Pop diva Beyoncé has been in the news a lot recently, since the birth of her first child, Blue Ivy Carter. However, her name has hit the headlines for a different reason, after inspiring an Australian taxonomist to name a horse fly after her.
Bryan Lessard, from the CSIRO’s Australian National Insect Collection in Canberra, named the fly Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae because it has a prominent golden lower abdomen. To Bryan, who admits to being something of a fan, the unique dense gold hairs on the fly reminded him of Beyoncé’s flashy golden stage outfits.
The rare fly was collected in 1981, the same year Beyoncé was born, from eucalypt forests in the Atherton Tablelands of Queensland.
I’m not sure whether this is the most flattering thing that’s ever happened to Beyoncé, but I love that it shows scientists are just normal people who listen to R&B in their labs while they work, and find themselves as captivated by a gold frock as the next person. And perhaps are human enough to want to see their names in the gossip magazines, and maybe even get a personal response from their idol (she hasn’t made one).
Beyoncé’s name is as unique as the horse fly, being created especially for her. Her mother Tina’s maiden name is Beyincé, a Creole surname from Louisiana. When she discovered that the Beyincé name was dying out, Tina decided to call her daughter Beyoncé, her own version of the surname. Apparently Tina’s parents were not impressed at first, because “that’s a last name”.
Beyincé is a form of the French surname Boyancé, related to the Old French word for “wood”. It’s an equivalent of English surnames such as Woodward or Forrester.
While the names of celebrities often become popular baby names (think Scarlett and Ashton, for example), Beyoncé’s name remains in very rare use. It belongs so completely to herself, and no other.
Destiny’s Child was the successful girl group of which Beyoncé was a founding member, prior to her embarking on her solo career.
The English word destiny comes from French, and ultimately from the Latin destino, the source of the word destination, meaning “appoint, establish”. It comes from an ancient root meaning “to stand, to place” (also the source of the word obstinate). Destiny is used as a synonym for the word fate, although technically fate is the divine agency or power which brings about the predetermined future events which are our destiny.
Destiny has been used as a girl’s name since the 19th century, and originated in the United States. It has been on the US Top 1000 since 1975, and reached the Top 100 in 1994, leaving it in 2012. It is currently #203.
In the UK, Destiny peaked in 2001 at #211 , and is currently #412. It is also in use in The Netherlands, and is a fairly uncommon name in Australia, although certainly not unknown.
Apart from Destiny’s Child, the name may remind you of Destiny Cyrus, the birth name of actress and singer Miley Cyrus (born just after the name reached the Top 100). It’s a virtue name which still has a spiritual or philosophical feel to it, but also suggests the strength to forge your own path in life, to make your own destiny.