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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 yasmin in Persian.

Popularity: Even until 2016 there were no babies born with this name, and it remains an extremely rare baby name in general. However, there were 5 girls named Plum in 2011.

Fun fact: (1) In Hawaii, the girl's name Melia (pronunciation: MAY-lee-uh) means plumeria. The name for plumeria in Sri Lanka, araliya, is also very pretty, and so is what they call it in French Polynesia (tipanie) and the Cook Islands (tipani). (2) In parts of Asia, superstition holds that plumeria provides shelter for ghosts and demons. (3) In Polynesia, women wear plumeria to show their relationship status. (4) One variety, plumeria rubra, is the national flower of Nicaragua, and plumeria alba the national flower of Laos. (5) You may recognize the incense Nag Champa - this has plumeria in it. Champa is also the word for plumeria in Laos. (6) In Sri Lanka, plumeria is associated with worship and is something worthy of the gods.


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Forest

Here's one of my personal favorites, although I'm surprised I still like it after seeing Forrest Gump so often (thanks, Dad). In fact, the name peaked in popularity for the second time the year the movie was released, jumping to number #217 in 1994. Now he's on the move yet again, rising to 132 boys given the name in 2015 from a low dip to 47 in 2006. To be clear, Forest is the word spelling and Forrest the name spelling, and Forrest remains a much more popular choice with 387 boys given the name in 2015, ranking at #659. Forrest also had a dip in 2006 with only 147 births, disappearing from the charts between 2003 and 2013, and it also peaked in 1994 with 1,343 boys born, rising to #217. Historically both spelling options have been very popular.

Forest doesn't have an obvious nickname, but it's one of those names you enjoy saying without having to shorten it. Forest is Old French, meaning "woods." A famous namesake is St. John Forest of the 16th century…