A primer on Virtue names

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, Virtue names from the Pilgrim and Puritan era are my onomastic guilty pleasure. I’ve been fascinated by them since I was a preteen, and have used some on my characters over the years. I had a character named Fear in a discontinued story about one of the Western migrations in the U.S. (maybe the Santa Fe Trail?). Her little sister was Thanksgiving, and her older brother was Courage.

My character Lovella Green in my Atlantic City books, who goes by Love, so likes her own Virtue name, she gives her kids the very Puritan/Pilgrim names Honesty, Courage, and Myles. Honesty and Courage in turn give their own kids Virtue names—Amnesty, Blessing, and Reliance (Courage’s kids), and Charity, Harmony, and Increase (Honesty’s kids).

Nowadays, the only commonly-used Virtue names in the English language seem to be Hope, Faith, Grace, Charity, Chastity, Harmony, and Joy. While I understand a name like Happiness or Fearful sounds very out of place in the modern era, I really think they’re neat. Many of these old Virtue names are also unisex, though we probably all have our own opinions about which sex they might sound best on. When in doubt, I filed a name under Unisex.

Here’s a list of Virtue names to choose from if you’re writing about Pilgrims or Puritans, or if you just like the names and aren’t afraid to be different. However, I do stress that many of these names should probably be left in the history books, like Be-Faithful, Lechery, Humiliation, and From-Above. Some of these names weren’t recorded as being used by the Puritans and Pilgrims, but they have the same general concept.

Unisex:

Admire
Adore
Allegiance
Amaze
Approved
Arise
Atpeace

Be-Faithful
Beloved
Benevolence
Be-Thankful
Blessed
Blessing (though I think this works better on a girl)

Called
Cherubin
Clemency
Comfort
Compassion
Condolence
Consider
Constancy
Contemplation
Courage
Credence

Defiance
Delight
Delivery
Desire
Diligence
Discretion
Endure
Evanescence
Experience

Faithful
Fear-Not
Fidelity
Fight-the-Good-Fight-of-Faith
Free-Gift (i.e., salvation)
Free-Grace
Freewill
From-Above

Gift
Give-Thanks
God-Help
Gracious

Happy, Happiness
Has-Descendants
Have-Mercy
Helpful
Helpless
Honest
Hope-For
Hope-Still
Humanity
Humiliation, Humility

Imagination
Increase (I prefer this on a boy), Increased
Infinity
Ingenious
Innocent
Integrity

Joy-Againe (Traditionally used on so-called “rainbow babies,” children born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss)
Joye-in-Sorrow
Jubilation

Knowledge
Lechery
Leniency
Lively
Lovejoy
Loyal, Loyalty
Lucidity

Magnify
Make-Peace
Meek
Memory
Merciful
Merriment
More-Fruit
More-Triale
My-Sake
No-Merit

Obey
Original
Piety
Pity
Pleasance, Pleasant
Preserved (Traditionally given to a child who survived a difficult birth)
Prosperity
Proud
Proverb
Providence
Psalm
Purifie, Purify, Purity

Radiance
Rapture
Reality
Reason
Recompense
Redeemed, Redemptus
Reformation
Regal
Reliance
Remember (prefer this on a girl)
Renewed
Repent, Repentance
Replenish
Resilience
Respect
Restore
Reverence

Sabbath
Safe-Deliverance
Safe-on-High
Salvation
Sanctity
Search
Search-the-Scriptures
Seek-Wisdom
Serendipity
Sincere
Small-Hope
Solace
Solemnity
Solidarity
Stability
Standfast
Stand-Fast-on-High
Steadfast
Steadfast-Love
Submit (Mitty)
Success
Sympathy

Tenacity
The-Peace-of-God
Tolerance
Tranquil, Tranquility
Transience
True, Truth
Trust

Valor, Valour
Vanity
Vyctorye, Victory
Waitsill (Waity)
Weep-Not
Welcome
Wistful
Wonder

Male:

Accepted
Acts-Apostles
Agony
Aid-on-High
Anger
Ashes
Assurance

Battalion
Be-Courteous
Belief
Be-Steadfast
Bread-of-Life
Buried-Sence

Centurian
Concord
Continent
Cotton

Damned (Diminutive of If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-for-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned)
Depend, Dependance
Die-Well
Discipline
Divine-Authority
Go-Good
Donation
Do-Right
Do-Well
Dust

Elected
Fear (always preferred this on a girl)
Fear-God
Fearing
Fear-the-Lord
Flee-Debate
Flee-Fornication
Flye-Debate
Forsaken

Giant-Despair
Godlye (i.e., Godly)
God-Reward
Good-Gift
Good-Work

Hate-Bad
Hate-Ill
Hearsay
Heavenly-Mind
Help-on-High
Humble

If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-for-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned
If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-for-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned
Inward

Jesus-Christ-Came-into-the-World-to-Save
Job-Rakt-Out-of-the-Asshes
Judas-Not-Iscariot
Just, Justice

Kill-Sin
Lament, Lamentation, Lamentations
Live-Well
Love-God
Love-Well
Magnyfye (i.e., Magnify)
Merit
Modest, Modesty
Moreover

Pardon
Peaceable
Persecution
Pharaoh
Pilgrim
Praise-God
Pray

Regard
Relictus (i.e., Relinquishing)
Remarkable
Resolute
Resolved, Resolve
Restraint
Return, Returne
Revolt
Riches
Royal

Safe-on-Highe (Traditionally given to children expected to die)
Seaborn
Sea-Mercy (Often used on children who survived a sea journey)
Search-Truth
See-Truth
Seraphim
So-Loved
Sorry-for-Sin
Supply

Tell-No (in reference to not telling lies)
Tenacious
The-Lord-Is-Near
Trial
Tribulation
True-Heart

Unfeigned
Upright
Watchful
Weakly
Wealthy
What-God-Will
Wholesome
Wrath
Wrestling

Zeal
Zeal-for-God
Zeal-of-the-Land

Female:

Abstinence
Abundance
Abuse-Not
Adore
Amity
Amnesty

Be-Strong
Charisma
Charity
Chastity
Cherish
Clarity
Concordia
Confidence
Constance
Content
Cressens (i.e., “to grow”)

Deliverance
Diffidence
Earth
Empathy
Essence
Exercise

Faint-Not
Faith-My-Joy
Favor, Favour
Faythe, Faith
Felicity
Fortune

Given
Glory
Grace
Handmaid
Harmony
Hate-Evil
Honesty (love this name!)
Honor, Honour
Hopeful, Hope, Hopewell
Hosanna

Independence
Joy
Learn-Wisdom
Liberty
Life
Love
Mercy
Much-Mercy
Obedience

Patience
Peace, Peaceful
Perseverance
Placidia (i.e., “calm, peaceful”)
Pride
Promise
Providence
Prudence

Rediviva (i.e., “revived”)
Refrain, Refrayne
Rejoice, Rejoyce
Relicta (i.e., “relinquishing)
Relief (Leafy)
Remembrance
Revere

Serenity, Serene
Silence (Sill)
Sin-Deny
Tacy (i.e., “be silent”)
Temperance (Tempy)
Thankful, Thankfull
Thanks
Thanksgiving

Unity
Verity
Virtue
Wisdom

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2 thoughts on “A primer on Virtue names

  1. This is a fascinating post. I never knew all those words were used as names once upon a time. I’m happy though that I’m not called Approved or Humiliation. Or, even worse, Obey. I love my name, Olga, much better.

    Like

  2. Maybe giving a child a name with “virtue” will set a course for its life. I’ve been in love with Deliverance for a long time, but never had the child I felt would bear up under it. Great post.

    Like

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