Raven (given name)

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Raven
Pronunciation /ˈrvən/
Gender Unisex
Language(s) English
Origin
Language(s) English
Word/name "raven"
Other names
Cognate(s) *Hræfn, Hrafn
See also Ravenna

Raven /ˈrvən/[1] is a unisex given name in the English language.[2] In the United States of America, the name is more commonly used as a feminine name, and has ranked amongst the top 1,000 feminine names given to baby girls since 1977.

Etymology and related names[edit]

The name originates from the English vocabulary word "raven",[2] which in turn is ultimately derived from the Old English hræfn.[3] As a masculine name, Raven parallels the Old Norse Hrafn,[2] and the Old English *Hræfn, which both mean "raven".[4] As a feminine name, Raven is among several other names derived from birds; names such as Dove, Kestrel, and Teal.[2] Names derived from vocabulary words, such as the mentioned bird names, increased in popularity as feminine names in the English-speaking world during the 20th century.[5] The feminine given name Ravenna is thought to be derived from the name of the northern Italian city Ravenna, however, in some cases Ravenna may also represent a more elaborately-feminine form of Raven.[6]

Raven is also a surname in the English language. In some cases the surname is derived from the Old Norse and Old English personal names already mentioned. The surname also originates from a nickname meaning "raven",[4] or a thieving person, or a dark-haired person, derived from the Middle English raven[7] In other cases, the surname is derived from a sign name. The following surnames are examples of names from which the modern surname Raven is derived: filius Reuene, in Yorkshire, 1086; le Reven, in Worcestershire, 1327; and atte Raven, in London, 1344[4] (this final surname is a sign name, which indicates that the bearer was someone who lived near a sign with a raven on it, possibly such as a house sign).[4][7] Raven is also a German language surname. This name is derived from the Middle Low German rave, raven, meaning "raven". This surname originated as a nickname, or from an old personal name.[7]

Cognates[edit]

Germanic-language names of the same word-origin
  • *Hræfn - masculine - Old English (this name is unattested).
  • *Hræfning - masculine - Old English (a derivative of *Hræfn).[4]
  • Hraban - masculine - a Germanic language name.[8]
  • Hrafn - masculine - Old Norse.
  • HraƀnaR - masculine - early Old Norse.[3]
  • HarabanaR - masculine - early Old Norse.[3]
Germanic-language names of the same meaning (and of non-Germanic origin)
  • Corbin - masculine - English (a name with several possible origins; in some cases it may be derived from Corbinian, see below).[8]
  • Corbinian - masculine - English (possibly from Latin corvus, and Late Latin corbus, which mean "crow", "raven"). The name is possibly a translation of Germanic personal name of a similar meaning, such as Hraban.[8][9]
  • Korbinian - masculine - German (see above Corbinian which is the English form of this name).[8][9]
Non-Germanic-language names with the same meaning
  • Brân - masculine - Welsh (from Welsh brân, which means "raven").
  • Bran - masculine - Irish (from Irish bran, which means "raven").[10]
  • Branán - masculine - Irish (meaning "little raven").[11]
  • Branagán - masculine - Irish (a double diminutive of bran, which means "raven").[12][13]
  • Feichín - masculine - Irish (a diminutive of Irish fiach, which means "raven").[14]
  • Fiachna - masculine - Irish (from fiach, which can mean both "raven" and "hunt").[14]

Popularity and use[edit]

In the United States of America, Raven is more commonly used as a feminine name than as a masculine name. The name has ranked amongst the top 1,000 feminine names recorded in Social Security card applications since 1977. In 2009, it was the 636th most common feminine name. As a masculine name, Raven ranked amongst the top 1,000 names only in the years spanning 1997–2002. Its highest rank was in 1999, when it was ranked the 811th most common masculine name.[15]

In 1990, the United States Census Bureau undertook a study of the 1990 United States Census, and released a sample of data concerning the most popular names.[16] This sample consisted of 6.3 million people, and was made up of 5,494 unique first names (4,275 feminine names, and 1,219 masculine names).[17] Within this sample, Raven was ranked the 1,358th most common feminine name,[18] and did not even rank amongst the 1,219 masculine names.[19]

Popularity charts[edit]

Popularity of Raven as a feminine name
Popularity of Raven as a masculine name
The years and rank when Raven appeared amongst the top 1,000 names for Social Security card applications for boys or girls, in the United States of America.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Raven, Dictionary.com, retrieved 19 November 2010  which cited: Dictionary.com Unabridged, Random House .
  2. ^ a b c d Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 226, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 .
  3. ^ a b c Oxford English Dictionary (version 4.0) (CD-ROM) (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press , for "raven, n.1 (a.)".
  4. ^ a b c d e Reaney, Percy Hilde (1995), Wilson, Richard Middlewood, ed., A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 372, ISBN 0-19-863146-4 .
  5. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. xxi, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 .
  6. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, pp. 226–227, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 .
  7. ^ a b c Learn about the family history of your surname, Ancestry.com, retrieved 29 January 2011 , which cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 , for the surname "Raven".
  8. ^ a b c d Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 63, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 .
  9. ^ a b Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 321, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 .
  10. ^ Learn about the family history of your surname, Ancestry.com, retrieved 30 January 2011 , which cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 , for the surname "Byrne".
  11. ^ Learn about the family history of your surname, Ancestry.com, retrieved 30 January 2011 , which cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 , for the surname "Brennan".
  12. ^ Reaney, Percy Hilde (1995), Wilson, Richard Middlewood, ed., A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 61, ISBN 0-19-863146-4 .
  13. ^ Learn about the family history of your surname, Ancestry.com, retrieved 30 January 2011 , which cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 , for the surname "Brannigan".
  14. ^ a b Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 348, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 .
  15. ^ Popular Baby Names, Social Security Online, retrieved 29 January 2011 .
  16. ^ Genealogy Data: Frequently Occurring Surnames from Census 1990 – Names Files, United States Census Bureau, retrieved 29 January 2011 .
  17. ^ Documentation and Methodology for Frequently Occurring Names in the U.S. (txt), United States Census Bureau, retrieved 29 January 2011 .
  18. ^ dist.female.first (txt), United States Census Bureau, retrieved 29 January 2011 .
  19. ^ dist.male.first (txt), United States Census Bureau, retrieved 29 January 2011 .