Charlotte

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Eng (SHAR-let); Fre (shahr-LOT); German (shahr-LOT-teh); Swedish (har-LOT)

      Pretty, lacy and irresistibly feminine,she is everything from a Southern Belle to a French princess. Despite its uber femininity, the name is actually a feminine form of Charles, which, in turn, is from an old Germanic source meaning “man.” So much for being the ultra feminine name! But beyond its butch meaning the name has lots of feminine associations which outweigh its “manly” origins.

      Charlotte first appeared in France as a feminine form of the diminutive Charlot (SHAHR-lo). Both Charles and Charlotte became very common names among French nobility and royalty, in fact, Marie-Antoinette had a daughter named Charlotte. Through intermarriages among European royalty, the name eventually crept into Italian and German Royal houses giving us such off shoots as Carlotta and Carla.

      It was the Germans, however, who gave the English speaking world this name. Charlotte seems to have adorned the British throne just when George III took Charlotte of Mecklenberg as his wife, (the city of Charlotte in North Carolina was named for her). Queen Charlotte eventually had a junior Charlotte who would later be known as Princess Charlotte Princess Royal.

      Not coincidentally, Charlotte Bronte (b. 1812), was born just a few years after George III married his German princess. The princess of Mecklenberg seemed to have commenced a huge Charlotte craze after she had ascended the throne. The name reached the United States where it enjoyed considerable favor til the turn of the century.

      So far, in American history, the highest Charlotte ranked was # 50 in 1944. She seemed to decline for the next decades thereafter, but is climbing back up the charts. In 2000, for example, Charlotte was all the way down # 289. Just last year, however, she popped back up at # 87, perhaps Sex and the City has something to do with this. Meanwhile in France, Charlotte comes in at # 29. In England her popularity is still explosive, coming in at # 12. Her nicknames include Charlie, Carly, Harly, Lottie and even Tottie. Her designated name day in France is July 16.

      Charlotte is also used in the Czech Republic, German-Speaking countries, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

      Other forms of the name include:

      • Šarlota (Czech)
      • Charlott (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish)
      • Arlotte (Dutch: contraction of Charlotte)
      • Lotje (Dutch: initially a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
      • Charlotta (German/Icelandic)
      • Lotta/Lotte/Lottie (German/Danish/Dutch/Norwegian/Swedish: initially diminutive forms, used as independent given names)
      • Séarlait (Irish/Gaelic: SHER-lat)
      • Carlotta (Italian)
      • Szarlota (Polish: obscure)
      • Teárlag (Scottish/Gaelic: CHAR-lak)
      • Carlota (Spanish/Portuguese)
      • Lotten (Swedish: initially a diminutive form, used as an independent given name on occasion).

      German diminutives include, Löttchen, LottchenSchlotte and Schlotti.