Quick Facts on Gwendolyn
- Celtic, Welsh
- Number of syllables:
- Ranking popularity:
Fair-browed, Holy ring
Characteristics of Gwendolyn
- Highly Intuitive
- Spiritual Teacher
- Extremely Bright
Etymology & Historical Origin - Gwendolyn
Gwendolyn is a Celtic-derived name primarily used in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. The name comes from the Bythonic branch of the Celtic languages (as opposed to the Gaelic), from the words “gwyn” meaning ‘fair, holy, pure’ and “dolyn” meaning either ‘ring’ or ‘brow, hair’. Queen Gwendolyn was a fictionalized queen and warrior woman of ancient Briton, immortalized by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the Middle Ages (the same Welsh cleric who popularized the tales of King Arthur). After her husband, King Locrinus, leaves her for a German Princess, Gwendolyn built up an army in Cornwall and defeated her unfaithful husband. She then goes onto rule herself (peacefully) until she abdicates in favor of her son. Saint Gwen is a 6th century saint; a Breton woman who was supposedly given a third breast from God as a gift for her fruitfulness (ability to reproduce). This is obviously folklore, but Saint Gwen is invoked for women's fertility.
Popularity of the Name Gwendolyn
Given the Gwendolyn’s tight geographic origin (i.e., Wales, Cornwall and Brittany), it’s impressive that the name has not only sustained in usage, but that it has successfully spread to other English-speaking countries. In the United States, Gwendolyn has been in use at least since the Social Security Administration began tracking naming trends in 1880. Apparently, however, Gwendolyn’s popularity in the United States has come and gone. The 1950s was definitely Gwendolyn’s best decade in America, almost reaching a Top 100 spot, but not quite. Today, the name is barely bestowed on 500 little girls each year. Lucky for them; they don’t have to share such a beautiful name with too many other people! Gwendolyn is so under-used that it still feels completely aligned with its original Welsh heritage. For instance, look at how the old Irish-Celtic Caitlín got so over-used and Americanized to the point of losing its “Irishness”. Gwendolyn is still pure to her roots, and the pet forms (Gwen, Gwenie) provide one and two-syllable options that lighten the name.
Popularity of the Girl Name Gwendolyn
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Gwendolyn
Literary Characters of the Baby Name Gwendolyn
Gwendolen Bracknell (The Importance of Being Earnest) Gwendolen Bracknell is the daughter of Lady Bracknell and the pursuer of the man she believes to be Ernest Worthington in Oscar Wilde’s 1885 play, The Importance of Being Earnest. In actuality, Ernest is Jack Worthington’s alter-ego, his pretend-brother, whom he uses as a cover to misbehave in London under the auspices of bailing little “brother” Ernest out of trouble. The unsuspecting Gwendolen, a paragon of Victorian conventionality, is intent on marrying a man named Ernest, a name she believes espouses all that is good and true, and so unwittingly embraces a man who is posing as his opposite. Rooted in the hypocrisy of her times she may be, but Gwendolen nonetheless is leading a tentative path toward a more modern womanhood – she knows what she wants and she confidently sets out to get it, using the restrictions of her society to her best advantage.
Popular Songs on Gwendolyn
Gwendolyn - a song by The Badlees
Children's Books on the Baby Name Gwendolyn
Gwendolyn Brooks: "Poetry Is Life Distilled" (Christine M. Hill) - The first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize, in 1950, Brooks wrote poetry about the people she knew in her segregated South Side Chicago neighborhood. Later, feminists would credit her for being one of the first writers to treat the lives of everyday women in serious poetry. Recommended for ages 13+
Gwendolyn the Ghost (Cat Sauer) - In Gwendolyn, readers meet Apples the raccoon for the first time. More interested in sharing a little carrot pudding than anything else, Apples finds himself investigating a "situation" with Flip Flop and Hoot. During their adventure Miss Maple devises a scheme to teach all three characters the meaning of being happy to be who you are. Not all ghosts are scary! Recommended for ages 4-8.
Gwendolyn's Gifts (Patty Sheehan) - Bored with her royal role, Queen Gwendolyn finds fulfillment through developing and combining her own abilities into a creative and nontraditional lifestyle. Recommended for ages 9-12.
Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig (David Ira Rottenberg) - Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig tells the tale of Gwendolyn and Omar, two best friends who have big dreams. Gwendolyn longs to dance ballet, and Omar wants to join the football team. There is just one problem they’re both pigs! How will Natasha Levertov, the greatest teacher of dance in “ze vorld”, help them make their dreams come true? Adorable illustrations and charming text make this story a hit with girls and boys. It is not just for aspiring dancers but shows all children the joy of pursuing what they love. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Gwynne, Fair & Shining (Stephanie Lisa Tara) - A Gold Ink Award winner. Whether it is her precious bedtime tale I'll Follow the Moon or the whimsical Little Library Mouse, Stephanie Lisa Tara's stories are "a winner with children and parents" (Reader Views). Her special charm and "light-as-a-feather rhymes" (Armchair Interview) once again delight and enchant in her third picture book. In Gwynne, Fair & Shining, readers follow young Gwynne on a magical journey and are reminded that being true to one's heart will always lead to the best path. This story of discovery sends an uplifting message to young readers. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Famous People Named Gwendolyn
Famous People Named Gwendolyn - Gwendolyn "Gwen" Stefani (musician); Gwendolyn Brooks (poet)
Children of Famous People Named Gwendolyn
Famous People who Named their Daughter Gwendolyn - We cannot find any celebrities or famous people who have named their child Gwendolyn.
Gwendolyn - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures
Gwendolyn - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Gwendolyn.
Personality of the Girl Name Gwendolyn
The number 11 is a Master Number, and embodies heightened traits of the Two. This personality is on a life journey to find spiritual truth. They are extremely idealistic and intuitive. Elevens have a rare and exceptional spiritual energy that brings a sense of obligation to illuminate the world around them. It's a very powerful responsibility, but these people have far more potential than they know. It's important that they surrender to higher ideals. They have the capacity to see the bigger picture, and they possess the skills to inspire others spiritually. Elevens have strong diplomatic skills and can become great peacemakers. Master numbers can be both a blessing and a curse, as they walk the fine line between greatness and the potential for self-destruction.
Variations of the Baby Name - Gwendolyn