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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Name to Consider: Bevin

B. writes:
I heard this name again recently (I once knew a girl by the name who was born in the early 1980s), and a quick search revealed you've never discussed it on the blog.  Bevin (or Bevan?), as a girl's name.  I'd assume its pronounced BEV-in or BEV-an. Preliminary research tells me its an Anglicization of the Celtic name Beibhinn (BAY-vin), meaning white or fair.  It has a lot to recommend it for popularity:  there is a young actress by the name (Bevin Prince); it has Celtic roots but is easy to spell and pronounce; it has a pleasing familiar quality (similar to popular male names like Kevin and Evan); its also a surname.  Yet it has never gained traction.  Social Security database says it has not been in the top 1000 in the past 100 years, although it has been given to between 15 and 25 girls in each year between 2008 and 2011 (all I had time to search). 

My husband (a high school teacher) tried it out on his students (a very scientific sample, to be sure), and none reacted positively.  They thought it looked like "bovine" or was too similar to Devin or that it looked invented.

I'd be interested in your/ your reader's thoughts.

Starting with the Social Security database, I find this info for 2011 babies:

6 boys and 7 girls named Bevan
15 girls named Bevin

The spellings Bevyn and Beven seem to be unused (or at least, they're not in the database, so there were 4 or fewer of each in 2011).

The Oxford Dictionary of First Names has Bevan listed as a surname name meaning "son of Evan." Bevin is listed as the Anglicized version of the Irish name BÊibhinn, as you mention.

For me, it calls to mind The Name Game song. Evan Evan bo-bevan, banana-fana fo-fevan. I don't know why it would do so, when Devan and Kevin don't, but it does.

I think I'm also getting a little bit of a Beavis feeling about it.

I also think of the word bevy.

I wonder if the similar names Bethan and Beverly (neither currently in style) and the dropping popularity of Devan and Kevin affect its popularity as well: the sounds of it may be out of style right now, but it may come bursting in when those sounds come back around.

Let's have a poll over to the right to see what we think of the name overall. [Poll closed; see results below.]


Poll results for "What do you think of the name Bevin?" (448 votes total):

I love it! I'd want to use it! - 4 votes (1%)
I like it! I'd want to consider it! - 27 votes (6%)
I like it for someone else's baby - 64 votes (14%)
No particular opinion either way - 43 votes (10%)
Slight dislike - 177 votes (40%)
Strong dislike - 133 votes (30%)

28 comments:

Erin said...

I knew a guy in high school named Bevan. Because of him, the name has a negative connotation for me, but I think if I hadn't known someone by that name I'd be indifferent to it.

alexis said...

I knew a girl named Bevin years ago, and I really like the name. If I'd had a girl, I would have considered it.

Also, it's in a Flight of the Conchords song, which is always excellent.

Rebecka said...

To me, it seems like the name of a person from the middle Eastern Europe (Iran, Dubai, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.), such as Farhan, Farrah, Zinar, either for a girl or boy. It reminds me of the name Dewan (pronounced DAOW-an), which is the name of a friend of mine from DubaI.

Laura said...

I know a woman in her mid-twenties named Bevin. I never heard of the name until I met her, but I also didn't think of "bovine." :) I agree with Swistle - it's a fine name, but it may be that the sounds in that name are a little dated.

Anonymous said...

I also know a girl in her mid-twenties named Bevin. I went to high school with her. I've always liked it, and as far as I know, she was never teased.

Magic27 said...

As a British person, it immediately made me think of Aneurin Bevan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aneurin_Bevan) which is a fairly positive association though perhaps (given current US political/healthcare issues) a little polemic for you. Though obviously I'm guessing old AB has never been heard of in the US, so it's probably a moot point.
Just one thing - Rebecka: I don't want to sound mean (we all make mistakes, and heaven knows my geographical knowledge of lots of places is pretty shaky) but there's no way any of those countries you mention could be considered Eastern Europe (even with "middle" in front), or even the Middle East. More like Asia. FYI ;-)))

Anonymous said...

I know a Bevin who is in her early 40's. For the longest time I avoided saying her name because I always wanted to say Beavis. I did get over it and rather like the name now but it does feel really masculine to me because of Kevin & Evan.

Anonymous said...

I really like Bevin. I think if it was paired with something like. Bevin Grace. That makes it sound more now. Also I picked names of the based on how the names flowed when said with my last name. If you love the flow of the name I would go for it. The name to me passes for me the one test which even though it is uncommon. It doesn't make me think old grandma or old spinster. It sounds spunky and I can see cheering a Bev or Bevi or Bea from the sidelines of whatever she did latter in life.

Natalie Burke said...

I know a 3 year old Bevin & I love her name. Her sister is Jocelyn & I think they are great sister names. Totally Irish for me.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

I have no real feelings - positive or negative - about this name, but I had to say that I love this sentence: "I'm also getting a little bit of a Beavis feeling about it."

liz said...

I like it for a boy (I know and like lots of men named Devin, Kevin, and Evan), but I can't say I love it for a girl.

Katie said...

Two comments:
1) there was a cheerleader on One Tree Hill named Bevin.
2) I have a friend whose name is spelled Bebhinne but it's pronounced Bevin. So there's that spelling as well, which I think is gaelic?

Brooke said...

I worked with a Bevin. It's NMS, but it's pretty. It does look like a Aiden/Caden/Braden/Zayden kind of spin on Kevin to make it feminine when I look at it, though.

Johanna Baker said...

I worked with a Bevin - she's in her late 20s. She is adorable and smart, so it has no negative connotations for me. But even when I first met her, I thought to myself what a cool and unusual name she had. I think it sounds more feminine than masculine, but also strong.

Crafty Beth said...

I remember meeting a Bevin when I was a pre-teen (she was the same age range, so she's probably 30-ish now?) My friend and I, in all of our pre-teenishness, giggled about her name behind her back and referred to her as Bovine because we thought she was a meanie. How's that for a window into adolescence for you? I think it was more a case of "we don't like her, so let's make up a mean name" than "this name requires teasing," which doesn't make ME look any better but might be less negative for the name.

AirLand said...

I really like Devin for a girl, but Bevin to me is just okay.

There was a woman on The Bachelor named Bevin a few years ago. That's the only time I've heard it.

I would think it is a girl's name... also I think the nickname Bev lends to its femininity because of the name Beverly. But the spelling Bevan doesn't appeal to me at all- and I might think that is a more masculine spelling. Or that it is pronounced Buh-VAHN.

Another Erin from the 80s said...

Had a friend when I was younger named Bevi. It is short for bevonia (Italian family). I think Bevi sounds more feminine than bevin

Sunk Costs said...

i wonder if several commenters are speaking of the same Bevin...

i went to college with one, but she went by her middle name through college (Caitlin)- i assume she also used her middle name before that, but she now uses Bevin, like maybe it took her a while to appreciate the uniqueness.

Slim said...

I think Bevin looks like a misspelling of "Bevan," which I also associate with Aneurin Bevan (and I do not recommend that first name if we're worried about teasing).

I also think Devin looks like a misspelling of Devon, so maybe don't go by me.

Anonymous said...

Bevan has negative connotations in Australia in that it can be used as a slang term for 'bogan'.

Slim said...

Also, note the name at the end:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL7n5mEmXJo

Anonymous said...

SLIM! OMG that made me happy. I searched for the script to confirm, and it said his name was "Bevis" (pronounced BEVis, not BEE-vus as in Butthead.) Then again, the script I found said Butch, not Rugged, so take it fwiw.

http://www.ibras.dk/montypython/episode09.htm

Rebecka said...

Magic27: Oh, I realize that, but thanks for mentioning, I should have made myself more clear. I live in Sweden where we call countries in the area of Iran, Iraq, Dubai, etc. the Middle East, there's not supposed to be a Europe in there, if I put that there (can't remember), I was probably a little tired ;) Just out of curiosity, do you in English speaking countries refer to this place as the Middle East as well?

Anonymous said...

My brother played soccer with a boy named Bevan, who was Indian, so it's a bit of a stretch for me to hear it as a girl's name. Pretty, though.

Anonymous said...

I know two Bevins! One was a sorority sister in college and I always liked her name. I recently met another Bevin and he is from New Zealand. I mentioned to him that I know another Bevin but she's a girl...he laughed and said that is always the case, that he has always heard it is a girl's name.

Angie said...

Based on the comments it sounds like Bevin is one of those names that has all the ingredients - Celtic roots + V + N-ending + subtle pop culture references that one would think would result in a trendy name, but in the case of Bevin haven't.

Perhaps the B is the issue. With the exception of the bree sound, found in Aubree, I don't hear a lot of popular names with B's, at least for girls. It might explain why Bianca, which otherwise sounds current, peaked almost twenty years ago and is declining today.

It's a mystery. Perhaps names really are more than the sum of their parts.

Megan said...

Barging in to comment because Swistle linked me to this post!

My name is Megan and my twin sister is named Bevin. She never got teased as a child for it and it never seemed weird to me. We call her Bev sometimes as a nickname, and as a baby sometimes she was Bevvie when I was Meggie. My mom also has an unusual B name (Belva) and they share the same middle name (Gayle) so it just never seemed that strange to me. We are 3/4 Irish, so maybe that's where my parents got the name, but I'm not sure? Anyway, it's hard to me to judge it, because to me, it's not a name, it's my sister.

Anonymous said...

Late to the party here but as female Bevin I thought I'd share my experiences.

I have never ever received a negative reaction to my name. And certainly have never had anyone connect it to bovine. Always positive reactions and often with interest about how it is spelled and the origin of the name. Bevin was Brian Boru's mother. He was a High King of Ireland and founder of the O'Brien dynasty.

In my experience Bevin is usually the female spelling and Bevan is usually the male spelling, though not always. Bevin is more common as a girl's name in Ireland and boy's name in New Zealand.

I vehemently dislike the nickname Bev and have managed to successfully avoid it for the past 30 years!