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Showing posts from July, 2012

10 Super-rare French Beauties

Corisande Armandine Sophie Leonie de Gramont (1783 - 1865) by Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun


Update: here's an extra two - Caspienne, the French word for the Caspian sea & Laureline, the French take on Laura

Melusina, Melusine

Jessie Bayes, The Marriage of La Belle Melusine
Melusine (mel-oo-SEEN) is a girl's baby name originating from the tale of a fresh water spirit, including rivers and springs, sometimes half-fish and sometimes half-serpent, occasionally with wings, but definitely considered a fairy, if not part dragon. She appears on many Coat of Arms, including some in Germany. In Poland this was because she was supposedly the water spirit from the Vistula River in Poland, who identified the place to build for Boreslaus (Boleslaw) in Masovia in the 13th century.

Jean d'Arras wrote an extensive chronicle of Melusine around 1382 based on oral tales like Le Roman de Melusine. In these stories her mother was the fairy Pressyne (Pressine, Pressina), discovered by King Elynas (Elinas) of Albany, and they were married. When the king disobeyed her marriage condition - not to view her giving birth or bathing their three female triplets, she left the kingdom for Avalon. Melusine and her sisters Melior a…


Jove, meaning "to shine" in Latin, is the English name of Jupiter, Roman "King of the Gods," the god of sky and thunder, equivalent to the Greek god Zeus. He was an incredibly important figure for the Romans during the Republican and Imperial eras before Christianity. Romans would swear "by Jove" as some modern day people swear "to God." His symbol was the eagle, featured on many Roman military emblems. (Side note: Aquilina means "eagle.") The Roman government looked to him as a witness of oaths which they would be held accountable for. Those who protected the emperor, his personal guard, were known as Jovians. He has been important in many aspects, even being a recurring part of C.S. Lewis's work, and Lewis loved to use the word jovial, a word that means joyful, of which the name Jove is strongly connected.

I like that this name feels familiar, fitting right in with one syllable popular names like Jack, Jace, James, John or Joel.…


Simple botanical name Senna (SEHN-uh) is mysterious and unusual, yet sounds familiar. It has the simplicity of Jenna, but the uniqueness of Gwenna. It can be shortened to Sen, which means "one thousand" in Japanese. (Japanese parents bestowing the name Sen upon their child intend the meaning as "to live one thousand years". It can also refer to the sennin forest/mountain hermit. I named my first cat this, and she definitely suits the name.) The senna plant, specifically the Senna Alexandrina, is a flowering bush with little yellow flowers and can be found in the tropics. Lately it can be found as an ingredient in dieter's tea, laxative tea, although it has a wide array of uses. In Arabic the name  means "brilliance."

This name has been used in a few books and movies, one of which being a vampire in the Twilight series, the other a girl in K. A. Applegate's Everworld book series.


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…

Camellia: Perfect for tea lovers

Camellia sinensis (tea plant)
Camellia is the perfect name for tea lovers and nature name lovers. Most people are aware that the camellia, native to Asia, is a flowering plant, known for its pretty pink blooms, but the camellia sinensis is what produces tea leaves. There is a difference between the two kinds of camellia (and many more varieties), one difference being that camellias grown for their flowers are often hybrids or cultivated. A little known fact is that camellias are evergreens.

Fun fact: Camellia in Japanese is Tsubaki, also used as a girl's name. Camellia has always been a rare name. In 2010 there were 28 baby girls named Camellia and 22 spelled with only one L, Camelia. There were also similar names - 11 Camella and 15 Camillia. In 2011 there were 33 baby girls named Camellia and 22 spelled Camelia. Camellia comes with the cute and kind of rare nickname Cammy. Jump to 2016 and there were 78 girls named Camellia.