Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Giselle

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Giselle is a name that oozes femininity in my eyes. Like the gazelle that it sounds so similar to, it seems sleek, elegant, yet quite exotic. And the fact that there is a gorgeous Brazilian model with this name does nothing to distract from that image!

Although quite a French sounding name, Giselle (pronounced jiz-ELLE) actually has Old German roots, coming from the word "gisil". It means 'hostage or pledge'. This may not sound overly appealing, but needs to be considered in it's original context. In the middle ages, warring parties would sometimes offer a person (often a child) to the other party as a symbol of their pledge of peace. This helps to dispel some of the negativity around the 'hostage' connotation, when you think of it in terms of being a promise of a better way of living.

Giselle entered the US top 1000 in 1983, peaking just short of the top 100. It's easy to see why, especially when you consider some of the great nicknames it conjures up, such as Gigi, Zelle or the ever popular Ella. Just be aware that Jiz is also a possible nickname, one that could be the cause of much teasing if you live in a country like Australia where it's a slang term for - well, um - male ejaculation, to put it nicely.

Besides Victorian Secret model Gisele Bundchen, you may also recognise Giselle as the name of a ballet. The ballet 'Giselle' was inspired by a poem by Heinrich Heine and is the story of a peasant girl (Giselle) who loves dancing. She falls in love with nobleman who is disguised as a peasant, only to die of a broken heart when she discovers he is already engaged to a noblewoman. She later rises from the grave to protect him from a nasty death, forgiving him in the process.

The story and the name Giselle are also familiar to little girls through the Barbie movie 'Barbie in the Pink Shoes', where Barbie is transported into the magical "Ballet World". Further adding to the magical princess vibe of this name is the character  Princess Giselle, played by Amy Adams in the 2007 movie 'Enchanted'.

Giselle is a beautiful name. If you want something similar but a little rarer, Gisella or Gisette are other possibilities. But I personally prefer Giselle for it's balance and grace. Or maybe this could be the next Grace - evoking the impression of Grace without being an actual virtue name. It all adds up to one gorgeously feminine name.


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