Diggory & Merida: Subconscious Replacements?

Sometimes we like names because they have a certain special ring to them. Often it is because they seem unique and familiar at the same time (having that je ne sais quoi!), and it is because we are subconsciously influenced by names or words (or concepts) our minds already recognize on some level. If it was a name which influenced us, we may then consciously or not-consciously use our new idea as a replacement for the previously more well-known name.

Diggory is the surname of a Robert Pattinson character in Harry Potter films. Is “Diggory” the new “Cullen”?

Yvonne asked:

Apparently I’m obsessed with the name Diggory lately! What can you tell me about it?

People seem to think it’s connected to the French word for “astray” (égaré). The Bretons probably used it and then maybe the English (Cornish) Anglicized it. It’s possible, and at the moment I can’t find any more concrete or better explanations for it. It reminds me of didgeridoo. Or dickory.

Kammie asked:

I would love some help on researching the origins and meaning of the name Merida. Yes I know it’s a cartoon character but hubby likes it and he’s super picky but I am finding conflicting info on it doing my own research. TIA!!

So the new Disney/Pixar film “Brave” features a character called Merida. It appears they went with a non-Celtic name, which is actually a little disappointing to me.  Speculative:  maybe they were thumbing through Celtic names and couldn’t find anything quite to their liking… nothing easy enough or fluid enough to their tongue. Celtic names, particularly the authentic and the antiquated, are often too unusual for the average person to truly appreciate. Maybe Meredith (which is Welsh) was almost a choice, but instead inspired them to the less common Merida. Or, maybe she was subconsciously influenced by Meredith without the creators realizing. Likewise, people may be using it as the new Meredith without realizing why it has that fresh yet familiar ring to it.

The name is probably going to pick up in popularity, so that’s something to watch out for. As for the origin, there are cities in several Spanish-speaking countries called Mérida (same pronunciation), so this may also be likely as to where it came from when the creators were planning the story. With this explanation, it would come from the Latin Emerita, which likely renders Merida “of a woman” or “womanly“. The name should expect to see renewed use among Spanish speakers, with whom it was already appreciated.