Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yarden

Like yesterday's post on Yardley, Yarden is extremely similar in every way - nature name, place name, rare, but it seems to work as a boy's name just a tiny bit more than Yardley thanks to it's trending -n ending. However, the similarity in sound to "garden" makes it seem a bit whimsical-meets-tomboy for a girl. The perfect unisex name.

The statistics say Yarden is for girls, though. While Yardley was given to 9 girls in 2014 and none in 2015, and not given to boys at all, the name Yarden was given to 7 girls in 2014, then 5 in 2011 and none between those dates. Yarden previously had a run between 2002 and 2008, missing some years between, and not given more than 11 times in a year. It started being used on girls in 1984 with 6 births (probably five and less than five births for any number of years beforehand) and started being used on boys in 1990 with 5 births. Interestingly, Yarden seems to switch sides: given to boys in the years it's not used on girls and vice versa, but not strictly so. For example, Yarden was used on both genders in the early 90's, but more so on girls. Then between 1996 and 2001 it was more used on boys - in fact only once on girls in 2000, but then after 2002 it wasn't used on boys again until 2009.

Yarden is a Hebrew name, unlike Yardley which is English. It means "to flow down, to descend" in reference to the movement of a river - specifically the Jordan river. Indeed, this was the original word/name that Jordan derived from (like most European names, j and y are frequently switched and/or misspoken by English speakers). Yarden is considered unisex but sometimes Yardena is given to girls. Given that Jordan and Yarden have the same meaning, this could make an excellent alternative to parents that like Jordan but fear it's popularity or think it might be dated.

A couple of famous namesakes include Yarden Gerbi, judoka world champion from Israel and Olympic bronze medalist, and Yarden Cohen, an Israeli footballer.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Yardley

Yardley, also sometimes spelled Yeardley or Yeardlea (less often Yeardlee, Yeardleigh and Yeardlie), is an English surname occassionally found as a given name. It means "enclosed (fenced) meadow," and is pronounced YARD-lee.

There are a few namesakes for Yeardley: George Yeardley, plantation owner and a former governor of Virginia whose wife was Temperence Flowerdew Yaerdley; voice actress Yeardley Smith, who was born Martha (Marge, The Simpsons); lacrosse player Yeardley Love, who was murdered; also Quaker missionary John Yeardley. The spelling Yardley is largely used as a place name, and it can be seen on several people as a surname, but as a given name this is the name of patent attorney Yardley Chittick, born Charles Yardly Chittick, and news reporter Megyn Kelly's daughter. The cosmetics brand Yardley of London was established in 1770. In the news last year (2015) a baby was named Yardley and her brother was named Camden for Orioles home field Camden Yards.

Other rare names derived from Old English leah include Elmsley, Oxley, Brinkley, Hinckley, Langley, Greenley, Ainsley, Audley, Bentley, Tinsley and Blakeley along with the more common Ashley, Hayley, Bradley, and Presley.

The spelling Yardley has never been popular - in fact it's been very rare, only given to 9 girls in 2014, none in 2015, 5 in 2016, and 11 girls in each of the years 2013, 2012 and 2011, with only a handful sporadically before then, starting 1977. For boys, only a few handfuls here and there between 1968 and 2010. Yeardley and the other spelling options seem to be nonexistent in the U.S.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Moana

While Kai, a Hawaiian name that means "sea," has been increasing in popularity, Moana may just catch up. Moana (moh-AH-nah) means "ocean" in Hawaiian, Polynesian and Maori (New Zealand). Both Kai and Moana are unisex. Moana first appeared with the SSA in 1941, given to 8 girls, and there are no recordings for boys. It's been used very sporadically, but it wasn't until 2000 that it picked up to steady, albeit rare, usage. In 2015 it was given to 18 girls, and in 2016 that number rose to 56.

Moana is also the newest Disney princess name: Moana is a Polynesian chief's daughter who uses the help of the demi-god Maui to finish a family quest and perfect her skills of navigation. In Polynesian mythology, Maui was responsible for raising the Hawaiian islands from the ocean floor. ... Moana's mom in the movie, Sina, may have also been based on a Polynesian goddess of the same name, but we won't know for sure until the movie comes out.

The Disney movie is not the first film titled Moana - in 1926 a documentary titled Moana came out by director Robert Flaherty. Set in Samoa, it follows a man named Moana and his Samoan village.

The House of Moana is a Hawaiian noble family which started with Moana kāne, whose granddaughter was named Moana Wahine. Many of their descendants were rulers in the House of Kamehameha. Sometimes the name is used as a word to describe "ocean blue," or lanu moana.

There are two namesakes for Moana, however, neither are Hawaiian. Moana Rosa Pozzi is an Italian adult film actress (and the reason why the main character in the Disney movie will be renamed Vaiana in Italy), and Moana Maree Maniapoto is a New Zealand singer.

Moana Radio is a broadcast in New Zealand. In French Polynesia, "moana wrestling" is a traditional folk wrestling style, also practiced in Tahiti.