for munging the address but the spam is too much.
"Hortensia" is what the Dutch call the hydrangea, so I ... gave her name to one of the world's largest diamonds.

The editor at De Tuingids (The Garden Guide) thought that the Napoleonic Hortense was the source of the name:
http://www.detuingids.be/pages/detail.asp?Id=2720
Deze plant wel eens genoemd naar HORTENSE DE
BEAUHARNAIS, de bloedmooie dochter van Keizerin
Josephine van Frankrijk.
But maybe they were wrong it wouldn't be the first time somebody was wrong on the Web...
One page says that Hortense was named after the flower:

Josephine had two children by Beauharnais, Eugene
and Hortense. The latter was also named after a
flower; the hortensia, known more familiarly as the "mophead" hydrangea.
Hortense de Beauharnais was b.1783, d. 1837, if that helps. I can't find when the hydrangea hortensia was brought to Europe.

And here's another which mentions someone else, a botanist that's rather what I expected in the first place:
Hydrangeas: Pots Of Mopheads And Lacecaps
Hortensias {H. macrophylla}, also known as bigleaf or garden hydrangeas, are very popular and widely
grown. Hortensias, also known as "mopheads," were
named in honor of Hortense, the daughter of 18th
century botanist Prince de Nassau.
Well, that's something more to look for. And, yes, it turns up more hits:
1.De naam Hydrangea is voor het eerst gebruikt doorde botanist Grovonius in zijn 'Flora
Virginica'.**2.De naam Hortensia is gegeven ter ere van Hortense van Nassau ,de dochter van de Prins van Nassau,die deel uitmaakte van de
plant-hunter-expeditie van Bougainville.
(The name Hydrangea was first used by the botanist Grovonious in his "Flora Virginica." The name Hortensia was given in honor of Hortense van nassu, the daughter of the Prince of Nassau, who took part in the plant-hunter expedition of Bougainville.)
Another page says Hortense was the sister of the one who went on the expedition:
De hortensia is vernoemd naar Hortense van Nassau, zuster van de prins van Nassau-Siegen, die als
officier in Franse dienst in 1766 deel nam aan een wereldreis van plantenverzamelaar Bougenville en de Hydrangea hier introduceerde.
The date checks: Louis Antoine de Bougainville sailed around the world, 1766-69, collecting plants. The flower he collected in Brazil is of course named for him, Bougainvillea. However, the page I checked does not mention whether he collected the hydrangea.
However, another mentions that Philibert Commerson, the botanist you say the OED credits with the name, was on that same voyage... Maybe he made a little pun, naming the flower both in honor of gardens and the sister of his expedition comrade, the prince.
Like your French post said, however, the beautiful Hortense rests mysterious. It does seem terribly likely that the real origin of the name was simply "the garden hydrangea, the hydrangea grown in gardens" and all these women were named later, or independently.

I would expect the adjective "hortensia" to have been used in many other species, the same way that, say, "chinensis" and "japonica" turn up in many names... And indeed, with a little looking, I find:

Rudbeckia Laciniata Hortensia
Myosotidium Hortensia
And they have nothing to do with hydrangeas.
The earliest record I can find in Ancestry World Tree with the name "Hortense" is a German countess born 1569. There may be some earlier, there's no quick way to check. Now I wonder, was "Hortensia" used as a woman's name in Roman times?...

Best Donna Richoux
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Ah, but Lavinia has the scent of India perfuming its very essence.

I would have thought that 'Lamprhey' was exotic enough not to require further amplification.

wrmst rgrds
Robin Bignall
Quiet part of Hertfordshire
England
(1) When I was in high school (late 1950s), "" used to be a perfectly acceptable name, not subject to ... to them. Sometimes I long for those innocent days. (Note that I didn't say "happy days." They weren't, not especially.)

I've still got two friends who are unselfconsciously called . It doesn't seem to present a problem. Willy, however, does seem to have dropped out, but I think mainly because of fashion rather than the possibility of double-meaning.

Rob Bannister
( . . . )
The earliest record I can find in Ancestry World Tree with the name "Hortense" is a German countess born 1569. There may be some earlier, there's no quick way to check. Now I wonder, was "Hortensia" used as a woman's name in Roman times?...

From www.behindthename.com :
HORTENSE f French
Pronounced: or-TAWNS
French feminine form of Hortensius (see HORTENSIA).

HORTENSIA f Ancient Roman, English, Spanish
Feminine form of the Roman family name Hortensius, possibly derived from Latin hortus "garden".
By the way, I see now that www.behindthename.com has been mentioned at least 37 times in AUE in recent years as far back as August 2000.
And, lo and behold, I see also that I have added it to Mark Israel's AUE FAQ at some time in more or less recent years. ( http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxetymol.html .)
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Congratulations, John. I tried to think of something to do with "*** tense", but nothing came ... not even Hortense.

Gimme a sentence with the name "Hortense"
One way to make a *** tense is to threaten to call the vice squad.

Do non-rhotics pronounce it "Ho tense"?
Have I no shame?

Bob Lieblich
None
woman's name in Roman times?...

From www.behindthename.com : HORTENSE f French Pronounced: or-TAWNS French feminine form of Hortensius (see HORTENSIA). HORTENSIA f Ancient Roman, English, Spanish Feminine form of the Roman family name Hortensius, possibly derived from Latin hortus "garden".

I see. That made me check the Perseus Project, which has:

Hortensia
The daughter of the orator Hortensius (q.v.), who
inherited her father's eloquence. When the members of the Second Triumvirate had imposed a heavy tax
upon the Roman matrons and no one of the other sex dared to espouse their cause, Hortensia appeared as their advocate, and made so able a speech that a
large portion of the burden was removed (Val. Max. viii. 3, 3). This harangue was extant in
Quintilian's time, who speaks of it with praise (
Quint.i. 1Quint., 6).
There's an even longer article on her father, which begins:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus:text:1999.0 4%2e0062&query=id%3dhortensius#id,hortensius
Hortensius
Quintus. (1) A celebrated orator, who began to
distinguish himself by his eloquence in the Roman
Forum at the age of nineteen. He was born of a
plebeian family, B.C. 114, eight years before
Cicero. He served at first as a common soldier, and afterwards as military tribune, in the Social War. In the contest between Marius and Sulla he remained neutral, and was one of the twenty quaestors
established by Sulla. He afterwards obtained in
succession the offices of aedile, praetor, and consul.

It goes on and on about his career and distinctive oratorial style.

Then I wondered whether the "Hort-" in their names had anything to do with "exhort" and "hortatory," but AHD says the "to urge" meaning and the "garden" meaning are from two unrelated Indo-European roots. Besides, I don't think these were nicknames they earned, but family names.

Best Donna Richoux
By the way, I see now that www.behindthename.com has been mentioned at least 37 times in AUE in recent years as far back as August 2000.

I looked up Dena - Possibly means "dale" or "valley" in a Native American language.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
( . . . )
Then I wondered whether the "Hort-" in their names had anything to do with "exhort" and "hortatory," but AHD says ... "garden" meaning are from two unrelated Indo-European roots. Besides, I don't think these were nicknames they earned, but family names.

But the "hort-" is the same as in "cohort". In November
1999 I posted to say

I've found it fascinating that the 'hort' in the word 'cohort' is related to the 'hort' in 'horticultural', and derives from the use of a farmyard as the meeting place for a group of soldiers.
( The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories has nearly a full page devoted to the etymology of
'cohort'. They say, among other things, that '-hort', 'yard', and 'garden' all go back 'through the mists of time' to the same source.)
Show more