Hi, there –

Big fan of the site! I’m wondering if you have any information on the name “Moonyeen?” It was my grandmother’s middle name but I have no idea where it comes from or what it means.

Thank you,
Karen Siddiqi

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 1.53.54 PMHi Karen,

Moonyeen was an unusual name that turned up briefly in the U.S. from 1922-1936. Most likely because of a Broadway play called “Smilin’ Through,” first produced in 1919, which had a character named Moonyeen Clare. The play was made into three movies: one in 1922 which starred Norma Talmadge, one ten years later featuring Norma Shearer, and a musical in 1941 with Jeannette McDonald in the role.

Nancy over at Nancy’s Baby Names speculates that the playwright Jane Cowl based the name on the Irish word muirnín, which means “darling” or “sweetheart.” That certainly is a possibility. That, or she just made it up, which many writers do!

Hope that helps,
Jennifer

Jennifer Moss is the founder of BabyNames.com, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating BabyNames.com, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.