Saturday, November 17, 2012


Imogen Poots
Imogen is a recent crush for me. I think one of the things that pushed it from being a slight interest to being a major interest was my husband. We were watching a movie one night ('Chatroom', to be exact), when my husband turned to me and asked "who is that actress?". He recognised her from 'Fright Night' and '28 Weeks Later', and when I replied that it was Imogen Poots, he surprised me by saying "Imogen. That's a nice name". Which was cool because it was one of the first names he showed a genuine interest in within the first couple of months of me starting this blog.

I like to pronounce Imogen as 'IM-oh-jen', which is it's original spelling and pronunciation. However in America it is just as often spelled Imogene and/or pronounced  'im-oh-GENE'. There is also a bit of debate as to the origins of Imogen. Most agree that it is a form of Innogen, mistakenly changed to Imogen due to a printer's error when printing William Shakespeare's play 'Cymbelline'. Or it could have been a deliberate choice by Shakespeare to change it, as possibly he thought it looked and sounded softer and prettier.  The theories as to where Innogen comes from is where opinions differ. One theory is that it is a Greek name from the Greek words 'inno' for beloved and 'gen' meaning child, giving us the meaning of 'beloved child'. Another is that Innogen is a Celtic name from the word 'inghean' meaning maiden, and 'maiden' is the most commonly quoted meaning for Imogen. I've also seen it said that in Hebrew Innogen means 'image of her mother'. Quite possibly it's all three, as names sometimes spring up in a few different places at once. All are great meanings, so why be restricted to just one?

People who haven't heard it before think Imogen is exotic and modern, even though it has been in use for a long time. Other descriptions I've seen of Imogen include strong, independent, intelligent, lovely, refined, classy, original, and that it sounds like "imagine". A lot of these impressions are based on some of the famous bearers of this name, such as Imogen Cunningham. Imogen Cunningham was an American photographer whose portraits, botanicals and industrial landscapes were widely acclaimed. Her work was sometimes considered controversial, but she is considered to be one of the greatest figures in American photography with a career spanning more than seven decades.

Imogen has been fast gaining in popularity in Australia, reaching position #20 in 2011. It's also popular in England and Scotland, but has never entered the top 1000 in America. In fact, most years fewer than five girls were given the name, but since 1995 the name has slowly been climbing. It will likely remain slow to climb, as many Americans feel it is a hard one to use as accents in some areas make the name sound a lot less attractive than it does in England or Australia. But consider the plethora of cute nickname options you could turn to. There's Immy, Im, Imo, Imio, Gen, Genny, Ginny, Midge, Mo, Imza, Imsky, Imzi, Mog, Idgie, Em, Emmy, and Emzy - plenty of easy to say options to suit whatever personality your Imogen might have.

Imogen is a gorgeous name that I'm sure we'll see a lot more of in the future. Would you consider using it where you live?


  1. i am so in love with Imogen and i would use it in a heartbeat if my husband was on board. i pronounce it the same way you do.

  2. I love the name Imogen, my favourite pairing at the moment is Susanna and Imogen. Susanna was the name of William Shakespeare's daughter and of course Imogen was used for his play. I also like that both names connect to my name-Olivia, another one of Shakespeare's creations. :)

    Good post!