Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Carol

 Carol is a name with two potential origins.  Most commonly, Carol is considered a short form of Caroline, itself the French female version of Carolus (the Medieval Latin form of Charles). Carolus/Charles are ultimately derived from an Old Germanic word “karl” meaning “free man” (the term was used to signify a common man; someone between the noble classes and serfdom).   The Olde English cognate “ceorl” (from the same root) defined a “man of low birth, a common man”. In later Middle High German and Middle English, however, both terms evolved their definitions to mean more simply “man, fellow, husband.”  The name Caroline was brought to England by way of the Norman-French after the Conquest of 1066; eventually it found a particular audience among the upper-classes of England in the 17th century.  In fact, two 18th century Queen Consorts of England, Caroline of Ansbach and Caroline of Brunswick, gave further notice to this lovely French name. Caroline and Carol are only two examples of female names spawning from the ancient Karl – others include Charlotte, Charlize, Carolyn, Charlie, Carla and Carrie (just to name a few).  Aside from Carol’s clear connection to Caroline/Carolyn, the name is also an English noun attested to in the early 14th century meaning “joyful song” (borrowed from the French carole – a kind of dance in a ring accompanied by singers). A couple centuries later, the term carol would evolve to mean a Christmas hymn of joy specifically.

All About the Baby Name – Carol

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME CAROL

The Master Number Twenty-Two combines the traits of Twos and Fours into a powerful force. The references to The Master Builder and "large undertakings" serve to underscore the massive potential of this personality. They are extremely capable and therefore almost always successful. Twenty-Twos are courageous leaders, innovative thinkers, extremely wise and highly organized. As such, they are able to manifest something of major importance that will have a lasting impact on this world. Master Numbers carry with them a great sense of responsibility, so it can be a burden. However, Twenty-Twos are executors and action-takers. Further, this personality exhibits traits of the Twos, which brings sensitivity, spirituality and harmony, so their endeavors are likely to benefit mankind in some capacity.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME CAROL

The name Carol (as a stand-alone given name) has been in circulation since at least the late 19th century (which is as far back as we have data). At the turn of the 20th century, Carol was a moderately popular name, and by 1928 it hit the Top 100 list.  The acme of Carol’s success came in the early 1940s when she ranked as high as #4 nationwide (1941). In fact, Carol was a Top 10 favorite from 1936 through 1950, and she remained on America’s Top 100 list up until 1971.  But by the 1980s, it was clear Carol was losing her popularity; 2006 marks the last year she would claim Top 1000 status. Caroline, Carolina and Carolyn are more fashionable name choices for baby girls in the 21st century.  Although Carol is fading from the limelight, she is still given to over 100 baby girls each year.  

Quick Facts

ON CAROL

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

N/A

PRONUNCIATION:

KER-əl

SIMPLE MEANING:

Free woman (also, joyful song)

Characteristics

OF CAROL

The Master Builder

Leader

Large Undertakings

Confidence

Discipline

Organization

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Carol

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME CAROL

Carol Milford Kennicott is the title protagonist of Sinclair Lewis’ 1920 best-selling novel, Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott. Carol is a liberal, college-educated and independent young woman of her time who loves art and literature and aspires to bring some semblance of same to the small Minnesota town in which her doctor husband plants her. Thwarted at every turn by the narrow-minded townspeople, Carol finds solace in reading, friendship with a like-minded woman and in a quasi-romantic attachment to a young man. Motherhood encloses her even more within the narrow confines of her life and, in desperation, she attempts a separate life in Washington, D.C. for a few years, but is wooed back by her husband. While Carol does not admit to defeat, exactly, she does come home and take up the knitting needles again, as it were. It would be more than forty years later that The Feminine Mystique appeared on the scene, but Sinclair Lewis (the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature) seems to have had an inside track on the restless dissatisfaction that has plagued women of intelligence since the dawn of time.

Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in Charles Dickens’ beloved 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol, which has given rise to numerous adaptations (as well as a cartoon character, Scrooge McDuck). Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean, cold, solitary miser, who begrudges happiness to anyone, particularly around the Christmas season. On one particular Christmas Eve, Ebenezer is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and To Come. The eye-opening scenes they depict for him make him weep for his checkered past, bemoan his present and fear his future. Scrooge is cured! He awakens with a new lease on life, and promptly begins throwing money and good cheer around in equal measures, making everyone happy. We should all be so lucky as to have such a chance at a second chance!

Timothy Cratchit (“Tiny Tim”) is the winning little crippled boy in Charles Dickens’ beloved A Christmas Carol, which introduced us to the unforgettable Scrooge. Suffering from an unspecified, progressive illness, Tiny Tim is nonetheless a courageous and cheerful little fellow. When the miserly Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, he is allowed to see how very ill Tim really is, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows him a deathbed scene of Tiny Tim. The child will surely die without the medical attention his family cannot afford (not while working for old Ebenezer, they can’t). Of course as we all know, Scrooge mends his ways, increases salaries, reconciles with family, finds a medical cure for Tim and ends all on a happy note and a quote from Tiny Tim himself: “God bless us, every one!”

Jacob Marley is a pivotal character in Charles Dickens’ beloved 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, the subject of innumerable adaptations. His character is the ghost of his former self, Scrooge’s business partner, who comes back to warn Scrooge of the dire consequences of his continued mean spiritedness. The erstwhile Mr. Marley is one heck of a ghost – he has all the trappings down. He is transparent, he rattles his chains, he moans, he shrieks, he causes mirrors to crack, bells to ring, winds to blow, small children to run in terror (well, ok, there weren’t any small children around, but still…). And after all this, does he get any respect? No, the nefarious Scrooge humbugs around and declares that Jacob Marley is probably a figment of his imagination, in fact, probably “…an undigested bit of beef.” Insult upon injury! Good Mr. Marley, however, soon convinces Scrooge of his authenticity and prepares him for the three ghosts to come, before flying out the window to continue his eternal, fruitless, remorseful roaming of the earth, paying for his sins for all time to come. We are more than a little sorry for Jacob Marley, and wish him the best on his journey. We hope he catches a break, because he did a great job.

Popular Songs

ON CAROL

Utah Carol
a song by Marty Robbins

Oh! Carol
a song by Neil Sedaka

Carol Dodds Is Pregnant
a song by The Toy Dolls

Carol
a song by The Rolling Stones

Calling Out to Carol
a song by Stan Ridgway

Birthday Carol
a song by Todd Rundgren

Famous People

NAMED CAROL

Carole Lombard (actress)
Carol Burnett (actress/comedian)
Carol Alt (supermodel)
Carol Channing (actress, comedian)
Carol Mann (golfer)

Children of Famous People

NAMED CAROL

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Carol

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME CAROL

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Carol