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Sailor

sailor
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.

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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…