• Grace A. Johnson

Name of the Week: Collin

Now this is a classic. I can't tell you how many times I've used this name (three, just in the Daughters of the Seven Seas series), or how many times I want to use it. Collin and James, to me, are the names that fit any guy perfectly. I just adore them.

And I adore my three Collins--John Collin Bennet, Xavier Collin Bennet, and Collin Maverick Bennet. (After writing that name six times, it's starting to sound weird. Collin. Collin. Col-in. Cole-in. Col-on. Ahem.) Now, since I've used it three times (just as many times as Richard and Charles--nope, I used Charles four times, but I don't count King Charles since, you know, I didn't name him. 😉), I think I'll just focus on one of the characters bearing the name: Collin. Collin Bennet. And, yes, there's a difference between all the above Collin Bennets and the certain Collin Bennet I'm referring to.

Reverend Collin Bennet was originally Collin Bennett, before I took out an l, then added the l again and removed the t from his last name. Then, finally, to bring him to the man we're all familiar with, I gave him a first name: John. It helps to keep from getting him confused with his grandson and namesake, who, in return, has been nicknamed Mav.

Anywho...let's dive right in to how I came up with the name in the first place and what it means.

Collin was, at first, just the distant father of my hero, Xavier, and it wasn't until I was several chapters into Held Captive that I decided that Xavier needed some backstory--which, of course, included his father. (Stepfather, actually, but we don't talk about it. It's a touchy subject.) Now, about two years later, John Collin Bennet has somehow managed to worm his way into my heart and weasel a story of his own out of me. Sometime, after Bound and Determined and my next (but unrelated) project release, I'll get to work on his and Jess' story and its sequel, the first two books in the Arlington Family series, Capturing Her Heart and Treasuring Her Heart. (There was originally another in between, Holding Her Heart, but that's a story for another day.)

I picked the name Collin because I'd recently read a book in which the hero's name was Colin (one l, though, but I think I'd read a couple more before/around that time with characters named Collin). Then and now, I like the name. I like the sound. I like the feeling--ageless, classic, heroic. Somehow, it fits a knight in Medieval England and a computer geek in modern day America. Not that my pirate-turned-preacher is either a knight or a geek--his ancestor and namesake, Nicolas Bennet, was, however. A knight. Not a geek.

It wasn't until sometime this summer, when I was researching the name Malcolm, that I really studied up on Collin. And here's what I found:

Collin/Colin/Collyn is a medieval English diminutive of Col, a short form of Nicolas/Nicholas. Therefore, it is derived from the Greek Νικόλαος (Nikolaos), which means "victory of the people," from the words nike--victory--and laos--people. And, of course, Nicholas is the name of the Greek saint and archbishop from Anatolia in the 4th century. St. Nick, for a bit of not Santa-Claus related history, is the patron saint of children, sailors, merchants, Greece, and Russia. (How Russia became part of that, I don't know.) Of course, Nicholas is a positively beautiful name, with equally so connotations, but for my day and age (and the 80s-90s), it's become quite commonplace--particularly its nickname, Nick/Nicky/Nic. Now, that's getting old. Collin, on the other hand, is much less popular, although I suspect that in the coming years it will become so.

Colin also has an unrelated origin as the Anglicized form of the Scottish Cailean and Irish Coilean. In my digging up of Malcolm, I realized that the two names are related, through Columba. Cailean is the Scottish form of Columba, and Malcolm means "disciple of St. Columba." Interesting how that goes, eh?

So, there you have it, folks--the origins of Collin/Colin. Yeah...and I think I owe y'all a progress update now. It'll come--don't worry.

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