Doll and puppet names

Dolls and puppets have a long tradition in horror movies and stories. Who wouldn’t be frightened by a doll or puppet coming to life and committing deranged acts, particularly when that doll or puppet already looks really creepy and lifelike?

Aldjya (F) means “doll” in Kabyle, a Berber language of Algeria.

(F) means “doll” in Vietnamese.

Hiina (F) can mean “hina doll” in Japanese. This doll is displayed during the holiday Hinamatsuri (Doll’s Day or Girls’ Day), celebrated on 3 March and dating to at least 1625.

Hinako (F) can mean “doll child,” “doll happiness,” “doll rainbow,” and “doll chrysanthemum” in Japanese.

Hinari (F) can mean “doll pear” in Japanese. A lot of the Kanji used together in the same names seem rather strange to me, but it’s not my language to understand on a deep, personal level, even as a longtime Nipponophile. These Kanji combinations probably make perfect sense to the Japanese.

Kotohina (F) can combine Kanji for “doll” and koto (a musical instrument similar to a harp).

Mahina (F) can mean “real, genuine doll,” “dance doll,” and “fullness doll” in Japanese. This is also a Hawaiian name meaning “moon, month,” and the name of a Hawaiian lunar goddess, from Proto–Polynesian *masina.

Maňuška (F) means “puppet” in Slovak, though it’s usually only used as a nickname for Mária and Emanuela.

Nenetl (F) means “doll” in Nahuatl.

Poppet (U) is an extremely rare English name derived from Middle English popet (a small doll or child). I’ve only come across one real person (who lived to adulthood) with this name, Poppet John, daughter of Welsh painter Augustus John and second wife of Dutch painter Willem Jilts Pol.

Welf (M) means “puppet, whelp” in Medieval German.


5 thoughts on “Doll and puppet names

  1. The Polish word for puppet is marionetka, and, of course for me as a Pole it doesn’t seem particularly usable on a human being, but I’ve actually come across a woman named Marioneta in some list of names. It feels similar to Maria or Marianna, and the -eta ending also can make one think of a lot of female names so in a way it makes sense that it felt like a feminine name to someone enough that they wanted to give it to their child. The Polish word for doll is lal(k)a and I’ve come across an Eulalia nicknamed Lala which I thought was very creative.

    • I think Eulalia – Lala is very creative too.

      When I was a girl I read about the Prus book called Lalka – without knowing it was by Prus. It was mentioned in another piece of classical literature.

      And it does feel like a lengthener to Marion.

      I find a lot of kanji “sensible” without too much questioning.

      Can hardly believe that it is 19-20 years since I learnt more about the doll days than there was in Childcraft.

      Loving the African and South American doll and puppet names.

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