What’s in a Name? – Cinderella

18th July, 2011 - Posted by DisAnim - Comments Off on What’s in a Name? – Cinderella

Disney Cinderella

It wasn’t until I was in the Dominican Republic and I heard Cinderella’s name in Spanish did the meaning ever really hit me. Cenicienta is the Spanish version—ceniza means ash. At first it took me back a bit, but then I realized that cinder in English also means ash (well… sort of, but at least they’re related words). Ella is just a diminutive, not one that we see too often but still obviously recognizable. So in the end, Cinderella just means little cinder. This is by no means an accident. It turns out that in several versions of the original fairytale, Cinderella gets her name because she tends to sit in the cinders or ashes when she finishes her work. It makes you wonder what her real name was…

Lucifer is another name loaded with meaning. Of course, there is no attempt to obscure its meaning. Lucifer is an alternate name for the devil in Christian tradition. The cat has quite the devilish streak, so it lives up to its name. You’ve got to wonder what caused Lady Tremaine to name her cat after the devil, however. Then again, I once met someone whose last name was Lucero, which is just the Spanish version of Lucifer (which, incidentally, means something as innocent as light bearer and is used to denote the morning star).

Jaq appears to be the French equivalent of Jack, but it is worth noting that Jac e que is the Latin phrase from which it is derived, and it means a ridiculous person. Hmm… that’s about right in line! Gus’s full name Octavius appears to have no relation to his nickname, but it seems to be in reference to the ancient emperor of Rome Octavius who changed his name to Augustus (of which Gus could be a true nickname). Bruno simply means brown—an apt description for the dog.

Tremaine doesn’t appear to have any particular meaning. Apparently it is Cornish for stone settlement. Then again, Lady Tremaine is a rather stony person… It might also be significant that Tremaine is primarily a name from England, the historical enemies of the French. Anastasia originally comes from a Greek word meaning resurrection. This doesn’t seem to has any particular meaning for the Disney character (unless you consider her moral reversal in the Cinderella sequels), but it could have meaning on Cinderella herself, who seems to rise from the ashes. The ella part of Drizella is the same diminutive used in Cinderella, but I’m not sure what the Driz part may have been referring to.

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