Tuesday, January 02, 2007


'Adal' is Old High German for nobility - and therefore names which stem from 'adal' mean noble.
Ada did not become popular until the late 18th century (whereas Alice, Adele, Adelaide etc. - other names stemming from 'adal' had all been around a lot longer). There is a Hebrew name - Adah - meaning decorated, and so Ada is also credited with being the Latinate form of Ada, as well as a short form of Adelaide and Adele. Adah had been popular with the Puritans, but from the appearance of Ada and onwards it was eclipsed.

Ada appeared before the 18th century as the sister of Charlemagne for whom the Ada Gospels were dedicated. Ada of Caria (which is a region of Turkey) was reinstated as satrap or governor of Caria but Alexander the Great. Ada was also the name of a 7th century abbess of Saint-Julien-des-Pres at Le Mans.

When Ada reappeared in the 18th century, it was used by poet Lord Byron for his daughter. She then upon marriage became Ada Lovelace. She was well educated in mathematics and science and this led to her coming into contact with Charles Babbage. She wrote notes on Babbage's 'Analytical Engine' - the first 'computer'. Since her death Ada has been remembered as a computer programming language.

In recent years Ada has reappeared as an alternative to the wildly popular Ava. Similarly palindromic, with almost the same letters and sounds - only time will tell if Ada shares Ava's charms and woos the public.


Anonymous said...

This was really interesting, thank you! I have an Ada. I believe she was one of very few born in the UK (the yr she was born). She was nearly an Adah, but we decided against it! I personally wouldn't mind if it never became popular... I was trying very hard to find a name that was not likely to be repeated in the classroom!