Cats that look like garfield, like lola, kittykat
and the like are considered to be “pussycats”,
and this is how people who were born after
1919 came to understand the name.
When the name was changed to “Lola” in
the early 1930s, this had little or no effect
on their usage, despite the fact that many
of them were born in the early 1920s.
The original use of the word was as a slang
term for a girl, which can be traced back
to the 19th century.
We also find it being used to refer to a person’s
girlfriend and is an abbreviated form of “lovey-dovey”.
The earliest reference we can find for “Lolita”
comes from a 1927 book, and was written by
a girl named Margaret Millar.
While it has been speculated that Millar was
inspired by a character in James Joyce’s
novel Ulysses, others have suggested that
it was a play on the name of Louis LaLanne.
The first recorded use of the name was in
a 1933 movie, and the character is most likely
to have been named after the original story
writer, Vladimir Nabokov.
The name “Lolita” was the subject of controversy
when it was first released and most of the
books and movies featured “Lolita” in their
The book made the transition from being a
novel to a graphic novel with The League of
Extraordinary Gentlemen in 1999, in which
Lolita is voiced by the actress Mia Kirshner.
This graphic novel, written by Alan Moore
and drawn by Kevin O’Neill, made the name
famous in American culture.
The story, however, is about an “unspeakable
thing” that he did, not about a teenage girl
who has sex with a grown man.
It was not until the 1990s that the word
"Lolita" was used to describe an adolescent
sexual relationship with a much older man.
The author in question is, of course, Vladimir
Nabokov, and his novel was published in 1955.
He is perhaps best known for his novel Lolita,
which tells the story of a fourteen year old
girl, Humbert Humbert, and her obsession with
an older man, Rodolphe Humbert.
While the name “Lolita” is a common name
in Latin America, Nabokov’s novels Lolita
and Pale Fire are about a young man who tries
to seduce Lolita.
It is possible that he thought the Latin
title sounded better than the Russian.
There are no known references to the name
“Lolita” being used to refer to this kind
of relationship until the 1970s.
The name "Lolita" was not an invented name,
as it was common among Russian-speaking intellectuals
to call children, in their opinion, extremely
good-looking women, 'Lolita' in their native
language, and it was also used to describe
someone considered unattainable.
However, it was first used in English in connection
with the novel, and this term appeared in
a newspaper headline in 1962, as The name
Lolita first appeared in English in the novel
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov in 1955.
However, the term did not catch on.
A few more years would pass before the term
came back, and the man that came to use the
name, who Nabokov did not know, was a fan
of the novel.
This led Nabokov to create the character,
Humbert Humbert, who wrote the novel under
a pen name, the name Lolita, to appear in
an English newspaper ad for a book he wanted
to write, as the name would draw more attention
The name was also used to refer to an English
play written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan,
an Irish playwright, in 1777, and became popular
It is worth mentioning that this is the same
name used in the title of a German opera
first performed in 1865, the same year that
the same opera was produced in Russian.
In Russian it is called "Lolitsa", which literally
means "Lolita" in the Cyrillic alphabet.
But even after becoming popular, there were
people who used the name Lolita as an epithet
or a slang word to refer to an immoral woman.
So, what was the name?
The word came from a poem by the Czech poet,
Vilém Klimenta, published in 1855, and it
was translated into Russian by Mikhail Saltykov,
in the first edition of his book Russian folk
proverbs and old sayings, in 1888.
The meaning of the poem is "She who is not
the first but the second", which is exactly
what Lolita means in English.
A German translation appeared a year later,
in 1859, and was titled "Die Verstimmte"
meaning "The one who has an illness".
The same year a Norwegian translation appeared,
and was titled "Ine", meaning "She who suffers
Although all the translations used the title
"Lolita", the author, the Czech poet, chose
the one that had two syllables.
The Czech word for "a little" is "Lolý"
which is probably why the name of the novel
ends with the two syllables of "Lolita".
After seeing the novel, and the various English
versions, there were also attempts to create
a new Czech title, but none of them was accepted.
One of these new titles was "Mýletník" or
There are also two other alternatives, the
Swedish "En dåre", meaning "A fool", and
the German "Schlafesüchtige" meaning "The
But there are no existing Slavic versions of
these, the closest one being "Chutí", which
means "she is a fool", and was used by Polish
I will talk about more of the alternative
titles later, but to recap so far:
Lolita is based on the real-life Vladimir Nabokov,
and she is based on the character in the
Then her name was changed from Lolita to
Lolita, and she was not based on anyone in
She didn't even have any name before the
author chose the title.
Then a man by the name of Humbert Humbert
tried to take her away from Nabokov, but
in the end it was Vladimir Nabokov who became
a victim of his own inspiration.
The book even became a major topic of discussion
You might have seen the movie "Lolita" and
heard people talking about it, but did you
know that even before "Lolita" was published