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Merrick

Today's name: Merrick (male)

Pronunciation: MEHR-ick

Potential nicknames: Merr, Merri, Rick, Ricky/Ricki, Eric, Mick, Micky

Origin: The Anglicized version of Meurig, the Welsh variant of Maurice and ultimately the Latin maurus, meaning "dark skin." I have to say, Merrick beats Maurice any day of the week. Merrick means "moor." It is also possible the name came from an Old French personal name meaning "famous ruler," or a different French name, both with Germanic influences.

Popularity: Merrick is used more as a surname than a given name, but as a boys first name we see it as early as 1905 in the U.S. In 2010 there were 125 baby boys named Merrick, 11 named Merric, and 16 named Merrik. There were also 13 baby girls named Merrick. In 2011 there were 11 girls given the name, which has not been too unusual since the 1980's, and 7 boys named Meric, 7 Merric, 10 Merick, 12 Merik, 13 Merrik, 15 Merek, and 116 Merrick. It jumped to 191 boys named Merrick in 2015, then up to 208 boys in 2016 with a rank of #977.

Fun fact: (1) Beautiful (female) witch/vampire Merrick Mayfair from Anne Rice's novel Merrick. (2) A character in Michael Crichton's novel Timeline, played by Gerard Butler in the movie adaptation. (3) Merrick, New York. (4) There are two bands named Merrick. (5) Judge Merrick Garland.
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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…