Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Dorothy

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, Greek
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 808
DAWR-ə-thee; DAWR-thee
Simple meaning:
Gift of God

Characteristics of Dorothy

  • Humanitarian
  • Community-minded
  • Family-oriented
  • Loving
  • Affectionate
  • Compassionate
  • Sensitive

Etymology & Historical Origin - Dorothy

Dorothy is the English form of the Greek Dōrothéa (Δωροθεος) which is made up of the Greek elements “doron” (δωρον) meaning “gift” and “theos” (θεος) meaning “god”. Consider the Greek masculine name Theodorus which is essentially the reversal of these elements and means the same thing: “god’s gift”. The name Dorothea was famously borne by an early 4th century saint, one of the so-called “virgin martyrs”. Dorothea of Caesarea had found Christianity and so refused to worship the pagan gods of the Roman Empire. For this she was sentenced to death during Emperor Diocletian's persecution of the Christians. According to later medieval legend, Dorothea cheerfully faced her execution rejoicing that she would soon enter the gates of the garden of heaven. A young man by the name of Theophilus mockingly asked her to send some fruits once she arrived. As she knelt and prayed before her death by beheading, an angel arrived with a basket of roses and apples for Theophilus (who converted to Christianity immediately thereafter and was later martyred himself). As a result, Dorothea and Theophilus share the same Feast Day (February 6). Interestingly, the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy (founded in 1835) is an order of nuns renowned for their cultivation of flowers in the name of St. Dorothy’s “garden”. Not by happenstance, St. Dorothy is one of the patron saints to florists, gardeners and horticulturists. Her legend and cult became widespread throughout Europe starting in the early Middle Ages (7th century) and her name was readily bestowed upon baby girls as a protective measure during difficult times. The concept of the “virgin martyr” was undeniably important in medieval times; such saints were extolled for their youth, beauty and commitment to virginity in the name of Christ. St. Dorothea of Caesarea was on par with other highly venerated early saints: The Great Martyr Barbara, Catherine of Alexandria and Margaret of Antioch – together they became known as “The Main Virgins”. Dorothea was more popular on mainland Europe than in England; the name wouldn’t come into general usage among English-speakers until the 15th century (when the name was truncated to Dorothy). Aside from Dorothy’s “saintly” influence, this is a name with some literary cachet as well. We’re all quite familiar with American author L. Frank Baum’s heroine Dorothy from “'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” (1900). But there’s also sharp-witted Dorothy Parker, founder of the esteemed literary circle known as the Algonquin Round Table.

Popularity of the Name Dorothy

There’s no two ways about it. Dorothy was a turn of the century favorite (turn of the 20th century, that is). When L. Frank Baum penned his classic fantasy novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in 1900, Dorothy was already a household name. Entering the 20th century at position #27 on the charts (1900), Dorothy would hit her apex as the second most popular female name in America for eight consecutive years (1920-1927). The only other baby girl’s name more popular than Dorothy in the 1920s was the perennial favorite Mary. It wouldn’t be until 1962 that Dorothy finally fell off the Top 100 list of most commonly used girl names; this pretty much marked the beginning of her steady decline in popular usage. By the 1980s and 90s Dorothy was dropping like rocks as she joined other “old-lady” names in the category of Ultra-Passé. Since 2005 this is a name that doesn’t know if it’s staying or going. Ranked low on the charts today, Dorothy is a distant memory to most modern-day parents. Yet Dorothy is a name with a lot of old-fashioned appeal. She’s a staple name in the innocent world of children’s literature in the same vein as Alice, Heidi, Madeline or Eloise (which holds greater erudition than, say, Disney princess names). She’s got that antique charm that’s all the rage, but without the over usage. She’s got a few darling pet forms such as Dot, Dottie or Dolly. Oh, and if that’s not enough to entice you, she’s also “God’s gift”.
Popularity of the Girl Name Dorothy
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Dorothy

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Dorothy

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Dorothy

    Dorothy (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) Dorothy Gale is the plucky young girl who takes a tornado-induced dream trip from Kansas to the Land of Oz, along with her little dog, Toto. L. Frank Baum’s famous children’s series began with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900, which was further immortalized by the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy is an orphan, being raised on a farm by her Uncle Henry and her loving but strict Auntie Em. The beauty offered by the make-believe Land of Oz is novel and entrancing, as are her new-found friends, all in search of something they feel they need. For the Scarecrow, it is a brain; for the Tin Man, a heart; for the Cowardly Lion, it is courage. And for Dorothy, of course, it is the ability to go back to Kansas again, because the lesson she learns is that “there’s no place like home”. All of the wishes of the participants are granted, and the moral is clear – all of these sought-after treasures are to be found in our own back yards. The story delighted children all over the world, and the film has been an icon since its release. For most of us, it is the lovely and vulnerable figure of Judy Garland that we see when we think of Dorothy, but the original illustrations of W. W. Denslow are utterly charming and worth a look. As for those iconic ruby slippers? They were silver shoes in the book. Either way, they did the job – Dorothy and Toto went home again.

  • Popular Songs on Dorothy

    Popular Songs on Dorothy

    Dorothy - a song by Alison Moyet

    The Ballad of Dorothy Parker - a song by Prince [explicit]

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Dorothy

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Dorothy

    Dorothy of Oz (Roger S. Baum) - Dorothy is called back to Oz by Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, because the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion need help....The great-grandson of L. Frank Baum here adds to the Oz canon with a story that is true to the originals....Oz fans will welcome this new adventure. (Booklist). Recommended for ages 8-11.

    Elmo and Dorothy: Friends Forever! (Ruth Anne Tieman) - A Sesame Street board book. Elmo and his pet fish, Dorothy, are the greatest of friends. Elmo takes care of her and introduces her to his other friends, including Zoe, Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster. Elmo talks to Dorothy all the time. And—glug-glug—she answers Elmo in “fish-talk”! Scattered throughout the story are lines that describe how friends help each other: they keep each other company, share new experiences, cheer each other up, take care of each other, and much more. Toddlers will be familiar with Dorothy the goldfish from the “Elmo’s World” segments on Sesame Street. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Illustrated Adventures in Oz (L. Frank Baum) - This lavishly illustrated, 3-in1omnibus edition containing Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Road to Oz, and The Emerald City of Oz has more than 400 of the original whimsical John R. Neill illustration making this a beautiful keepsake edition. There's more than 800 pages of reading and viewing enjoyment here. You and your children will delight every time you open the book. Recommended for all ages.

    Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile (Gloria Houston) - When Dorothy was a young girl, she loved books, and she loved people, so she decided that she would become a librarian. Dorothy's dearest wish is to be a librarian in a fine brick library just like the one she visited when she was small. But her new home in North Carolina has valleys and streams but no libraries, so Miss Dorothy and her neighbors decide to start a bookmobile. Instead of people coming to a fine brick library, Miss Dorothy can now bring the books to them—at school, on the farm, even once in the middle of a river! Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Oz: Dorothy & the Wizard in Oz (Eric Shanower) - When an earthquake swallows Dorothy, her kitten Eureka and cousin Zeb, and Zeb's horse Jim, they're captured by the Mangaboos! The Wizard of Oz must save them by winning a magic contest - using only his wits and nine tiny piglets. Then: watch out for the savage Invisible Bears, who devour anyone they catch! Dorothy and her friends race across the Invisible Valley, trying to reach the spiral staircase inside Pyramid Mountain. But halfway up the mountain lives the strange Braided Man! Plus: Dorothy meets her old friends - the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Cowardly Lion and more! And Eureka is charged with murder for eating one of the Wizard's piglets! The Wizard of Oz has a secret plan to save Eureka, but can it possibly work? Don't miss this thrilling installment in the critically acclaimed Oz adaptations! Recommended for ages 4-8.

    The Wizard of Oz (Daisy Alberto, adapter) - This classic Stepping Stone To Reading edition, brings the classic Wizard of Oz tale to first chapter book readers. Includes art from the original Wizard of Oz! Recommended for ages 5-7.

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 100th Anniversary Edition (L. Frank Baum) - One of the true classics of American literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over four generations. Originally published in 1900, it was the first truly American fairy tale, as Baum crafted a wonderful out of such familiar items as a cornfield scarecrow, a mechanical woodman, and a humbug wizard who used old-fashioned hokum to express that universal theme, "There's no place like home." Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City, where lives the all-powered Wizard of Oz. This lavishly produced facsimile of the rare first edition contains all 24 of W. W. Denslow's original color plates, the colorful pictorial binding, and the 130 two-color illustrations that help make The Wonderful Wizard of Oz so special and enduring. Recommended for ages 8 and older.

  • Famous People Named Dorothy

    Famous People Named Dorothy

    Famous People Named Dorothy - Dorothy Parker (author/quipster); Dorothy Dandridge (actress); Dorothy Hamill (figure skater); Dorothy Lamour (actress); Dorothy Faye Dunaway (actress known as Faye Dunaway); Dorothy McGuire (actress); Dorothy Gish (actress); Dorothy Fields (lyricist); Dorothy L. Sayers (author); Dorothy Day (notable Catholic anarchist)

  • Children of Famous People Named Dorothy

    Children of Famous People Named Dorothy

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Dorothy - Babe Ruth (baseball giant); George H. W. Bush (U.S. President); Mario Puzo (author); Ned Beatty (actor)

  • Historic Figures

    Dorothy - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Dorothy Parker (22 Aug 1893 – 7 Jun 1967) - Dorothy Rothschild Parker was an American writer of short stories, poems, plays, screenplays and entertainment criticism, whose acerbic wit made her the doyenne of the sparkling (albeit alcohol-fueled) company at the Algonquin Round Table in New York in the roaring twenties. In her heyday, she wrote for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, among others, and was a formidable theatre critic (once describing Katharine Hepburn as running the gamut of emotions from A to B). She espoused liberal causes early on, including the Spanish Civil War, the Sacco and Vanzetti case, and civil liberties for African-Americans (in fact, leaving her entire estate to the N.A.A.C.P.). She was blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1950s, which she considered an honor. Ms. Parker was married once to stockbroker, Edwin Parker (being half Jewish in an era of anti-Semitism, she joked that she did it only to change her name), and twice to Alan Campbell, a screenwriter and sometimes actor. Probably the love of her life was the writer, Charles MacArthur, but their affair ended disastrously; he went on to marry Helen Hayes and she went on to her first suicide attempt. In her later years, Dorothy, who was childless, lived in a residential hotel in Manhattan with her pet dogs, and died alone of a heart attack. Her remains were unclaimed for 17 years; finally the N.A.A.C.P. put them to rest in a memorial garden in their Baltimore headquarters. She had her share of sorrow in her life, but she certainly contributed to laughter in ours. Our favorite Parkerism? Asked to use “horticulture” in a sentence, she replied, “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” Apocryphal? Maybe. Who cares – we believe it!

Personality of the Girl Name Dorothy

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Variations of the Baby Name - Dorothy

  • No Variations Found.
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