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Showing posts from September, 2012

Name Interview with Ingrid

What is your name? 

What decade were you born in? 
Late 90's.

How did you get your name?
My parents wanted a Norwegian name, and they eventually settled on Ingrid.

How did you feel about your name growing up?
I'm still a teenager, but I like having an unusual name.

How do you feel about your name now?
The same, I guess.

If you have any kids, what are their name(s)? 
No kids. :)

What is the name of your best friend?
Katarina.  Occasionally Kit-Kat.

What are some common names for your age group?
Emily, Hannah, Caitlin, Mackenzie...

If you had to give yourself a new first name, what would it be?
Either Theadora or Hermione!

Of the kids you've met most recently, which are your favorites and least favorites?
I know a Aurora who's a toddler. I really like that name a lot.

What are your favorite names at the moment?
Theadora, Genevieve, Isadora, Lumina, Rosalia, Hermione, and Lavender.

What advice would you give expecting parents looking for the perfect name?
Remember to look everywhere--fr…


Kol from The Vampire Diaries
Kol is a pretty straight-forward old Viking name meaning "coal," in Old Norse, but it can also mean "dark," and "black." Cole/Kole, Colby/Kolby and Colton/Kolton are the most common variations seen today, and Kol/Col is a pretty common name prefix and suffix. It is more commonly seen as Cole or Kole due to it's transfer into Old English usage. Kolt/Colt and Kolton/Colton both meaning "coal town," although Colt can also refer to a young male horse. Now, the most common namesake right now is the fictional character Kol from The Vampire Diaries, part of an ancient Viking line turned vampire.

There is a female variant, Kolfinna, meaning "dark (from the coal element) and fair," which is well used in Iceland, and there were no recorded births for it (ever) in the U.S. There's also the male Scandinavian variant Kolbjorn, which has not seen use in the U.S.

In 2011 there were 9 baby boys named Khole, 9 Kold…

Belphoebe & Amoret

Yes, you read that right - Belphoebe, not Phoebe. Pronounced bell-FEE-bee. Edmund Spenser used Belphoebe in his allegorical poem The Faerie Queene, and he had great taste in names. In fact, he invented Belphoebe, as there is no other record of the name before that. The History of Christian Names (Yonge, 1884) lists the meaning as "far light," composed from Latin words, but The Spenser Encyclopedia tells us it is one part bel ("beautiful") and one part Phoebe, the so-called goddess of the moon, meaning "bright, radiant." This is more accurate when given her character and what Spenser modeled her on. Considering names used at the time, such as Christobel, the second meaning of Belphoebe is backed up. Spenser even said her name "refers to the goddess of chastity." To elaborate, Phoebe was a Titan associated with the moon and Diana/Artemis (Greek and Latin, respectfully) was goddess of the moon. In Spenser's Faerie Queene, Belphoebe is an Arthu…

An Unexpected Resource

Here's one I didn't know about until now: Whitepages! Seriously, and holy crap. Search for a name and it gives you quite a bit more than you expect. It almost does exactly what I do on my blog (it doesn't list how many were born in the past year, but it tells you how old the people with the name are) and more. Here's my example:

FAY Ranks 1,032nd in 2011
Late 19th‐century coinage, from the archaic word fay ‘fairy’. It was to some extent influenced by the revival of interest in Arthurian legend, in which Morgan le Fay is King Arthur's half-sister, a mysterious sorceress who both attempts to destroy Arthur and tends his wounds in Avalon after his last battle. She is sometimes identified with the ‘Lady of the Lake’. Between the wars the name came to prominence as that of the British actress Fay Compton (1894–1979); more recently it has been associated with the writer Fay Weldon (b. 1931).
Nicknames and variations: FayeFaeFaFaiFaiaFaheyFayaFahyFauFah
Tens …


* Ulyssa is the female variant of Ulysses, so all that I say on Ulysses applies to Ulyssa.
Ulysses and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse
One of the things I truly enjoy while writing this blog is the art that sometimes comes with the name, which I feel separates this blog from a lot of the others, and in the case of Ulysses, there's some great stuff here. Case in point:

"Ulysses" by Josh Garrels Another song to check out is "Tales of Brave Ulysses" by Cream
Ulysses is not just the name of the 18th U.S. president, it is the Latin name of Homer's epic hero Odysseus. You know the one - he leaves his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus for the Trojan War, then it takes him 20 years to come back home. Now, most stories written by the ancient Greeks are a little weird (truth be told) so the fact that he met some other ladies along the way, was forced to live with a goddess/witch, well... Penelope was on his mind the whole time. How she waited for him for so…


Seville, Spain
Sevilla is an intriguing choice, listed as the Spanish variant of Sibyl, meaning "prophetess, oracle." Very mysterious and alluring. It also happens to be the name of the ancient Spanish city of Seville, where Diego Velazquez was born, and the setting of the opera "Carmen." In myth, the Andalusian city was founded by Hercules. In this respect, the name can also mean "from Seville."

You might have to constantly explain how this name was chosen, but isn't it worth it? The nickname Villa is exotic, yet very place-name. In Spanish the pronunciation is seh-VEE-ya, but the English way is seh-VIL-uh. In 2011 there were only 7 baby girls named Sevilla, in 2015 there were only 5.


I had to do this name because my husband could easily be a stunt double for Orlando Bloom ( ^.^ ), the most famous namesake at the moment, who is married to Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr and named their son Flynn. Several athletes bear the name as well. Worldwide, the most easily recognizable place name is Orlando, Florida, home of Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios. Orlando is an Italian and Spanish variant of the Old German name Roland, meaning "renowned/famous land." Roland was a famous and loved literary medieval knight (read Le Chanson de Roland for more info). It is possible Orlando and/or Roland originated as a place name.

Orlando is a literary name used a lot in the 19th century, which even Virginia Woolfe used as the title of one of her novels, and Shakespeare used it for one of his characters in "As You Like It." There was also a Saint Orlando. Orly and Lando are common nicknames, but Orrie or Andy can work well. Orlando currently ran…


For a fun read elsewhere, read this post on the name Topanga. Someone, please, be brave enough to use it! It's so loud, spunky, quirky and refreshing. As an update, there were 18 baby girls named Topanga in 2011 and 15 in 2010.


Perseus and Andromeda by Anton Raphael Mengs
Andromeda is a name that most people admire, but find too unusual or extreme to use in real life, therefore they put it away on their "guilty pleasures" list of names they're not brave enough to use. Which is a shame, really, since it's such a gorgeous mythological gem. But I do agree, it does come on strong, which is why it's on my own GP list. I have thought an easy and accessible nickname would make it more useable, though.

Nickname possibilities: Andie, Anna, Anne, Annie, Andra, Andrea, Dru, Dre, Drama, Mei/Mae, Meda

There were 31 baby girls given the name Andromeda in 2011 (only 5 were given the name of her mother, Cassiopeia) and only 20 named Andromeda in 2010. In 2016 there were 64.

So many are familiar with Andromeda's tale: her mother, Queen Cassiopeia (another great name, meaning "she whose words excel"), was arrogantly proud of her daughter's beauty and boasted that she and Andromeda were…

Name Interview with Ren (Lauren)

Laurel by Alphonse Mucha
What is your name? (Include middle if you like) Lauren Ashley but I go by Ren online
What decade were you born in? mid 90’s
How did you get your name? My parents just liked it
How did you feel about your name growing up? I liked it but I always wanted a nickname (I didn’t start using Ren until I was in 9th grade but I don’t use it in real life.)
How do you feel about your name now? I really like it. I think it is a pretty name.
If you have any kids, how did you choose their name(s)? I don’t have any kids but my top names are Athena Love and Theodore Landon. I chose them because I liked them. I will be honoring my grandma, whose name is Anastasia, some way when I have a girl.
What is the name of your best friend? Her name is Rebecca but she uses the nickname Becky. I just call her Beck though.
What are some common names for your age group? I know a lot of Ashleys, Jessicas,  Brittanys and a few more I can’t think of.
If you had to give yourself a new first name, what wo…


Nolan is an Irish Gaelic name meaning "champion," (not "champion of the people," not "famous noble champion") from the name Nuallan, and it can also be heard as a surname. There are at least two famous namesakes, baseball player Nolan Ryan, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999, and movie director Christopher Nolan.

The name Nolan has made regular appearances in the U.S. top 1000 since 1899 at varying spots, and has now jumped to #93 in 2011 and a total of 4,140 baby boys born with the name last year. It was the 5th name starting with the letter N for boys in the top 1000, with no stopping soon. It is popular in other countries as well, even ranking at #29 in France. Nolan comes with the compact and straight-to-the-point nickname Nol, one syllable.

Judgement & Classy Names

I was recently told the name of a new baby in my family's circle, and having seen a lot of names, it didn't really affect me at first since it wasn't tacky. My parents were quite confused by this unusual and trendy name, and upon further thought, I realized I did have an impression - but it wasn't an impression of the child, it was for the parents. Other than being pleasantly surprised by how unusual the name was (and my relatives/friends close enough to call relatives do have amazing taste in names) I recalled the age of the parents and thought, "This seems like they were trying way too hard to be "young and hip." In my line of work I also meet many kids with unusual names and sometimes find it hard not to think something [mostly harsh] of the parents for choosing that name, especially when the name is conventionally said one way, but the child corrects you and gives you a completely out-of-nowhere pronunciation. Spelling is a whole different story, as …

When surname-names are ok

A little on my personal taste...

Two names I was recently impressed with were guys I met named Ford and Miller. However, these were their actual surnames, not surnames-as-first-names. I've always thought it was very cool/cute when friends call someone by their last name. But I still do not encourage using surnames as first names, especially on girls.

It is also very acceptable to use a surname in the middle, such as the mom's surname or somthing further down your family tree.

On another note, I just had a conversation today with a long time friend about the unfortunate need some parents feel in giving their child a creatively spelled name, such as Elyzabeth instead of Elizabeth, Rylee instead of Riley, etc. We were reminiscing about the days we grew up in, where pretty much everyone's name was spelled conventionally (and if anything, it was one letter off, not something random and out of left field), and how much easier our jobs would be if people spelled names right. I had e…


Bonnie & Clyde
Bonnie is Scottish, meaning "fair," "attractive" and "pretty." From the French word bonne, meaning "good." Often, a child was said to be "bonny" regardless of gender, so long as that child displayed a happy nature, and this term features in some songs and literature (such as Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing). Today, "bonny" is still a word used to mean "pretty," especially in Scotland. It is now considered vintage in the U.S., having been used as an endearing nickname, even as a pet form of Bonita. There is an old nursery rhyme that makes Bonnie appropriate for a child born on Sunday. Bonnie Blue was the daughter of literary characters Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. Then there is the famous bank robber Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie & Clyde fame). And for all you Harry Potter fans out there, this is the name of Bonnie Wright who plays Ginny Weasley. Not a Harry Potter fan? It's t…


Theron, as you probably recognize as the surname of Charlize Theron, is Greek, meaning "hunter," much more subtle and classy than using Hunter nowadays, which ranks at #55. Theron last ranked in 1992, and there were 87 baby boys given this name in 2011. Theron of Acragas was an ancient king of Sicily (Italy) in 488 BC. It is also the name of the Theron Mountains in Antarctica. There are plenty of little-known bearers of this name, either as a first name or surname.


I had forgotten I was doing month-by-month birth stone posts, so I obviously missed pearl for June, ruby for July, and peridot for August. I'm not going to do a post on Ruby because you can find information on it elsewhere, it's very popular, but I'll save Peridot for next August. So, on to the pearl, objectified for its beauty for centuries.

Pearls are the "official" jewels of mermaids! Often in art, mermaids are depicted with pearls and starfish. Pearls are formed inside mollusks like oysters, as a crystalline form of calcium carbonate. Yet however mythical pearls are, the name Pearl is decidedly vintage. Pearl comes from French perle, which is from the Latin word for "leg," as it is like an extra appendage of the mollusk, in a sense, but it is really an act of the immune system. Many times the mollusk is killed after removing the pearl, but sometimes they let it grow more pearls.

In 2011 there were 327 baby girls named Pearl, ranking at #814. The Itali…


I think right about now is a good time for the world to get another Keanu, other than famous actor Keanu Reeves, and I think Key could be a very heartwarming nickname. Keanu is Hawaiian meaning "the breeze," or "cool breeze." There were 159 baby boys named Keanu in 2011. More correctly pronounced ke-AHN-oo/kay-ahn-oo, but I think the American pronunciation has taken over now.

Searching for a different Hawaiian name starting with K? Try Kai or Kekoa.


A while ago someone asked me what I thought of Robin for a little girl's name, so I looked into how popular it was, and I was shocked that there were only 143 baby girls named Robin in 2011. Robin, the name of the bird (my state bird), is one of the truly unisex names out there. Some may see it better on girls or boys, but this one has no rules, just like Sage and Rowan. However, back in the day it was used as a pet form of Robert (most will remember Robin Hood immediately, or Batman & Robin, although this name has been used by William Shakespeare as well) and it was Germanic, meaning "bright fame." In this case, it could still work very well for boys named Robert (for parents who do not like the nickname Robby/Rob). For girls, it has not ranked since 2004, a decline from it's highest ranking at #25 in 1962 and 1963, always ranking since 1932. For boys, it has ranked since 1881, it's highest ranking being at #143 in 1956, then falling off the charts in 1999. …

Name Interview with Rosa

What is your name? (Include middle if you like)  Rosa
What decade were you born in?  50's
How did you get your name?  Named after grandmother...but i was told my mother looked in a shoe box at the hospital, lifted the lid, and there I was with my head lying on a rose
How did you feel about your name growing up?  Fine, liked it
How do you feel about your name now?  Still like it
If you have any kids, how did you choose their name(s)?  With a connection to my parents What is the name of your best friend?  I have so many. Rosaria, Corinne, Jennifer, Gayle, Karen, Fran, Mary
What are some common names for your age group?  Too many, nothing sticks out
If you had to give yourself a new first name, what would it be?  None
Of the kids you've met most recently, which are your favorites and least favorites?  I really don't like anything that sounds like a last name or profession, like "Taylor"or "Tanner." I like anything that comes from the Romance languages, such as Cris…