Post by Dingbat
Lawrey wrote: I have the pen of my grand father's aunt, and it used to belong to his granny. She died of the plague I'm afraid and was found by her maid, who went by the name of Young Fanny.
I say: It would be awkward to move to Australia with a name like that. Do people with embarrassing names change them when they move?
"Dick" has been used to mean "penis" for a century or so. Has it caused
a wave of name changes by people named "Dick"? Apparently not:
Lots of well-known and successful people with that name, including
a President and a Vice-President of the United States. (Of course
many people would say those two were actually dicks, but that's just
an amusing coincidence.)
To quote Thomas L.Johnson:
"Only a very trivial mind would worry about such a thing."
"Fanny" for "vagina" (UK)has an even longer history (attested from 1835).
Sudden decline observed in "Fanny" as familiar form for "Frances"?
Not that one notices:
Fanny Davenport (1850–1898), Anglo-American stage actress
Fanny Davies (1861–1934), British pianist
Fanny Furner (1864–1938), Australian activist for the rights of women and children
Fanny Holland (1847–1931), English singer and comic actress
(These four were actually given that name, so apparently neither
church nor state had any objection to it.)
Fanny Brough (1852–1914), British stage actress
Fanny Durack (1889–1956), Australian swimmer
Fanny Fitzwilliam (1801–1854), English stage actress and theatre manager
Fanny Imlay (1794–1816), illegitimate daughter of the British writer and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft
Fanny Kemble (1809–1893), English actress, writer and anti-slavery figure
Fanny Cornforth (1835-c. 1906), model and mistress of painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, real name thought to be Sarah Cox
Fanny Cradock (1909–1994), English restaurant critic born Phyllis Nan Sortain
The name does decline in the 20th century, like many names which rise
and fall for unclear reasons; but I don't see any evidence that the
body-part usage was a cause.