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Viola

Violaandviolin


Viola: a baby name, a flower, a color, a butterfly, and a musical instrument. While the viola instrument, which is slightly bigger than a traditional violin, is pretty much called the same thing worldwide, viola the plant is called a violet in English speaking countries. And just in case you needed an extra motive to use this name, check out Lago Viola, a beautiful lake located in Italy.

As a name, Viola is a bit vintage - much more so than Violet, which currently ranks at #69. Viola literally means "violet" in Latin, and is a word name in European countries. The simple difference between Viola in America and Viola elsewhere is that Americans tend to pronounce it VY-ol-uh, whereas other countries stay true to the Latin vee-OH-lah. Violette/Violeta/Violetta is the only other used variant.

There have been countless namesakes over the years, including British children's writer Viola Bayley, Queen of Bohemia and Poland Viola Elizabeth of Cielszyn, poet Viola Garvin, aviator Viola Gentry, model Viola Haqi, and two silent film actresses. The only major literary Viola is from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Later the name was used in the movie "Shakespeare in Love." One of the earliest uses of Viola as a surname can be seen on the Baroque period Italian painter Giovanni Battista Viola (1576-1622) and even earlier on Alfonso dalla Viola, and Italian Renaissance composer. Both attest to the age of the name. Viola can definitely be considered a "classic."

Viola peaked in 1908 at #42. It has not ranked since running off the chart in 1972 at #958. Today it remains rare, but is not so far outside the top 1000 that it couldn't make an easy comeback. It was given to 174 girls in 2013, and that number more than doubled in the past decade. It seems the 90's just weren't kind to Viola.

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Forest

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…