Created by J. R. R. Tolkien for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the hero of The Hobbit
(1937), and also for his cousin Frodo Baggins, the hero of The Lord of the Rings
(1954). He probably derived it from the English word bag
. The Baggins family home was called Bag End, and Tolkien himself had an aunt who owned a farm by this name, so that may have been his inspiration. Tolkien used English-like translations of many hobbit names; according to his notes the real hobbit-language form of the surname was Labingi
Created from the English words copper
by the author Charles Dickens, who used it for the title character in his novel David Copperfield
Corleone Sicilian, Literature
From the name of the town of Corleone in Sicily, which is of uncertain meaning. This surname is well known from the novel The Godfather
(1969) by Mario Puzo, as well as the films based on his characters. The story tells how Vito Andolini comes to America from Sicily, receiving the new surname Corleone
at Ellis Island, and starts a criminal empire based in New York.
From the dialectal English word dumbledore
. It was used by J. K. Rowling for the headmaster of Hogwarts in her Harry Potter
series of books, first released in 1997.
Finch English, Literature
From the name of the bird, from Old English finc
. It was used by Harper Lee for the surname of lawyer Atticus Finch and his children in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird
Frankenstein German, Literature
From any of the various minor places by this name in Germany, meaning "stone of the Franks"
in German. It was used by the author Mary Shelley in her novel Frankenstein
(1818) for the character of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who creates a monster and brings it to life. The monster, nameless in the novel, is sometimes informally or erroneously called Frankenstein in modern speech.
Gatsby English (Rare), Literature
Rare variant of Gadsby
. This name was used by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald for the central character in his novel The Great Gatsby
(1925). In the book, James Gatz renames himself as Jay Gatsby at age 17 because he believes it sounds more sophisticated.
Meaning unknown. This name was used by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen for the central character in his play Peer Gynt
(1867). Ibsen based the story on an earlier Norwegian folktale Per Gynt
Karamazov Карамазов Literature
Created by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky for his novel The Brothers Karamazov
(1879), about three brothers and their murdered father. Dostoyevsky may have based it on Tartar/Turkic кара (kara)
meaning "black" and Russian мазать (mazat)
meaning "stain". The connection to black is implied in the novel when one of the brothers is accidentally addressed as Mr. Черномазов (Chernomazov)
, as if based on Russian чёрный
Created by Charles Dickens for the title character in his novel Nicholas Nickleby
(1839). He probably based it on Nicol
, a medieval vernacular form of Nicholas
, with the common English place name suffix -by
, which is derived from Old Norse býr
meaning "farm, settlement".
Panza Italian, Literature
From a variant of the Italian word pancia
meaning "stomach, paunch"
, originally a nickname for a chubby person. The Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes used it in his novel Don Quixote
(1605), where it is the surname of Don Quixote's squire Sancho Panza. Not a common Spanish surname, Cervantes may have based it directly on the Spanish word panza
(a cognate of the Italian word).
Poirot French, Literature
From a diminutive of French poire
"pear", originally referring to a pear merchant or someone who lived near a pear tree. Starting in 1920 this name was used by the mystery writer Agatha Christie for her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Christie based the name on that of Jules Poiret, a contemporary fictional detective.
Used by P. L. Travers for the magical nanny in her Mary Poppins
series of books, first published in 1934. It is not known how Travers devised the name. She may have had the English words pop
(meaning "young woman") in mind.
Created by Miguel de Cervantes for the main character in his novel Don Quixote
(1605), about a nobleman who goes mad after reading too many heroic romances and decides to become a wandering knight under the name Don Quixote. His real name in part one of the book is conjectured to be Quixada
, though in part two (published 10 years after part one) it is revealed as Alonso Quixano
. The Spanish suffix -ote
Created by Charles Dickens for the central character in his short novel A Christmas Carol
(1843). He probably based it on the rare English word scrouge
meaning "to squeeze"
. In the book Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old man who is visited by three spirits who show him visions of his past, present and future. Since the book's publication, scrooge
has been used as a word to mean "miser, misanthrope".
Created by author George R. R. Martin for his series A Song of Ice and Fire
, published beginning 1996, and the television adaptation Game of Thrones
(2011-2019). The Targaryens were the rulers of Westeros for almost 300 years until shortly before the beginning of the first novel. The name is presumably from the Valyrian language, though Martin provides no explanation of the meaning.
Twist English, Literature
Probably from the name of towns in England and Wales called Twist
. This surname was used by Charles Dickens for the hero of his novel Oliver Twist
(1838), about an orphan surviving the streets of London. Dickens probably had the vocabulary word twist
in mind when naming the character.
Created by Victor Hugo for Jean Valjean, the hero of his novel Les Misérables
(1862). The novel explains that his father, also named Jean, received the nickname Valjean or Vlajean from a contraction of French voilá Jean
meaning "here's Jean"
Used by J. K. Rowling for the character of Ron Weasley (and other members of his family) in her Harry Potter
series of books, first released in 1997. Rowling presumably derived it from the English word weasel
, perhaps in combination with the common place name/surname suffix -ley
, which is derived from Old English leah
meaning "woodland, clearing".