Baby Names
September 13, 2004 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Babynamefilter: Can anyone fill me in on the history of Page/Paige as a girl's name? [mi]

Near as I can tell, Page is a holdover from when people had pages, and Paige is a corruption thereof. How much of a corruption, though? For instance, I think of Amy as being derived from Aimee, and that's cool -- unlike, say, Vyronyka for Veronica. Paige is obviously more firmly established than that -- it's in the top 1000 baby names of the past 14 years, whereas Page is not -- but I'd rather proceed on a firmer etymological footing than that, if anyone can shed light. Do they have different connotations?

I should also add that this is a middle name, but those of us with copy editors' blood sweat the details.

And, blast, sorry about the double post.
posted by blueshammer to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
Are you sure its not just part of the pretentious, late-90's trend of giving girls first names that are actually last names? Like Madison, McKenzie etc?

"Paige" is certainly a better name than the other examples, but it's plenty conceivable that the "last name first" trend started gathering momentum over 14 years ago.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:27 AM on September 13, 2004

Response by poster: It certainly could be, Curley. My wife's inspiration was in fact a store in our former hometown called Abigail Page Antique Emporium, so its source is a use as a last name. But we don't have any sentimental attachment to the store -- just to the phonics of it.
posted by blueshammer at 7:41 AM on September 13, 2004

What is up with those Google AdWords?

I don't think Paige/Page can be included in the 1990's last-name-first trend. I went to school with a girl named Paige, and she was probably born in 1968. And there is always Page McConnell of late, great band Phish.

Full disclosure - my 5 year old's name is Paige, and I think it is a fabulous name.
posted by internal at 9:28 AM on September 13, 2004

according to this site (which like all the "most popular baby names" sites uses US SSA data to rank names) shows that it spiked in popularity in the 60's and was virtually unheard of prior.

most of the books i've seen say it was a last name, from the french meaning "young servant". in certain WASPy regions, last names as first names is a longstanding american custom.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:49 AM on September 13, 2004

I have no hard data for you, but I think "Abigail Paige/Page" is a lovely name.
posted by Asparagirl at 9:55 AM on September 13, 2004

FWIW, I had a male English teacher in high school named Page who was a forty-something fellow at the time (late 1970s/early 1980s), so the name has some sort of provenance dating back even prior to the 1960s. In fact, I readily recall thinking even then that it was more common as a female name than a man's.
posted by briank at 10:01 AM on September 13, 2004

From Hanks and Hodges, A Concise Dictionary of First Names:

Used regularly in North America, but seldom elsewhere. It is evidently a transferred use of the surname Paige, a less common variant of Page, originally an occupational name given to someone who served as a page to a great lord. It is not clear why this should have been taken up in the 20th century as a girl's name. The American film actress Janis Paige (born in 1920 under the name Donna Mae Jaden) may have something to do with it. There are a number of actresses and singers with the surname Page, but they are unlikely to have directly influenced the choice of the given name in this spelling.
Variant: Page.
Do they have different connotations?

Not as far as I can tell.
posted by languagehat at 11:37 AM on September 13, 2004

in certain WASPy regions, last names as first names is a longstanding american custom.

Yeah, but it's usually the mother's maiden name or at least the last name of a relative. Paige is pretty institutionalized and is nice in a concise way, but I think that the practice of using non-related last names is a bad idea in general.

It could lead to abuses like "Martinez Curley" or "Rabinowitz Curley."
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:34 PM on September 13, 2004

I though the chick from that Trading Spaces show invented the name : 0
posted by ParisParamus at 3:26 PM on September 13, 2004

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