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Showing posts from December, 2011

Poinsettia

What a beautiful holiday plant to name your baby girl after. We all know someone with a Christmas related name, but not this rare gem. Pronounced POYN-setta, although some do say poin-SET-ee-ah or POINT-set-ah, you can create a wide range of nicknames such as Pippa, Settia, or just Tia. In 2010 and 2011 there were no babies named Poinsettia. The poinsettia was named for Joel Poinsett, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. It is said he is the one who brought attention to this plant for botanists to study. It's hard to believe this Christmas plant is actually tropical. The Aztecs used this plant to produce red dye, and today Mexicans and Guatemalans call it "Noche Buena," Christmas Eve, although in Spain it is called the Easter flower. The poinsettia's Christmas origin began in Mexico, where a young girl's gift of weeds to Jesus's altar at church blossomed into poinsettias. A century later, Franciscan friars in Mexico used this plant in their Christmas celebrations b…

Garland

Think of Judy Garland (real name Frances Gumm), Hollywood starlet, or musician Garland Jeffries when considering Garland, unisex, as a baby name. Transfer this traditional surname into a modern holiday name, and suddenly Christmas garlands will be special to them. Garland is from Old English and Old French origins, meaning "land of the spear," "wreath," or "prize." Garland ranked until 1984 on the Social Security Administration's list of the top 1000 baby names, albeit low on the list. Nameberry says Garland is "fragrant and celebratory." For a boy, nicknames include Garry or Lando (as in Orlando), and for a girl, Laney or Galla, perhaps. In 2010 there were 14 baby boys named Garland but no baby girls named Garland. In 2011 there were 21 baby boys named Garland (also in 2015) and 6 girls named Garland.

Baby names that mean Star

We have multiple choices for star names, from the obvious, Star, to the not so obvious, Estreya.

Star
Starlight
Starling
Starla
Starry

Stella
Estelle
Estella
Estreya
Estrella
Estelita
Estrellita
Estee
Esther
Danica
Hester
Maria, Mary and their variants mean "star of the sea"
Vesper & Vespera

Nana
Nova
Sidra
Siria
Tara
Twila
Twyla

Asta
Astra
Astera
Asteria
Asterina
Astraea
Astrea
Astri
Astria

Actual stars:
Altair (Altaira)
Capella
Arcturus
Sirius
Aludra
Nashira
Avior
The Garnet Star (Garnet, January's birth stone)
Mira
Mimosa
Gemma
Rana
Vega
Bellatrix
Mintaka
Meissa
Alcyone
Atlas
Electra
Maia
Tania
Alula
Polaris
Spica
Zaniah

Constellations and galaxies:
Draco
Andromeda
Aquila
Ara
Carina
Cassiopeia
Columba
Delphinus (from which we get the lovely name Delphina)
Leo
Lyra
Norma
Orion
Pegasus
Perseus
Phoenix
Taurus (from which we get the lovely name Tauria)
Ursa (Ursula is acceptable as a full name, Ursa the nickname)
Vela

A Christmas Carol

There are three different kinds of Carols. One, the surname Carroll, as in Lewis Carroll (born Charles) of Alice in Wonderland fame. There were 7 baby boys given Carroll as a first name in 2011. Two, the girl's name Carol, feminine variant of Charles. Three, Carol in the winter kind of way, as in Christmas caroling (my favorite kind of Carol). Carol last ranked in 2006 at #972

Carroll is suitable for a boy, but upon hearing the name many might be confused on the gender. Carol was originally a male anglicized form of Carolus, meaning "free man." As a female name it probably started as a short form of Caroline. Charles comes from the same root. Carola, Carly, Charlotte, Carla, Carlene, Charla and Carolina are all feminine variants of the same meaning. Charlemagne, Carl, Carlo, Carlos, and Chuck are all male variants of the same meaning. Chip, Chaz and Chad have been used as nicknames.

Carol can also be given as a reference to caroling, carol from the English word for "s…

Peaceful Baby Names

Everyone knows how stressful the holidays can be, but everyone also knows how peaceful those silent nights can be. Here is my holiday list of names that are peaceful...

Dove, the universal symbol of peace.
Columba, pn. co-LUM-ba, meaning "dove." There is a St. Columba.
Paloma, Spanish, also meaning "dove." In 2010 Paloma ranked at #698.
Aloma is the shorter form of Paloma, meaning "dove."
Callum, from Scottish Gaelic Calum, a variant of Columba, meaning "dove." Calumina is the female variant.
Culver is Old English from the same root as Callum, meaning "dove."
Jemima, Hebrew, meaning "dove."
Yonina is also Hebrew, meaning "dove."

Paz, Spanish, in reference to Our Lady of Peace, means "peace."
Paxton (male) is from Latin and Old English, meaning "peace town."
Concordia, meaning "harmony," the goddess of peace after a battle.
Olivia, meaning "olive tree." Extending (giving) an olive branch i…

December's Birthstone: Turquoise, Fairuza

Traditionally, if you're a Capricorn you should be wearing a ruby, although turquoise is considered December's modern stone. It is not uncommon for a month to have more than one stone.


So, since Ruby currently ranks #113, I will cover Turquoise, and it's Turkish gem-turned-baby-name, Fairuza. Turquoise would make a fine middle name in my opinion, because it's not as feminine and frilly as Ruby, Amethyst, Coral, etc. Fairuza, on the other hand, has first name potential. Fairuza is Turkish, meaning "turquoise." Pronounced fy-RO-zah, fair-OO-zah, or FY-ru-zah, you might be more inclined to ask actress Fairuza Balk (of The Craft and Waterboy fame) how she pronounces her name.

A suitable nickname for Fairuza is Fay. It was originally spelled Firouza, which is where the fy-RO-zah pronunciations come from. It can also mean "happiness," "luck," "precious one" and "victory." I believe the word fairuz means "turquoise" …

North

Today's name: North (male)

Potential nicknames: Nor

Origin: Old English, from nord. This is where "Norse" and "Nordic" come from.

Popularity: North has long been used as a surname, including variants such as Northman, and occasionally used as a given name. In 2010 there were 19 baby boys named North, and in 2011 there were 20.

Fun fact: North hosts a ton of different impressions: snow, "up north," winter, Christmas time, cardinal north, etc. It has also been the hereditary surname of the Earls of Guildford.

Winter

Today's name: Winter, a favorite among message boards

Pronunciation: WIN-ter

Potential nicknames: Win, Winnie, Terrie

Origin: The Old English season name for the coldest months of the year.

Popularity: Winter only ranked twice since 1880 - it was #1000 in 1978 and #705 in 1979, both times for girls. In 2010 there were 217 baby girls named Winter and 12 baby boys named Winter, making this a unisex name. In 2011 there were 13 baby boys named Winter and 10 Wynter, and 237 baby girls named Winter, 145 spelled Wynter.

Fun fact: (1) Harlow Winter Kate Madden, daughter of Nicole Richie and Joel Madden. Their son is named Sparrow James Midnight. (2) Winter Ave Zoli is an actress. (3) Gretchen Mol's daughter Winter.

Cardinal

Today's name: Cardinal
You know, the red bird most visible in winter against the white backdrop of snow. And although I see no reason why this name should be limited to males, know that the male bird is the brightly colored red, and females are a brown. However, you could also be talking about cardinal north or the senior ecclesiastical official in Catholicism or cardinal numbers, among a few other possibilities.


Pronunciation: CAR-din-al

Potential nicknames: Card, Cardy

Origin: The word cardinal comes from the Latin cardinalis, meaning "chief, principal, pivotal." The bird was named for its resemblance to the cardinal's robes.

Popularity: Although there were 21 baby boys named Cardin (a variant of Carden, meaning "wood carder") in 2010, and 17 in 2011, there were none or less than five named Cardinal both years. I'm surprised there aren't any babies named for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Evangeline

Today's name: Evangeline
Or try Evangelina, Evangela, or Evangelista
The male form in Greece is Evangelos

Pronunciation: ee-VAN-jel-een, ev-AN-jel-een, and occasionally ev-AN-jel-ine (as in Caroline)
Although emphasis can be stressed on the "gel" syllable instead, and even the "line" syllable

Potential nicknames: Evie, Eva, Evan, Vana, Lina, Angie, Angel, Gilly

Origin: Greek (and Cajun/Acadian), meaning "bearer of good news." It was invented by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for his Acadian epic poem, "Evangeline," although the events of the poem really happened in reality during the Acadian Expulsion. Evangeline derives from the Greek word euangelion,evangel, the term for the gospels, and Latin evangelium.

Popularity: In 2010 there were 20 baby girls named Evangaline, 12 Evangelene, 30 Evangelia, 9 Evangelin, 188 Evangelina, 953 Evangelin,28 Evangelyn, 8 Evangelynn and 953 Evangeline, ranking at #333, her highest ever until 2011, rising to #286 with 1…

Working With Name Associations

Working with name associations...

Sometimes you can't let cultural (or any other kind of) associations hold you back from choosing a name that you love. Here are some examples of how to deal with common associations…

#1 Names from books, TV, movies and history.

You love the name Dexter, but everyone now associates that name with Dexter the serial killer, from the TV show with the same name. You don’t want people to think your son will grow up to be a killer, but you love the name to death (no pun intended). Assert the fact, to everyone that mentions the TV show, that there were Dexter’s before the TV show, and there will be Dexter’s after it. (This happened to poor Ursula, meaning “little [female] bear,” when it was used for the octopus witch in The Little Mermaid.)

Other examples: You want to name your little girl Matilda, but everyone associates that name with the little witch. Just tell them, “That character was very inspirational to little girls.” Or maybe you love Xena, but every…

Shepherd

Today's name: Shepherd

Pronunciation: SHEP-urd

Potential nicknames: Shep, Sheppy, Harry, Perry

Origin: Old English, occupational word name meaning, "sheep herder." Mainly used in the 19th century. Sheep herding is one of the oldest known professions, and the shepherd Endymion from Greek mythology is also credited as being the first astrologer since being outside in open pastures took up a lot of a herder's time.

Popularity: This name last appeared on the SSA charts in 1887 at #906, never to be seen again. In 2010 there were 64 baby boys named Shepard, 100 Shepherd, and 10 Sheppard. In 2011 there were 101 named Shepherd, 57 Shepard, and 9 Sheppard. By 2015 there was a modest increase of use: Shepherd saw 173 births, ranking at #1108.

Fun fact: (1) As a surname, the most famous namesake may be Earnest Shepard, illustrator of Winnie the Pooh. (2) Jerry Seinfeld chose this name for his son. (3) This name is religious to those who chose to see it that way, as Jesus was known a…

Emmanuelle

Today's name: Emmanuelle

Pronunciation: eh-MAHN-yu-ELL

Potential nicknames: Emmy, Em, Emma, Elle, Ella, Ellie, Mandy

Origin: Hebrew, meaning "God is with us." This is the feminine form of Emmanuel, from the Hebrew name Immanuel. Emmanuella is another variant. Emmanuelle is known for being a French name.

Popularity: In 2010 there were 11 baby girls named Emmanuel (the male spelling, but said nearly the same), 26 girls named Emmanuela, 43 Emmanuella, and 47 Emmanuelle. As for nicknames, there were 272 Emmy's along with serveral other different spellings, 17,179 Emma's, 747 Elle's, 9,796 Ella's and 2,886 Ellie's. It seems that if you want to get these nicknames (or Emma, not necessarily a nickname) the best way to go is using a longer full name. Emmanuelle is considered rare, but can still get you Elle or Emmy. In 2011 there were 21 Emanuela, 21 Emmanuela, 36 Emmanuella, and 37 Emmanuelle.

Fun fact: (1)Ffashion designers Emmanuel Ungaro and Emmanuelle Khanh. …

Theodore

Today's name: Theodore

Pronunciation: THEE-oh-dor

Potential nicknames: Theo, Teddy, Terry, Teo, Rory

Origin: Greek, from Theodoros, meaning, "God's gift." Teodor, Feodor and Fedor

Popularity: In 2010 there were 220 baby boys named Theo, 26 named Theodor, 1,305 named Theodore, and 8 named Theodoros. Theodore ranked at #263, a slow rise in the past decade. There were also 69 boys named Teddy and 80 named Ted. In 2011 Theodore rose in popularity to #231 with 1,545 births. There were also 240 named Theo.

Fun fact: (1) Teddy bear comes from the name Theodore, thanks to U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt. It was tied to an incident in which he refused to kill a black bear that had been hunted down, clubbed, and then tied to a tree for him to shoot. He thought the act was unsportsmanlike, but killed the bear to end its suffering. (2) Multiple Saint Theodores and two Popes. (3) Tudor is the Welsh variant of Theodore. The Tudor Dynasty of kings, also known as the House of Tudor, origi…

Natalie, Natalia, Natasha, Noelle

Today's name: Natale (unisex, but would probably work better on a girl)
Connected to this name is Natalie, Natalia/Natalja, Noelle and Natasha

Pronunciation: na-TAH-lay

Potential nicknames: Nat, Nattie/Natty, Nala, Tally, Tillie, Allie/Ally (and Noa or Elle for Noelle)

Origin: Natale is a variant of the Spanish word/name Natal and the French word/name Noel, meaning "birthday, Christmas." This name refers to the birth of Christ. Natalie, Natasha (the Russian pet form of Natalya) and Natalia all mean "birthday/Christ's birthday" as well, although Noelle means "born on Christmas."

Popularity: These names are extremely popular is various forms. Here are the stats for each name I mentioned above (and more) for 2010, although I left just a few out: 9 baby girls named Natacha, 9 named Natahlia, 5 girls named Natale, 19 Natalea, 7 Nataleah, 535 Natalee, 91 Nataleigh, 33 Nataley, 164 Natali, 3,025 Natalia, 28 Nataliah, 8,715 Natalie, 11 Nataliee, 12 Natalija, …

Balthazar

Today's name: Balthazar

Pronunciation: BAL-thuh-zar

Potential nicknames: Baz, Bally, Balto (which is the natural nickname), Zar, Zaro

Origin: A variation on the Babylonian name Balthasar, meaning "Baal protect the king." Baal, or Ba'al, was a Phoenician God, but the titel Baal may have been used the same way "God" could apply to anyone's god, not just one.

Popularity: In 2010 there were 39 baby boys named Baltazar, but zero or less than five named Balthasar or Balthazar. In 2011 there were 13 baby boys named Balthazar and 33 Baltazar. Apparently writers use this name more than parents.

Fun fact: (1) Along with Caspar and Melchior, Balthazar was one of the three wise men who brought gifts to the newborn Christ. Balthazar is the one who brought frankincense. Balthasar is a variant of the biblical king Belshazzar, which could be the reason why, although the three wise men were not named in the Bible, this was thought to be one of the names. It would be natural …

Rudolpha

Ok, wow. I am seven days behind on my posts. I don't know how I'll catch up!!

Today's name: Rudolpha (since Rudolph is nearly out of the question, but it's still Christmas time)

Pronunciation: ru-DOL-fah

Potential nicknames: Rudy, Dolly, Rue, Rua, Dolpha

Origin: You might be thinking reindeer, but Rudolpha is Old German, the feminine variant of Rudolph, meaning "famous wolf." While Rudolph has many variants, including Rolf, Rudy, Rudolpho, and Rollo, the girl's name Rudolpha is just that.

Popularity: In 2010 and 2011 there were no baby girls named Rudolpha (despite it's rare and cute nicknames). Don't expect it to rise in popularity this century, and it hasn't been popular for a very long time. For boys, Rudolph last ranked in 1992 at #994. In 2013 the spelling Rudolf was only given to 5 boys.

Fun fact: (1) Movie star Rudolph Valentino. (2) Rudolph "Rudy" Giuliani, former mayor of New York. (3) King Rudolph I of Germany. (4) Gerald Rudolph…

Luna

Today's name: Luna
Also try Lunabelle, Lunabella, Lunette, Lunetta, Luneth, or even Crescentia

Pronunciation: LOO-nah

Potential nicknames: Luu, Lulu, Una, NaNa

Origin: Latin, meaning "moon." It can be traced back to the word lumen, meaning "light."

Popularity: Luna has always been mildly popular. In 1880 she ranked at #444, while today she ranks at #278 with 1,138 births in 2011. There were 934 baby girls named Luna in 2010, ranking at #343, along with 7 Lunabella's and 5 Lunabelle's. Luna has been popular in Belgium for a while now as a top 10 name.

Fun fact: (1) Luna is associated as the name of the Roman goddess of the moon. It is one of the names of Artemis. The Greeks called her Selene. (2) Luna Lovegood, a character in Harry Potter. (3) Luna can be a special name given to those born as the astrological sign Cancer, whose ruling planet is the moon. (4) Some of you might recognize the name Luna from the Japanese animated TV show, also a manga (Japanese co…

Angel, Angela, Angelo

(source)
Today's name: Angel (Angela, Angelina, etc. & Angelo, Angelus, etc.)

Pronunciation: AYN-jel, AHN-hail, AHN-hel

Potential nicknames: Ang, Angie, Annie, Anne, Ana

Origin: Greek, meaning "messenger." Transfered in the New Testament and Church Latin to mean "messenger of God" with the rise of Christianity. Angelos was the first version of Angel, and Angela became widely used in the 18th century.

Popularity: Angel and its variants seem to be perpetually popular. In 2011 Angel ranked #52 for boys, while Angelo was at #298. For girls, Angela was #189 in 2011, while Angel was #216, Angelica was #373, Angelina #104 and Angeline #753. In 2010 there were 1,587 baby girls named Angel (ranking at #194 on the U.S. top 1000), 8,716 baby boys named Angel (ranking at #42 on the top 1000), 1,898 baby girls named Angela (ranking at #160), 1,143 baby boys named Angelo (ranking at #290), 3,110 baby girls named Angelina (ranking at #93), and even 32 baby girls named Angelic.…

Tis the Season

Thought of the day: why not name a baby Season? Winter babies have been given every holiday and seasonal name under the sun, the most easily recognizable ones being Holly and Noelle. Other seasons influence other names, such as Autumn, March and Summer. But what about Season, with the ultra-cute nickname Sea for a boy or girl, or Sonny for a boy? Bonus: it works for any time of the year.

Season is Latin, meaning "time of sowing." There is an actress named Season Hubley. In 2010 there were 6 baby girls named Season, as well as 6 in 2011.

I know some of you are thinking "Are you nuts?" But after taking a ride through the SSA's extended list (meaning, beyond the top 1000) choices like Season and December deserve praise in comparison to Honystee, Palin, Payshence and Abcde. Yes, there were 24 baby girls named Abcde in 2010. Now do you think Season is weird?

December, Ember

Thought of the day: can Ember be a nickname? Why, yes, it can! Especially for a December baby, although any month ending in -ember works as well.

December. (dee-SEM-bur)

If you don't like the growing-in-popularity name Ember, which has only ranked on the U.S. top 1000 since 2009, there is also Emmy, Decie, Berry, Cece, and Dee. Ember ranked highest in 2011 at #671 (419 births), after #821 in 2010 (323 births) and #885. This shows that Ember is rapidly climbing the charts.

December is Latin, meaning "the tenth month," although on our calenders it is the 12th month. That is because it was the 10th month on the Roman calender.

There were 31 baby girls named December in 2010 and 33 in 2011.