Saturday, October 29, 2016


Ailani (EYE-law-nee) is a Hawaiian girl's name meaning "chief," which makes it a very powerful yet feminine name. If you're thinking about nicknames, you could call her Ali, Aia, Lani, Aila (sounds like Isla) or even Annie. This name did not rank in the U.S. top 1000 until 2016 with a rank of #913. In 2015 Ailani was given to 206 girls. Perhaps with the new Disney movie Moana, this and other Hawaiian names will gain interest.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Oscar de le Renta 

Sailor is a baby name with immediate imagery impact: an actual sailor on the sea, or perhaps someone in the Navy. While the word sailor as we know it today does refer to a person who sails a boat, and it has meant that in English since the 17th century, as a surname it comes from Old French sailleor, meaning "leaper, dancer," which was used as an occupational surname, and from Old German seil, meaning "rope," as an occupational name: rope maker. There is possibly a connection here between the use of ropes in sailing. It sounds summery, modern and unisex. This name is rising in popularity, from only five boys given the name in 1997 and then ten girls in 1998, in 2015 it increased to 42 boys and 234 girls, making it rank just outside the top 1000 for girls (but still rare on boys). You may have heard this name on a little one before, but perhaps Sailor isn't how that child's name was spelled. Saylor, Sayler, and Saylar have also been used, possibly because of the different recorded spellings of the surname.

Part of the reason behind Sailor's rise in popularity may have started with model Christie Brinkley bestowing it on her daughter in 1998. Then, with word names gaining in popularity in general, it took off. Much more recently it was given to Bristol Palin's daughter, Kristin Cavallari's daughter Saylor James, Liv Tyler's son Sailor Gene Gardner, and just this year to Joanna Garcia's daughter. However, use as a given name can be seen earlier than this. American boxer Charles Presser, born 1995, went by Sailor Burke in the ring, Sailor Stroud was an American major league baseball player born in 1885, English cricketer Sailor Young was born in 1876, Sailor Brown was an English footballer born in 1915, Sailor Art Thomas was a bodybuilder and wrestler born in 1924, and Sailor Roberts, born 1931, was an American poker player.

In fiction there is the anime character Sailor Moon, where the sailor theme applies to many characters, and Sailor Steve Costigan, a character created by Robert E. Howard. You can also listen to several different songs with Sailor in the title.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Gascon language girls names

Gascon is a dialect of Occitan spoken in Gascony, France, whose speakers at one point in history were Basque. Here are some beautiful and unique female names from this origin, which are unlike anything you've seen before. None of these names were used in 2016 in the U.S. except for Adelaida, Alaria, Belina, Celina and Clarie.

Adelaïda (from Adelaide)
Alamanda, Allemande
Alissende, Alissenda
Berengaria, Bereguièira
Brunissen, Brunissenda
Esterelle (thought to be a Provençal fairy who protects pregnant women, means "star")
Jacotte (found in Foix)
Magalona (Occitan name for the planet Venus as well)
Rixen (from Rixende)
Sança (prn. SAHN-sha) also Sancia and Sancie
Séguine, Seguina
Vuissance, Vuissancia

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I just caught sight of this beauty in the Dictionary of Medieval Names and it turns out this female name was used on someone with a bit of a pedigree. Brunissende de Comborn was the daughter of the Viscount of Comborn in France in medieval times. However, the first ruler, Archambaud, was of Merovingian descent. There are at least two named Brunissende in the family tree that I can see - Brunissende de Limoges, married to Archambaud the Bearded (1147) and from then on called Brunissende de Comborn. Her name was also written Brunissent, Brunicenda, Brunissen and Brunicens, but her birth name may have been Humberga. Delightfully, one of her daughters was named Melisende. Brunissende de Thiern (1235 or 1318) was daughter of Archambaud VII. Her name has also been written in the Latin Brunicendis.

Are those the only namesakes for this rare French name? Nope. Brunissende of Cardona was another, wife of Roger IV of Foix, the son of Roger-Bernard II the Great. Their son named one of his daughters Brunissende as well - she married Elias VII of Perigord. Then there's the daughter of Vicomte Pierre II de Grailly, born 1315, and also Brunissende de Lautrec, from between 1325 and 1379, daughter of Amalric, Vicomte de Lautrec. So, very historical.

But that's not all. Brunissende is also a character in an Arthurian romance written in Occitan called Le Roman de Jaufré. The tale is of a newly knighted squire who goes on a quest, meets a young maiden named Brunissen, and marries her in King Arthur's court. Interestingly, name-cousin Belisent is used as a character name in other Arthurian romances, including Idylls of the King. Their other name-cousin Melisande is a literary appellation as well.

Brunissende can technically mean "brown, tan," the same as Bruna, Brunhilda and Brunelle, in modern Latin and French. However, it also means "shield strength" or "strong protection," from the ancient Germanic brun and the same element used in Millicent (Melisende) and Belisent (Belissendis). It is a rare name even in France, where only three births were recorded in 2013.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


While Kieran seems to be all the rage lately, no one pays attention to the Cornish version of the name, meaning "little black one." Pieran is the same as Kieran because of the rule of language making the Gaelic "k" a "p" in Cymric. A transcription of Piran, sometimes written Perran, or even Perrian and Pierrian, this is the patron saint of miners and of Cornwall. The name is basically unheard of, unused in the U.S.

Some locations bear this name in Cornwall. Saint Piran died c. 480 after being an abbot, with possible Irish roots. He is linked to the Irish saint Ciaran of Saigir. His legend starts with being thrown over a cliff into the sea tied to a boulder. He calms the sea and floats to safety in Cornwall, becomes a hermit with great qualities so he is gifted the ability to perform miracles. Then he made the Abbey of Lanpiran with his followers and helped the community perfect the art of tin-smelting. His flag is a white cross on a black background, often used to represent Cornwall.

Friday, October 7, 2016


Accalia (ah-KAH-lee-uh, uh-KAY-lee-uh) was the Etruscan woman from mythology that cared for the twins Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, after they were suckled by a she-wolf or the goddess Rhea Silvia in the form of a wolf, who took them in when they were abandoned as the sons of the god Mars. In many places you will not find a meaning for this baby name, and in some instances the listed meaning will be "she-wolf," which is inaccurate. Accalia is likely from Acca Larentia, who was the wife of the shepherd Faustulus. Together they had twelve sons who became the Arval Brotherhood. In some cases it is said she was called lupa because of her personality, in others she was called that because she was a prostitute, and this is probably what spurred the legend of the she-wolf. In another version she was either a prize that Hercules won or a woman he helped get married, and the property she inherited upon that husband's death she then gave to the Roman people. But Accalia's meaning from Acca Larentia is "mother of the lares," as it is certainly connected to the Lares - guardian deities of the land or household.

Accalia (maybe an alternate name for Larentalia) may have been a feast thrown in this woman's honor, as her legend turned her into a goddess - the divine ancestor of Rome. Acca Larentia has gone by other names as well: Larenta, Larentia, Lara, Larunda, Larentina and Mater Laum.

Accalia Hipwood is a British radio host in Dubai. Accalia Quintana is a young actress. Accalia and the Swamp Monster is a story book with art by Kelli Scott Kelley; the original artwork has been on display at the Masur Museum of Art and the LSU Museum of Art. Accalia is also a novelette by Gabriel J. M. and Accalia is a novel by Kimberly Olsen, both are loosely based on Accalia's association with wolves from ancient mythology.

Accalia is rare given as a baby name in the U.S. In 2015 it was only given seven times, but every year since 2006, with an additional six in 2003 and five in 1999. As a side note, I noticed the number of girls names starting with Ac- are very few. Acacia and Acadia are really the only two substantial ones.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Oscalie is the first Creole origin name to be featured here, and although it is a rare name you can find it every so often in France, Haiti and the South (maybe about 3 in the U.S. total). The name is a feminine French variant of Oscar, as well as Oscalia and perhaps Oscaria. Oscarine has been found in Quebec. There aren't any famous namesakes, but I bet a lot of little Oscalie's have been named in honor of a special Oscar in the family tree. Oscar was originally a Viking (Old Norse) name, Asger, meaning "god-spear." Oskaria and Oscaria are possibly feminine Swedish variants.