What's in a name?
Clearing. Alternately, "of the meadow."
Unfortunately, I find almost nothing on this besides that it's a "Shakespearean name." However, given her personality, I associate it with other horrible things, such as venereal diseases, namely, gonorrhea. Sorry about any unpleasant images this association might cause.
My main source didn't have any meaning on this one, but elsewhere I found it means "royal" or "regal." Ironic? Well, not necessarily, I'm sure there were many royal folk in Shakespeare's time that he could subtly make a jab at through this character.
The name is of uncertain derivation. Some claim it is from the Welsh name Creiddylad, allegedly meaning 'jewel of the sea', although other reliable sources state there is no evidence for a true Celtic origin. Another theory derives the name from the phrase 'coeur de lion'. It may also be an elaboration of the Latin 'cor' (heart). I particularly like this one, since its origin is uncertain and has a few different possibilities. I personally like the 'coeur de lion' take, as it means heart of lion in French (hence King Richard the lion-hearted), and Cordelia truly does have a brave heart to still desire to help her father even when he so wrongly disowns her.
From the Anglo-Saxon 'eád' or German 'ôt' - 'good, property, inheritance' and 'gar' or 'ger' meaning 'spear'. This combines in the meaning 'spear of prosperity', 'protector of the good (with the spear)'.
From the Old English elements 'ead' (prosperity, fortune) and 'mund' (protection). This concludes in the meaning 'prosperous protection' but another possible meaning is 'protector of prosperity (or inheritance)'.
It is of Germanic origin. It might be derived from the Old English elements os "god" and weald "rule".
|"King Lear and the Fool in the Storm" |
by William Dyce (Thank you Wikipedia)