Names from the Knobs
Names from the Knobs,

McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties, TN

by Sandra Ratledge


Newcomers may find this list of unusual names from the Knobs in McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties helpful. Kinfolks researching local families sometimes have difficulty pronouncing and spelling these strange names and nicknames. Our East Tennessee dialect through generations is a contributory factor, no doubt. Youngsters do not know origins for these curious given names. Neophytes do not even understand that quotation marks indicate a nickname and that nicknames are not legal names but merely "pet" names used commonly by family and friends. Over decades of research, I found such nicknames, naming patterns, learned local pronunciations, and sought origins. The following chart may help researchers, but better still, bring a smile to the rest of us senior citizens. Thanks to Cousins Mildred Maupin and Denise Keltch for help and additions to this list! I appreciate their encouragement and the laughter we share.

Altie / AldiefemaleAltheaOld English from Germanhealer or wholesome
ArkiefemaleArthena / also Arkadelphia see Athenainventive spelling of Athena
Armie / ArmymaleArmisteadFrench & Englishdweller by the hermitage
ArtiefemaleArtemisiaLatinaromatic shrub like wormwood
AzfemaleAzileeEnglishderived from azalea, a flowering shrub
Clercie / ClercyfemaleClarissaEnglish, Italian, & Spanishclear or brilliant
Creasie / CreecyfemaleLucretiaRomana noble woman who committed suicide
Cordy / Deelie / DealfemaleCordeliaorigin uncertainof the heart; heart-felt
Eckie / EckfemaleEchinaceaherb derived from coneflower and used to improve immune systemfrom Latin meaning prickly
EenfemaleRowenaWelshwhite mane
Feenie / JosiefemaleJosephineBiblicalfeminine version of Joseph
FeenfemaleSophinaEnglish from Greek SophiaGreek for "wisdom"
FlardyfemaleFloridaname of Florida statethe flowery
Frona / Fronie / FronefemaleSophroniaGreekof sound mind / heart
Goleymaleclipped from Goldman??
IggymaleIgnatiusSt. Ignatius, Bishop of Antiochsaint martyred at Rome
LeeviefemaleOleviaKnobs version of feminine for OliverLatin "man of peace"*
LicemaleEliasBiblicalHebrew for "prominence"*
MealiefemaleAmelia / PermeliaLatin"industrious or golden-tongued flatterer"*
Meridiefemale / maleMeredith Welsh, Celtic, & Englishprotector or guardian of the sea
Merky / MerkfemaleAmericageographicalbestowed for patriotism
NarciefemaleNarcissaGreek mythology, Narkissossleep, numbness
NealmaleCornlieus / Cornelfrom Greek, "cornel tree""Cornel-cherry" is the dogwood tree bearing cherry-red seeds in fall.
NeelyfemaleCorneliafrom Greek, "cornel tree""Cornel-cherry" is the dogwood tree bearing cherry-red seeds in fall.
NenniemaleNinevehAssyrianancient Assyrian city in Mesopotamia near current Mosul
Nervie / NervefemaleMinervaRoman mythgoddess of wisdom
NiciefemaleEuniceBiblicalwoman of assured faith
OniefemaleLeonaEnglish & Germanfemale version of Leon, capital of province of León in Spain
ParkiefemaleParthenavariant spelling of Athenaversion of mythology
ProceyfemaleProvidenceM English, M French from Latinforesight
RainiefemaleLourena / Lorena form of Lorrainederived from King Lothar
Retta / RetterfemaleAriettaItaliana short aria in music
RispiefemaleRispaBiblical - Rizpahdaughter of Aiah and unfortunate concubine of king Saul
RoemaleMonroeScottish, Englishfrom the mouth of the River Roe in Ireland
SineefemaleSinaiBiblical geographyMountain of Moses
SlyniefemaleSelenaEnglish from the Greek"moon" in Greek
Teen / TeeniefemaleChristineBiblicalJesus Christ
Theen / Thenie / ThenerfemaleAthenaGreek mythgoddess of wisdom
ThursiefemaleThursaNorse mythologyNorse god Thor's day is Thursday.
Ulie / UlesmaleUlyssesRoman mythologyfrom Odysseus
UniefemaleEuniceGreek "happy victory"*in Bible, the woman of assured faith
Vice / ViceyfemaleLovisaSwedishon Swedish calendar
VineyfemaleLaviniaLatindaughter of Latinus and Amata and the last wife of Aeneas
ViryfemaleAlvira / ElviraSpanish from possibly Arabic"the white"
Zeddie / ZettiefemaleArzadaunknown to meWho knows?
Zim / ZimrimaleZimariahBiblicalPrince of Simeon Tribe or King of Israel betweem Elah and Omri

*Some meanings above come from What's in a Name? by Favius Friedman, Scholastic Book Services, Scholastice Magazines, Inc., New York, NY, Jan 1975.

Public Domain, but please include this site in your sources

Sandra Ratledge

All you kinfolks, put some mail in that old box!

This site is dedicated to the memory of my mother,
Beulah Cline Nipper, a beautiful product of the Knobs.