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Lamia & Lamya

Lamia and the Soldier by John William Waterhouse (1905)

Although Lamia (LAH-mee-uh) means "glitter," or "glisten" in Swahili, she is a lesser known part of Greek mythology. Lamia was a queen and descendant of Poseidon, and had children with Zeus, but Hera kept killing all of them. Eventually Lamia went crazy over it and started eating as many children as she could. This turned her into a demon, some say half serpent, half woman, most likely because of her grief. The meaning of Lamia supposedly means "gullet," which is a bird's throat, but the more appropriate and logical meaning is "to devour," from the Phoenician word lahama. Her story differs depending on who is telling it.

The city of Lamia, Greece may have been named for the mythological character. There was a courtesan named Lamia of Athens, and John Keats wrote a poem about her in 1820. In modern times, people see her mythological history as an excuse to use her name for vampire fiction, even though she was never connected to vampire myths, and the connection actually comes from the Greek word lamiae. In Basque mythology a lamia was a charming woman who helped those who gave her food.

The most common Lamia is as an Arabic name, meaning "shining," "radiant," "brilliant." It is very close to another Arabic name, Lamya, meaning "she who possesses brown lips." Then there's Princess Lamia Solh, daughter of former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Riad as-Solh.

In 2010 there were 26 baby girls named Lamia, 108 Lamya, 46 Lamiya, 19 Lamyah, and 8 Lamyia.
In France in 2000 Lamia ranked at #474.

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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.

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