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Cecilia (Cecelia)

Today's name: Cecelia, Cecilia

Pronunciation: seh-SEEL-ya

Potential nicknames: Cece, Cici, Ceil, Celia, Cellie, Cilla, Lia, Cecily, Cicely, Cissy
Variant forms: Ceceilia, Cecely, Cecila, Cecile, Cecilea, Cecilija, Cecilla, Cecille, Cecillia, Cecily, Cicely, Ceila, Ceilena, Ceilia, Cela, Celia, Celie, Cellie, Cescelie, Cescily, Cicelie, Cici, Cicilia, Cicilie, Cicily, Cilka, Cilia, Cilla, Sasilia, Sacilia, Seselia, Seely, Selia, Sesilia, Sessaley, Silke, Sisely, Sissela, Silja, and Zelia. Sheila is related.

Origin: (1) Old Welsh, meaning "sixth," from the name Seissylt. (2) Latin, meaning "blind," from the Latin name Caecilia, the feminine form of Caecilius, also a Roman clan name. The modern male form of this name is Cecil. The Latin version of Cecilia started being used in the 18th century. If you don't like the "blind" meaning, stick with the Old Welsh meaning. (3) When the Normans brought this name to the Christians of England in the Middle Ages, t…

Fifer

Today's name: Fifer (unisex, and a great alternative to Piper)

Pronunciation: FYF-ur

Potential nicknames: Fife (Fifi for a girl)

Origin: (1) Scottish surname meaning "resident of Fife." Fife is a former county of Scotland and current council area. (2) A fife is a small musical instrument, therefore the meaning can be "one who plays the fife." (3) The anglicized spelling of the German surname Pfiefer, originating in medieval Austris which was home to Celtics.

Popularity: There were no baby boys or baby girls named Fifer in 2010 or 2011 in the U.S.

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Saoirse

Today's name: Saoirse

Pronunciation: SEER-sha, sometimes SAYR-sha, and more rarely SIR-sha

Potential nicknames: Sersh, Search, Sea, Isa, Shay, Shy

Origin: Modern Irish Gaelic, meaning "freedom." It has only been used since the last century, specifically the 1920s, and is strongly patriotic due to the fact that it is a word-name, equivalent of Liberty or Freedom in the U.S.

Popularity: Saoirse is very popular in Ireland, ranking in at #25 in 2009. There were 71 baby girls named Saoirse in 2010 in the U.S. In 2011 it rose to 101 births for girls, and by 2016 it ranked at #983.

Fun fact: (1) Saoirse is the name of an Irish Republican newspaper, and it is considered a patriotic, Nationalist/Catholic Nationalist, Republican baby name. It refers to Ireland being completely free, not a part of the UK. (2) Saoirse Ronan, famous Irish actress who played  in the movie Atonement.

Indio

Today's name: Indio

Pronunciation: IN-dee-oh

Potential nicknames: Indy, Dio

Origin: Modern, American, debatable origin. It could be the masculine version of the girl's name India, referencing the country India, or it could be a reference to Native Americans (Indians), or it could be a place-name, after Indio, California, where Coachella is held.

Popularity: There were only 9 baby boys named Indio in 2010 in the U.S. Going by just the nickname, there were 12 baby boys named Indy and 8 named Indie. In 2011 there were 8 boys named Indie and 16  Indy, while it seems there were no boys named Indio.

Fun fact: (1)The son of Robert Downey Jr. and Deborah Falconer. It was used by model Jolie Kidd for her son. (2) For many Mexicans, the word indio is an insult, roughly translating to "inferior," refering to a poor person. That doesn't mean you can't use it in countries other than Mexico. There are many other baby names with undesirable meanings used in countries where those…

Vittoria

Today's name: Vittoria

Pronunciation: vih-TOR-ee-ah, vee-TOR-ee-ah

Potential nicknames: Vita, Toria, Tori, Ria, Rita

Variant of: Victoria (Latin)

Origin: Italian variant of Victoria, meaning "conqueror," "victorious," and "victory."

Popularity: There were 56 baby girls named Vittoria in 2010 in the U.S., along with 18 spelled Vitoria. In 2011 there were 37 girls named Vittoria and no Vitoria.

Fun facts: (1) Nike was the goddess of victory. (2) Queen Victoria gave her name to the 19th century, the Victorian Age, and was the reason behind many babies named Victoria, but not so much until the 20th century. (3) The Puritans simply used Victory as a name. (4) Vittoria Colonna was an Italian poetess and noblewoman. (5) Santa Vittoria (Saint Vittoria) is a wine from Italy, named for the actual Saint Victoria. (6) According to legend, Victoria and her sister Anatolia were arranged to be married to prominent non-Christian men, but they refused, and so their grooms o…

Aramis

Today's name: Aramis (male)

Pronunciation: AIR-uh-miss

Potential nicknames: Air, Ara, Aram, Ram, Ramis, Ramy, Amis

Origin: This name comes from one of the characters from Alexandre Dumas's "The Three Musketeers." He was one of three famous swordsmen in this story, the other two being Athos and Porthos. They are joined by D'Artagnan. You may recognize their motto, "all for one, one for all." The fictional Aramis is loosely based on a real man named Henri D'Aramitz, a black musketeer of the Maison du Roi (The Musketeers of the Guard), who lived in France in the 17th century.

Popularity: There were 52 baby boys named Aramis in 2010 in the U.S., and 37 in 2011.

Fun fact: Aramis is now a men's cologne, but I can't say that it is very well known.

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Eulalia & Eulalie (& Euphemia)

Today's name: Eulalia & Eulalie (Eulalie is the variant of Eulalia)
Alternate spellings: Eulalee, Eulaylee, Eulaylie, Eulaylia, Olalla

Pronunciation: Eulalia: yu-LAH-lee-ah or yu-LAY-lee-ah; Eulalie: yu-LAH-lee or yu-LAY-lee

Potential nicknames: Eula, Eulala, Eulie, Eulia, Lala, Lalie, Lalia, Lia, Lila, Leila, Laia, Lily, Lalita, Allie, Ellie

Origin: Old Greek, meaning "well-spoken," although you can say "eloquent" or "articulate" as well. The "well spoken" meaning of this name comes from the Greek eu (well) lalein (speak), translating to "articulate." The Greek baby name Euphemia (pronounced yu-FEE-mee-uh) also means "well-spoken, fair speech." Euphemia's most popular nickname is Effie, which became popular in the 19th century.

Popularity: Surprisingly, there were only 40 baby girls named Eulalia in 2010 in the U.S., and no baby girls born named Eulalie, even though these names are gaining in interest on baby name web…

Rowan

Today's name: Rowan (unisex)

Visit http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/kis/kis55.htm for the story of the Rowan Tree Fairy

Pronunciation: ROW-an

Potential nicknames: Rowe, Rowy, Roan

Variants: Rowen

Origin: (1) Gaelic, meaning "little red-head." (2) A flowering tree with red berries, also known as the Mountain Ash and Lady of the Mountain, thus the name means "red berry tree." (3) Rowan was a surname in Scotland after the 1500s, and as some surnames do, it turned into a given name around the 1900s.

Popularity: Rowan's popularity in the U.S. in 2011 was #309 for boys and #535 for girls. In 2010 it was #327 for boys and #493 for girls. There were 947 baby boys born in 2010 named Rowan, and 197 Rowen's. There were even 8 spelled Rowin, and 20 spelled Rowyn. For girls, there were 606 Rowan's, 60 Rowen's, and 50 Rowyn's. This name is generally considered unisex, because the numbers of boys and girls given this name are never too far apart. Also, its …

Chamomile

Today's name: Chamomile (feminine, but could work for boys too if you shorten it to Miles, Mo or Cham) Also try the British spelling, Camomile, or the Latin Chamomilla.

Image via http://www.botanical.com/

Pronunciation: rarely SHAM-oh-meel, more often KAM-oh-meel or KAM-uh-my-ul

Potential nicknames: Cham, Chammie, Chamo, Moe, Momo, Mile, Miles, Milo, Millie

Origin: Chamomile in an English wordname, meaning "chamomile," also meaning "peace" and "spice." Wikipedia says the word chamomile derives, via French and English from a Greek word meaning "earth apple," which is weird and lovely at the same time. Chamomile is a plant that looks just like a daisy. It is widely known as a kind of tea that has a very calming effect, sometimes used as a sleep aid, sometimes used to calm certain organs like the stomach, and sometimes used for anxiety relief.

Popularity: If names like Sage, Clove and Saffron are getting more popular right now, why not consider Cha…

Things to Consider When Choosing a Baby Name

I feel like it might be best to write this post while this blog is still quite young, meaning, there's a high probability of this post offending someone. Then again, everyone is offended by everything these days, so I'll just go ahead.

1. Please research the names you like. Don't just say, "Oh, Jemima, that sounds great," without being aware of the cultural associations it has. Don't just say, "I'm going to name my baby Anthony," because, although it's a great name, it's also the 10th most popular name in the U.S. as of 2010. Live in Michigan? It's #23. Live in California? It's #3. And your baby will surely be known as Anthony J. or Tony J. or whatever your last initial is for his entire education, and will undoubtedly know a handful+ more boys with the same name. Don't just say, "I'm going to name her Persephone," without knowing the name means "bringer of destruction" and that she was called a goddess…

Cashel

Today's name: Cashel



Pronunciation: CASH-ell, KAH-hal, or CASH-ill

Potential nicknames: Cash, Cass, Cashy, Shel, Shelly, Ash

Origin: Irish, meaning "castle," "fortress," or "stone fort." In Ireland it is often spelled Cashlin or Caislin. It is also the name of a town in Tipperarry, Ireland. The German placename Cassel also means "fortress."

The picture above, from http://yannatry.blogspot.com/, is a picture of the Rock of Cashel, also known as St. Patrick's Rock and the Cashel of Kings, located in Tipperarry. It is a historic site built between the 12th and 13th centuries, known for being the traditional seat for the Kings of Munster before the Normans invaded. Some believe that this is where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster.

Popularity: Although never breaking into the top 1000, in 2009 there were 21 baby boys named Cashel in the U.S., in 2010 there were only 7, and in 2011 there were 18. There were also 17 baby boys named Castle. I…

Milana

Today's name: Milana

Pronunciation: mil-AHN-ah, mee-LAH-nah

Potential nicknames: Millie, Mila, Lana, Milla, Laney/Lainey, Lani

Origin: (1) Czech and Slavic pet form of female "mil" names, meaning "gracious," or "favored." It is a form of Milena. (2) Italian, meaning "from Milan." (3) Greek, meaning "black." Other Greek names also mean black, such as Melania, Melaina and Melaine, and this name could be a variant of those or a variant of the Greek name Milena, also meaning "black." They are all related. (4) Hawaiian, meaning "beloved," coming from the Gaelic name Muirne. (5) Spanish, possibly meaning "miracle of the blessed virgin and light."

Popularity: 208 baby girls named Milana were born in 2010 in the U.S., which raised to 251 in 2011, ranking at #998, the first time it ever ranked.

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Linden

Today's name: Linden (unisex, but mainly male)
Linden can also be spelled Lyndon, Lyndan, Lynden, Lindan, Lindon, and Lindyn.



Pronunciation: LIN-den

Potential nicknames: Lin, Denny, Linzie, Linny, Lindy, Linda, Indy

Origin: German and English, meaning "linden tree," and commonly known as a "lime tree," although not the tree of the same name that produces limes. The spelling Lyndon, however, means "linden tree hill," and variants include Lyndale, Lyndall, and Lyndell.

Fun fact: President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Popularity: There were 57 baby boys named Linden in 2010 in the U.S., 5 boys named Lindan, 15 named Lindon, 37 Lyndon, and 106 Lyndon. Alternately, in 2010 as well, there were 54 baby girls named Linden, 36 named Lynden, 6 Lyndin, and 11 named Lyndon. I would say these statistics definitely make Linden a unisex name. In 2011 there were 120 boys named Lyndon, 66 Linden, 26 Lynden, 16 Lindon and 5 Lyndan. For girls, there were 51 named Linden in 2011, 14 Li…

Sapphira

Today's name: Sapphira
Alternate spellings: Sapphire, Safira, Saffira, Saphira, Safeera

*Sapphire is the birthstone of September*

Pronunciation: sa-FEER-uh (Sapphire is pronounced SAFF-ire)

Potential nicknames: Sapphire, Sapphy, Sappho, Saph, Phira, Fire

Origin: Sapphira, Saphira, and Safira come directly from Sapphire, which is an English word name for the precious gemstone. Sapir, a Hebrew name meaning "sapphire," was typically used as a boy's name. Variants of Sapir include Safir, Saphir, and Saphiros. Sapphira and Safira are used in various languages, but the spelling Safira is an Esperanto baby name for girls, also meaning "sapphire."

Popularity: In 2010, 8 babies were born in the U.S. named Safira, 102 were named Saphira, 23 Saphire, 24 Sapphira, 91 Sapphire, and 7 named Sapphyre. In 2011 there were 12 girls named Safira, 23 Sapphira and 98 Sapphire.

Fun facts: (1) A similar name, Sefira or Sephira, a feminine variant of Zephyr, means "west wind." …

Dashiell

Today's name: Dashiell

Pronunciation: DASH-eel, da-SHEEL, DASH-ull

Potential nicknames: Dash, Dashy, Dashing, Shiell, Shield, Ash, Dal

Origin: Possibly meaning "page boy," or "young man," Dashiell is an Anglicized surname popularized by the author Samuel Dashiell Hammett (whose pen name was Dashiell Hammett), famous for his detective novels. Dashiell, his middle name, was his mother's surname. The name changed over time from the original old French form, de Chiel, to Da Chiell, to Da Shiell, to Dashiell. It can be traced to James de Chiel from Lyon, France, who emigrated to Scotland around 1600. The de Chiells were French Huguenots, and from Scotland they can be traced as finding their way to Maryland, with many ancestors still using Dashiell as a surname.

Fun fact: This name was chosen by Cate Blanchett, C. Thomas Howell, and Helen Fielding for their sons. Alice Cooper may have been the first celebrity to name his son Dashiell, which was in 1985.

Popularity: 1…

Felicia & Felicity

Today's name: Felicia (also Felicity, which is a variant)

Pronunciation: fel-EE-sha, occasionally fel-EE-cee-uh

Potential nicknames: Fe (pn. Fay), Fee, Fifi, Fellie, Ellie, Licia, Elle, Lissy, Licie, Lisa, Flicka

Variant forms: Falecia, Falicia, Falisha, Falishia, Felice, Faleece, Feliciana, Felicidad, Felicie, Felicienne, Feliciona, Felicite, Felicity, Felis, Felisa, Felise, Felisha, Feliss, Felita, Feliz, Feliza, Felysse, Filicia, Filisha, Phalicia, Phalisha, Phelicia, Phylicia, Phyllicia, Phyllisha, Felixa

Origin: Latin, meaning "lucky, fortunate, happy." It is derived from the word felicity, which comes from the Latin word felicitas. This is the feminine form of Felix. Felicity simply means "happy." Unlike Felicia, Felicity only has three variant forms: Felicita, Felicitas, and Felicidad.

Popularity: Felicia has not ranked in the top 1000 since 2005, however, 126 baby girls were born with this name in 2010 and Felicity ranked at #764 in 2010 with 335 births. Als…

Zander / Xander

Today's name: Zander, Xander

Pronunciation: ZAN-der

Potential nicknames: Zan, Xan, Ander, Anders, Andy

Variant forms: Zan, Zandro, Zandros, Zann, Xan, Xandro, Sandor, Sander, Sandino, Sender, Sandero, Saunder, Sandy, Sandro

Origin: Greek, short form of Alexander that stands alone as its own name, meaning "man's defender."

Popularity: Both Zander and Xander are in the top 300 of the top 1000 U.S. baby names. There were 1,336 baby boys named Xander in 2010 and 1,106 baby boys named Zander. In 2011 Zander was #265 and Xander was #205.

Fun fact: (1) Zander/Xander Harris was a character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (2) Actress January Jones recently chose the name Xander Dane for her son.

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Imogen

Today's name: Imogen (female)

Pronunciation: EE-mo-jehn, IM-o-jehn
Note: only some of the variants, such as Emogene and Imogene, can be pronounced "eh-muh-jean."

Potential nicknames: Gen, Imo, Genny, Immy, Ginny, Mogie, Enna, Genna

Variants: Emogen, Emogene, Imogene, Imogenia, Imogine, Imojean, Imojeen

Origin: Irish and Gaelic, meaning "maiden." It comes from the Celtic name Innogen, which was derived from "inghean." Shakespeare's character Imogen, in his play "Cymbeline," was intended to be spelled Innogen, the traditional Celtic way. It is possible he saw this spelling used by Raphael Holinshed, an English chronicler who Shakespeare used as a source of information for his plays, but his mistake in spelling it Imogen was successful. Imogen could have been misspelled before Shakespeare by Holinshed or anyone else in a misunderstanding that the name referred to "the last born," in Latin, "imo gens."

Popularity: Although it h…

Remy

Today's name: Remy
Also spelled with accent on e, pronunced RAY-mee:
Rémy Pronunciation: REH-mee, RAY-mee

Potential nicknames: While Remy sounds like a nickname itself, you could shorten it further to Rem, Re or Re-re.

Variants: Remi, Remee, Remie, Remmy, Remmey, Remo, Rhemy

Origin: French, meaning "from Rheims," which is a town in central France. (2) French, meaning "oarsman," from Remigius, a Roman family name. (3) English variant of Remington. (4) Possibly from Remedius, meaning "remedy."

Popularity: In 2010 there were 237 baby boys named Remy in the U.S., ranking at #874, then moving down to #881 in 2011.

Fun fact: Remy could serve as a nickname for longer names such as Remington or Remus. It can also be unisex. (3) Remy has also been used as a girl's name.(4) Saint Remy, from the fifth century, was a French saint.

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Cora

Today's name: Cora

Pronunciation: KOR-ah

Potential nicknames: Cor, Ora, Ra, Coco, Corey/Corie

Elaborations and variations of this name include Corabel, Corabelle, Corabella, Corabellita, Coralie, Coralee, Coralia, Corabeth, Coralin, Coralyn, Coree, Corie, Corrie, Corey, Correy, Corry, Cory, Corri, Cori, Corella, Corena, Corene, Coretta, Corilla, Corine, Corinna, Corrine, Corisa, Corrisa, Corita, Corlene, Correne, Corrella, Correlle, Correna, Correne, Correnda, Corrinna, Corinne, Corrissa, Corynna, Corynne, Coryssa, Kora, Korabell, Kore, Koreen, Koretta, Korey, Korilla, Korina, Korinne, Korrie, Korry, Koryne, Korynna, Koryssa, and Lacoria.

Origin: (1) Greek, meaning "maiden." It is most likely derived from Kore directly or from Corinna, a variation of Korinna, derived from Kore. Corinna has its own variant forms. (2) Cora, or Kore, is another name for Persephone (3) It is believed that Cora was not used as a given name until James Fenimore Cooper wrote his novel "The Las…

Solomon

Today's name: Solomon (male)

Pronunciation: SAUL-uh-mun, SAH-lah-mun, SAH-lo-mon

Variant forms: Solomon, Salomo, Salmon, Salomon, Salomone, Shalmon, Sol, Solaman, Sollie, Soloman, Shlomo, Shalom, Sulayman, Zalman, Selman

Potential nicknames: Sol, Soul, Solo, Solly, Salo, Sonny

Origin: Hebrew, meaning "peace." Solomon is a Biblical name. He was the son of David and Bathsheba and became a king of Israel, known for wisdom, writing, and communication with animals.

Fun fact: The name Salem is related to Solomon, also meaning "peace." It was the name of an ancient city later identified with Jerusalem.

Popularity: In 2010, Solomon ranked at #467 in popularity in the U.S. In 2011 there were 597 boys named Solomon, ranking at #449.

Female version: Salome


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Elsa

Today's name: Elsa

Pronunciation: ELL-sa

Potential nicknames: Elsie, Ells, Ellie, Elle, Ella, Elyse, Sia

Origin: (1) A pet form of Elizabeth turned independent. As such, it is Hebrew, meaning "God is my oath."

Popularity: Elsa has been popular in Sweden - in 2006 it ranked #16. In 2010 it ranked at #484 in the U.S., and in 2011 it was #578.

Fun fact: Elsa was the name of a lioness in the novel Born Free.

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Side Note: Name Bullying

When I grew up, kids would figure out a way to bully you using your name, no matter what your name was. Usually the easiest way to accomplish making fun of someone and keeping it playful at the same time was to change the gender of the name, such as Christina to Christopher, and Christopher to Christina. Other names had obvious ways to make fun, such as Dennis the Menace, the Blair Witch, or "Harry" Harry. And then there were (and still are) names that can be a lot harder to have, such as Fanny, or Dick as a nickname for Richard, initials that spell out bad or funny words (T.O.E. or P.E.E.), and names that have negative associations (Chester the Molester, Gaylord, Aunt Jemima, Adolph, Big Bertha, Prudence the Prude), which are all nice in their own right, but awfully easy to make fun of or insult someone with.

I bring this up because when I talk with friends and family about certain names, they are quick to come up with every possible way someone could make fun of whatever n…

Everett

Today's name: Everett (male)

Pronunciation: ehv-RET, ehv-er-ET

Potential nicknames: Ev, Rett, Ever

Spelling variations: Everitt, Everritt, Everist
Variant forms: Eberhard, Everard, Eberhardt, Everhardt, Averett, Averet, Averrett, Averit, Averitt, Evered, Everet, Evert, Ebert, Evrard, Eward, Ewart, Evreux, Eberado, Evraud

Origin: An old variant of Evered, which came from the Old English Eoforheard, meaning "brave as a wild boar." Derived from an English surname that meant "Everett's son."

Popularity: In 2011, Everett ranked #257, in 2010 it was #287, and it has only been rising from the #585 spot in 2000. This has been a fairly popular name throughout the past several decades. When census records first started being used to record baby names in 1880, Everett made the list. It's highest rank was #81 in 1906.


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Plumeria

Pronunciation: plu-MAYR-ee-uh, pluum-AIR-ee-ah, plu-MARE-ee-ah (essentially the same)

Potential nicknames: Plu, Plum, Mer, Ria, Meri/Mary, Meria

Origin: Plumeria was originally spelled Plumiera in honor of the 17th century botanist Charles Plumier, who discovered the flower. It is a genus of flowering plants native to such tropical locations as Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Plumier's surname comes from the French word plume, meaning "feather," and Plumier was an occupational surname describing one who sold feathers or plumes. The common name is Frangipani, which comes from a 16th century Italian marquess, who invented a plumeria-scented perfume. Plumeria is related to the Oleander. Like jasmine, plumeria is most fragrant at night. This is in order to attract the sphinx moth, and while the flower doesn't produce nectar, it needs the moth to pollinate it. It is probably because of its similarity to jasmine that the plumeria flower is called y…

Riley

Today's name: Riley (unisex)

Pronunciation: RY-lee

Potential nicknames: Although Riley sounds like it is already a nickname, possible nicknames include Ri/Ry, and Lee/Leigh.

Variant forms: Reilly, Reilley, Rilee, Rylee, Ryleigh, Rileigh, Ryley

Origin: (1) An Irish and Gaelic variant of the surname O'Reilly, which came from an Old Irish personal name (Raghallach, of unknown meaning), meaning "courageous." (2) English, meaning "rye clearing." (3) Riley and Reilly are also common surnames. (4) Please research which spelling and gender goes with which meaning.

Popularity: The popularity of this name has skyrocketed. In 2010 this name ranked at #40 for girls and #105 for boys. In 2011 it was the most popular R name for girls at #47 and #111 for boys. The spelling Rylee was #102 for girls, Ryleigh was #193 for girls, Rylie #358 for girls, and Rileigh was just outside the top 1000. For boys, Rylee was the only other spelling that ranked, at #741.


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Aisling

Aisling (ASH-ling) is an Irish girl's name meaning "dream" or "vision." It is in reference to the poetic genre called aisling that started in the 17th century in Ireland. True variant forms include Aislin or Aislinn, and Aislene. Later invented spellings include Ashlin, Ashling, Aislyn, Ashlynn, Ashleen, and Aislee. Potential nicknames include Ash, Ashley, and Lin. This name was not used as a baby name until the 20th century and is not related to Ashley, which is Old English meaning "ash meadow." There were 43 baby girls given this name in the U.S. in 2010 and 12 in 2011. However, in 2005 it was the 31st most popular girl's name in Ireland. By 2016 Aisling was given to 47 girls in the U.S., Aislin to 44, and Aislinn was by far most popular - given to 246 girls in the U.S.

There are several namesakes for the spelling Aisling, including a few actresses. The are also several fictional characters, including the main character in Ash by Melinda Lo, Kat…

Dominic

Today's name: Dominic (male)

Potential nicknames: Dom, Nic, Domino, Dominy, Nico

Pronunciation: DOM-in-ick

Variant forms: Demenico, Domenico, Demingo, Domenic, Dom, Domenique, Dominique, Domingo, Domini, Dominick, Dominico, Dominie, Dominik, Domino, Dominy

Origin: Latin, from Dominicus, meaning "belonging to a lord," which is from the word dominus, meaning, "lord." Today's meaning is "belonging to the Lord."

Fun fact: (1) Saint Dominic was the founder of the Dominican religious order. (2) Santo Domingo (Saint Dominic) is the capital of the Dominican Republic. (3) This is a name traditionally given to boys born on Sunday, "the Lord's day."

Popularity: In 2010 this name was at the #72 spot on the Social Security Administration's top 1000 baby names, and in 2011 it was #76.

Female forms: Dominique, Domenica, Dominica, Dominga, Dominika


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Pomeline

Charlotte Marie Pomeline Casiraghi
Today's name: Pomeline (female)
Alternate spelling: Pommeline, Pomelline, Pomellina, Pomelina, Pommelina

Potential nicknames: Pom, Pomme, Pommie, Polly, Poppy, Mellie, Ellie, Elle, Lina, Meline, Melina, Millie, Apple, Plum, Mila, Mina

Pronounciation: POM-uh-leen, French po-MAY-leen

Origin: 1400s aristocrat Pomellina Campo Fregoso (Campofregoso) may have influenced the French version of the name, Pomeline. She is the ancestor and inspiration behind Princess Caroline of Monaco's daughter, Charlotte Marie Pomeline (Charlotte Casiraghi). There have been other Pomellina's noted in Genoa from the 1300s into the 1500s. Before this, Pomeline and Pomellina's origins are unclear. The name could come from Saint Poma/Pome who is no longer acknowledged, the Roman goddess of fruit, Pomona, pomella (from certain Italian dialects) meaning "apple," the word pomme, which means "apple" in French, or the Latin word pomum, referring to fru…

Arsenio

Today's name: Arsenio (male)

Potential nicknames: Ars, Arsen, Sen, Senio, Nio

Pronunciation: ar-SEN-ee-oh, ar-SEE-nee-oh

Variant forms: Arcenio, Arcinio, Arsanio, Arseenio, Arseinio, Arsemio, Arsen, Arsene, Arseni, Arsenios, Arsenius, Arseno, Arsenyo, Arsinio, Arsino, Arseny, Arseniusz, Eresenio, and Senio.

Origin: Spanish and Greek, meaning "masculine," or "virile."

Fun fact: (1) The 4th century Saint Arsenius the Great tutored the sons of Roman emperor Theodosius. He is called one of the "Desert Fathers of Christianity" famous for saying "I have often been sorry for having spoken, but never for having held my tongue." His feast day is May 8th. (2) Actor Arsenio Hall.

Popularity: This name last charted in 1990 at the #742 spot. In 2010 there were only 15 baby boys named Arsenio, 23 named Arsen, and 7 Arseniy. In 2011 there were 17.

Female version: Arsenia


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Saskia

Princess Saskia of Hohenlohe-Lang

Saskia (SAHS-kee-uh) is a Danish and Old German name meaning "Saxon," a woman of the Saxon people. Saxon's first element means "knife/short sword" or "small ax," but with the -on suffix it means "knife/small ax wielder," or "swordsmen." Saxia is an alternate form that is even more rare. Potential nicknames include Sax, Sass, Sassy, Kia, Kiki, Ski, Skia, Sa Sa, Saski or Sia. Some say this name could also be of Slavic origin, related to Sasha, a short form of Alexandra that can stand on its own, but that is debatable.

Fun facts: (1) There is currently a Princess Saskia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, born Saskia Binder. Princess Saskia of Hanover is another namesake, more commonly known as Saskia Hooper, the daughter of Turiya Hanover. (2) Saskia was the wife of Rembrandt, the famous 17th century Dutch painter, and use of her name in the Netherlands can be traced back to her. (3) Saskia is a character in Th…

Leander

Today's name: Leander (male)

Potential nicknames: Lee, Andy, Ander, Leo, Leader

Variant forms: Ander, Leandre, Leandrew, Leandro, Leandros, Leanther, Lee, Leiandros, Leo, Liander, and Liandro.

Pronunciation: lee-AN-der

Origin: Derived from the Greek Leiandros, meaning "lion man."

Popularity: There were 55 baby boys named Leander in 2010 in the U.S., along with 51 Leandre's, 10 Leandrew's, and 262 Leandro's. In 2011 there were 48 boys named Leander, along with various other spellings: 34 Leandre, 27 Leondre, 5 Leeandre, and 5 Liandro (Italian). For girls, there were 81 named Leandra in 2011, along with 9 Leandrea, 8 Leandria and 8 Leeandra.

Fun fact: (1) This is a fun alternative to all the Leo's out there, considering the le- beginning in Leander, Leopold, Leo, Leonard, etc. all have the same meaning, "lion." It also feels fresh compared with the ever-popular Alexander. (2) Saint Leander of Seville was an early Spanish saint. (3) In Greek mythology, L…

Cymbeline & Cymbelina

Today's name: Cymbeline

Gender note: Cymbeline was originally a male name, used a long, long time ago, but it is ripe for female takeover, just like Kimberly and Lindsay have been overtaken by the girls. However, if you don't want to mess around with that, try Cymbelina, the female form.

Alternate spelling: Cymbelline, Cymbaline, Cymballine

Potential nicknames: Cym, Cymbelle, Cymbellie, Bell, Belle, Belline, Bellina, Lina, Cy, Cybil, Ellie

Pronunciation: modern is SIM-bell-een, occassionally KIM-bell-een, the original pronunciation

Origin: (1) Gaelic, from the sun god Belenus, meaning "sun lord." (2) An English and Celtic female form of Cunobelinus, meaning "Lord of Belinus," or just "war lord." This name can also mean "dog of the god Belenus," because the beginning four letters of Cunobelenus mean "hound." (3) Possibly from the Greek word kyme, meaning "hollow vessel," in reference to a cymbal, which is a percussion inst…