Sunday, March 12, 2017

Carrick

Carrick is an Anglicised spelling of creag (sometimes spelled carraig), the Gaelic word for "rock." As a surname it is not that uncommon, but as a place name it is very common - over fifteen places in Ireland bear the name in some form. There's even a city named Carrick in both Cornwall and Scotland, and a couple in the U.S. and Australia.

It can also be seen as a title: Earl of Carrick, from Scotland. Donnchadh (Duncan), Earl of Carrick was a prince and magnate who died in 1250. After being held prisoner by King Henry II of England for some ten years, he returned home with permission to rule over Carrick, but not all of Galloway. Marjorie of Carrick, who was likely Donnchadh's granddaughter, was born just three years after his death, and she was the mother of Robert the Bruce.

In 2015 Carrick was given to 26 U.S. boys, which is a slight decrease from the past few years, but still a good rise in popularity from when it was just starting out in the 1970's. Carey would make an easy nickname.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Amapola & Poppy

poppy amapola


For being such a pretty flower, Amapola, which is Spanish and Filipino for "poppy," has seen no statistical usage in the U.S. It has never made the Spanish popularity charts either. To my knowledge there is only one namesake - Maria Amapola Cabase, a Filipino singer/actress, but there is a song titled "Amapola" by Joseph Lacalle, a 2014 flim titled "Amapola" from Argentina, cargo airline Amapola Flyg, and La Amapola was the ring name of Mexican pro-wrestler Guadalupe Ramona Olvera.

The name Poppy is a bit more popular and has a bit of a cult following (or it might be more accurate to say it is a hipster name or some other trendy label) as it is currently lurking just beyond the top 1000 with 257 girls given the name in 2015. That's a dramatic rise from a decade before, when only 57 girls were given the name in 2005. It's also increasing in popularity overseas, ranking pretty well in Australia (#73), New Zealand (#45), Northern Ireland (#32), England &Wales (#10) and Scotland (#28). What caused such a bump up, considering it's been used since at least 1919? There was also a slight spike in the early 1970's.

Poppy comes from papaver, an older name for the flower. It is Latin, likely meaning "to swell." One species of poppy are what opium, codeine, morphine and heroin are made from, but long before its modern drug usage the same properties were used for other natural purposes, such as cooking oil, seeds for baking, paint and makeup, and its qualities were revered like any other flower or herb. We also know the poppy as the flower of remembrance, thanks to the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae. The California poppy is the state flower of California.

Celebrites that chose this name for their kids include Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin, Jamie Oliver, Anthony Edwards, and Jessica Capshaw. Celebrities wearing the name include Poppy Montgomery, Poppy Delevigne and Poppy Drayton, though there are several namesakes in other professions. In fiction we see quite a bit more, including children's TV show and book characters as well as some books for grown-ups. Most recently Poppy was the main character in the animated Trolls movie.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Jaromir

Jaromir (YAH-rom-eer / YAR-oh-meer) is a masculine Slavic name meaning "fierce peace" and "spring peace." It is fairly common in Czechoslovakia and other European countries, but not in the U.S. In 1998 we saw the only usage, given to 6 boys. It's also a Polish name, where the meaning is "good reputation."

Jaromir, Duke of Bohemia proclaimed himself Bohemian Duke of Prague in 1004. Jaromir, Bishop of Prague was an ally of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI and lived to a decently old age, dying in 1090. In modern times there are a handful of slightly famous namesakes, mostly Czech. In the Czech Republic it currently ranks #79.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Alaric

Alaric is a Germanic boys name meaning "everyone's ruler/ruler of all." While most pronounce the name AL-uh-rik, many pronounce it uh-LAHR-ik or uh-LAIR-ik.

There are three accounts for the Alarick spelling: 12 in 2015, 5 in 2013, and 5 in 2001. For the Alarik spelling there has been a little more consistency: 6 in 2003, working its way up to 20 in 2015. Lastly, the Alaric spelling is much more popular, used since at least 1949 (7 births that year) to its all-time high of 181 boys given the name in 2015. Alarich, a form sometimes used in Germany, has not been seen on the U.S. graphs, nor has Italian Alarico. Aleric is also sometimes recorded. The name had already been slowly rising, but note a jump between 40 births in 2010, 50 in 2011, and then 88 in 2012. This is likely thanks to The Vampire Diaries, which began airing in 2009. The character Alaric Saltzman is a history teacher and vampire hunter who befriends a vampire and impacts all of the characters for the better.

Alaric I and Alaric II were Visigoth kings who ruled between c. 370 and 507. Another Alaric was king of the Swedes, who shared his kingship with his brother Eric. His name is also spelled Alrek, Alrik and Alric in certain accounts. Alrekr is the Old Norse form, while Alareiks is the original Gothic form.

In modern times, namesakes include Medal of Honor recipient Alaric Chapin, British journalist Alaric Jacob, Liberian politician Alaric Tokpa, American composer Alaric Jans, and British poet and journalist Alaric Alexander Watts. A film director from Singapore born Tay Liang Hoong goes by Alaric, and an English writer born Harold Jacob was known as Alaric.

As for literary references other than Alaric Saltzman, P. G. Wodehouse had a character named Alaric in Blandings Castle, Alexander Theroux's main character in Darconville's Cat was an Alaric, there is a character by the name in Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series, an Alaric in The Bird Artist by Howard Norman, and Stephen King even used the name in the Dark Tower series. Possibly the oldest literary namesake is Alaric Tudor, a clerk in Anthony Trollope's The Three Clerks, published in 1857. You might also like Sir Alaric, Keeper of the Kings Records, a Dr. Seuss character in "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. Also, Alaric is in the title of a book, sort of, in the Tales of Alaric the Minstrel - a couple of books with individual titles by Phyllis Eisenstein.

Ulric, Ullrich and Ulrick are not other forms of the name Alaric. They are originally from Odalric, a Germanic name meaning "prosperity and power."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yarden

Like yesterday's post on Yardley, Yarden is extremely similar in every way - nature name, place name, rare, but it seems to work as a boy's name just a tiny bit more than Yardley thanks to it's trending -n ending. However, the similarity in sound to "garden" makes it seem a bit whimsical-meets-tomboy for a girl. The perfect unisex name.

The statistics say Yarden is for girls, though. While Yardley was given to 9 girls in 2014 and none in 2015, and not given to boys at all, the name Yarden was given to 7 girls in 2014, then 5 in 2011 and none between those dates. Yarden previously had a run between 2002 and 2008, missing some years between, and not given more than 11 times in a year. It started being used on girls in 1984 with 6 births (probably five and less than five births for any number of years beforehand) and started being used on boys in 1990 with 5 births. Interestingly, Yarden seems to switch sides: given to boys in the years it's not used on girls and vice versa, but not strictly so. For example, Yarden was used on both genders in the early 90's, but more so on girls. Then between 1996 and 2001 it was more used on boys - in fact only once on girls in 2000, but then after 2002 it wasn't used on boys again until 2009.

Yarden is a Hebrew name, unlike Yardley which is English. It means "to flow down, to descend" in reference to the movement of a river - specifically the Jordan river. Indeed, this was the original word/name that Jordan derived from (like most European names, j and y are frequently switched and/or misspoken by English speakers). Yarden is considered unisex but sometimes Yardena is given to girls. Given that Jordan and Yarden have the same meaning, this could make an excellent alternative to parents that like Jordan but fear it's popularity or think it might be dated.

A couple of famous namesakes include Yarden Gerbi, judoka world champion from Israel and Olympic bronze medalist, and Yarden Cohen, an Israeli footballer.