Friday, April 17, 2015

Koa

Koa is a unisex Hawaiian baby name and the name of a tree that grows on the islands. The tree itself - acacia koa, is more closely related to peas than trees and is the biggest tree on the Hawaiian islands. The wood is used for all sorts of things and is absolutely beautiful on a finished product, and one of the most traditional uses was for canoes. Koa, pronounced KO-ah, means "strong, brave."

Koa Thomas is a son of Tom Dumont from the band 'No Doubt.' Irish pop star Kian Egan also has a son named KoaKoa Smith is a competitive surfer in Hawaii.

Sometimes Koa is part of a longer Hawaiian name, such as Kekoa or Nakoa. Koa had been used in the U.S. since at least 1978 but probably much longer in Hawaii. At first it was hardly used, but after 2000 it really jumped in usage for boys - from 17 boys and 10 girls in 2000 to 107 boys and 11 girls in 2013.  It is still considered rare.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rohan/a

Rohan (for boys) and Rohana (for girls) mean "to ascend" in Sanskrit. It is pronounced ROW-han in Sanskrit, however, some say this is an alternate or a French spelling of the Anglicized Irish name Rowan, meaning "red-haired," and the pronunciation for that would be closer to RO-an. Currently #601 in the U.S., Rohan was given to 419 boys in 2013. It is used less since the mid-2000's and not at all before 1969. Rohana, on the other hand, is strictly a Hindi name and only started being used around 2006 and was only given to 5 girls in 2013 - a dramatic difference. As a boys name it is also doing well in England and Wales.

Rohan Kanhai, a cricket player, made this a household name in the Caribbean (and there are four more cricket players named Rohan). Film maker Rohan Fernando, Bob Marley's son Rohan Marley, and actor Rohan Chand all share the name.

Rohan is also a place name used in The Lord of the Rings, a real French place name, a role-play game "Rohan: Blood Fued," a newborn in Avatar: Legend of Korra, and a tree with the scientific name Mallotus Phillipenesis, also known as Kamala.

The House of Rohan is a French family of nobility from Rohan, Brittany. They claim ancestry from the noble Breton family of Porhoët and the legendary Celtic leader Conan Meriadoc who is said to have founded Brittany. It is commonly thought that Alain le Noir was the first to adopt Rohan as part of his name, and he built a chateau bearing the name. Vicomte Josselin de Porhoet, whose father built Josselin Castle in the 11th century (which is still owned by relatives to this day), had sons who bore the surname Rohan.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Osa

osa


Osa is a rare name, likely the Anglicized spelling of Aase, a variant of Åse, an Old Norse feminine name (and name element) meaning "god." Surprisingly, it also means "godlike" in African Bini. There is an Osa in The Dictionary of African Mythology

Unfortunately, Osa in all capital letters - OSA, stands for 'obstructive sleep apnea.' Osa is also Russian and Polish for "wasp" and the Spanish equivalent of ursa, "bear." I don't find any of these too negative to remove Osa from being seriously considered as a name today, and in fact I find the nature meanings a plus.

Osa Johnson and husband Martin were explorers focused on the wild habitats of exotic countries who made documentary films.

Danish actress Osa Massen, a stunning beauty, was born in 1914. She was born Aase Iverson Madsen and started her career as a newspaper photographer.

Osa was not unheard of between 1880 and 1920. The most it was given, however, was to 21 girls in 1892 and 21 girls in 1918. After 1930 it was used on and off until 1964, until dropping out of the name race for a few decades only to reappear once in 2011, when it was used on 6 girls.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Quade

Quade is a boy's name that sounds like Quinn and Wade. Only 34 boys were given this name in 2013 - no girls. That number hasn't varied much since the 1980's when it started being used regularly, and I can't help but wonder if part of its usage was inspired by actor Dennis Quaid, who started acting in the 70's, or maybe his brother Randy Quaid. Quade started life as McQuade, a Scottish clan name.

Rugby player Quade Cooper is the most well-known namesake with Quade as a first name, while baseball coach Mike Quade might be the most well-known namesake with that surname. Quade Hermann is a female radio host for CBC.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lilikoi

Passionfruit


Lilikoi, sometimes written liliko'i, is what the Hawaiians call passion fruit, although passiflora edulis is native to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Passiflora literally means "suffering flower," given the name by Catholic missionaries who wanted the name to reflect the Passion of Christ. Either yellow or dark purple, the passion fruit smells and tastes sweet and tart, and is found in many commercial products from shampoo to juice. In Hawaii, lilikoi-flavored syrup is very popular, as well as jams, jellies and butters. The purple and yellow varieties are special in that these are the only two varieties grown commercially - the majority produced in Hawaii.

Lilikoi is pronounced LEE-lee-ko-ee, and said speedily it sounds like LIL-ih-koy. Where did the Hawaiian name for passion fruit come from? When seeds of the plant came from Australia to Hawaii in 1880 they were planted in the Lilikoi Gulch of East Maui (Lilikoi District in Makawao or Haiku, Maui). With Lilikoi being the name of a place, it is unclear what the etymology is. Most assume the meaning of lilikoi is literally "passionfruit." Lilikoi is quite unheard of as a baby name, although there is a pleasant song titled "Boy Lilikoi" by Jonsi.

Read about Plumeria, another baby name inspired by Hawaii here.