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Victorian Names and Etiquette

The romance of the Victorian Age

The romance of the Victorian Age

The Grace of the Victorian Age

The Victorian age is one of grace and dignity. Manners were of the upmost importance. Mothers taught their children from the time they could first toddle around the rules of getting along in this oh so proper time period.

No rule was left out, no deportment lesson was missed. Every one was brought up to be proper ladies and gentleman. They wouldn't dare learn the ins and outs of society living, after all one misstep could be held against the whole family.

I was thoroughly amused at some of the proper behavior expected by the people of the Victorian Ages. But looking back it seems to me to be a kinder time to have lived your life.

Victorian romance

Victorian romance

Victorian Advice Given to Daughters

  • Brush your hair at least one hundred times before bed.
  • Always leave one's gloves on when making a formal call.
  • Rise to one's feet as a show of respect for an older person or dignitary.
  • When calling on a mother and daughter a lady should leave two calling cards.
  • To be late at church is bad manners.
  • A secret is only a secret when you don't tell anyone.
  • Do not neglect little things if they can be of comfort to others.
  • Conversation is not to speak continually but to listen and speak your turn.
  • When introduced to a gentleman a lady must never offer her hand, merely bow politely and say "I am happy to make your acquaintance."
  • Never lend a borrowed book.
  • Never go into the room of an invalid unless invited.
  • Elbows off the table, hands in the lap.
  • When shopping, never look over goods without intentions of buying.
  • Gentlemen will commence conversations.
  • You should never ask or expect a clerk waiting on another to leave them for you. Patiently wait your turn.
  • Least said soonest mended.
  • It is the duty of a well bred person to attend church regularly on Sundays.
  • Do not call across the room if you wish to speak to someone. Cross the room and speak to them quietly.
  • Never turn your chair so that your back faces another.
  • Don't make mountains out of molehills.
  • Do not introduce politics, religion, or other weighty subjects when calling.
  • Never speak or act in anger.
  • Eavesdroppers never hear good of themselves.
  • Do not make remarks about a person who has just left the room.
  • Beware of meddlers and tale bearers.
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
  • Learn to speak in a gentle tone of voice.

Victorian Boys Names and Their Meaning

  • Aaron - mountain of strength
  • Abel - breath
  • Abraham - father of a multitude
  • Albert - noble
  • Alfred - inspired advice
  • Ambrose - Immortal
  • Arlington - son of a nobleman
  • Asa - healer
  • Amos - to carry
  • Barnabus - son of consolation
  • Bedford - gender
  • Bishop - one serving the bishop
  • Boaz - swiftness
  • Caleb - devotion
  • Clarence - clear or bright
  • Cornelius - strong willed
  • Crockett - shepherd's crook
  • Dante - enduring
  • Eben - stone
  • Edson - son of Edward
  • Edward - wealthy guard
  • Eldridge - sage ruler
  • Emerson - Emery's son
  • Enoch - dedicated
  • Erasmus - to love
  • Ezekiel - strength of God
  • Ezra - helper
  • Felix - happy
  • Fletcher - arrow maker
  • Francis - free, from France
  • Gabriel - God's able bodied one
  • George - farmer
  • Gideon - powerful warrior
  • Grady - renowned
  • Heath - health
  • Horatio - timekeeper
  • Isaac - he will laugh
  • Isaiah - God is salvation
  • Jacob - supplanter, held by the heel
  • James - he who supplants
  • Jasper - one who holds the treasure
  • Judah - one who praises God
  • Justice - one who holds moral fairness
  • Lawson - child of the laural crown
  • Leonidas - strong like a lion
  • Lucien - surrounded by light
  • Luke - light
  • Luther - people army
  • Maurice - dark-skinned
  • Micah - who is similar
  • Miller - grinder of grain
  • Merlin - sea fort
  • Nathaniel - gift of God
  • Nelson - son of Neal
  • Newton - new town
  • Obed - servant
  • Osborne - devine bear
  • Oakley - from the oak meadow
  • Paul - small, humble
  • Percival - obscure
  • Peter - rock
  • Phineas - oracle
  • Reginald - king
  • Reuben - see, a son
  • Richard -strong power
  • Sameul - God heard
  • Saul - prayed for
  • Silas - forest
  • Simeon - to hear
  • Thomas - twin
  • Titus - defender
  • Thaddeus - heart
  • Tobias - God is good
  • Ulysses - wrathful
  • Uriah - the Lord is light
  • Wyatt - brave
  • Wallace - foreigner
  • William - desire
  • Zacharias - the Lord remembers
  • Zebediah - God has given
  • Zebulon - dwelling of honor


Victorian Girls Names and Their Meanings

  • Ada - nobel, happyl
  • Agnes - chaste or pure
  • Almira - nobel fame
  • Amelia - to survive
  • Anna - gracious
  • Aurelia - golden
  • Beatice - bringer of joy
  • Bernice - brings victory
  • Bertha - bright
  • Bessie - my God is a vow
  • Blanche - white
  • Charlotte - free
  • Chasity - chaste
  • Claire - illustrious
  • Constance - steadfast
  • Cora - maiden
  • Coral - coral or deep pink
  • Cordelia - warm hearted
  • Edith - rich war
  • Ella - young girl
  • Elizabeth - God is my oath
  • Elsie - my God is a vow
  • Eloise - warrior
  • Emma - universal
  • Esther - star
  • Ethel - righteous or nobel
  • Faye - elf or fairy
  • Fidelia - faithful
  • Florence - prosperous
  • Genevieve - woman of the people
  • Gertrude - strength
  • Grace - charm
  • Hannah - Grace of God
  • Harriet - ruler
  • Hattie - mistress of the home
  • Hazel - the hazel tree
  • Helene - reed or basket
  • Hester - star
  • Ida - work
  • Iris - rainbow
  • Isabella - beautiful
  • Ivy - ivy
  • Jemima - little dove
  • Josephine - God will multiply
  • Julia - softhaired, youthful
  • Lenora - shining light
  • Leola - lioness
  • Lottie - free man
  • Louisa - famous warrier
  • Lucinda - light
  • Lucretia - wealth or success
  • Margaret - pearl
  • Mary - star of the sea
  • Matilda - powerful battler
  • Mildred - gentle or diplomat
  • Myrtle - joy
  • Nellie - Light
  • Nora - honor
  • Opal - jewel
  • Ophelia - help, aid
  • Phoebe - shining, brilliant
  • Philomenia - lover of the moon
  • Prudence - good judgement
  • Rachel - an ewe
  • Rebecca - tied
  • Rose - rose
  • Rowena - slender and fair
  • Ruby - red
  • Sally - princess
  • Sarah - princess
  • Sophia - wisdom
  • Sophronia - foresighted
  • Theodosia - gift of God
  • Victoria - conquerer
  • Violet - violet
  • Vivian - full of life
  • Winifred - friend of peace
  • Zona - a girth


Victorian Etiquette for Boys and Men

  • Gentlemen must pay the most delicate care to the lady or ladies under their care.
  • A gentleman should be seen and not smelled. Using too much perfume was considered poor etiquette.
  • A man should always remain standing as long as there is any woman standing in the room.
  • Gentlemen will commence conversations.
  • A gentleman should never remove his coat while standing, sitting, riding or walking with a lady.
  • A gentleman must remove his hat the minute he enters the church.
  • It is unbecoming for a gentleman to sit with legs crossed.
  • Gentlemen will assist ladies to alight from the cars and or carriages.
  • Gentlemen will not congregate in front of the church and stare at the ladies as they walk out.
  • A gentleman may offer to escort a lady to the refreshment saloon when traveling.
  • At afternoon tea a gentleman may help himself to food but only after making sure the ladies in the room have all been taken care of.
  • A gentleman desiring a lady to accompany him to the opera, theatre, or other place of amusement, must send her a written invitation no later than the day previous to the entertainment.
  • A gentleman should always walk on the outside when walking with one or more ladies.
  • A gentleman does not sit himself on a sofa next to the hostess unless invited to.
  • A gentleman may delicately kiss a ladies hand, forehead or cheek.

Where Did the Victorian Baby Names Come From?

No one seems to know where the babies parents in the Victorian Era got the names from. Historians looking back have made some pretty logical, educated guesses.

The parents of the girls seemed to get their names from the folowing places:

  • Biblcal names such as Ruth, Hannah and Rachael
  • Virtue names such as chasity and Prudence
  • Botanical names such as Iris, Rose and Violet
  • Nature names such as Ivy and Hazel
  • Gemstone names such as Coral, Opal and Ruby
  • Nicknames such as Bessie, Sally, Lottie and Nellie
  • Naming after relatives or close friends

The parents of the boys seemed to get their names from:

  • Dark, Gothic names such as Judas, Reginald, Barnabus, and Percival
  • Bible names such as Abel, James, andTobias
  • Royalty names such as Richard, Erasmus and Silus
  • Family names
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"I want to lead the Victorian life, surrounded by exquisite clutter."

— Freddy Mercury

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Susan Hazelton


Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on July 24, 2015:

Anne, I like the age of gentlemen and ladies. The manners of old.

Anne Harrison from Australia on July 23, 2015:

I love the idea of men being sen and not smelt! Such a different time to ours, yet not so long ago. Voted up

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on May 12, 2012:

girltalksshop, Thanks for the votes up. I think the Victorian age was a gentler time than now.

girltalksshop on May 08, 2012:

Very useful and interesting hub. I found it to be fascinating. Remembering rules of etiquette, plus meaning of old names, etc. Voted up and awesome. Thanks for the share!

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on May 02, 2012:

mollymeadows, I love the manners of old. Everyone was so considerate of one another.

Mary Strain from The Shire on April 29, 2012:

KKG, like others here I was taught a few of these. I think most of them are still a good idea, don't you? Interesting hub!

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on April 25, 2012:

Cindi10, how true. I am a big fan of historical romances. Thanks for reading.

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on April 24, 2012:

Useful information for anyone writing historical romances. Bookmarking. Thanks.

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on April 23, 2012:

Skarlet, I think many of these rules are beautiful and filled with grace. I would love to see more of them followed today.

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on April 23, 2012:

Dolores Monet, I was also ready to laugh at what I imagined to be funny outdated rules. I was pleasantly surprized at the type of rules they were. As you said they were involved in kindness and patience. Thanks for reading.

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on April 23, 2012:

Leaderofmany, I agree, children do need to be taught manners. It seems there are quite a few parents that don't have or take the time. Or maybe it's peer pressure. The Victorian age manners were so gentle and considerate.

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on April 23, 2012:

Minnetonka Twin, It is funny how some of those rules made it to today. The taking off of the hat is one, the elbows on the table ( for me anyway ) and the opening of doors. I still think it's in poor taste to yell across the room. I guess I'm old fashioned.

Skarlet from California on April 23, 2012:

Beautiful hub. Being the daughter of older Europeans, I was taught a few of these things. I think so much of it is absolutely sweet. Thank you

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on April 23, 2012:

I remember the one about brushing your hair because my parents were taught that. Thanks for the fun hub.

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on April 23, 2012:

Pamela99, I agree - I think we would all be better off if we follow a few more of Victorian rules of etiquette. I wasn't born then either but I wa taught some of these rules.

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on April 23, 2012:

Paradise7, thanks. I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for reading.

Thanks you Emeraldgreen 27. I also was brought up with quite a few of these rules of etiquette. Thanks for the rating.

JamaGenee, I forgot about the lack of central heat. I'm not sure I could have survived back then - at least not survived comfortably.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on April 23, 2012:

I was so ready to laugh, but most of the etiquette concerns patience and kindness. We should all take some tips from the Victorians. It doesn't hurt to be polite and civil. Though I did have to chuckle about not bellowing across the room to get someone's attention. Okay. I won't.

Leaderofmany from Back Home in Indiana on April 22, 2012:

I was taught so many of these things growing up. Then when I took care of my Grandmother many came back to me through her. I believe that children should be taught these things today and we may not have so much crime and killing between the children.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on April 22, 2012:

It's funny how these rules are still seen today in certain ways. I know my dad would get very upset when he saw a man with a hat on in any establishment, including church. He thought it very rude and showed bad manners. Really interesting hub.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 22, 2012:

Outstanding hub. I think we would be better off if we followed some of those guidelines today. I remember being told to brush my hair 100 times a night, we wore gloves for special occasions and no I was not born during the Victorian Era! Voted up and awesome.

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on April 22, 2012:

Yes, I forgot A/C...and I'm pretty fond of Central Heating, too! Those Victorian mansions with high ceilings and one fireplace per room ranged from chilly to downright frigid if you were even a few feet from the hearth! ;D

Atell Rohlandt from South Africa on April 22, 2012:

This was such an interesting hub. Never to lend a borrowed book and to not sit with your back facing someone are rules I grew up with. It's funny how some of these things seem to just live on somehow! Voted up and marked as interesting. Thanks for a great read.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on April 22, 2012:

I found this all very interesting--the antique manners as well as the names. Thank you for a wonderful hub!

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on April 22, 2012:

JamaGenee, I have to agree with you there. The way I like air conditioning I would have never made it. But I do so love the manners it entailed.

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on April 22, 2012:

Yes, it WAS a fascinating era as far as manners and what constituted "good breeding". The multiple layers of undergarments necessary for a lady to be "properly" dressed and the lack of indoor plumbing make it far less so!

Voted up and awesome! ;D

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on April 22, 2012:

Genna East, that was a time when women were ladies and men were gentlemen. I used to love hearing my grandmother tell me stories of back then. It really is a fasscinating era. Thanks.

Susan Hazelton (author) from Northern New York on April 22, 2012:

moonlake, I came across so many names there was no way I could include them all. I wish I could have. Sena is a name I didn't see - how interesting. I thought some of the rules were silly but most of them would add to better behavior in this world. Thanks for reading.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 22, 2012:

This was my great grandmother’s time - the late Victorian era; I adored her, and so much of what you have written here reminds me of the world she grew up in based the stories she told me when I was a little girl.

Wonderful hub!

moonlake from America on April 22, 2012:

Lady must never offer her hand to a gentleman. I was taught that and it took me a long time to get over it. I was also taught to never cut my hair an old church and Victorian idea. I still have trouble cutting my hair. While doing genealogy I have also came across Nancy, Malinda, Cassandra, Sena often as women's names in Victorian times.

Loved your hub. Voted up.

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