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Dahlia

Today's name: Dahlia



Pronunciation: DAHL-ya, DAHL-ee-ah

Potential nicknames: Doll/Dahl, Dolly/Dahllie, Lia, Dala

Origin: (1) Swedish and Scandinavian, meaning "valley," or "valley dweller." (2) A flower named for the 18th century botanist Anders Dahl.

Popularity: There were 447 baby girls named Dahlia in 2010 in the U.S., ranking in at #650. In 2011 it went up to #538, with 536 births.

Fun fact: (1) Dahlias come in an array of colors. (2) "The Black Dahlia" was a movie based on a real American woman named Elizabeth Short whose 1947 murder case was never solved. It is disputed whether newspaper reporters gave her this nickname, or friends of hers gave her the nickname based on the recent movie "The Blue Dahlia." The movie is probably the real reason. For those of you who don't want this negative association, consider the fact that the dahlia flower has been around for a lot longer, and Dahlia was not this woman's real name.

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Lavinia

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Lavinia (lah-VIN-ee-ah) is a Latin name possibly meaning "purity," but the name is so old that no specific meaning can be given. It could simply mean "woman from Lavinium," which was an ancient town in Rome/more ancient than Rome/Etruscan. Lavinia was known as the "Mother of Rome." In Virgil's Aeneid, Lavinia was betrothed to a man named Turnus, King of the Rutuli, but when the hero Aeneas came to town her father, King of the Latins, changed his mind and wanted Lavinia to marry Aeneas. The two men then fought for her hand, but Aeneas won. Aeneas then built the town of Lavinium for her. Shakespeare had Lavinia as a character in Titus Andronicus, but her story is an unfortunate one not worthy of repeating and not true to Virgil's Lavinia. Ursula le Guin later wrote more in depth about their relationship in her 2008 novel Lavinia. And she's been a character in many more stories, including The Hunger Games. In all l…