Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Colette

Colette is a French female name; essentially a double-diminutive of Nicole by way of Nicolette. Nicole is, of course, the feminine form of Nicholas, which is the French and English form of Nikolaos, from the Greek Νικολαος, meaning, quite literally, “people of victory,” composed of the Greek elements nike “victory” and laos “people.” 
 
The survival of this name is owed almost entirely to St. Nicholas, a 4th century Bishop of Myra (present day Turkey). St. Nicholas is remembered by history for his religious zeal and extraordinary kindness. Although little is factually known, as with many early saints, Nicholas’s legends spread and he became one of the most beloved saints ever. His piety was exemplified, for instance, in the story of a poor man who, without dowry for his three daughters, was preparing to give them over to prostitution. On three different occasions, each while disguised by the darkness of night, St. Nicholas threw a bag of gold through a window into the man’s house (three bags of gold for each of the three daughter’s necessary dowries so they could be married and saved from prostitution). St. Nicholas’s cult arguably had the largest following of any other saint among both Eastern and Western European Christians in medieval times; it is said artists were inspired by his image second only to the Blessed Mother. In the East, Nicholas was invoked by sailors for safe travels (“May St. Nicholas hold the tiller!”). In the West, St. Nicholas was believed to watch over children (stemming from a legend that he resurrected three small children from the dead after they were killed for food during a famine). St. Nicholas was also the inspiration behind the Dutch figure of “Sinterklaas,” a magician-like character who left gifts for children around St. Nicholas’s Feast Day (December 6), in honor of the saint’s reputation for secret gift-giving and for his patronage of children. The early Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam (America) brought this concept to the New World colonies. The relics of St. Nicholas are housed at Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy, a place of pilgrimage for centuries. Obviously it’s clear that St. Nicholas was/is one of the most beloved and venerated saints ever. It is for this reason that the name persisted in usage for over 1,700 years! 
 
Several ethno-linguistic and gender variations of Nicholas emerged over time. Both the English and the French used Nicola, Nicole, Nicolette and Colette – though Colette was first considered a pet form. The name was borne by Saint Colette (b. Nicole), a 15th century French nun who gave her money to the poor and founded a reformed branch of the Poor Clares. Though Colette has been in use in the English speaking world since the 12th century, it enjoyed a revival in the 20th century thanks to the fame of the flamboyant novelist and actress known simply as Colette (1873-1954).
 

All About the Baby Name – Colette

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME COLETTE

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME COLETTE

 The name Colette hit America’s Top 1000 list for the first time in 1928.  Not coincidentally, this was right around the time that French writer Colette was achieving great international notice for her works Chéri (1920) and La Fin de Chéri (1926). As Colette’s fame grew, so, too, did the popularity of her charming French name. Though Colette has never been super common or uber-popular in the United States by any means, the name did reach its highest point on the American female naming charts in 1966 at position #372 – not too long after Colette’s publication of Gigi (1944) and its subsequent adaptation into a hit Broadway musical (1958). The name eventually declined in usage and would fall off America’s Top 1000 list in 1987. Only recently did this name re-emerge in 2012 – currently ranked at #522 (2014) – retaining both its familiarity and uniqueness.  Colette brings to mind other lovely French names such as Antoinette, Cosette, Georgette, Juliette, Suzette and Yvette.  Sweet and charming.  You can’t go wrong with a name like this.

Quick Facts

ON COLETTE

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

French

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

608

PRONUNCIATION:

ko-LET

SIMPLE MEANING:

People of victory

Characteristics

OF COLETTE

Authoritative

Powerful

Tough

Tenacious

Wealthy

Problem-solver

Achiever

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Colette

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME COLETTE

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Colette

Popular Songs

ON COLETTE

We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Colette


Famous People

NAMED COLETTE

Colette (French author and performer)
St. Colette (15th century French nun)

Children of Famous People

NAMED COLETTE

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME COLETTE

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