Sibylla of Normandy. Berengaria of Navarre. Agnes of Essex. Maud le Vavasour.
Oh, and Tiffany. Hey, ladies.
Yep, Tiffany was a name used for girls in the 12th century. Verily, it was. It hath been proven as a fact.
UK TV show QI blew people’s minds when it posted about Tiffany on Facebook.
“No one would believe that a woman in the Middle Ages could be named Tiffany, yet it was a real medieval name,” the post explained.
“So in medieval times one could ask, ‘How about breakfast at Tiffany’s?” asked Isaac Bobjork.
“So, I was like, and then he was like, and then we, like, died of the plague,” suggested Nathan Jenkins. “So ridic!”
“I’m still trying to come to terms with Herod’s wife being called Doris,” added Alice Klaar.
As QI points out, there’s an expression coined by the fantasy writer Jo Walton: The Tiffany Problem.
It describes “the tension between historical fact and the popular perception of history”. In other words, it’s when a writer who has done painstaking research puts historically correct information into a novel, and readers complain that they’ve got it wrong, just because it looks wrong, when it’s actually right.
“Tiffany is a real attested medieval name,” Walton explained in an interview with the Internet Review Of Science Fiction.
“It’s a variant of Theophania. It appears in 12th century documents from Britain and France, and you cannot give it as a name to a character in a historical or fantasy setting because it looks too horribly modern.”
On the topic of baby names, we've realised that there's no one under 60 with the name ‘Nigel’ anymore. The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss why. Post continues after audio.