Hortense


Gender: Feminine
Origin: Latin
Meaning: “garden.”
Eng (HORE-tense); Fre (or-TAWNS)

In the English-speaking world, she is considered being one of the most hated baby names, on par with Bertha and Beulah; but at one time, Hortense was very much-loved in the United States, and she is still favored abroad.

Hortense appeared in the U.S. top 1000 between 1880 and 1941. The highest she ranked within those years was at # 375 in 1903. By 1942, she disappeared from the U.S. top 1000 never to be seen again.

Though the sound in contemporary English may not be so pleasant, Hortense has many redeemable qualities. She is derived from the Roman family name, Hortensius, which is derived from the Latin, hortus, meaning, “garden.” Hence horticulture! Her Latin derivative shares its name with the scientific designation of the hydrangea plant. Hortensia is also the name of a type of pear.

Hortense sounds completely different in French, in fact, it sounds rather pleasant. She appears in the French top 500 coming in as the 335th most popular female name in 2010.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Hortenzie (Czech)
  • Hortense (French/English)
  • Hortensia (German/Latin/Romansch/Portuguese/Spanish)
  • Hortenzia (Hungarian/Romanian/Slovak)
  • Ortensia (Italian)
  • Ortenzia (Italian)
  • Ourtense (Poitvin)
  • Hortensja (Polish)

Notable bearers include:

  • Hortensia (circ. 4th-century BCE) the daughter of Quintus Hortensius Hortalus she is known for her gifted speech which she gave before the Roman Triumvirate regarding  the taxation of wealthy Roman women.
  • Hortensia von Moos (1659-1715) a Swiss female doctor known for her early philosophical writings on women. Today she is a symbol of the modern Swiss Women’s Movement.
  • Hortense Mancini (1646-1649), a mistress of King Charles II of England .
  • Hortense de Beauharnais (1783-1837), daughter of Josephine Bonaparte and step-daughter of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Hortense Haudebourt-Lescot (1784-1845) a French painter.
  • Hortense Schneider (1833-1920), a famous French soprano.

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