Spotlight on: Cornelia and Roxan(n)e

I don’t know about you, but I was eager to find out more about these two names, especially Roxan(n)e, in light of Simcha’s baby announcement. (I write “Roxan(n)e” because the first post I saw with the baby’s name had two n’s, and the second had only one. Not sure yet which is the typo, or if they haven’t totally decided yet on the spelling.)

I spotlighted Cornelius here, in which I discussed Cornelia; further, says, “In the 2nd century BC it was borne by Cornelia Scipionis Africana (the daughter of the military hero Scipio Africanus), the mother of the two reformers known as the Gracchi. After her death she was regarded as an example of the ideal Roman woman.” According to the Name Voyager, it peaked in popularity in the 1880s, and fell below 1000 on the charts — and thus off the charts altogether — in the 1970s. So if Simcha’s hope was that it would be a name not many of her classmates would have, she was certainly spot on. Cordelia, maybe, what with all the Anne of Green Gables fans (so many of us!), but not Cornelia. In addition to the Corrie, Lia, and Nell I’d listed as nicknames, others offered between the entry and the comments are Nele (which is German, so I think it’s said like Nella), Neely, Nelly, Cora, and Cokkie (which the comments tell me is said like coke-y), and seeing Corrie again made me dig a little deeper and … yes! Cornelia was Corrie ten Boom‘s given name! Now that is cool. Maybe Corrie just bumped up a bunch of notches on my list of favorite Cornelia nicknames. It’s certainly a pretty great namesake (as are the Sts. Cornelius).

Now for Roxan(n)e. The variant that had the most info on was Roxana, which is the “Latin form of Ρωξανη (Roxane), the Greek form of the Persian or Bactrian name روشنک (Roshanak) which meant “bright” or “dawn”. This was the name of Alexander the Great’s first wife, a daughter of the Bactrian nobleman Oxyartes. In the modern era it came into use during the 17th century. In the English-speaking world it was popularized by Daniel Defoe, who used it in his novel ‘Roxana’ (1724).” Roxane was also the name of Cyrano de Bergerac’s love, which is sweet. Of the various versions given, I’m really digging the Polish Roksana and the Italian Rossana.

Do you know anyone with the names Cornelia or Roxan(n)e? Do they like their names? What nicknames do they go by, if any?


11 thoughts on “Spotlight on: Cornelia and Roxan(n)e

  1. Oh, I love Roksana and Rossana! Neat! I think “Nele” is pronounced “Nay-lay or Nay-leh or Knee-lay”… the “e” has kind of an “ay” sound in German… we actually had a German exchange student with this name, but I was so young, I only remember my mom calling her”Knee-lay,” however, my mom isn’t known for her German pronunciation (I am pretty sure it was more like NAY-leh… yes, I took 5 years of German, and yet this name is tripping me up).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh thanks for the German lesson! Though I love languages, I know next to nothing about German — I was feeling pretty cool that I knew the final -e wasn’t silent. 😉 This is so helpful!


  2. My husband’s paternal aunt/godmother is Roxane, and he has a maternal aunt Roxanne who named their last child Roxanna. I think Roxanna goes by Roxy amongst her doting big siblings. 🙂 I know his paternal aunt wasn’t fond of her name growing up because of that famous song, “Roxanne” written by Sting for The Police.

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    • Ooh yeah, that song’s unfortunate for those named Roxanne! Roxy is really cute though. Do you think your Roxy would mind if you told us what her doting big sibs’ names are? Sib sets are so revealing of parents’ tastes, more than just individual names, I’m so interested to know what parents who would name a child Roxanna would name their other kids. If you don’t think they’d be comfortable with that though, no problem at all! I totally understand! (And wow — what are the odds that both sides of your honey’s fam would have a Roxan(n)e?! I thought it was kind of an uncommon name — maybe I was wrong!)

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      • I will have to ask my man what all the kids’ names are. I know there is a Charles, Jacob, Mamie, Genevieve, Cecilia, and then ten years after Cecilia came Roxanna. There was a special reason behind naming her Roxanna, but I can’t recall what it was? I also want to say there is one more brother… And my hubby’s paternal aunt is biological and his maternal aunt is by marriage. 🙂 There is another close friend of the greater fam who is Roxann! It’s the only time I have ever heard the name(s), until I saw the movie “Megamind” a few years back where the leading lady is “Roxanne Richie” lol

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  3. My aunt’s name is Cornelia, she goes by Corry.

    Corry or Corrie is a very common nickname for Cornelia in the Netherlands.

    Men named Cornelis (Dutch form of Cornelius) go often by Cor, Kees (pronounced as Case) or Nelis

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