Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rafferty

The Rafferty Coat of Arms

Raffterty is an Irish Gaelic surname meaning "prosperity wielder." What a unique meaning! It was originally O'Raighbheartaigh and Rabhartach. There's also a wide range of potential nicknames, from Raff to Rafe to Teddy. There were only 10 baby boys named Rafferty in 2010, 12 in 2011, and 6 in 2013, which means not a whole lot of parents have discovered Rafferty's "raffish charm." This is also the name of Jude Law's son, but you're likely to find many more people with Rafferty as a surname than a given name. Other than that, I can't find much more on this potential baby name.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gap Casting Call - Girls Baby Names

This is the first year I've heard about the Gap Casting Call, and I'm always looking for unique name sightings. I finally got around to checking it out and decided to post some of the girls names that stood out among all the repeats of Emily, Ava, Makayla, Elle, Reagan, Chloe, Paisley, Carly, Kaylee, Madison, Madeleine, Brooklyn, Sydney, Olivia, Abigail, Paige, Sierra, Nevaeh, Hannah, Trinity, Isabelle, etc, which are all names that seem boring to me. I crave rare names! It was obvious at least half of all the names total were creatively spelled. Some of the ones I'm about to list appeared more than once, they just seem refreshing or elegant. I feel sorry for whoever has to go through all of these submissions to pick a winner. Wow. Over 1,400 pages of girls. I only got to page 120. I'm thinking about going back to look at popularity, because I'm assuming the ones I listed above rank higher than the ones listed below.

Guinevere
Athena
Claudia
Helena
Sela
Aoife
Penelope
Courtney
Annalisa
Nina
Esmeralda
Eleanor
Adelaide
Orianna
Annika
Nadia
Alexandra
Genevieve
Zia
Marina
Chelsea
Tessa
Caroline
Quiana
Giselle
Charlize
Claire
Erin
Liana
Tatiana
Molly
Emmanuelle
Ocean/Oceane
Azure
Florianne
Kit
Salma
Neve
Valentina
Harper
Jenna
Carina
Juliana
Vanessa
Cora
Jade
Victoria
Lindsay
Elektra
Johanna
Noelle
Samantha
Teresa
Mariana
Yasmina
Eliza
Jillian
Lana
Jacquelyn
Simone
Cyra
Saoirse
Audrey
Christina
Barratou
Sage
Hazel
Elissa
Noa
Delaney
Mabel
Allora
Stella
Jolie
Zeina
Lena
Vivienne
Paola
Alexandria
Ruthie
Sunny
Elsa
Irene
Calista
Evangeline
Silvie
Mallory
Kelsey/Kelsea
Bianca
Gabrielle/Gabriela
Eva
Violet
Kristen
Darla
Amelia
Serena
Carlotta
Greta
Jocelyn
Roco
Celeste
Aaliyah
Allison
Aubrey
Teagan
Ruby
Thalia
Georgia
Elena
Fiorella
Sonia
Halle
Rosalind
Fallon
Serenity
Rhiannon
Eponine
Kaede (rare to see this one on a non-Japanese baby)
April
Sabrina
Regina
Camilla
Gloria
Iris
Olympia
Aurora
Elysia
Estella
Yelena
Dahlia
Miranda
Melaina
Rebecca
Liberty
Thea
Marijke
Reese
Luciana
Adriana
Nikita

Friday, April 13, 2012

Belle


Belle, as we're all aware thanks to Beauty and the Beast, is French for "beautiful." It's an underused, simple-yet-elegant name that is easily pronounced in our culture and abroad. It can be a good alternative to Isabelle, which is seeing extreme popularity, and can be a nickname for any number of names starting or ending in -belle, such as Rosabelle, Claribel, Bluebell, Bellerose, Amabel, Belphoebe or Arabella. She can be a Southern Belle or "Belle of the Ball." She is close to Bella, yet miles away. The name ages well and gets rave reviews.

One real-life namesake was Confederate spy Belle Boyd, but there was also a World War II bomber plane called the Memphis Belle, and a character from Gone with the Wind. And here's a fun tidbit: Belle was Mr. Scrooge's fiance in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Belle has not ranked in the past decade. In 2010 there were 154 baby girls named Belle and in 2013 187 and still not ranking. I see a lot of people passing this name up because of Isabella, thinking Belle is more popular than it is. Maybe they're getting it confused with Bella, which was #60 in 2011. Belle was most popular just before 1920 and least popular in the 80's. While there were just 8 girls given the name in 1991 as if it was about to disappear forever, it spiked up rapidly and by the 2000's was given to hundreds of girls.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Peter


Peter isn't just for Peter Pan, Peter Cottontail and Peter Rabbit anymore. This Greek name meaning "rock" is also Biblical, one of the twelve apostles (originally named Cephas or Simon, and the first pope), and the name of a Russian emperor - Peter the Great, who built St. Petersburg. There's lots of Saint Peters. There are tons of famous namesakes. There's also the children's nursery rhyme, "Peter Peter Pumkin Eater" and Spider Man, Peter Parker. Petra is the female version. Nicknames include Pete, Petey and PJ.

In 2010 there were 1,918 baby boys named Peter, ranking at #192, slightly down since years before.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Regina

Regina Cordium or Queen of Hearts by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Regina sounds regal for a reason - it means "queen," from Latin, was the name of a saint (whose day is September 7), and one of the other names of the goddess Juno. Raina/Raine and Reina/Reine are variants of the same meaning. Nicknames include Gina, Ginny and Reggie. There are a few well known actresses and singers with this name, and it is the name of a city in Saskatchewan. Regina can be used in reference to the Virgin Mary, but also Queen Victoria. More recently, Regina is the name of the evil queen in a new TV show called Once Upon a Time.

In 2010 there were 493 baby girls named Regina, ranking at #588, jumping from 713 the year before. There were also 97 Reginae, 8 Regginae, and 5 Reginea, however the heck they intend you to pronouce those. Both Reina and Raina also ranked. If you want to take it up a step further, Rhiannon, a Welsh name that sounds similar, means "great queen." Rhiannon was a legendary goddess.

Juno Regina


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dorian


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a very well studied novel, and people can recognize the story even if they've never read the book. The base of the plot: a picture that is painted of Dorian ages in place of himself. In the end, he kills himself by stabbing the painting with a knife, the curse/wish being reversed. Now, that doesn't make Dorian an awful choice for a baby name. It is Greek, meaning "descendant of Doris (a sea nymph)," although it is possible Oscar Wilde coined the name based on something very similar. It is also a tribal Greek name and a Greek place name, and the name of a musical mode, so it was used long before the book. Besides, it's quite dashing and sophisticated. The literary Dorian was, after all, handsome. Be sure to see the movie or read the book.

In 2010 Dorian ranked #500 and there were 512 baby boys born with this name. So, not too popular, but very well recognized, and apparently most people can get over any negative literary association. Alternate spellings persist, such as Dorion and Dorean, both of which were given to five boys in 2013.

Flora


Flora is a girl's name lurking just outside the U.S. top 1000, with 173 girls born in 2015 - a noticeable increase from 90 in 2006. It was last on the charts in 1972, but her heyday was in 1920. It seems F- names in general are not very popular.

Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, has a Latin name meaning "flower," and its spelling is one letter away from "floral," making it undeniably feminine and flowery, yet it can be considered more womanly than girlish with its vintage charm, and a name that truly ages well. Flora doesn't make you think of vain pretty-girls who wear floral prints, it somehow makes you think of a traditional, nurturing woman who is kind. Also, what better name for a springtime baby?

I'm not a big fan of nicknames for Flora, which usually include Flo, Flor, Florry and Flossie, so I suggest getting creative. Not all nicknames have to be a shortened version of the full name. Her nickname could very well be Flower or Fleur. Famous namesakes include Flora Tristan, a socialist/writer/feminist, and Flora MacDonald, a Scottish folk hero, and a Spanish saint of 851 whose name day is November 24.

There are plenty of variations on this name, including Floria, last seen in 2006 on 6 baby girls, an odd pop-up since it was last seen in 1989 on just 5 girls. It was used since at least 1898 but never on more than 37 babies in a year. Floriana is the frillier version, only seen in 2002 on 6, 2006 on 5, 2011 on 6 and 2012 on 5 baby girls. Florina falls somewhere between the previous two spellings, used more regularly but never on more than 12 girls in a year. There are a few more unusual options, including Florabelle and Florella, which haven't seen light since the 1940's.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Prettiest Female Baby Names

I consider these to have the prettiest sounds and most pleasing appearance. This is just a sampling and not a comprehensive list.
You’ll notice almost all of them either end in –a, have an “eh” or “elle” sound, or an “ee” sound in the form of an I, and most of them are long. I have not taken into account popularity, meaning or origin. This is also just my personal opinion. However, none of them seem to be over-the-top trendy or passing fads. Instead they are, for the most part, established, feminine and classy.

Guinevere
Seraphina
Saskia
Nightingale
Silveria
Cecilia
Lelia
Bellamira
Mirabel
Martina
Vesper
Alessandra
Wilhelmina
Almira
Luna
Gwendolen
Raina
Arietta
Letizia
Emmaline
Adriana
Belina
Belicia
Bettina
Bianca
Verbena
Belle
Felicia
Alvina
Antonia
Arista
Vivendel
Isabelline
Audrina
Angela
Jessamine
Anastasia
Sophie
Aviana
Juliana
Valentina
Graciella
Gisele
Celestina
Cassia
Anahita
Ivelisse
Esperanza
Esmeralda
Emmanuelle
Cosima
Chelsea
Cicely
Charlize
Celandine
Catalina
Cascada
Calista
Gioia
Gianna
Giada
Gennara
Giordana
Geneva
Genevieve
Claire
Claribel
Marina
Nella
Lina
Georgina
Perdita
Juliet
Priya
Jewel
Gemma
Arielle
Francesca
Sabrina
Tira
Sephora
Stefania
Summer
Sophie-Anne
Serena
Selina
Sapphira
Chantal
Siobhan
Regina
Persephone
Penelope
Pearla
Pomeline/a
Plumeria
Portia
Ophira
Aviva
Orlena
Elena
Ophelia
Octavia
Ottylia/Ottilia
Ovidia
Oceana
Odessa
Oriana
Aurora
Nadia
Noelle
Natalia
Tatiana
Mira
Mina
Mariana
Mercedes
Marina
Milena
Milania
Magdalena
Marcheline
Marguerite
Mariela
Milana
Maia/Mya
Melisande
Melusine
Lucy
Lumina
Lucinda
Lena
Lamia
Lily
Lilliana
Luciana
Lilia
Lilika
Liberty
Livia
Ekaterina
Kira
Julina
Juna
Jasmina
Irina
Isolda
Iseult
Halina
Eloisa
Louisa
Gabrielle
Gina
Evelina
Emiliana
Estelle
Eliana
Evangeline
Elsa
Faustina
Felicity
Felina
Falena
Delphine
Elva

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Leif


Some of you may recognize Leif as a Viking name, Leif Erikson, one of the first explorers to North America. He did so 500 years before Christopher Columbus, and was written about in the Sagas of Icelanders. He was born about 970 AD. Leif is Norse, Scandinavian, meaning "heir," but it is possible it means "relic." There are a few other famous namesakes, including Leif Garrett, 70s teen idol, which made the name appear on the charts, but it dropped off soon after. Leif can be pronounced the American way, LEEF, or the Norse way, LAYF.

In 2010 there were 172 baby boys named Leif, and in 2011 there were 183.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April


Happy April, and don't forget to consider it as a baby name! April is Latin, meaning "to open," and wasn't used as a given named until the 20th century. It could have been inspired by usage of the French name Avril, a variant of the Old English name Averil, meaning "boar battle." Originally, April came from the Latin word for "second," because at first it was the second month in the year. April symbolizes spring and the freshness and florals that mark this time.

This was very popular since about the 70s, and is still slowly decreasing in popularity. In 2010 there were 832 baby girls named April, ranking #378, and in 2011 it was #395. Be sure to get creative with nicknames for April, as the unwanted choice is "ape." Perhaps Rilla? Prilly?

April's birthstone is the diamond, and while Diamond is used as a baby name, more adventurous namers might like to go with Diamanta or Diamanda, which are international and mean "diamond." Keep in mind Diamante is usually a surname.

"April showers bring May flowers"