I've been reading articles about trends in names. Apparently names like Bonnie-Mae, Ellie-Mae and Lily-Mae are trending up in the UK which I find odd in itself (aren't they typically Southern US?) but never mind...

You don't see many endings other than -May or -Mae in double-barreled names. -Anne perhaps, and a few other exceptions, but -Mae seems to dominate.

Any idea where this tradition stems from? Why the skew?

  • 1
    Perhaps derived from Mary? It makes sense to based double names on short and very common names. Sep 2, 2013 at 20:07
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about Southern US naming conventions, not the English language. Sep 2, 2013 at 20:29
  • @Cerberus: I think you're probably right. It seems likely to me the pattern was particularly useful in the American South precisely because they are/were very traditional. Thus they stuck with a smaller pool of first names (often even passed down from father to son) - which would have made it more necessary to distinguish BillyBob from BillyRay, because they'd have so many Billys (and not enough different surnames, perhaps). Sep 2, 2013 at 20:38
  • @FumbleFingers: I don't know about that...consider how John/Jan/Jean/Juan/etc. is very common in all double names. Who knows why local traditions develop as they do... Sep 2, 2013 at 20:46
  • 1
    And additional forenames are less common - and, where present, less used - in the UK. It's certainly not an English language question.
    – TrevorD
    Sep 2, 2013 at 23:20


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