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Names from the Knobs,

McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties, TN

by Sandra Ratledge


Newcomers may find this list of unusual names from the Knobs in McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties helpful. Kinfolks researching local families sometimes have difficulty pronouncing and spelling these strange names and nicknames. Our East Tennessee dialect through generations is a contributory factor, no doubt. Youngsters do not know origins for these curious given names. Neophytes do not even understand that quotation marks indicate a nickname and that nicknames are not legal names but merely "pet" names used commonly by family and friends. Over decades of research, I found such nicknames, naming patterns, learned local pronunciations, and sought origins. The following chart may help researchers, but better still, bring a smile to the rest of us senior citizens. Thanks to Cousins Mildred Maupin and Denise Keltch for help and additions to this list! I appreciate their encouragement and the laughter we share.

NICKNAMEGENDERTRANSLATIONDERIVATIONMEANING
ArkiefemaleArthena / also Arkadelphia see Athenainventive spelling of Athena
Armie / ArmymaleArmisteadFrench & Englishdweller by the hermitage
ArtiefemaleArtemisiaLatinaromatic shrub like wormwood
Clercie / ClercyfemaleClarissaEnglish, Italian, & Spanishclear or brilliant
CreasiefemaleLucretiaRomana noble woman who committed suicide
Eckie / EckfemaleEchinaceaherb derived from coneflower and used to improve immune systemfrom Latin meaning prickly
Deelie / DealfemaleCordelia??
Feenie / JosiefemaleJosephineBiblicalfeminine version of Joseph
FeenfemaleSophinaEnglish from Greek SophiaGreek for "wisdom"
Fronie / FronefemaleSophroniaGreekof sound mind / heart
IggymaleIgnatiusSt. Ignatius, Bishop of Antiochsaint martyred at Rome
LeeviefemaleOleviaKnobs version of feminine for OliverLatin "man of peace"*
LicemaleEliasBiblicalHebrew for "prominence"*
MealiefemaleAmelia / PermeliaLatin"industrious or golden-tongued flatterer"*
Meridiefemale / maleMeredith Welsh, Celtic, & Englishprotector or guardian of the sea
MerkyfemaleAmericageographicalbestowed for patriotism
NarciefemaleNarcissaGreek mythology, Narkissossleep, numbness
NealmaleCornlieus / Cornelfrom Greek, "cornel tree""Cornel-cherry" is the dogwood tree bearing cherry-red seeds in fall.
NeelyfemaleCorneliafrom Greek, "cornel tree""Cornel-cherry" is the dogwood tree bearing cherry-red seeds in fall.
Nervie / NervefemaleMinervaRoman mythgoddess of wisdom
NiciefemaleEuniceBiblicalwoman of assured faith
ParkiefemaleParthenavariant spelling of Athenaversion of mythology
RainiefemaleLourena / Lorena form of Lorrainederived from King Lothar
RoemaleMonroeScottish, Englishfrom the mouth of the River Roe in Ireland
SineefemaleSinaiBiblical geographyMountain of Moses
SlyniefemaleSelenaEnglish from the Greek"moon" in Greek
Teen / TeeniefemaleChristineBiblicalJesus Christ
Theen / Thenie / ThenerfemaleAthenaGreek mythgoddess of wisdom
ThursiefemaleThursaNorse mythologyNorse god Thor's day is Thursday.
Ulie / UlesmaleUlyssesRoman mythologyfrom Odysseus
UniefemaleEuniceGreek "happy victory"*in Bible, the woman of assured faith
Zeddie / ZettiefemaleArzadaunknown to meWho knows?

*Some meanings above come from What's in a Name? by Favius Friedman, Scholastic Book Services, Scholastice Magazines, Inc., New York, NY, Jan 1975.

©1999-2015 Sandra N. Ratledge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any reproduction or inclusion of this website's contents in publication whether online or in print is prohibited. Do NOT copy photographs and upload on Find a Grave or any other internet websites, blogs, attach to family trees, or print in publications. Do NOT copy stories, articles, documents, sketches, anecdotes, letters, obituaries, content data, etc. and attach to family trees or upload on other websites of any kind.

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All you kinfolks, put some mail in that old box!

This site is dedicated to the memory of my mother,
Beulah Cline Nipper, a beautiful product of the Knobs.