Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Scarlett

Scarlett is a variation of “scarlet”, derived from the Old French word “escarlate” which described top-quality fabric or “rich cloth” (from Medieval Latin “scarlatum”, or cloth of scarlet). Some scholars believe the word was ultimately borrowed from Arabic “siqillat” (fine cloth). The word’s original meaning did not necessarily suggest “bright red” cloth; it covered various other colored fabrics, as well. Scarlet and Scarlett developed as surnames in medieval England derived from an occupation name, i.e., a seller of rich cloth. By the 14th century, however, “scarlet” came to define a specific shade of red rather than “fine cloth”. The notion of scarlet (as in a Scarlet Lady) being “red with shame” is attested from the 14th century, referring to two specific Biblical passages: “And then come, and accuse me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be as red a crimson, they shall be white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18); and: “…the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet color, and covered with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her immorality.” (Revelations 17:4). However, it was neither the fine cloth nor the shameful lady that served to popularize Scarlett as a female given name. That credit goes to the author of “Gone with the Wind” (1936), Margaret Mitchell, and her unforgettable central character, Katie Scarlett O’Hara. Mitchell used the middle name Scarlett as the character’s grandmother’s maiden name, but her heroine is always known as Scarlett. The book was such a success and the main character, Scarlett, so lively and dynamic, that the name took on a life of its own. As a name bestowed on baby girls today, Scarlett is most popular in Australia and the United Kingdom, followed by Canada and the United States.

All About the Baby Name – Scarlett

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME SCARLETT

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 SCARLETT

In America, the name Scarlett first showed up on the U.S. female naming charts in 1940 as the book (“Gone with the Wind”) and subsequent major motion picture took off in nationwide popularity. The name was used, but not heavily. It was not until 2002 that the name really started to climb the charts, ascending over 700 positions in six short years. It’s clear that the actress Scarlett Johansson has had more to do with the name’s popularity than the vibrant Miss Scarlett O’Hara. It appears that in today’s society, we are far more influenced by pop-culture than we were 75 years ago. 2003 was the break-out year for Scarlett Johansson with the release of “Lost in Translation.” She quickly became the “it” girl and influenced parents all over America with her first name (which incidentally came from – you guessed it – Scarlett O’Hara).

Quick Facts

ON SCARLETT

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

42

PRONUNCIATION:

SKAR-let

SIMPLE MEANING:

Rich cloth (brilliant, vivid red hue)

Characteristics

OF SCARLETT

Authoritative

Powerful

Tough

Tenacious

Wealthy

Problem-solver

Achiever

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Scarlett

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME SCARLETT

Katie Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler Is one of popular fiction’s best known heroines, as the protagonist of Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Gone With The Wind and its equally successful award winning movie adaptation in 1939. Inevitably, the British beauty, Vivien Leigh, who trumped all those Southern belles for the part, has become inextricably paired with Scarlett in our minds. Headstrong and willful, self-confident, self absorbed and steely- spined, she of the 16 inch waist and the 16 ton ego, Scarlett almost singlehandedly saves her family and plantation from the destruction wrought by the Civil War. She is a pampered Southern belle at the novel’s opening, whose main intent in life is to achieve the love of the quintessential Southern gentleman, Ashley Wilkes. Thwarted in this, her every move is motivated by her single-minded desire to succeed in this impossible (and highly unsuitable) goal. Scarlett, of course, represents the unwillingness of the Old South to let go of its antiquated notions of a way of life. Pulled kicking and screaming into the harsh realities of the war and its consequences, she adapts to the hardships with grim determination. When Reconstruction gets underway, she claims her place in it as well, bartering and compromising with the Yankees to suit her own ends. Throughout all this she bears her ill-placed love for Ashley as a beacon in the dark, always striving to make it to the other side of adversity with him as her prize. Finally, she loses what remnants of her mother’s gentility she had clung to, and recognizes with an unsettling insight that it is Rhett Butler all along who had been right for her. Charmingly opportunistic and irreverently seductive, Rhett nonetheless harbors a reluctant instinct to do the right thing. By the time Scarlett has her epiphany, Rhett has run out of patience for the game. Our heroine, undaunted as ever, declares tomorrow to be another day and we know she will survive. Dreamy-eyed teen-aged girls who first encounter Scarlett firmly believe that such an outcome is inevitable. Older, wiser women know otherwise. As for the immortal Scarlett, her comment most probably would be “Fiddle-dee-dee!”

Popular Songs

ON SCARLETT

When Scarlett Smiles
a song by Michael McDonald

Shade of Scarlett Conquering
a song by Joni Mitchell

Famous People

NAMED SCARLETT

Scarlett Johansson (actress)

Children of Famous People

NAMED SCARLETT

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME SCARLETT

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