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I would love to know, why isn't this beautiful baby name more popular? It's gorgeous, and Claire (#50), Clare (#679) and Clara (#151) are in the top 1000, as well as most Bella variations. Belle itself is just outside the top 1000.

Clarabel has two negative associations weighing it down: Clarabell the Clown, and Disney's Clarabelle Cow. However, it has been a long time since these two characters appeared in modern media, and the majority of the population has no idea they ever existed. In twenty years when your baby Clarabel is full grown, the following two associations will be a distant memory in the mind of grandma and grandpa.

Clarabell the Clown was actually a man, played by three different actors during the lifespan of "The Howdy Doody Show," which aired  between 1947 and 1960. The clown was loved by the audience, and didn't speak until the end of the last episode. I could not find the reason behind naming a male clown a female name.

Clarabelle Cow was mainly seen in the 1930's in black and white animated features, but appeared in later works such as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "The Prince and the Pauper," which the current generation will hardly be exposed to.

On to the good stuff! The following associations will boost the name of Clarabel or Claribel. Silent film actress Clara Bow was made famous in the 1920's and well-loved, known as the "it girl." Saint Claire was born Chiara, the Italian form of the name. The spelling Claribel was used by Edmund Spenser in "The Faerie Queene," where Lady Claribel is "The fairest Lady then of all that living were." Shakespeare had a character named Claribel, Princess of Naples, in "The Tempest." To top things off, "Claribel" was a poem written by the great Alfred Lord Tennyson.

In 2011, only the spellings Clarabelle and Claribel were used. Clarabelle was given to nineteen baby girls (21 in 2010) and Claribel was given to nineteen as well (11 in 2010). Clarabel and its alternate spellings mean "clear, bright, famous" in Latin and English.

Clariandra is another gorgeous elaboration of Claire, this time with the -andra root, which is Greek for "man." The shifted meaning would then be "clear, bright woman," or "famous woman." Clariandra was a variant used in the Middle Ages alongside other fanciful, frilly names such as Diamanda and Splendora - perhaps the "cutesy" names of their time. Possibly the only mention of her was in the year 1248.

Claren is a rare male variant of Clarus.


  1. Claribel is gorgeous and literary; for some reason Clarabel annoys me a little, maybe because it looks like Clara with a random -bel stuck on the end. And its literary namesakes aren't nearly as sophisticated (they all seem to be from children's books).

  2. Clarimond or clarimunda sounds better

  3. Thanks you for including Clariandra in this post. It is a gorgeous frilly elaboration, I would be tickled pink to meet a Clariandra!


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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…