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I knew a Sidonie at university.

Possibly she was named for Colette (1873-1954).

Regards, Frank Young
(Email Removed) 703-527-7684 Post Office Box 2793, Kensington, Maryland 20891 "Videmus nunc per speculum in aenigmate... Nunc cognosco ex parte"
Well, it has in the United States. From the U. ... while Sidney as a male name ranked lower at 685."

Isn't there some evidence that, once a name becomes popular as a female name, it falls out of favour very quickly as a male name? FRAN

Hi Fran,
No so.
Francis A. Miniter
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I've just been reading "A suitable vengeance" by Elizabeth George, and have found it rather disconcerting to read about a ... census discs, is it possible to search for the number of Sidneys, and see how many are male or female?

A quick search of Ancestry's 1891 for Females produces: Sidney 433
Sydney 391
There are probably some mis-transcriptions but not over 800 :-)

John Zillwood (Email Removed)
Abbotsford Genealogical Society
http://www.rootsweb.com/~bcags/
I've just been reading "A suitable vengeance" by Elizabeth George, and have found it rather disconcerting to read about a ... glamorous female character "Sidney" is a bit like calling one "Alfred" or "Stanley" or some other popular Victorian/Edwardian male name.

Strikes this ear as no more odd than "George Sands" and, so, has something of a racy quality to it, perhaps. And again altogether subjectively, there seems to be the world of difference in acoustic characteristics between such names as "Alfred" on the one hand and ... "Sidney" on the other, although I am unable to explain (academically) just how.
Also seems no more odd than surnames-as-first-names, as in "Kennedy HUGGINS", "Galbraith HUGGINS", or "Thompson HUGGINS" (source: our HUGGINS family of Caledon, Co Tyrone, c.1800).
In fact, I wouldn't react much, let alone negatively, if I were introduced to a woman named Sidney.
How do you react to a name like "Stockard Channing"? The forename suggests a masculine character, whereas the real person provides ample evidence as to otherwise.
It's also not unlike the visual conjured of Audrey Hepburn or Leslie Caron in their ultra-short, ultra-chic hairstyles ... would you consider either of these women any less female?
Crossover names: Beverley, Leslie, Hilary, Vivian, Michael, Ryan, Jordan, feminized names such as Nicole (from Nicholas), and the list goes on...

And what about that song, "Franky and Johnny"?!
Interesting how we respond variously to the acoustics given by forenames. And vive la différence ;-).
ac
I've just been reading "A suitable vengeance" by Elizabeth George, andhave found it rather disconcerting to read about a female character with thename "Sidney".

In fact, I wouldn't react much, let alone negatively, if I were introduced to a woman named Sidney.

Indeed there are recent movies with female Sidneys. Scream () & Brown Sugar to name a couple.
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Indeed there are recent movies with female Sidneys. Scream () & Brown Sugar to name a couple.

Oh and of course there's Sydney (with the 2 y's) in the TV series Alias.
Alison Causton wrote on 16 Jun 2004:
I've just been reading "A suitable vengeance" by Elizabeth George, ... "Alfred" or "Stanley" or some other popular Victorian/Edwardian male name.

Strikes this ear as no more odd than "George Sands"

That's "George Sand" and "White Sands".
and, so, has something of a racy quality to it, perhaps. And again altogether subjectively, there seems to be the ... "Alfred" on the one hand and ... "Sidney" on the other, although I am unable to explain (academically) just how.

You might want to say something like "Different sounds create different formants". If you don't understand that, then you can say something at the level of your observation: "When I say the name 'Alfred', it sounds different to my ear than when I say the name 'Sidney'. I wonder why."
Also seems no more odd than surnames-as-first-names, as in "Kennedy HUGGINS", "Galbraith HUGGINS", or "Thompson HUGGINS" (source: our HUGGINS family of Caledon, Co Tyrone, c.1800). In fact, I wouldn't react much, let alone negatively, if I were introduced to a woman named Sidney.

Wouldn't that depend upon the woman named Sidney?
How do you react to a name like "Stockard Channing"? The forename suggests a masculine character,

Because it rhymes with "stockyard" or "blackguard"?
whereas the real person provides ample evidence as to otherwise.

Does that mean she's broad where a broad should be broad?
It's also not unlike the visual conjured of Audrey Hepburn or Leslie Caron in their ultra-short, ultra-chic hairstyles ... would you consider either of these women any less female?

Do you mean "feminine" here? How can one be "more" or "less" female or male?
Crossover names: Beverley, Leslie, Hilary, Vivian, Michael, Ryan, Jordan, feminized names such as Nicole (from Nicholas), and the list goes on... And what about that song, "Franky and Johnny"?!

It's "Frankie and Johnny", as in "Frankie Goes to Hollywood". And a single punctuation mark at the end of the sentence is correct
Interesting how we respond variously to the acoustics given by forenames.

Names do not "give acoustics".
And vive la différence ;-).

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
My question is, has Sidney become a common female name in Britain?

Well, it has in the United States. From the U. S. Census Bureau on the most common names given to ... a female name ranked as the 25th most popular name while Sidney as a male name ranked lower at 685."

Elizabeth George lives in America, but her books are set in the UK for the most part (an exception is the Channel Islands setting of a recent one).

So I'm really interested in the occurrence of Sidney as a female name in the UK, and especially England.
There are a couple of other things in George's writing that I would regard as Americanisms - when characters speak of "the Big Dipper", for example. Wouldn't English people say "the plough"?
And a character "kneeled" at the side of a bed wouldn't that be "knelt".

I suppose one thing I wondered was why the copy editor didn't pick those up.

Or have they now become naturalised in Britain?
In my genealogy records I have 9 Sidneys and 10 Sydneys, and every one of them is male. Most appear to have been born between 1850 and 1920, which is when the name seemed to be most popular. The most recent was born in 1953.

Steve Hayes
E-mail: (Email Removed)
Web: http://www.geocities.com/hayesstw/stevesig.htm http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/books.htm
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Well, it has in the United States. From the U. ... while Sidney as a male name ranked lower at 685."

Isn't there some evidence that, once a name becomes popular as a female name, it falls out of favour very quickly as a male name?

Perhaps it might be, at least partly, the other way round that when a name loses popularity as a male name, it becomes available as a female one.

Someone mentioned Douglas is Brian next?

Steve Hayes
E-mail: (Email Removed)
Web: http://www.geocities.com/hayesstw/stevesig.htm http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/books.htm
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