This article is reprinted from a series on names originally published in the year 1922. This one appeared in The Beaver Herald in Beaver, Oklahoma on March 30, 1922. For more stories from yesteryear, check out our ArchiveAmericana.com site.
Facts about your name: Its history, meaning, whence it was derived, significance, your lucky day and lucky jewel.
The origin of the fragrant and poetic name of Violet is shrouded in mystery. The name Ylolante appeared in the south of France and north of Spain and Italy early in history, but there was no clue to its origin and apparently, like Topsy, “it just grew.”
Etymologists with a fanciful turn of mind have identified it with the lovely golden violet which was the prize of troubadours of old in the courts of love; other authorities believe that it may have been a form of some old Latin name such as Valentine. The Latin name for the little purple flower that lifts its modest head in the spring is “Viola.”
Violante was popular as a feminine name in Spain, but France changed her to Yolunde or Yolette. An old English form was Joletta. Scotland however, reached out and appropriated the name, changing it to Violet.
It is thought that this latest version came through a connection of the Archers of the Royal Guard, or perhaps through Queen Mary’s friend, Violet Forbes. Certainly, the name spread In popularity in England and Scotland, where Violets were almost as numerous as the Marys of the Catholic communities of today.
Perhaps the most famous Violet of history was LaVioletta, the young dancer, so called by Maria Theresa who become the wife of David Garrick, the brilliant English tragedian. Viola was the form preserved by Italy, and it still reigns in undisputed popularity there. It gradually penetrated England and was elevated to favoritism through Shakespeare’s lovely heroine of “A Winter’s Tale.”
Violet’s flower is, of course, her fragrant and modest namesake, the violet. It signifies modesty. Her talismanic gem is the bloodstone, which promises her bodily health, guards her from deception and distressing news, and preserves her faculties. If the stone is given to her by a lover, it will insure lasting and sincere devotion. Thursday is her lucky day and 5 her lucky number.