Classic baby names: Cora

This article is reprinted from a series on names originally published in the year 1922. This one appeared in The Broad Ax in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 23, 1922. For more stories from yesteryear, check out our site!


What’s in a name? Cora

Facts about your name: Its history, meaning, whence it was derived, significance, your lucky day and lucky jewel.

by Mildred Marshall

Charmingly youthful is Cora, modern derivative of ancient Greek. Many feminine names in Greece were merely men’s names with a feminine termination in “a” or “e,” irrespective of their meaning, and this is true of Cora, which, quaintly enough, signifies maiden.

However she is derived, Cora is the most feminine of names, and was given to some of the most alluring heroines of romance. Originally the name was taken from Persephone’s title “Kore,” a maiden, the Boetian poetess who won a wreath of victory at Thebes. Corinna was the next step in the evolution of Cora, and she came about through the literary habit of reviving old Greek names, a fetish with enterprising writers in search of a fresh title for a heroine.

Madame de Stael named her brilliant Corinna after the Boetian poetess, above mentioned, and that established her fame forever in France, where she has been handed down from one French maid to another through generations of poetic fancy. In Italy, she becomes Corinne through the “Henghist,” a chronicle of the Middle ages. Lord Byron makes her Cora in his famous poem, and through him her vogue is unquestionably established in England and America.

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Modern writers favor her, both as Corinna and Cora. She is the capricious heroine of many a modern story, the most memorable example perhaps being the Cora of Booth Tarkington’s book, “The Flirt.” Poets have never neglected her, especially the poets of the pastoral age. Her significance and the youthful charm invariably associated with her through the evolution, made her almost a synonym for rural maiden, just as Sylvia is a general term for shepherdess. “When Corinna goes a-Maying” is one of the most charming lyrics of that age, and familiar to all.

Cora’s jewel is the Diamond, which promises her protection from danger. Saturday is her lucky day, and 3 her lucky number. The daisy, signifying innocence, is the flower assigned to her.

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