Friday, December 19, 2014

Kelda

Kelda


Derived from the Old Norse word kildr, meaning "a spring [of water]," Kelda is a name that sounds like you've probably heard it somewhere before - but haven't. Pronounced KEL-duh, like Zelda with a K. However, it is not a name regularly used in any Nordic countries. There is a chance that any usage of the name is more closely tied to -lda ending names in general, like the trend of -n or -ella ending names today (Braeden, Lexibella, etc), which would mean someone took a name like Kelsey and combined it with the ending of names like Zelda. It is more likely it comes from the Northern English word keld, also meaning "a spring," which would explain where and how often it has been used. Upon first glance it also seems like a Germanic name, along the lines of Hilda, and the Norse kildr is cognate with German quell of the same meaning. However, its usage could have started from a surname referencing where that person was from, just like Winston or Colton. This would also make sense if it came from the English keld. That doesn't mean it isn't usable - many names originated as place names or surnames and are popular given names today. Kelsey and Chelsea are two examples. I can't speculate any further than this, but Kelda does seem easily accessible in multiple languages.

Kelda Roys is an American politician, and there is a Kelda in the Thor comic series (pictured above).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Oren

Like Tannen, Oren is a very subtle winter or Christmas name. From Hebrew, Oren means "pine tree," and it is the word for orange in Welsh. Oren is also very close to the names Orin and Oran (Odhran) - Gaelic, meaning "pale green." Spelled Orrin it is both a place name and a Scottish name meaning "pale-skinned," but also in Scottish the spelling Oran means "song." Ören is a Turkish word meaning "ruins" and is used as a surname and place name. Oren has been used in the Old Testament and on several modern, not very well known namesakes, both as a first and last name. The Hebrew version is regularly used in Israel.

In 2013 there were 108 boys given the name Oren in the U.S., and it hasn't been used so much since the 1920's but it has been used steadily since 1880. Orin was given a bit less in 2013 with only 64 boys, while Orrin was an equally popular spelling with 62 boys. Oran was only given to 20 boys the same year.

Being so rare, yet sounding so familiar, Oren no matter how you choose to spell it would make an excellent name today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nelleke (Cornelia)

Nelleke is the female Dutch version of the Latin girl's name Cornelia, meaning "horn; war horn." It is a pet form just like Nell. Pronounced NELL-eh-keh, this name also shares a fun resemblance to the name Nellary which was used by Frank L. Baum in the Wizard of Oz book "The Lost Princess of Oz," in which Princess Ozma cannot be found.

Nelleke is so rare to English speakers that I cannot say for sure it has ever been used in the U.S. There are not any very well known namesakes, but a quick Google search reveals that the name is in steady use. Nelleke Noordervliet, for example, is a Dutch writer, and Nelleke Penninx is an Olympic medalist (rowing) from the Netherlands.

Cornelia, a familiar but unused name, was once very popular. In last ranked in 1965 but had been in the top 200 when the SSA started keeping name records. In English she became more widely used in the 17th century, possibly thanks to the Dutch. We get the word cornucopia from the same root as her name.

There was also a high society Roman family with the gens Cornelius, of which the well-loved Cornelia Africana was born. She was considered at the time to be the perfect Roman woman and matriarch. Another Roman Cornelia was Cornelia Cinna (minor), a wife of Julius Caesar. When Caesar was confronted with the demand for divorce, he refused and chose to be proscribed and without her inheritance instead. They stayed happily married.

Several other well known namesakes emerged throughout history - one of Vanderbilt fame, one a suffragette, and one an aviatrix during World War II. Most recently, Cornelia Funke is the author behind the young adult Inkworld trilogy of novels, and there was a movie made not too long ago for this series. Cornelia is also a literary name, having been used in Anne of Green Gables.

Connie, Celia, Cora or  Corie and Nell, Neely or Nellie could all make nice nicknames. She still ranks on popularity charts in the Netherlands and Sweden. In 2013 Cornelia was given to 36 girls, the most it has been used since the 1990's, but it hadn't been used more than 100 times in a year since the late 1960's.

Kornoelje, from the same root word, is the dogwood plant in Dutch (botanical name Cornus). It can be found as a surname.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tannen

FraserFirTree


Surely "O, Tannenbaum" sounds familiar around this time of year, and Tannen makes an excellent and unexpected choice for a boy's Christmas themed baby name. Tannenbaum means "fir tree" from tanne and baum, therefore Tannen as a baby name refers to that tree as the plural of tanne. Tannen in Old English can refer to the occupation of tanning hides and is sometimes seen as a variant of Tanner.

In the song, tannenbaum refers specifically to the Christmas tree, but this is a modern change to the original, non-Christmas themed song. The German "O Tannenbaum" was originally a long song in which the fir tree is thought of as a faithful tree, but when the author changed a few lines as the idea of a Christmas tree got more popular, it wasn't hard for listeners to change the meaning of the song altogether. Later the German title was changed to "O Christmas Tree" in America.

There are many different kinds of fir trees, many of which are still used as Christmas trees today. The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen is a fairy tale about a fir tree who wants to grow up too fast (and in winter fashion was published with The Snow Queen). It would make a great story to read a little boy whose name means "fir tree."

There were only 10 boys named Tannen in 2013. Spell it Tannin and the meaning changes, as tannins are found in green tea once it turns bitter and in tree bark. Tannen can be found as a surname. While boys names ending in the letter N are extremely popular right now, and the name Tanner has had major success, Tannen combines the best of those for a very on-trend name.

Fun fact: Tannen's Magic Shop is New York's oldest operating magic shop, Louis Tannen being the original owner from 1925.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Olivine (Peridot)

olivine dreamstime


Olivine (French prn. oh-liv-EEN, American/English prn. OLL-iv-ine), named for its light olive green color, is a mineral formation found under the earth's surface. When this mineral becomes gem quality we call it "peridot," pronounced PER-ih-doe, which is the French word for olivine (thus the French "-doe" ending and not PER-ih-dot). This name is also sometimes taken as a variant of Olivia, which didn't actually mean "olive" in the beginning.

Some types of olivine have been discovered on meteors, the moon, Mars, and further into the depths of the universe. It can also be found naturally all over the world, including a beach in Hawaii.

Peridot is the birthstone for August, and was a loved stone of the ancient Egyptians - it may have even been Cleopatra's favorite. Peridot is one of many similar names the gem has gone by, but most sound very close, such as peridon and peritot.

Olivine is an exceedingly rare baby name for girls in the U.S., with an average of 5 or less girls given the name each year. For most years there is no evidence it has been used, as the SSA guards the info for less than five births.