Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2012

Halloween baby names from last year

This will be the second Halloween for A Baby Name Per Day, so I thought I'd revisit 2011's October posts.

Zelda - as in Zelda Spellman, from "Sabrina the Teenage Witch"
My first list of Halloween baby names - for girls I loved Persephone, Beatrix, Hallow, Eve, Drusilla, Rowena, Jacquelyn, Lilith, Stormy, Jetta, Lamia, Felina, Circe, Lilura, Taika, Zillah, Twila, Desdemona, and Branwen... for boys I loved Salem, Casper, Samhain, Roderick, Damon, Blake, Orpheus, Ichabod (nn Ike) and Night...and ohhhh, the unisex list!
Hallow - I thought this was just too cool
Samhain - a great new way to get Sam as a nickname
Falena - not quite sure why I think moths go so well with Halloween, but I do...maybe because they come out at night, and they're kind of mysterious
Casper - needs no introduction
Sabrina - not many known Sabrina's Celtic origins
Bram - for Bram Stoker
Persephone - the goddess abducted by Hades
Opal - October's birth stone

Interview with Anna of Waltzing More Than Matilda

Anna Vivian is the creative mind behind Waltzing More Than Matilda, a baby name blog from Australia that provides unique insight into the world of names.
What is your name? Anna Vivian. Vivian is actually my confirmation name, as my original middle name was kind of a mess.
Do you have any nicknames? In high school my nickname was Goanna, and then from that, Go-go. Apart from pet nicknames and terms of endearment from loved ones, I don't have one as an adult.
What is your ethnic background? Australian, from a mix of New Zealander, English, Cornish, Scottish, Irish, German, Danish and American. There's a family legend of Maori ancestry, but I don't know if it's ever been proven.
What decade were you born in? 1970s.
How did you get your name? It's a variant of my mother's name, Anne. They originally considered Anneliese, but then thought it clashed with the surname, so shortened it to Anna. They tried putting the Liese part into the middle name and then adding stuff to it, …

Interview Over at Ren's Baby Name Blog

Just a couple of days ago I completed an interview with Ren, from Ren's Baby Name Blog, which you can read here. You may remember Ren from the interview I did on her name back in September, which you can read here. I would have posted this Friday but I wanted to post Arrietty and then Cheshire as baby name of the day first.

Also, my polls are not working properly. I'll put up new ones soon.


I really didn't want to do another C name this month, as I've already done three, but when I thought of this I couldn't stop myself. And somehow it fits in with the Halloween season. But, like Tarragon, I'm afraid someone's going to say "Are you nuts?" (To which I would reply, "At least it's not made up, and if people can name their kids Cashley and Kale, why not Cheshire?") Cheshire dates back to about 1086 from the words cestre scire - Chester (roughly translating to "camp of soldiers") and shire (district). Cheshire is the name of a county in England, a contraction of Chestershire. Being a place name, Cheshire classifies as unisex. Cheshire is also seen as a surname (over 3,000 in the U.S.).

"Cheshire" is obviously most famous thanks to Lewis (Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) Caroll's Cheshire cat from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and his charming use of the Cheshire cat with it's bewildering grin, bu…


Arrietty (ahr-ee-ET-ee) was a name made famous for the first time by author Mary Norton in her 1952 novel The Borrowers, a story of a family of tiny people living in the house of a normal sized family who "borrow" their supplies from the humans to survive. The name was made famous for the second time when Hayao Miyazaki's animation company, Studio Ghibli, turned the story into a Japanese animated motion picture, called "The Secret World of Arrietty," which was released by Walt Disney Pictures in the U.S. Please note that ahr-ee-ET-ee is the correct pronunciations of the name.

For those of you not familiar with Ghibli movies, including Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, Totoro and Castle in the Sky (all of which had U.S. releases), these movies are a must see for adults and children alike (says the biggest Ghibli fan ever). There are no American animations that compare when it comes to story and artwork, and you'll find that a recurring theme is pr…


I was a little hesitant to use Tarragon (TARE-ah-gon) for my baby name of the day, as some may find it to be too word-name, too unusual, but I would definitely suggest it for those wanting to continue a spice/herb/flower/nature name theme, as it's difficult to find boy names in those categories. Also, this blog celebrates rare names of all kinds, and why should Tarragon be any different than Juniper or Forest? This spice name has potential as a baby name thanks to its familiar feel, being similar to Aragon and some T names for boys like Terrance, and also being in the same category as spice and herb names gaining in popularity, like Sage, Bay, Cassia and Saffron, and those that have been popular before, such as Basil, Ginger and Rosemary.

As a plant, tarragon looks a little bit like rosemary, but more leafy, like blades of wild grass. It has been used for culinary purposes for quite a long time, and tastes like aniseed. As a name, it sits alongside other undiscovered herb name poss…


Leocadia Zamora y Quesada by Frederico de Madrazo (1847)
Don't be so quick to pass up the intriguing and memorable Leocadia (lee-oh-KAY-dee-ah in Greek, lay-oh-KAH-dee-ah in Spanish), which includes international variant spellings Leokadia, Laocadia and Liocadia. Nicknames include Leo for a tomboy, Cay, Cady, Lea, Leda, Dia, and Adia. This Spanish variant of the Greek name meaning "clear, bright" from the word leukos and name Eleokadia has been used in all Spanish speaking countries, influenced by the martyred 5th century Saint Leocadia and the subjects of two famous paintings. "La Leocadia" is a famous painting by Goya, which is of Goya's house maid Leocadia Zorrilla (Weiss). She was supposedly his "last love" and the subject of a few of his paintings, although her daughter may have been in a couple of his paintings as well. Two other lesser-known namesakes bear the name, including Leocadia Alba, a Spanish actress born in 1866, and Leocadia Zamora


Carnelian crystal skull
Carnelian (kahr-NEEL-yan) is a handsome red-orange gemstone that you definitely don't see in everyday jewelry. This mineral, or crypto-crystalline quartz, turned semi-precious gemstone has been used since the Bronze Age as decoration, and is still used for decoration and jewelry today. Cameos carved in ivory on top of carnelian have always been popular, as well as carving into the carnelian, as you can see on this antique Algiers seal ring below, from Eragem. One of the stone's first purposes was for these seal rings, used to print the carved image into wax to seal and identify letters.

Carnelian has never been popular as a name, but it has a very masculine, strong, mystical feel to it. Neil could be an easy nickname for boys. It has been used at least twice for male characters, once in Dancers at the End of Time series by Michael Moorcock, and once in The Stone Dance of the Chameleon trilogy by Ricardo Pinto. It was also a U.S. war ship during World War …


Queen Zenobia's Last Look Upon Palmyra by Herbert Schmalz
Here is an appellation that name lovers and history buffs can't stay away from. Zenobia (zen-OH-bee-ah) is a Greek name that is often listed as meaning "life of Zeus, strength of Zeus" due to the components zen, zeno, (Zeno being the poetic name of Zeus), and bia, meaning "strength." The etymology seems a bit forced in this case, but Nook of Names has a different suggestion:
Zenobia — although interpreted as “life of Zeus” in Greek, the name is probably from the Palmyrean form of Arabic Zaynab, the name of a fragrant flowering plant, as the original Zenobia was a 3rd C Queen of Palmyra who defied the Romans. Although she was ultimately defeated, she was said to have lived out her days in Rome as a respected philosopher and socialite. Used since the 16th C, but always a rarity. (Source) Zaynab means "desert flower" or "ornamented tree" in Arabic. Wikipedia suggests Zaynab is an alt…

Q Baby Names

I remember reading through lists of Q names in baby name books and online sites, always thinking "there has to be more." Just for example, there are 14 Q girls names and 36 Q boys names on Behind the Name, and 22 Q names for girls on Nameberry. Not too many for girls, and in comparison with all the A names out there, well...

Thanks to White Pages and 100,000 Baby Names by Bruce  Lansky, I've found so many more. There are literally hundreds, although not all of them may be the original first form of a name. Take your pick, then research it elsewhere. Here's a small sampling of girls (I'll go with triple the amount shown on Behind the Name).

Quilla (Mama Quilla was an Incan goddess)
Quenilda (featured on Nook of Names)
Quarralia (Australian, star)

Rare 1880 baby names for girls 2

Continuing on from my first post, I will list rare and interesting baby names from 1880 with 11 to 20 births per name. I have also put the names currently in the top 300 (as of 2011) in bold. I love when baby name blogs and websites tell you about how often a name was used back in the day, and showing how those baby names are used today and how popular they've become.

Theodora, 11
Salome, 11
Rosina, 11
Queenie, 11
Mathilde, 11
Iris, 11 (now #303)
Eloise, 11
Beryl, 11

Willa, 12
Rachael, 12 (Rachel is #117)
Joan, 12
India, 12
Imogene, 12
Easter, 12
Celina, 12
Celestine, 12
Abigail, 12 (now a top 10 name)

Vida, 13
Serena, 13
Magdalene, 13
Fay, 13
Eleanore, 13
Carolina, 13 (Caroline is #87)
Bella, 13 (now #60)
Ava, 13 (now a top 10 name)
Annabel, 13 (Annabelle is #111)

Veronica, 14 (now #284)
Odessa, 14
Melinda, 14
June, 14
Emmaline, 14
Bonnie, 14
Betsy, 14
Avis, 14

Sophronia, 15
Luna, 15 (now #278)
Lucia, 15 (now #242)
Dixie, 15
Clare, 15

Sidney, 16
Maybelle, 16
Dorothea, 16
Anita, 16
Agatha, 16

Savannah, 17 (now #41)
Rilla, 17

Rare 1880 baby names for girls

Here's a list I've been working on while sifting through all the names in the SSA extended list. These are all the interesting (rare, unusual, popular, unique, uncommon and beautiful) baby girl's names I thought were noteworthy. Included is the number of how many babies were born in 1880 with that name, up to 10 births per name. Some of these might be surprising to see listed with only 5 or 6 births, considering how popular they are today, some you'll see are starting to become popular now, and some are still just as rare. I've highlighted those that are now in the top 200.

Verona, 5
Texas, 5
Tennessee, 5
Sibyl, 5
Selena, 5
Penelope, 5
Parthenia, 5
Ottilia, 5
Opal, 5
Natalie, 5
Marilla, 5
Margaretta, 5
Mahalia, 5
Lucina, 5
Lovisa, 5
Lollie, 5
Linna, 5
Letty, 5
Judith, 5
Jewel, 5
Isadora, 5
Honora, 5
Gwendolyn, 5
Gracia, 5
Georgina, 5
Elvina, 5
Delphine, 5
Corrine, 5
Cordella, 5
Charlotta, 5
Araminta, 5
Adrienne, 5

Zelda, 6
Winona, 6
Thea, 6
Sibylla, 6
Sabina, 6
Ottilie, 6
Monica, 6
Mercedes, 6
Martina, 6

Halloween baby names from a catalog

I was flipping through my mom's Olive & Cocoa catalog filled with [expensive] Halloween decorations when I saw a few names that scream "Halloween!" Let me start by saying I love Morticia Adams. When I think "Halloween name," she's the first that comes to mind. Her name is a twist on many classic or used-to-be-popular names, like Portia and Marcia, but with morte (death) in her name and a strong similarity to the word mortician. Because of her, I don't like cheesy Halloween names like Carrie or Vampira or Lycan that you often find on baby name blogs. I like elegant, gothic, witchy it blew my mind when I saw the picture of Zanzibel & Norbert, below.

Here is their description: "From the dark shadows of night, Zanzibel & Norbert rule over their eerie Transylvanian castle." Their names are so perfect for them, for Halloween, for their description. Zanzibel has been used as a given name before, but has no listed meaning. Ther…


The Prose Edda, at first simply called Edda, was composed by Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic scholar. The title was changed from Edda to Prose Edda to differentiate between the Poetic Edda, from an anonymous author. Both works contain Old Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends, and both were written around the same time, somewhere between 985 and 1600 AD, but Poetic Edda came first, as the Prose Edda cites parts of it. The Poetic Edda comes from a medieval Icelandic manuscript called Codex Regius. J.R.R. Tolkien and Ezra Pound are just two authors who claimed to have used the Poetic Edda as style inspiration for their work. Both works showcased things like skaldic tradition, poetic meter, alliterative verse, and strong imagery. The stories deal with gods, princes, the history of the universe, and it sometimes reads like a history or guide.

Edda has a few different meanings. The one most closely linked to the books is Old Norse, and it could mean "great grandmother," or &…


Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus
Hadrian (HAY-dree-an) is a Latin name meaning "from Hadria," Anglicized from Hadrianus. Hadria was an ancient northern Italian city built by the Etruscans, which gave its name to the Adriatic Sea. The town is now known as Adria (Atria, Atri) in the Veneto region of Italy. Both the male variant Adrian and the female variants Adria, Adriana and Adrienne come from Hadrianus. Hadria can also be used as a given name. It seems the H was dropped from Hadrian around the Middle Ages. Following the etymology of Atria, it seems to mean "black, dark." There is a possibility this was given as a first name specifically to those with dark features.

One of the first namesakes was the Roman Emperor Hadrianus from the 2nd century AD, who was known for his writing and architecture. He built Hadrian's Wall across the north of England, which protected the Roman Empire. The city of Adrianople/Adrianopolis/Hadrianopolis was named for him, an…


Tindra (TIHN-druh) is a Swedish word-name meaning "twinkle, sparkle." This Scandinavian gem has only started being used recently, and I believe the earliest documented use of Tindra as a given name was in the early 1980's. Going by Sweden's name statistics, Tindra was given to 238 girls in 2011 and 307 in 2010. It's rank in Sweden in 2011 was #60, and in 2010 it was #51. When I did a search on the website it told me there are 5,713 people in Sweden named Tindra, and 4,022 of them had Tindra as a nickname (middle name?).

Over here in the U.S. Tindra is unheard of, with no children given the name in 2011 or 2010. The similarity to the new dating app Tinder might knock out any chance it had of being imported.

Just for fun, and since I already did Norway, here's Sweden's top 10. Go here for the full chart.

1. Alice
2. Maja
3. Elsa
4. Julia
5. Linnea
6. Ella
7. Ebba
8. Molly
9. Wilma
10. Emma

Interview with Blair

Gender: MALE What is your name? Blair Do you have any nicknames? Gonzo What is your ethnic background? Greek, French Canadian, German and Irish
What decade were you born in? 80s baby
How did you get your name? Same name as father and grandfather
How did you feel about your name growing up? Loved it until the Blair Witch Project came out
How do you feel about your name now? Love it, unique What are some names of your family members? Blair, Clare, Betty
If you have any kids, what are their name(s)?If no kids, do you have any names you know you’d like to give to future children? No, I don't know the names of my future children
What is the name of your best friend? Dave
What are some common names for your age group? Chris, Dave, Ryan, Jeff, John
If you had to give yourself a new first name, what would it be? Rialb (Blair backwards) Are there any personal stories about your name? No stories specifically about my name other than both my dad and I got called the Blair Bitch Project. (You may want to …


Oh yeah...
Indiana Jones or Indiana state? Male or female? Indiana is definitely a unisex name. Due to the heavy influence of Indiana Jones, most parents will choose this as a boy's name, but like the name India, the similarity to Diana, and the -ana ending, some parents choose it as a girl's name. Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix chose this name for their baby, as well as Ethan Hawke, and Indiana Rose Evans is an Australian singer and actress.

Indiana means "from India" in Latin and "land of Indians" in English, dating to the 1760's and referring to the Native Americans who lived in North America before settlers arrived. Indiana Jones was actually Henry Walton Jones, Jr. and was nicknamed Indiana after the family dog. There was also the controversial (for 1831) novel titled Indiana by George Sand, a pseudonym for Amandine Aurore Dupin. Then there's the Indy 500 and "indie" bands and movies.

Indiana only ranked on the top 1000 for a few years…


October's official flower is Calendula, pronounced kah-LEN-doo-lah and/or kah-LEND-yuu-lah. It is the botanical name for the English marigold species, relating to the word calender, Latin calendae or kalends. The name means "first day of the month, little calendar" blooming year-round, so I'm a bit late posting this.

Calendula has many modern uses, from treating sore throats to reducing inflammation of the skin. It's petals are edible, and eating them protects cells fom being damaged by "free radicals." The name Marigold has been given since about the 16th century, and now has an appealing vintage charm. Marigold has ties to Dia de los Muertos in Mexico.

In 2011 there were 7 baby girls named Marigold and none named Calendula. If you're thinking Calendula is too weird, know that it does come with the super cute nickname Callie.



Thayer is one hard name to dig up information on. In researching the name I've found many different sources listing many different origins. In French, Thayer is pronounced tie-YHER, supposedly meaning "army of the nation." One source suggests it is an Old English phrase meaning "the people," from origins elsewhere. Other ties lead to Germany, where there were several bearers of the name, though there were others in Austria, and the meaning is listed as "wild animal." There is a strong possibility it comes from the French word for "tea cup,"théière," possibly in reference to those who made them. It could be an Old English name that is possibly related to the occupational surnames Taylor or Thatcher, both of which are currently popular as first names. The name Thatcher means "roof thatcher" in Old English and was worn by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I recall the name from when I was very young, reading a book…


Christabel Pankhurst was the inspiration for today's post. Born in 1880 (the year the U.S. started keeping track of how many babies were born with a name per year) this suffragette from England helped found the Women's Social and Political Union, even while in exile. She was one very inspirational woman, from going to prison to support her beliefs, to writing a book on how sexual equality would help protect women from sexually transmitted diseases. She earned a law degree, but was unfortunately not allowed to practice. Her parents believed in causes and raised their children (Christabel, Sylvia and Adela) to do great things. Her mother Emmeline was a political activist and suffragette as well, helping women win the right to vote. Emmeline was named one of the "100 Most Important People of the 20th Century" by Time in 1999, and she as well was raised by politically active parents. Emmeline's husband, Christabel's father, supported women's right to vote. R…


This Irish Gaelic name, pronounced REARden, means "bard, minstrel, royal poet," derived from the older name Rioghbhardan. A bard was a poet who recited epic poetry, especially that with a long oral tradition. Bards were most popular in medieval times. These professionals were employed by wealthy patrons who believed in their work, but the patrons wanted the bards to compliment and praise them and their ancestors. William Shakespeare was known as the Immortal Bard, and he is still known as the very definition of a bard today. Robert Burns was another popular bard. The word bard, a loan word from Proto-Celtic, Proto-Indo-European, meant "to raise the voice, praise." Bards did not solely retell the works of others, they composed original work, funded by their patrons. Their work include eulogies and satires. Riordan is also known as a surname, and Archbishop Riordan High School. Rio could make for a nickname, and Riordan could make an excellent solution to the slight …

Witchy Baby Girl Names!

Circe Invidiosa by John William Waterhouse
Have a little girl due in October? Looking to name a character? Here's my [seemingly endless] list of witchy-sounding baby names. Most of them also fit in the "clunky but cool" category, or "vintage." Most plants, trees, herbs, spices, flowers, gems, space and nature names fit the bill, because in stories and current practice these things are useful to witches. I've put any actual witch names from legend, myth, literature, movies, etc in bold and up front. I have not considered the names of actual, living people or their Pagan names, and I've left out any characters that only have a surname, or truly ridiculous given names. In the second half you'll see a list of names that, to my knowledge, have not been used for witch characters. Please know that this is not a complete list. Wikipedia has an almost complete list you can view here.
Tabitha, Samantha, Endora, Clara, Serena (Bewitched)
Katrina(Katrina Crane, …