Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Lily Collins plays Collins in 'The Blind Side'

They're playing 'The Blind Side' on TV tonight. I remember being so touched when I first saw this movie a couple of years ago, and even more so to know that this is based on a real family. Movies like this renew your faith that there are good, kind, generous people in the world. And Sandra Bullock did such a good job of playing the matriarch of the family, Leigh Anne Tuohy, that she won the best actress Oscar that year.

But I'm not going to gush about the movie too much, just about one of the names spotted in the movie. Early in the movie, there's a scene when Leigh Anne arrives at her daughters volleyball game and shouts encouragement to her. I did a bit of a double take, because I had forgotten that the daughters name is Collins. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I double checked and yes, that is the name of her daughter.

Since Collins' younger brother Sean was named after their father, I thought that perhaps Collins was Leigh Anne's maiden name perhaps. But no, Leigh Anne's maiden name is Roberts, so there went that theory. Nevertheless, I'm guessing that a Collins can be found in their family tree somewhere, especially as it's not particularly unusual to use family surnames as given names in the Southern US States. And fun fact - in the movie, Collins is played by actress Lily Collins. I guess that would have made things easy on set!

This name caught my attention mainly because it sounds more like a preppy boys name at first, and seeing it on a girls made me do a double take. It would definitely get confused with Colin/Collin a lot. But the instant after that thought, I thought it sounded like a spunky (and still a little preppy, which I like) choice for a girl.

Traditionally a surname, Collins fits right in with current unisex surname trends, but has so far gone largely overlooked. It has been modestly used for boys in the US, and occasionally for girls (which increased a lot after 'The Blind Side' was released), but hasn't cracked the top 1000 for boys since 1909. Or ever for girls.

There's a little confusion as to the origin and meaning of Collins. Different sources say that it's:

  • an Irish/Gaelic name meaning 'holly'
  • a Scottish variant of Colin, meaning 'young creature' or 'pup'
  • a shorter variant of the Greek name Nicolas, meaning 'people of victory'. 

If you're using it to honour a family member though, having one definitive meaning doesn't really matter, as it will be what the original owner meant to you that will define what special meaning the name has for you.

While it's not for everyone, I quite like Collins for a boy or a girl. Admittedly if you're using it for a girl you'd probably want a more traditionally feminine middle name to pair with it. And you probably want to avoid it if your last name starts with an S. But for the right person and the right family, Collins could be a real gem.


  1. My dad's name is Colin, I've considered Cailean and Colin to honor him. Collins is another option I hadn't exactly thought about, nice name!

    Though I do think of Mr Collins from Pride & Prejudice.


    1. Yes, there definitely is that, though I'm not sure how popular he is amongst Austen lovers!

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  4. My elder brother name is Collins. It's very nice name and suites his personality perfectly. It sounds very pretty, lovable, honesty, and similar.