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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.

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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…