Friday, August 23, 2013

Zephyr

Waterhouse Flora and the Zephyrs
John William Waterhouse - Flora and the Zephyrs

Zephyr (ZEFF-er) is one of those intriguing names that sounds very catchy. It is familiar, yet rare, and very spunky. Most will recognize Zephyr, or Zephyros, as being the gentle wind from the West, a personified Greek deity. The name Zephyr means "west wind." In ancient Greek myth, Zephyrus/Zephyros was accompanied by the other Anemoi, or winds: Boreas, the god of the north wind, Notus, the god of the south wind, and Eurus of the east wind. Zephyr was known as the messenger of spring. He may have been married to Flora (Chloris) or Iris, both his sisters, or possibly Podarge, and he had a thing for Apollo's boy lover Hyacinth. These kinds of marriages were entertaining and fairly common for Greek mythology.

zephyranthes
Zephyranthes flower

Zephyra (pronunciations range from ZEFF-rah to zef-FY-rah) and Zephyrine (zeff-er-EEN) are the female variants of the name. Cefirino is a male international variant, and there are many other alternatives, including Zephirin, Zephiros, Zayfeer, Zephirina and Cefirina. The name Zephyr has also been given to a plant, the Zephyranthes, pictured above, also known as the Zephyr Lily. The name has also appeared in literature, such as the Babar books and children's book Silverwing.

Worth noting is the story of President Lyndon B. Johnson's personal chef, Zephyr Wright, who influenced him greatly in civil rights matters. It's an inspirational story worth looking into if you're considering this name.

Zephyr and its variants remain quite rare as baby names. In 2012, Zephyr was given to 20 girls and 60 boys, 126 in 2015. From 1905 to 1984 Zephyr was mainly only used on girls. Since 1919 the variant Zeferino has only been used for boys, and was given to 5 boys in 2010. The variant Zephyrus was only used since 2011 when it was recorded on 5 boys, which was still the same amount in 2016.

1 comment:

  1. I think this name is fantastic, and is one of those quirky-yet-soft sounding names for a boy. Just the sound of it is like the soft sound of a warm west wind.

    To me it's a bit less interesting on a girl for some reason, although Zephyrine would be intriguing (kind of sounds like a brand name for cholesterol-lowering margarine though ...)

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