Friday, July 29, 2016


While Elena (el-AY-nah) is having a moment in the sun, her sister Elina (el-EE-nah) is just outside of ranking. In 2015 Elina was given to 248 girls, a triumph considering she was only given to 5 girls in 1900 and no more than 13 until 1976. It wasn't until 2005 that she jumped past 100 births, so by all means Elina is still quite a rare gem. Elena, on the other hand, was given to 2,877 girls in 2015, ranking at #106. Similar-sounding Eliana (el-ee-AH-nah) currently ranks #103, given to 2,956 girls in 2015. If the baby name Eliana or Elena is perfect for you but you're afraid it's too common, give Elina a chance. She's streamlined and sophisticated, and truly sparkles.

Elena is the Latin cognate of Helen, from Greek mythology. The name most likely means "torch," with attention to the flame. Helen (Helene) was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and her kidnapping by Paris ended up causing the famous Trojan War. Throughout history she's been known as the beauty that "launched a thousand ships." Elina is the Finnish and Swedish form of the name. Eliana, though only one letter off, is not related, but it is almost identical in imagery. Eliana is the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese modern version of Aeliana (Aelia is an alternate form; they are pronounced AY-lee-uh and AY-lee-ah-nah), from the Roman family name Aelius, from the word helios, meaning "sun." So, all bright flames of names. I'd also like to mention that in Greek mythology Helios was the personification of the sun. (And in Sailor Moon he was a Pegasus, but let's not go there! ;p)

If you want something even more rare, try the Old Provencal form of Eleanor, which is Elladine (ELL-uh-deen). (Also, Elatine, an aquatic plant, has a lovely sound.) Elladine saw 5 births in 1924 which may have been a creative combination of Ella and Dean, or the rare French version. Something rare and very similar in sound to Elina - Elisena (ell-ee-SAY-nuh). which is a plant and also a princess character from Amadis de Gaula. It is likely a variant of Alison, meaning "noble character." Neither Elladine nor Elisena were given in U.S. record, or at least less than 5 were born in any given year.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


This is a rare female form of Cassian (KASH-in, though KASS-ee-an is accepted), Cassius (KASH-us), and the Roman family name Cassianus. It is of Latin origin, meaning "hollow, empty." The girl's name Cassiana is pronounced KAH-shah-nah, KASS-ee-ah-nah, or KAH-see-ah-nah. Cassiane/Kassiane (KAH-see-ah-neh) and Cassia (KAH-shuh, KASS-ee-uh accepted) are other female forms.

Recorded in the years 1992, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, and 2016 (5 births) never more than seven times in a year, the baby name Cassiana is definitely rare. The spelling Casiana was only used in 1996 on 7 girls and 1998 on 5, and there is no recorded spelling of Cassiane. The spelling Kassiana was used in 2011 on 5 and 2014 on 6 girls. Cassia was used 61 times in 2015, making it the most popular option. Although these are rare feminine names, they do have a nice history of use and a broad range of countries it is used in. However, I do think people confuse Cassiana for a smoosh of Cassie/Cassandra and Ana/Anna, or think it might just be a form of Cassandra. Cassiana and Cassandra do share the Cass start, but one is of Latin origin, the other Greek. By the way, Cassandra means "shining upon man."

Cassiana is a genus of moth, and Cassia is used in the botanical name for Chinese cinnamon, cinnamomum cassia. Also, while there are several male saints named Cassius and Cassian, there is record of Saint Cassiana the Melodist, who was born in Constantinople around 800 A.D. and known as a great beauty and very intelligent. She was courageous, and she wrote poems and music under her own name - something only one other Byzantine woman did in this time period (she was Anna Comnena). The same saint is also referred to as Saint Cassia/Kassia, Cassiane/Kassiane, and Kassiani.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016



Hey, remember that one time an author made up a name and it suddenly surged in popularity? (I'm looking at you, Renesmee.) Well, add Vanellope to the list. I bet it sounds familiar, and that's because it's the name of the main female character in 2012's Wreck It Ralph, an animated kid's movie. I believe it is a candy-coated smoosh of 'vanilla' and Penelope. Vanellope von Schweetz is the lead racer in a game called "Sugar Rush," and she is cute, determined and witty. She is 9 years old, dislikes bullying, and loves candy. With Ralph's help they are able to get her out of glitch mode and save the residents of the arcade's games.

In 2012 when the movie came out the name was nonexistant, but by 2015 Vanellope was used 68 times. The spelling Vanelope was also used 7 times in 2015. While the credibility of this name is lacking thanks to being made up for a recent animated film, the plus side is that most people won't recognize where it came from. So if you want them to know where it came from, tell them, and if you don't, at least it has an appealing sound.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Best of the bottom 2016 stats part 3


Continuing after taking a break to talk about Tigris, here is a list of the stunning names given to only seven girls in 2016.

Accalia, Aissa, Ambriella, Anastassia, Annesley, Annisa, Antonette, Avabelle, Avriella
Belicia, Bell, Bia (a goddess), Bitania, Brigitta, Briona, Bronte, Branwen
Cecilie, Chandra, Chetana, Chriselle, Claritza, Corazon
Daciana, Deidra, Derica, Deva, Domino, Doriana
Eisele, Eleri, Eline, Elisea, Emmelina, Elora, Enora, Essa, Eudora, Evania
Fatimatou, Faviola, Felina, Fionnuala, Florentina, Fortune
Gabriana, Gael, Garnet, Gene, Genoveva, Giordana, Gwenneth, Gwynneth
Haydan, Helina, Hodaya, Holliday (possibly the extra L is to give notice that it's being used as a name and not the word)
Ilyse, Isana
Jara, Jarah, Jem, Jenia, Jera, Jerra, Jet, Jezebelle, Jora
Kaede, Kathalia (which is a place name), Kei, Keirsten, Kelsa, Kesha, Kindra, Kirstin, Korinna
Larimar*, Leonore, Lilana, Lior, Lisbet, Lolly, Louna, Lucelia, Lucine, Lunetta, Lyria
Magenta, Marabel, Maryjane, Mazarine, Mystic
Nastasia, Nigella, Nitara
Omaria, Omnia, Oralia, Oria, Oriya
Padme, Patty, Pennylane (probably written Penny Lane in practice)
Raissa, Ramira, Rashida, Roy, Rune
Sadira, Sanna, Season, Shine, Shona, Sibylla, Sira, Silvie, Sincerity, Sorcha, Sorrel, Sulamita
Talullah, Tamora, Theory, Tigerlilly, Tilia, Triana
Valena, Valley, Vannia, Venezia
Windy, Wonder

*Larimar is a combination of Larissa and the root mar, meaning "sea." It is not a typical name, nor a typical "smoosh," and would not be used if it weren't for the Larimar gemstone, which is also known as Stefilia's Stone (for reasons unknown), Atlantis stone, and the dolphin stone. It is found in the Dominican Republic.

Monday, July 25, 2016



Tigris (TY-griss) is a name of Latin origin meaning "tiger," and it is used as the species name of the tiger family, Panthera Tigris. It is the name of the Tigris River that runs through Iraq and Turkey, and it connects with the Euphrates River. Legend has it that Saint Patrick had a sister named Tigris, and she is listed as a Catholic saint in her own right. She had at least five children, and it is said that they were five boys who all became bishops - one of which may have been Saint Loman of Trim. In Thermodon and Tiigris were the two river spirits Romans knew as Flumina, but they represented every river. In the movie Gladiator, the main character fights "the undefeated" Tigris of Gaul, and there is a Tigris character in The Hunger Games series as well.

A tigress (TY-gress) is a female tiger. The Tigress is the name of a 1927 silent film and a 1992 German film. There are characters named Tigress in DC Comics, Kung Fu Panda, and the Tigress comics by Heroic Publishing.

Although word names are popular, Tigress (female) and Tigris (unisex) are very rare, with no government statistics. It is also worth nothing that Tiger is used as a name, mainly for boys. In 2015 Tiger was not used on girls, but was given to 28 boys, and in general since at least 1962. Tigra, a feminine name with the same meaning, was only used five times in 1988 and five times in 1991.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Best of the bottom pt.2 (Girls)

Continuing from the last post, here are beautiful and rare names from the very bottom of the SSA extended list in 2015. I do try to make sure they are all "real" names that have been used before. Not sure how many more of these posts will be written or if I will get to the boys, so enjoy, and tell me which ones you like!

6 times used in 2015

Abela, Abelina, Aleska, Alexine, Amabelle, Anthem, Aradia, Aricia, Arlena, Athaliah
Bess, Bettina, Bibianna, Blakesley, Branwen, Briceyda, Brizeida, Brynja, Bryony
Callalily, Caralena, Castella, Catherina, Cecille, Charlena, Cherith, Christiane, Christmas, Cicilia, Cipriana, Circe, Clemence, Cloris, Corrinne, Cristabel
Dariona, Deidre, Delphia, Denisa, Devlin, Dhara, Diona, Dione, Drusilla, Dyna
Edina, Elvina, Elvy, Emanuelle, Emelda, Enza, Eponine, Erendira, Ernestina, Eula, Evanora
Faria, Fauna, Fayza, Felicitas, Feyza, Fiorela, Florina, Fox
Gal, Galadriel, Galena, Gavrielle, Ghita, Gloriann, Gracianna, Griselle
Heloisa, Hildana, Hildegard
Ilma, Ilya, Isadore
Jessamyn, Joaquina, Josefa
Kalypso, Katarzyna, Keirstin, Kiki, Kohana
Lauriana, Layden, Lazara, Leandra, Lelaina, Leontine, Lilijana, Lima, Lin, Livinia, Loki, Lolana, Luann, Lucilia, Luvina, Lydiana, Lyn, Lysandra
Magdalina, Magdaline, Maiden, Mandolin, Marcianna, Marine, Marquetta, Marquita, Mayana, Melita, Micheline, Momina, Mythili
Natividad, Nazarene, Nimue, Ninfa
Olivet, Otilia, Ottilia
Pace, Pasqualina, Pax, Pelagia, Petal, Pristine, Prairie
Quetzal, Quianna
Romana, Romelia, Romilly, Roosevelt, Rosalva
Sabrine, Saga, Sandrine, Saraphina, Sophronia
Tansy, Tarya, Theophilia, Trillian, Tristine, Tzippora
Valor, Valora, Velvet, Veronique, Victoriana
Zephyra, Zetta, Zsazsa (might be ZsaZsa or Zsa Zsa in practice), Zsofia, Zuleima, Zuzana

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Best of the Bottom (Girls)

Here is a list of the best of the names at the very bottom of the 2015 extended SSA document. These names were given to five girls, are real names and have a history of use either in the U.S. or abroad. Some of them are truly stunning! (And refreshing, once you're knee deep in the L's and M's with all the various spelling choices for the same name and the J's which are mainly a collection of random trendy sounds.)

Aia, Aisosa, Albana, Alesya, Amabella, Amadea, Ambra, Aniella, Anneth, Annetta, Antalya, Apsara, Aquinnah, Araminta, Aspasia, Avalena

Bellatrix, Betselot, Brita

Caelia, Calyx, Cameo, Capella, Carlita, Carmia, Carola, Carsten (although typically used for boys), Cassiana, Clarita, Cliona, Clodagh, Clothilde, Concetta, Constantina, Coralina, Corinthia, Czarina

Dafina, Dagmar, Delancy, Delancey, Delphina, Desta, Doria, Dorsa, Dotty

Eilonwy, Elisiana, Eliska, Etana, Exie

Federica, Fiamma, Franziska


Ife, Iselin, Ishara, Izora

Jeannine, Jenella, Jensine, Jinny, Joelie/Joellie (I wonder if this is in honor of a Joel?), Josina, Joviana, Joyana, Justyne

Karine, Karinne, Katrielle

Leonella, Lise, Louann, Lovisa, Lowry, Luciella, Ludmila, Ludovica, Luziana

Macrina, Madalena, Madalene, Maleficent (surely you jest!), Malvina, Marigny, Marimar, Marisabel, Marjory, Martine, Mary-Frances, Mary-Jean, Mary-Jose, Mary-Louise, Michella, Mila-Marie, Miriana, Moria

Naria, Nastassia, Nerissa, Nicholette, Nicolena, Nilufer

Olesya, Olivine, Osiria

Panagiota, Parissa, Parvina, Prisma

Qiana, Qianna, Quintessa

Raziela, Rohan, Rohana, Ruqayya

Sebastiana, Serendipity, Sevilla, Shalimar, Stellaluna, Svana, Synnove

Tirsa, Tirza, Trillium


Valina, Varina, Velina, Verbena

Xochil, Xyliana

Yazmeen, Yuzu, Yvelisse

Zakeria, Zelene, Ziza, Zohara, Zorina

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I say Maibritt, you say Maybrit

Maybritt and Maybrit are modern spellings of the Nordic name Majbritt, pronounced MY-brit. It is largely used in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, in that order. The girl's name can be traced back to at least 1893. It is now a bit dated, as its heyday was between 1950 and 1980. Maybrit, Majbrit, Maibritt, Maibrit, Majbritta, Majbritte, and -th endings such as Maibrith have also been used. The 'maj' element of the name comes from Maja (and ultimately from Maria, whose meaning is contested) and can also mean May (the month), while 'britt' comes from Britta, from the Celtic name Brighid (prn: BREED), meaning "exalted one." Brighid/Bridget was a goddess in Irish mythology. The takeaway for meaning is "exalted woman."

May-Britt Moser is a Norwegian psychologist and neuroscientist who was a Nobel laureate. Majbritt Morrison was the victim of racial violence that initiated the 1958 Notting Hill race riots. She later wrote Jungle West 11. Maibritt Saerens is a Danish actress. Maybrit Illner is a German journalist, and her name is pronounced MY-brit.

Other combination names with Maj or Britt exist, including Majken/Maiken, Annbritt/Britanna, and Ellabritt.

Monday, July 18, 2016


Eternity graffiti, Arthur Stace

Eternity is an intriguing option as a girls baby name. While word names are always popular, those with grand meanings are favorites. Serenity, for example, has been climbing the charts steadily and now sits high at #71. Eternity, however, remains rare. In 2015 there were only 84 baby girls given the name, which is about the same amount for the past decade. It has only been used since about 1990, which is when Calvin Klein introduced the perfume Eternity. However, the universal concept of eternity (mathematical, philosophical, religious or otherwise) has been around for, pun intended, eternity, and there is no off-putting association for it.

From old Latin aeturnus, Eternity means "without beginning or end." Synonym: forever. It is easy to see as a name - just like Destiny or Trinity. It has a modern, feminine sound, like Eve, Lily (currently ranking at #25) or Emily (currently ranking at #8). Nicknames could be Etty, Teri, or Terny, but I'm sure you could get creative - but it doesn't need a nickname.