About The Name: Cordelia Margaret Winton Brown

When we were trying to pick a name for Cordelia we knew two things; it had to start with C (for obvious alphabetical reasons) and it had to be a very special name, because when your sister's name is Delphine you don't want to be Susan or Ann (or even Anne).

I always wanted to use Cordelia, but I had some misgivings. I mean, it's a bit much, Delphine and Cordelia, isn't it? Who do I think I am? Then there was the Buffy factor. I didn't want people to think that I got my kid's name from a TV show. I think naming your kid after a TV character is lame and low-class, and since I assume everyone else is a snob like me I didn't want you all to think I'm lame and low-class.

I finally decided to go with Cordelia, though, because I knew that if I ever met someone else who had the balls to name their girl Cordelia I would kick myself for chickening out. Plus I can always say I got it from Shakespeare, because naming your kids after someone is Shakespeare is the opposite of lame and low-class. It's pretentious! Or if I want to be less pretentious and more Canadian I can say I got it from Anne of Green Gables:

"Will you please call me Cordelia?" she said eagerly.
"Call you Cordelia! Is that your name?"
"No-o-o. it's not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It's such a perfectly elegant name."

(Incidentally before I decided to use a C name I thought about "Marilla" as well. The only other serious contender was "Corine"; less pretty and more sturdy, which considering her genetics will probably describe Cordelia as well.)

Wikipedia says:

(I didn't even notice that last one when we saw the movie.) I also believe "Cordelia" is a cheesy Chris De Burgh song (is there any other kind?) (Edited to add: Apparently the cheesy song is "Carmelia" and it's by Dan Hill. Well, I was mostly right.) And freakily enough there is a song called "Cordelia Brown" by Harry Belafonte, and Jim Croce's "Mississippi Lady" is also named Cordelia Brown.

Here's what Margaret Atwood wrote about the name "Cordelia" in Cat's Eye (her Cordelia character is a bit messed up):

Why did they name her that? Hang that weight around her neck. Heart of the mood, jewel of the sea, depending on which foreign language you're using. The third sister, the only honest one. The stubborn one, the rejected one, the one who was not heard. If she'd been called Jane, would things have been different?

We had some trouble with nicknames. For a while I played with DeeDee but it didn't seem to stick. Cordy is a'ight but not very cute -- maybe when she's older. So I have been calling her Coco. Coco Beware. I am writing this when she is four months old. We'll see if Coco sticks. I have a horrible feeling it's going to.

Edited to add: She's now eight months and mostly we call her "Cordelia". Sometimes I call her Didi, or Didia, which started to be more natural after Delphine started calling her "Cordidia" instead of "Cordee-eya". (She still has trouble pronouncing "l"s.)


Margaret was my aunt, my father's brother's wife. She died just over a year ago. She was beautiful and elegant, slender and composed. She carried herself with grace and good-humour. She was intelligent. I completely adored her (and my Uncle Michael, for that matter.) and if Cordelia has a fraction of her charm I will be very pleased.


Delphine's last two names are Brown Winton; Cordelia's are Winton Brown. They're not hyphenated or anything; the second last name with be a buried-and-forgotten second middle name, and the last name will be their last name. Yes, my girls have different last names. Somehow we will cope. I don't think it will tear the family apart. Plus then we can do the "YOUR daughter..." thing when the appropriate child misbehaves.