Origin: English/French version of the Hebrew Hannah and Channah and Greek Anna. Anna was the faithful prophetess Anna in New Testament who await the birth of Jesus Christ.
Meaning: "He (God) has favored me", "gracious", "grace"
Common Nicknames: Nancy, Nan, Nanny, Annie. Jane Austen uses Nancy most often as a nickname.
Regency Popularity: Very popular among most classes. Most lower classes would probably use Hannah or the nicknames more, but the upper classes would use Anne. Among the royalty Anne was and still is quite popular.
Jane Austen Usage:
- Persuasion - Anne Elliot is the heroine of the story. She is the second daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, devoted friend, aunt, sister, and constant to her true love Captain Frederick Wentworth.
- Sense and Sensibility - Miss Anne Steele is the older sister of Lucy Steele, nearly thirty years old; 'never succeeded in catching the Doctor'. She is usually called Nancy by her sister.
- Pride and Prejudice - Miss Anne de Bourgh is the sickly daughter of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Named after her aunt Lady Anne Darcy a match is made by the two mothers for her to marry her cousin Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy.
- Pride and Prejudice - Lady Anne Darcy, born Lady Anne Fitzwilliam, is the deceased mother of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Georgiana Darcy. Wife of the elder Mr. Darcy, sister of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, aunt of Miss Anne de Bourgh and Colonel Fitzwilliam.
- Northanger Abbey - Anne Thorpe is one of Mrs Thorpe's two younger daughters. Although not as beautiful as her older sister Isabella, she does very well by pretending to be as handsome as her sister, imitating her air, and dressing in the same style.
- Emma - Anne Taylor is governess to heroine Emma Woodhouse until she's marries Mr. Weston. At the end of the book she has a daughter who is named Anna after her mother.
- Northanger Abbey - Anne Mitchell is mentioned as a 'friend' of Isabella Thorpe's who had tried to put on a turban like Isabella's but who had apparently made wretched work of it.
- Juvenilia: The Three Sisters - Miss Anne (also called Miss XXX) is the friend that Georgiana Stanhope writes to and dictates her plans for her sisters.
- Juvenilia: Evelyn - Mrs. Anne Augusta Webb, wife of Mr. Webb and mother of Maria.
- Juvenilia: Catharine, or the Bower - Anne, also called Nanny, is the heroine Catharine's maid.