Friday, May 19, 2017

Girls Nicknames So Dated They're Cute

Some nicknames from times passed were used as given names on formal records, such as Lucie instead of Lucille or Lucinda, or Evie instead of Eve, just as is done today. There are other nicknames that are undeniably vintage, like Hattie or Icy. Some of them have already made a comeback, and some have yet to be rediscovered. Let's delve into the so-dated-they're-adorable nicknames, with possible full formal names that could go on the birth record.

Nan - traditionally used for Nancy, but also sometimes Anna. Nanetta also works, but there's a wealth of other names containing the element 'nan' that might be good for Nan as a nickname. Nancy was given to 306 girls in 2016, a rank of #900
Etty - sometimes used for Harriet or Henrietta, sometimes for Etta, and sometimes for Esther, but today you could use Etty as a nickname for anything starting with Et- including Eternity. Etty was given to 23 girls in 2016
Effy/Effie - typically used for Euphemia, you could reasonably use this for anything beginning in Ef-
Roz - for Rozlyn/Roslyn. Rozlyn was given to 74 girls in 2016, Roslynn to 28, and Roslyn to 215. Roz could work for any Roz- or Ros- name, such as Rozanna or Rosalyn
Mimi - a pet form of Miriam, but it could arguably be used for anything beginning with Mi- especially anything with another m in the middle, or starting and ending with m
Peggy - comes from Margaret, but could be used as a standalone name. Peggy was given to 19 girls in 2016
Mindy - also could be used as a standalone name, but she's short for Melinda, which was only given to 138 girls in 2016. She was brought back to attention thanks to a character in the movie "Kickass," and given to 88 girls in 2016
Dottie - used for Dorothy, she has a retro vibe. Dorothy ranked at #652 but Dottie was given to 36 girls in 2016
Elfie - a nickname for Elfreda/Elfrida, neither spelling used in 2016, nor was Elfie. I would say Elfie could also be used as a nickname for Delphine/Delfina, thought vintage nickname Della could also work for those two. Delphine was given to 45 girls in 2016 and Delfina to 27
Kitty - Kitty is just a bit more vintage of a nickname than Kathy or Katie for Katherine. Kitty was given to 7 girls in 2016
Ginny - used for both Virginia and Ginevra (as seen on the Harry Potter character). Ginny was given to 23 girls in 2016, while Ginevra was given to only 15, and Virginia to 599 with a rank of #517
Mitzi - comes from Mary/Maria through German, and Miriam. Mitzi was given to 16 girls in 2016
Madge - for Margaret, because I don't think Marge is quite ready
Bess - Bessie was given to 8 girls in 2016, Bess to 6
Maidie, Maida - some say Maida is an American name meaning "maiden," while others say it's a nickname for Magdalena. Maidah was given to 5 girls in 2016, Maida to 43, and Maidie to none
Mackie - a rarity used as a nickname for Macaria, which was given to 5 girls in 2016, Mackie to none
Dolly - made famous by Dolly Parton and the movie "Hello, Dolly." This one also comes from Dorothy, but Dolly has been used as a given name since the 17th century. Dolly was given to 41 girls in 2016
Nell - while Nell could be used for a multitude of names containing the same letters in that sequence, it came from Helen, Ellen and Eleanor. Nelle was a spelling given to 17 girls in 2016, Nellie to 200, Nelly to 104, and Nell to 69 (I'll also mention Nella, given to 58)
Tillie - traditionally used for Matilda
Millie - used for Millicent and other names with 'mill' in them, such as Camilla
Mamie - if you aren't familiar with Mamie, pronounced similarly to Ma'am, you'd never guess it was a nickname for Mary
Edie - pronounced EE-dee, this is short for Edith, which was given to 631 girls in 2016
Fanny - while I think Fannie Fern, others might still think about butts. Still, Fanny was given to 28 girls in 2016
Flory/Florrie & Flossie - traditionally used as nicknames for Florence, which was given to 246 girls in 2016
Minnie - this is usually Minerva's nickname, but it's been used on its own - Minnie Driver, Minnie Mouse. Minnie was given to 65 girls in 2016, Minerva to 65 as well
Dilly - has been used as a nickname for Daffodil. There might be some hesitation with these names, as is always the case. Neither was used in 2016
Franny - a nickname for Frances that has fallen out of favor. Frances was given to 716 girls in 2016, a rank of #446
Bridie - this wasn't used in the U.S. so much as Ireland, where it comes from Brighid. Still, Bridie was given to 5 girls in 2016
Bab, or Babs - for Barbara, which still ranks after all this time at #856
Cressa and Cressie - used for Cressida, more well known in England, but these could also work well for Crescentia. Cressida was given to 10 girls in 2016, Crescentia none, and neither nickname was used
Trudy - from Gertrude, which was given to 36 girls in 2016, Trudy to 24
Gussie - traditionally used for Augusta, which was given to a mere 25 girls in 2016, despite masculine August ranking on the boy's side at #193
Hetty - for Henrietta, which was given to 65 girls in 2016. Hetty was not used as a given name
Kizzie - Keziah/Kesiah
Lollie - Charlotte, but I think this would do well as a nickname for Lollia, Eulalia or Lolita. Lollie wasn't used last year, but Lolly was given to 7 girls.
Connie - not sure how "vintage" Connie really is, but it's uncommon enough that it could see a boost. Connie was given to 73 girls in 2016, full form Constance to 150
Mina - is a name in its own right and definitely works on its own, but it has been used as a nickname for Wilhelmina. It was given to 380 girls in 2016, a rank of #744. Wilhelmina was given to 114 girls
Vinnie - used as a nickname for Lavinia, but today it could be used on more international names like Vincenza or Vilhelmina. Vinnie and Vinny were not used in 2016, but Lavinia was given to 75 girls

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Idris

This name is currently worn by actor Idris Elba, whose birth name was Idrissa. He was born in the U.K. and his birth name name is of Krio African origin, chosen by his parents who came from countries in Africa. Guinean professional footballer Idrissa Sylla is an example of the African name as well.

Idris, as he shortens it, happens to be an ancient Welsh name meaning "ardent lord," pronounced IDD-riss. In legend, Idris Gawr was a leader of giants, and a mountain in Snowdonia was given his name - Cadair Idris, or "Idris's Chair." As a name it can be found as far back as the 6th century, but it was not really used in Britain until the 19th century.

Alternately, Idris is also an Arabic name meaning "lengthy learning," although some say it means "interpreter." It is most commonly pronounced idd-REES. This form of the name is worn by one the second prophet of Islam. He is sometimes identified as Enoch, from the Bible, because of his character description: "trustworthy," "patient," and "exalted."

Many people have had this name in real life, from all over the world. Idris of Libya was a Libyan politican, religious leader, and King of Libya from 1951 to 1969. General Idriss Déby Itno is a Chadian politician who is currently President of Chad. Two other politicians include Idris Waziri of Nigeria, and Idris Naim Sahin of Turkey. Idris Seabright was used as a pseudonym for author Margaret St. Clair. Idrees Sulieman was a trumpet player who was born Leonard Graham, and he changed his name upon converting to Islam. Idris Muhammad was a jazz drummer who did the same, changing his name from Leo Morris. The poet Idris Davies and the activist Idris Cox are two examples of namesakes from Wales.

There was also a royal line in Morocco, where Idris I and Idris II ruled the Idrisid Dynasty from 788 to 791, 791 to 828. Idris I, great-grandson of the prophet Muhammad, is credited with bringing Islam to Morocco. Idris II was born a couple months after the death of his father, so his Berber mother Kenza raised him among the Berbers, where he became very accomplished. As sultan, he refounded the city of Fez, unified Morocco through Islam, and left behind a legacy of monarchy that was continued for over a thousand years.

Used since at least 1914 in the U.S., the spelling Idris was given to 138 boys in 2015 and 175 in 2016. The spelling Idriss was only given to 11 boys in 2015, 13 in 2016, and the name Idrissa was given to 8 boys in 2015, 7 in 2016.

Idris has also been used in Mary Shelley's The Last Man, but as the name of a woman. The character is described as very loving. There are other delightful names in this book as well, such as Perdita, Merrival and Evadne.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Rarest Names of 2016



The U.S. top 1000 baby names and extended list is here (thank you Social Security Administration!), and my priority is picking out the gems from the very bottom of that list. While Emma and Noah are the current rulers of popularity, names like Cassiana, Euphemia and Faustine were only given to 5 baby girls into 2016, and Pippin and Lonan only given to 5 boys in 2016. In this post I'll talk about names that really stood out, and legitimate names at the very bottom of the barrel.

One thing I noticed right away was a large amount of boy names ending in -iel at the bottom of the list (5 boys in 2016). The letter Y had four - Yaciel, Yassiel, Yekusiel, and Yatniel. There was also Remiel, Raniel, Lexiel, Keriel, Joxiel, Joriel, Jazziel, Jaydiel, Ithiel, Eddiel, Doniel, Deriel, Azariel, Audiel, Andiel, Alexiel and Avriel.

For girls, I noticed the Brazilian (and Venezuelan?) -y ending on popular girl's names: Gabrielly, Isabelly, and so on. I also noticed a decline in Renesmee and alternate spellings of that name, and also a possible increase in names not ending in the traditional -a.

Boys

Maui - this name has been used for girls (7 in 2014 and 7 in 2015) since 2003, but for boys since 1996. In 2014 it disappeared, but with the recent film "Moana" it is back - 5 boys in 2015 and 5 in 2016. In mythology and in the movie, Maui is a male god, but today we are most familiar with the Hawaiian island. Other Hawaiian names given to 5 boys in 2016: Moa, Kameo, Kamau, Kamahao, Kaikea.

Zerin - a Persian name meaning "golden," I wonder why this isn't used more. It is still used in Turkey and Bosnia, and it can also be spelled Zerrin or Zarin. Zerin is a minor planet/asteroid name. Spelled Zarin, this is the name of a comic book character. Zarin and Zarrin are very common Iran place names.

Rennick - a family surname that seems like it should be right up there with Finnick or Kendrick in terms of popularity.

Aragorn - this Lord of the Rings character name is so similar to Aragon, the place in Spain. It was given to 5 boys in 2016.

Varin - this boy's name from India is Sanskrit for "rich in gifts." According to the Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Monier Williams, Varin is a deity.

Areion (ah-RAY-on) - more commonly spelled Arion, this is an immortal horse in Greek myth. He has wings and the gifts of speed and speech.

Adagio (ah-DAH-jee-oh) - the musicial term is Italian for "slowly," but it seems like any other boy's gio name, such as Gianni or Giorgio.

Pippin - Pippin is a fun-to-say, fun-to-look-at short form of a name that can be shortened even further to "Pip." It is found as a hobbit name in the Lord of the Rings books, and was the name of a few Frankish kings. The hobbit's full name was Peregrine, while the Frankish king's name was also spelled Pepin and may have been related to an Old French word meaning "bib." There is also a Broadway musical based of the son of Charlemagne, who himself was a son of one of these Frankish Pepin's, called "Pippin."

Seanix - Seanix Zenobia, a carpenter from the TV show "Treehouse Masters," truly has one of the most unusual names I've seen. Zenobia is not usual, really - I've written about the name before, but Seanix is a whole new ballgame. It seems to be made up? He pronounces it SHAW-nyx.

Other names given to 5 boys in 2016 that probably deserve their own post: Theodoro, Thaddius, Virgilio, Vasily, Thurmond, Tiberias, Tayo & Taye, Tag, Taggert, Stelios, Sumir, Sulieman, Sidarth, Serafim, Salinger, Osric, Orland, Romain, Ringo, Rennen, Mowgli, Olek, Norbert, Moa, Montague, Kitson, Kincade, Maxence, Matthis, Marx, Arcadio, Mercury, Mobin, Gioele, Hux, Heathcliff, Gordy, Guillaume, Gunnison, Isauro, Isandro, Isadoro, Ives, Isra, Jem, Jetsen, Joyce, Abbot, Gradin, Garvin, Joris, Algernon, Alistaire, Alvan, Andress, Aniceto, Antonello, Chaplin, Chanson, Celio, Caldwell, Eldric & Eldrick, Bromley, Beasley, Barclay, Caffrey, Bevan, Chrisander, Enver, Erasto, Bart, Basile, Attilio, Aubin, Desmund, Christobal, Crusoe, Dannon, Dionysus, Dorsey, Ebon, Errion, Esher, Fraser, Franck, Frances, Forrester.

And as always, some fun words-as-names on boys: Mayhem,Trance, Tracker, Temple, Solo (undoubtedly a few of these were because of Han Solo), Satchel (a celebrity baby name), Savant, Quince, Pier, Nexus, Jester, Hawkeye, Galaxy, Frost, Fortune, Fennec (as in Fennec fox), Emperor, Coven, Coast, Choice, Carbon, Camper, Butch, Brand, Brace, and Armor.

Girls

Thierry (tee-AIR-ee) - this French boy's name and variant of Theodoric, meaning "people's ruler," was given to 5 girls in 2016, and I do believe it's the first time I've ever loved a name gender swap. Not sure how I feel about the 5 girls named Troy, but there were also 5 named Troian, which is the name of an actress on the TV show "Pretty Little Liars."

Wilmary - a Latin name seen often in Venezuela, which at first sight looks like a smush of Will and Mary; it is in fact a feminization of Wilmer.

Velia (VAY-lee-uh) - from the Roman family name Velius, it likely means "concealed." It sounds so close to Vienna and other names like Aurelia that it has potential to rise in popularity (albeit slowly).

Tisa - a very old Slavic shortm form of the name Tihoslava meaning "quiet and calm." It has also been used as a nickname for Theresa, as an alternate spelling for the Serbian name Tisza, and is a name in African-Swahili meaning "ninth-born."

Tryphena (trih-FEE-nah) - Tryphena of Rome was mentioned in the Bible, who may be the same person as Antonia Tryphaena, a "Client Queen" of Thrace. The name is Greek, meaning "delicate." According to Wikipedia the name was revived thanks to the English Puritans.

Yolandi - a South African variant of Yolanda, from medieval French Yolande, quite possibly a variant of Violante, meaning "violet." (Yolanda also sounds similar to Iolanthe, the Greek name for "violet."

Sussie - a Scandinavian pet form of Susanna, more commonly spelled Sussi.

Sofina & Sofiana - these legit variants of Sofia could make a great option for parents who detest the popularity of Sofia/Sophia.

Ski - I'm not sure where this comes from but for some reason Ski just seems so cute, like "ski bunny."

Shannara - this one comes from the Shannara Chronicles, which was on TV a year or two ago and currently waiting on season two.

Legit names that deserve their own individual posts (later, of course) that were also given to 5 girls in 2016: Stellina, Soteria, Timea, Ysa, Willamena, Veruca, Uliana, Belicia, Catherina & Catharina, Cherith, Ceridwen, Tulia, Trillium, Tabea, Sulamita, Starling, Stana, Sheba, Honoria, Idaliz & Idalis, Elisiana, Idania, Ilyse, Feodora & Fedora, Frederica, Euphemia, Aquinnah, Karenza,Francia, Edelina, Jera, Alfonsina, Alvira, Bridie, Bernadine, Corinthia, Demitra, Destina, Sabela, Rumor, Rozelle & Rozella, Priscella, Rosamond, Prisma, Liadan, Leonella, Lazuli, Lucretia, Lovisa, Rowdy, Nohelia, Orpha, Padma, Pace, Zizi, Aelia, Akiva, Anneth, Antionette, Aureliana, Iria, Iseult, Isidra, Jazira & Jazeera, Macaria, Manon, Mrytle, Mythili, and Molina.

Less words-as-names for girls, but I couldn't end this post without mentioning Blessence. No, that's all. Just wanted to make sure everyone knew Blessence was a name now. Also spotted 5 Pocahontas.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Perdita

Perdita charles robert leslie
Perdita by Charles Robert Leslie 

Perdita (per-DEET-uh) may sound familiar to you for one of two references: either the mother Dalmation from "101 Dalmatians," the Disney movie (or the Dodie Smith novel The One Hundred and One Dalmatians), or the Shakespeare character from The Winter's Tale. Despite her familiarity, she's exceedingly rare - given to only about 30 girls in the U.S. between 1950 and 1980. In fact, the Social Security Administration shows no record for her after 1970. She was not given to any girls (at least not more than four) in 2016. Which is mind-boggling given her literary credentials and upbeat, classy sound. The name is even rare in its home country, where only 7 girls were named Perdita in the U.K. and Wales as of 2013.

They say Shakespeare invented the name. Meaning "lost," from Latin perditus, it suited the character. In Perdita's story, she is left as an infant to die. Her mother, Queen Hermione, is imprisoned because Perdita's father, King of Sicily, believes his wife was unfaithful. The story is predictable because it has been done time and again: peasants find her and raise her, then a prince comes across her and, because she's just so beautiful, he decides he must marry her. Florizel is his name, and they run away together because she is not a princess and his father will not let him marry anyone below his station. However, all is revealed in the end for a happily-ever-after.

Perdita was used as a psuedonym for poet and actress Mary Robinson in her correspondence with King George IV (at the time just Prince of Wales), who went by Florizel in their letters. They took their names from the Shakespeare play because Robinson became famous after playing Perdita on stage.

More recently, namesakes include actress Perdita Weeks, actress Perdita Avery, Canadian track athlete Perdita Felicien, women's rights activist Perdita Huston, and author Perdita Buchan.

In fiction, Perdita was used in the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, as a character in Mary Shelley's The Last Man, and the novel Stardust by Neil Gaiman, and as a title and main character in a novel by Hillary Cunningham Scharper. In the 2008 movie "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day," this is a character's stage name.

Lastly, Perdita is a genus of North American bees, and a moon of the planet Uranus.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Florizel

florizel perdita
Florizel and Perdita by Mary F Raphael


Florizel is a rare boy's name seen in many literary works, and sometimes on influential men both past and present.

Florizel's name undoubtedly comes from the Latin flor, meaning "flower," while the zel element might be a rare medieval Germanic ending (as in Etzel and Wenzel). However, it could just be a medieval spin on an otherwise Latin name. It's also recorded as Florisel, as seen in Florisel of Nicea (1532), Book X from the Amadis of Gaul tales. Florisando may be another variant of the name, as seen in a novel that was possibly titled Florisando by Ruiz Paez de Ribera, which was a sixth book in the Amadis of Gaul romances. The books were published starting in 1508. It looks like this was a chivalric name based on a play on flore-sindo, Sindo being a nickname for Latin names such as Gumersindo.

Florizel was later used in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (1623), and it was the name King George IV assumed when writing to Mary Robinson, who went by Perdita in the letters.

Later the name appeared in Benjamin Disraeli's novel Endymion (1880), Henry Beston's Firelight Fairy Book (1919), Sir Arthur Somervell's operetta Princess Zara, and the last book in a cycle of four by Robert Louis Stevenson titled The Adventure of Prince Florizel and a Detective. Florismart and Florival are also seen in literature; Florival in George Colman's The Deuce is in Him, Florismart in Song of Roland.  Florimel (Florimell) is a similar name, used for a female character by Edmund Spencer in The Faerie Queene. The etymology for this name is more clear: flor, "flower," and mel, "honey."

In real life the name Florizel was worn by Sir Florizel Glasspole, a Governor-General of Jamaica, and also Florizel von Reuter, a violinist and composer. Elaborate female forms of Flora, or perhaps feminizations of Florizel, include Florizella and Florizelle. Fun fact: supposedly the original name of TV series "Coronation Street" was "Florizel Street."

There may be some concern over Florizel sounding too "feminine" for a modern boy's name. In case the literary and historical namesakes haven't won you over, the potential nickname Zell isn't enough, and you have no Flora to honor, perhaps consider Florian, which is similar to other popular boy's names such as Adrian, Julian, Cillian, Dorian, Finnian and Damian.

Source for list of names above

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Loria

You're probably thinking, "Take Lauren, create the nickname Laurie, change the spelling to Lori, then make a full name out of that nickname and you get Loria." Really, though, it is the elaborate Latin version of Lora, which came as a pet name for Eleanor in Italian, and also a short form of Dolores in Spanish. Whichever you prefer, Eleanor means "sun, bright," and Dolores "pain, sorrow." In modern times, however, Loria came about in English as a frilly version of Laura, which means "laurel" in Latin.

Although this is a rare name, it has been used since at least 1907 and it ranked in 1961 and 1962, the height of its popularity overall. However, it should be noted that it was only given to 132 girls in 1961 - the population was smaller so it took less to make it on the top 1000. In 2009 it was given to a mere 5 girls, and we haven't seen it since. Loriana, however, was given to 17 girls in 2016, and Lorianna to 7. It might be brought off the endangered list due to recent pop-culture use: this is a kingdom name in the fictional world of Fillory, which comes from The Magicians by Lev Grossman. His 2009 book was recently made into a TV series of the same name.

Loria is a place name as well, located in Veneto, Italy. The name most likely derives from the ancient Roman city Laurentum. There are also a few birds with Loria in their species name - these were named after ethnographer Lamberto Loria.

As a bonus, Loria can have the nickname Lore instead of Lori/Lorie. The definition of Lore is "a particular body of knowledge or tradition" according to Merriam-Webster. Mostly people associate the word lore with legends and oral tales. If Laurel (365 girls in 2015 and #772), Laura (1003 girls in 2015 and #322), Lorelei (700 girls in 2015 and #448 with the spelling Lorelai #651) or Lauren (2677 girls in 2015 and #119) are names that appeal to you, but you dread their eternal popularity, consider Loria. The spelling Lauria started being used around 1915, but it stopped being used in 1992. There are plenty of other variants and spellings of these names, including Laure, Loriana, Lauralei, Lorelie, Laureline, and Loralea.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Oslo

Oslo is a place name, the capital of Norway since about 1300 AD, but place names on kids are nothing new for American parents. Oslo is on-trend with other names that end in O, such as Otto and Arlo. In Norway this name is not used, but in the U.S. it has been used since about 2006, and was given to 16 boys in 2015.

Founded in 1049 by Harald Hardrada, the city Oslo had burned down in a fire in 1624, so the people moved it close to Akershus Fortress to rebuild. This was during the reign of Christian IV of Denmark, and then the city was renamed Christiania in honor of him. After 1925 the original Norwegian name was restored. It is currently a "global city" with a population estimated at 658,390.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Venla

Here's a look at Venla, which is currently (2017) Finland's most popular girls name. This #1 pick is a form of the boy's name Wendel, meaning "vandal." An older form is Vendla, and an alternate Swedish form is Vendela. Wendelin is the ancient Germanic male form, Vendelin the Czech form. Wendela and Wendelina pop up for girls from time to time, giving the option for Wendy as a nickname. Venla is used in Sweden, Norway and Denmark as well, just not as much. It has not been used in the U.S.

The first novel written in Finnish, Seven Brothers, features a character named Venla of Männistö. This may have brought attention to the name when it was published in 1870, bringing it from zero to at least five births in 1920. The Venla relay is the women's version of the more commonly known Jukola relay, an orienteering relay race that started in 1949 because of the Seven Brothers novel.

Since 1982 the Venla has been a Finnish television award. Venla Hovi is a Finnish ice hockey player, and Venla Niemi is a Finnish orienteering competitor,

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Suvi

suvikoponen

Suvi (SOO-vee) is a Finnish poetic word name meaning "summer." The word used in general for summer is kesä, so this is a bit like the American use of "fall" in reference to the season and Autumn as a baby name, although autumn is used in context of the season almost as much as fall (it could be a regional difference). The name is used in other Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Norway, though not as much. It is not unheard of for Suvi to be combined with another name, such as Suvi-Tuuli or Suvi-Marja, for the double-barreled effect. This site claims the name was used as early as 1150 or before. Finnish supermodel Suvi Koponen and Finnish taekwondo master Suvi Mikkonen are two native namesakes. In the U.S. the name is rare, given to only 14 girls in 2015, 11 in 2016, and only used since about 2007. Here is Finland's data for the name Suvi, which tells us about 440 girls were given the name between 2010 and 2017, and it has been used as a name there since at least 1920.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Baylor

Baylor is a name that sounds similar to modern favorites Blair and Taylor, giving it a slightly preppy vibe, yet it has an almost medieval underlying quality - like something out of a fantasy story. It is generally taken to mean "one who delivers goods" from the English term bailor. We are a bit uncertain, but it is first found as a surname after the Norman Invasion in the form of Baeler, in Westmoreland. As a German occupational surname, from beile, it means "measuring stick," given in reference to those who made them or inspected them.

Baylor is relatively new in terms of popularity, first popping onto the top 1000 in 2014 for boys, with 218 boys given the name that year, and soon it will break the top 1000 for girls because it was given to 215 girls in 2015. It remains an uncommon choice for either gender - at least until it climbs higher on the chart. Popularity might be in part thanks to Baylor University, founded by R.E.B. Baylor. The spelling Bailor was given to 5 boys in 2016.

Balor in Irish mythology is a completely separate name. From the Celtic name Baleros, this name means "the deadly one," and in myth Balor was a one-eyed giant, whose eye destroys everything in sight when open.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pherrick

Pherick/Pherrick might seem strange at first, but with the name Pharell being more well-known today thanks to the rap star (at least in the U.S.), and names like Finnick and Phelan being brought out of hiding, the Manx (a Celtic language) boys name may be ready for use. This name comes from the Isle of Man, where a local "legend" of sorts tells of a fisherman named Pherrick who waits by the ocean for his mermaid wife to return. An Ash Wednesday fair on Isle on Man used to be held at Keeil Pharick (now Cabbal Pherick), Manx for "Saint Patrick's Chapel." The name derives from Patrick and can also be seen spelled Pharick or Pherick. It is not to be confused with Pharlane, which was used in place of Bartholomew.

Patrick, meaning "patrician, nobleman" in Latin, has been one of the most commonly used names ever recorded. It ranked in the top 100 from 1880, when records for the SSA started being kept on names, to 1904, and also from 1936 to 2004, and in 2015 it was at #164. That is not including all of the international variants of the name, and its great popularity in other countries. Saint Patrick, the Breton Christian, undoubtedly helps keep the name in steady use. Pherick/Pherrick/Pharick, on the other hand, has seen no use in the U.S.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Anaxandra

Yes, Anaxandra is a real name. Some pronounce it ann-ax-ANN-druh, while others say ann-uh-ZAN-druh. This Greek female name is a great example of an ancient woman who was very accomplished. Anaxandra was the daughter of Nealkes, who painted mythological scenes in ancient Greece, and she was also his student. She lived around 228 B.C. and was mentioned by Clement of Alexandria (2nd century) in his work Women as Well as Men Capable of Perfection. She was also important enough that the International Astronomical Union named a crater of Venus after her.

This is also a literary name, used by Caroline B Cooney in her novel Goddess of Yesterday.

There are no girls in the U.S. given the name Anaxandra.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Yara

Yara (YAR-uh) is an international girls name. In Brazilian Tupi mythology, Iara (same pronunciation) was a mermaid, siren, or river goddess with green hair and fair skin. This version of the name means "water lady," from y îara. In Persian the name means "power," or possibly "warm." In Arabic it means "butterfly." In Hebrew it means "honeysuckle" and "honeycomb." The name is banned in Saudi Arabia for seemingly no reason. Yara was given to 199 girls in 2015, making it uncommon, if not unusual.

Yara Greyjoy is a character in the Game of Thrones TV show, while real-life namesakes include actress Yara Shahidi, Miss World Puerto Rico 2010 Yara Lasanta, Palestinian researcher Yara Jarallah, Puerto Rican actress Yara Martinez, French actress Yara Pilartz, Syrian journalist Yara Bader, and Brazilian artist Yara Tupynamba.

Raya and Arya are anagrams.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Lesser Roman Goddesses

These Roman goddesses are the ones that are not frequently talked about, and often forgotten in naming talk, unlike the more well-known goddesses like Juno and Venus. For people living a hard life, each individual function was important (explaining why there were so many agricultural deities). However, even goddesses that were quite popular in ancient times are not very popular today, especially as baby name inspiration. A case could be made for any of the following names that they could be used today. Names which objectionable meaning or sound have been left out, such as Hostilina, who makes grain grow evenly, because her name sounds so similar to the word hostile.

Angerona (ahn-jeh-ROH-nah) was the reliever of pain and sorrow. Her duty was to keep the sacred name of Rome a secret.

Cardea (kar-DAY-uh), ancient Roman goddess of the door hinge.

Carmenta was the goddess of childbirth and prophecy, and she is also known as Nicostrata. As one of the 12 deities attended by minor flamens, we know a bit more about her story than the others you will read about below. Carmenta comes from Latin carmen, meaning "magic spell," and "oracle" and it is where we get the word charm. Carmenta supposedly invented the Latin alphabet, was the mother of Evander, and her festival was named Carmentalia.

Clementia, goddess of clemency.

Concordia, goddess of agreement. While this one is a bit whimsical or over-the-top, nicknames Connie or Cory or Cody could bring it back down.

Cura (KYUR-uh), meaning "care," wasn't so much of a goddess as she was a personification.

Decima (DESS-ih-mah), who measured the thread of life.

Deverra (deh-VER-uh) was the goddess who protected midwives and women in labor but also the brooms used to purify temples. Her name means "to sweep away."

Empanda (em-PAHN-dah) was an ancient goddess whose names means "to give bread." It is said her temple was never closed to those in need.

Fauna, goddess of prophecy.

Feronia (fay-ROHN-yah, ferh-OH-nee-ah) was a goddess of many talents - wildlife, fertility, health, abundance, granting freedom to slaves, giving civil liberties to the humble, and potentially the goddess of fire, or water, or travelers, or the harvest. A nickname such as Ferra or Fey would bring this out of ancient times.

Furrina (fyur-EE-nah) was the goddess of bubbling water and springs.

Juturna (ju-TURN-uh) was goddess of fountains, wells and springs.

Lua (LOO-ah), the goddess of confiscated enemy weapons.

Lucina (lu-CHEE-nah, lu-SEE-nah) was the goddess of childbirth whose Greek equivalent was Eileithyia. Her name is generally taken to mean "light," like most Luc- names, but there is a strong possibility it means "grove," from lucus, as she has a sacred grove of lotus trees associated with her.

Mellonia (meh-LOW-nee-ah) was goddess of bees and beekeeping.

Nortia (NOR-shuh) was a new year goddess with Etruscan origins, and she presided over time, fate, destiny and chance.

Palatua (pa-LAH-tu-ah) guarded Palatine Hill and provided priests for the gods and goddesses.

Patelana (pah-teh-LAH-nah), or Patelena/Patella, who opens the grain.

Pax, goddess of peace.

Pellonia (pell-OH-nee-ah) was the goddess who pushed enemies away.

Pomona (poh-MOH-nah) was goddess of fruitful abundance, and her name means "fruit."

Porrima (por-EE-mah) goddess of the future. She is sometimes called Antevorta, sister of Postverta, and they are connected to Carmenta.

Proserpina (pro-sur-PEE-nah) was based on Persephone and Demeter, who were major Greek goddesses. She was an agriculture goddess, and her name likely means "to emerge." Proserpine is another recorded spelling.

Romana, or Fortuna Romana, the "Luck of Rome." She may be the same as Viscata.

Rurina (ru-REE-nah) or Rusina was a Roman agricultural deity. Along with some of the majors, like Tellus and Ceres, Rusina was goddess of the fields. Her etymology is Latin rus, the same as "rural," and "rustic." She may be the female counterpart of Rusor, but his name comes from rursus, meaning "again."

Rumina (ru-MEE-nah) was the goddess of nursing mothers and breastfeeding babies, both human and animal, and her name either comes from ruma, "teat," or rumino, "to chew the cud." Her temple was located at the foot of the Palatine Hill where Romulus and Remus, who suckled from a she-wolf, were raised. She and her male counterpart Rumino are strongly connected to fig trees. As she is very ancient, she may have once played a deeper role, one which played on the life-nourishing qualities of milk.

Runcina (roon-CHEE-nah) was the goddess of the weeding process.

Salacia (suh-LAY-shuh) was goddess of salt water/the ocean and her name means "salt" or "saltwater." She was the wife of Neptune

Segesta (seh-GESS-tuh), who promotes the growth of the planted seed.

Seia (SAY-uh) was the goddess who protected sewn seeds.

Strenia (STRAYN-yah), or Strenua, was the goddess of the new year, January 1.

Suadela (swah-DAY-lah), or Suada (SWAH-dah), was goddess of romantic persuasion.

Tutelina (TU-teh-lee-nah), who watched over stored grain. She was sometimes associated with Messia.

Venilia (veh-NEEL-ee-uh) or Venelia may have been a goddess or just a nymph. She represented the winds over the sea. She may have been a wife or lover of Neptune.

Volutina (VOH-lu-tee-nah), the goddess who makes "envelope" shaped protective leaves to form, as her etymology suggests.

For more, please visit this link and/or this one.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Galt

Galt is a boy's name meaning "wild boar" in Old Norse and Old English. Galton is a separate name, and the meaning "steep wooded land" is unsubstantiated. In Old Norse it began use as a nickname, a reference to someone who used the strength or ferocity of a wild boar in battle. The name also has a place in Old Gaelic - used to refer to someone from Gaul, meaning "foreigner," and therefore a surname of separate origins (but still one that started as a nickname). Gault is another form of the surname, which has a connection to the Norwegian word gald, meaning "hard/high ground," and it is the name of the archaeological clay formation Gault. If you follow little breadcrumbs there's a bit more interesting info connecting the Gaelic name with the Scandinavian one and adding in a possible Viking and Huguenot twist.

As for namesakes, there may only be one with Galt as a given name: musician Galt MacDermot. But with the last name, there is Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt from Canadian history, Francis Land Galt from American history, Scottish novelist John Galt, and the fictional John Galt from Ayn Rand's famous story Atlas Shrugged. There's also Galt Aureus, a rock band, several cities worldwide, and a British toy manufacturer with the name.

The U.S. has not had any baby boys named Galt, and none with the spelling Gault.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ilithyia

byblia ilithyia
 Byblia ilithyia butterfly

Ilithyia (ill-ITH-ee-uh), or Eileithyia, comes from Εἰλείθυια (Eleuthia), which could be Pre-Greek in origin. The spelling Ilithyia is the Latinized form of Eleuthia and may have first been used by Horace, and Eileithyia is the Greek form, and she is also sometimes refered to as Elysia. She was the Greek goddess of childbirth and midwifery, and her name means "to bring," or "to come," making her The Bringer. On a related note, some research into etymology points to Elysia meaning "to come" as well, and not necessarily the meanings like "blissful" or "joyous" that have been recorded in the past. Elionia may have been another name of hers - she was worshiped at Argos as a goddess of birth. Elithyia has been recorded as a simpler spelling of Eileithyia.

Zeus and Hera were her parents. She is also likely the same as Eileithyia, a Minoan goddess that was slightly older. Eileithyia/Ilithyia was written about by Homer, Hesiod and more, and she had shrines and a cult for a very long time. She had a cave near Amnisos, on Crete, which was said to be her birth place. However, she does have other origin stories. She was often depicted carrying a torch to help bring children out of the darkness. Ilithyia was worshipped at night, outside what is called a pomerium, or religious boundary line. At first she may have been two deities - one for bringing on labor, and who for halting it. There was also some mention of Ilithyia being cognate with the Roman goddess Lucina, or being closely identified with either Artemis or Juno, but researcher Michael Lipka explains that all of them were distinct and appeared at the same time with individual sacrifices or prayers.

In 2015 only 10 girls were given the name Ilithyia, while there are no usages of Eileithyia. However, Ilithia was given to 5 girls in 2011.

It must also be noted that perhaps the most well-known namesake, and the most prevalent search result for this name, is the character Ilithyia from the recent TV show "Spartacus." Also, the Byblia ilithyia, shown in the picture above, is a nymphalid butterfly species also known as the spotted joker.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Justice

Justice is a unisex name that really took off after 1980. It was pretty rare in the early 1900's and only given to boys. It wasn't until 1975 that the name was given to more than 5 girls in a year - 10, to be exact, and to 28 boys. After that the number of boys kept increasing, while it was still rarely used for girls. Something changed after 1985, when suddenly it increased from 5 girls, to 36 in 1992, and then even more suddenly it jumped up to 175 girls in 1993. Then there was a shift, when the number of girls rose even higher and outranked the boys for a couple of years, then it shifted back to being used for boys more, and it stayed that way until 2011. Now it ranks at #525 for boys and #452 for girls, as of 2015.

It's a virtue name, being one of the four cardinal virtues, but also a meaningful word-name, a title, and concept. Justice is English through Latin origin, meaning "administration of the law," and related to the name Justus. Use as a given name also started in honor of the French surname Justice. In ancient Rome, Lady Justice was the personification of the term. It is one of the oldest ideas to be considered, and one of the earliest people to having musings on the concept was Plato in ancient Greece. It often represents balance or diving consequence, and as a society we still deeply value justice today, even seeking careers to administer justice in the sense of the law.

Justice has also been the name of songs, TV shows, films from the early 1900's and early 2000's, a 1910 play, and animated characters. The real namesakes that may have encouraged popularity of the name include wrestlers Sid Justice and the female wrestler Justice, or the actress Victoria Justice who was born in 1993. A few celebrities have used it for their kids, including Ziggy Marley, Jensen Ackles, and John Mellancamp.

This name is banned in New Zealand for being a title, just like Duke or Princess (which are also banned.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Quince

Quince_name


A quince is a bright yellow fruit from a small deciduous tree, the only member of the Cydonia genus Rosaceae which also contains most edible fruits such as apples, cherries and pears, as well as almonds and ornamental trees like roses. In Greek the quince is called Kydonia malon, and Kydonia was also an ancient city-state now known as Khania. Legend says Kydonia was founded by Cydon - the son of Hermes and Akakallis, daughter of King Minos.

One would think, being a fruit name, that Quince would be more popular as a girls name - yet it is really only given to boys. Maybe that's because Shakespeare used it as a character name for a carpenter, Peter Quince, in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Or possibly because of Quince Duncan, a novelist from Costa Rica. It is also the Spanish word for the number fifteen. There were 11 boys given the name in 2013, the most it was given since 1985, then down to 5 boys in 2016, and no girls were ever given the name (at least not more than 4 in any given year). Quincy remains a far more popular option, given routinely to both sexes and ranking at #603 for boys.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Names Inspired by the Periodic Table Part 3

71. Lutetium - Lutece, Lutetia
72. Hafnium - Hafnia was Latin for Copenhagen
73. Tantalum - Tantalus from mythology
74. Tungsten - I think this one could work as a name itself, but the "tongue-like" sound might make that hard to live with
75. Rhenium - no suggestions
76. Osmium - Osmar, Osmara, Osmond
77. Iridium - Iridian, Iria, Iridia
78. Platinum - Plato
79. Gold - Golda and Goldie have already been in use, Gold could work on boys
80. Mercury - this could probably work itself, or Mercurio if you're into Shakespeare
81. Thallium - Thalia, Thalmus
82. Lead - I think this one should be avoided, but there is the ancient name Lefleda
83. Bismuth - no suggestions
84. Polonium - Apollo, Apollonia, Polo, Polonius, Polonia
85. Astatine - Aster, Asta, Astara, Astarte, Asti, Aston
86. Radon - Radovan
87. Francium - any Fran- name such as Frank, Francine, etc.
88. Radium - Radomira
89. Actinium - no suggestions
90. Thorium - anything in the Thor/Thora family
91. Protactinium - Proteus
92. Uranium - Urania, Ourania
93. Neptunium - Neptune
94. Plutonium - no suggestions
95. Americium - America, Americus, Amery
96. Curium - named after Marie Curie
97. Berkelium - Berkley
98. Californium - Callie
99. Einsteinium - Eisele, Eisa
100. Fermium - Fermina
101. Mendelevium - Menda, Mendea, Mendi, or Mendel
102. Nobelium - Noble
103. Lawrencium - Lawrence, Laurentia, Laurent
104. Rutherfordium - obviously Rutherford, but Ruth for girls
105. Dubnium - no suggestions
106. Seaborgium - Seaborn, Seabrooke
107. Bohrium - Boris
108. Hassium - from Latin Hassia
109. Meitnerium - no suggestions
110. Darmstadtium - Dharma
111. Roentgenium - no suggestions
112. Copernicium - Cpernicus, Coppelia
113. Nihonium - as this was named for Japan, any Japanese name might represent it
114. Flerovium - no suggestions
115. Moscovium - no suggestions
116. Livermorium - Livia
117. Tennessine - Tennessee
118. Ognanesson - no suggestions

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Names Inspired by the Periodic Table Part 2

Continuing from yesterday, here is the second out of three total posts on names that could "honor" the elements in the periodic table.

31. Galium - Galia, Galiana, Galiena, Galice, Galila, Galina for girls, Galius/Gallius for boys
32. Germanium - Germaine, Germania
33. Arsenic - Arsenio
34. Selenium - Selene, Selenia
35. Bromine - Bromley, Bromwell
36. Krypton - no suggestions
37. Rubidium - Rubin, Ruben, Rubius, Rudy
38. Strontium - Stetson
39. Yttrium - comes from the place name Ytterby
40. Zirconium - Sailor Moon fans will understand why Zirconia should be avoided
41. Niobium - Niobe, the female mythology character from which it was named
42. Molybdenum - Molly
43.Technetium - Techoslav, Techa
44. Ruthenium - Ruthenia was an ancient name associated with Russia for which this element was named, but just Ruth could work
45. Rhodium - this was named for the rose color in one of its compounds, but the etymology is unclear to me. Try Rhoda, Rhodanthe, or Rhoades
46. Palladium - the asteroid Pallas for which the element was named (and the asteroid was named for the goddess), Paladin, Pallavi
47. Silver - while Silver could work well on its own, there's also Silveria/Silverio
48. Cadmium - the male names Cadmael (Welsh), Cadman, Cadmar, Cadmus, or Cadwen for girls
49. Indium - obviously India, Indio, Indigo, or Indra
50. Tin - Tinsley seems to be moderately popular, otherwise there's Tina, Tino and Tindra
51. Antimony - I'd advise against using Antimony itself (even though it has been used as a character name), because it sounds too similar to "alimony," and because this element is very toxic. There's Antony for boys or Antalia/Antalya for girls
52. Tellurium - I did a bit of research on this years ago and discovered the goddess Tellus, "Mother Earth," which this element shares an etymology with, but it is also a butterfly. I can't find the source now but I thought Tellura was a legit name
53. Iodine - Io, from mythology, for girls; Iodoc, a Breton name for boys
54. Xenon - Xenon itself has been used as a Greek boys name, but there's also Xeno or Xenxo, and for girls there's Xena and Xenia
55. Caesium - Caesar, maybe?
56. Barium - pretty much anything Bar- such as Barry, Baria, Barida or Barion
57. Lanthanum - Lantha, a short form of a Greek name (and lanthanum means "to lie hidden" in Greek)
58. Cerium - Ceria, Cerise
59. Praseodymium - Prassede/Prassedes
60. Neodymium - see "Neon" from yesterday's post, but Endymion sounds similar
61. Promethium - obviously Prometheus
62. Samarium - Samar, Samara
63. Europium - Eurwen (f) and Eurfron (f) in Welsh, Eurion, Euros or Eurwyn for boys
64. Gadolinium - no suggestions
65. Terbium - Terra
66. Dysprosium - Dyson
67. Holmium - Holmes
68. Erbium - Erbert
69. Thulium - no suggestions
70. Ytterbium - see #39

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Names inspired by the Periodic Table of Elements

periodictablenames


 Either by sound or meaning, here are baby names inspired by the Periodic Table. Not all of the elements can have baby name spin-offs, because they're just too unique. For example, Plutonium. So I will include below the number, element name, and possible baby name. Also, there are 118 total so I will do this in two or three parts.

1 Hydrogen
Hydeira, "woman of the water" in  Greek
Hydra - the constellation and mythological creature
2 Helium
Heli, Helia, Helios, "sun" in Greek (Heli is Finnish)
3 Lithium
Lithia/Lithiya, same meaning as lithium, "stone" in Greek
By sound - Illythia/Ilithyia, "readycomer" in Greek
There are a wealth of names that mean "stone," including Peter, Petra, Ebenezer, Kamen and Sixten
4 Beryllium
Beryl, the gemstone, or one of the three types of beryl: Morganite (Morgan, Mogana), Heliodor (see #2 above), or Aquamarine
Verulia, an old Prakrit name for beryl
Emerald is green beryl - Emeraude, Esmeralda, Emerant, Esmerina
* The word brilliant may have come from the same word as beryl, so names meaning "brilliant" include Beli or Belenus, a Gaulish god; Aine, a Celtic name
5 Boron
Boris, a Bulgarian name meaning "small" or "god-like"
Boro, Croatian name
6 Carbon
Carbon means "coal," so Kol, Cole, and any variants such as Kolfinna (f, Icelandic), Colton or Colt would work
7 Nitrogen
Spanish diminutive Nita, or possibly Troy
Anitra, a Scandinavian name used in Peer Gynt for a princess
8 Oxygen
Aether, Aetherie, Aetheria, "upper air" in  Greek (the ae is prn. "ay")
Avira, "air" in Aramaic
Ilma, Ilmari, Ilmarinen, "air" in Finnish
Anil, Anila, "air" in Hindi
9 Flourine
While fluorine does not mean "flower," Flora names are similar in sound. The etymology of fluor is "flowing," so names like Brooke, Cari and Jordan would work.
10 Neon
For sound, any name beginning with Neo could work,  but Neon, meaning "new" could work as a name on its own.
11 Sodium
Really the only thing close in sound is Sidonia
12 Magnesium
Magnus is really perfect here, and Magnolia or Magnilda for girls.
13 Aluminum
Alumina
Aluinnia
14 Silicon -- no suggestions
15 Phosphorus
Perhaps Phoebus/Phoibos, Photeus
16 Sulfur
The Welsh name Sulien for boys or Sulwen for girls, or the girls name Safira
17 Chlorine
Chloris, goddess, or perhaps French Clotilde
18 Argon
Aragon and Algernon would contain the same letters, but argon's etymology is "idle without work" so Millicent or Melisande would also work here.
19 Potassium -- no sugestions
20 Calcium
I am so tempted to say Calcifer, so I'll just leave it to tempt you Ghibli fans.
Calcia seems to have been an ancient name, the mythical mother of Cycnus.
Coral contains calcium.
21 Scandium -- no suggestions
22 Titanium
Titania, Titus
23 Vanadium
Vana for girls, Vance, Vandan or Vander for boys
This element was named after Vanadis (Freyja)
24 Chromium - Chronos, perhaps; Chrome if you are daring
25 Manganese -- no suggestions
26 Iron - Ira, Iro, Tetsu, Tetsuko
27 Cobalt - using Cobalt itself would be great
28 Nickel - anything beginning with Nick (or Nic)
29 Copper - Copper as a full name would work
30 Zinc -- Zina, Zino

Friday, April 7, 2017

Claudine

Claudine seems to have been forgotten. In the 1920's it was very popular, leading up to 1930 when it was at its all-time high of 208 births that year. She's been used since at least 1881 in the U.S., but in 2015 this name was only given to 8 girls and is considered "endangered." This French take on Claudia, meaning "lame," came from the Roman family name Claudius. Claudia currently ranks at #741 in the U.S. and pretty high in other countries, whereas Claudine last ranked in 1971. Claudette is another rare variant, and neither make the top 500 in France.

Regardless of her current popularity, most people have heard this name before. 20th century French writer Colette gave this name to one of her heroines. More recently she was a fairy in the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. There's a Bond Girl named Claudine Auger, an Enid Blyton character, and a Moliere character. In real life there is French chemist Claudine Picardet, Irish beauty queen Claudine Palmer, French singer Claudine Longet, and many more.

There's also Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde. This Hungarian Countess was born in Transylvania and died in 1841. She was born Klaudia but called Klaudina, was married to Duke Alexander of Württemberg and her grand daughter became Queen Consort of George V.

Further back you'll find Claudine Guerin de Tencin, Baroness of Saint-Martin-de-Re. She was known to participate in conversations in salons, and was an author.

In the 1600's there was Claudine Francoise Mignot, who received three large fortunes through marriage and may have used her funds to go on adventures.

Another noteworthy Claudine was Lady regnant and then Lady consort of Monaco. Her father was Catalan Grimaldi and her grandmother was Pomelline Fregoso. There are several other namesakes for Claudine.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Leonora, Lenora and Lenore

Leonora is an Italian variant that arose from Eleanor (#60 in the U.S.), meaning "light." It is pronounced LAY-oh-nor-uh in Spanish and Italian, while it is mainly pronounced leh-NOR-uh in English.

Lenora is a modern English spelling of Leonora, only pronounced leh-NOR-uh. Lenore is the German variant most people will recognize, thanks to Edgar Allan Poe's poems Lenore and The Raven. Also, Gottfried August Burger had a ballad titled "Lenore."

Stats for these names: There were 47 girls named Leonora in 2015, and the name was already in use when the SSA started keeping track of names. Its highest point was 1924 with 138 births that year. There were 130 girls named Lenora, and this name also ranked highest in 1924 with 678 given the name. Lenore, on the other hand, ranked highest a bit later in 1926 with 461 births, stayed in the higher parts of the top 1000 until mid-century, the low parts until the early 1970's, and now is at 67 births in 2015. Leonor was given to 40 girls in 2015 and never saw the numbers the other spellings did. Other seldom-used spelling variants include Lynora, Linora, Lanora, Leanora, Leenora, Lenoria and Lanore.

Elinor, Ellen, Nora, Aliénor, Eleonora, Lore and Norina are also variants of Eleanor. There are dozens of namesakes for all of these spellings and Lenore, Lenora and Leonora.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Audric

Audric (AW-drik for English speaking, OH-drik for French speaking, OW-drik in other select countries) is a medieval French name, from the Old German masculine name Alderich, meaning "old ruler." It comes from the Germanic elements ald, "old," and ric, "ruler." A mere 27 boys were given this name in 2015. It is a variant of the earlier form Aldericus, which was a saint name. Aldric is another form, given to 8 boys in 2015, with a 9th century saint namesake. Elderich/Eldrich was another spelling variant, as was Eldric, given to 6 boys in 2015. It is not uncommon to see the letter k at the end of these names - Audrick, Aldrick, Eldrick, Elderick, etc.

The specific spelling of Audric gives us one namesake: Audric del Vilar, lord of Auvillar. We know that he was a troubadour and that he may have raised one of the earliest known troubadours - Marcabru.

Move to the spelling Alderic and you will find just a couple namesakes, including a Canadian politician and a politician from Quebec. In the U.S. Alderic hasn't been used since 1924, given to 5 boys, but before that it had only been used in 1914 and 1916.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Kitterick

If you like Kit on a boy, don't like Christopher as a full name, and don't want Kit as a stand-alone name, then Kitterick is for you. This Irish surname, sometimes found as Ketrick or Mac Kitterick, comes from MacShitric, meaning "son of Sitric." Sitric was not native, it came from the Norse name Sigtrygg, meaning "true victory." How did this Scandinavian name get over to Ireland? Well, perhaps it had something to do with Sigtrygg Silkbeard, King of Dublin somewhere around AD 989 to 1000. His reign was so important that he was written about in  both the12th-century Irish Cogadh Gaedhil re Gallaibh and the 13th century Icelandic Njal's Saga. Before Mr. Silkbeard there was Sitric Cáech, a Viking who ruled Dublin and Northumbria in the 10th century. His son, grandson and great-grandson also became rulers.

Kit itself is not a popular choice, probably because a formal name is more desired. In 2015 only 40 boys were named Kit (and 28 girls), 10 boys with the spelling Kitt. There is no record of Kitterick being used as a given name.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Coral

coral


Coral is one of those names that everyone knows, yet no one really uses. When is the last time you actually met one? While Coral saw 199 births in 2015, it is not in the top 1000 - even though it has so much to offer.

Your first introduction may have been to coral reefs (marine invertebrates) or the precious coral gems made out of the underwater living "bushes." There's also the color coral, given in reference to the polished material. Coral jewelry has been used as far back as the ancient Egyptians and then some. It had great popularity in Victorian times, which may have been when the name started being used in modern times. The U.S. records specifically for names started in 1880, and we know Coral was being used at that time, which was just before the end of the Victorian period.

Coral comes from Greek korallion, given to mean a shade of red. It could mean "small stone" in Semitic. Elaborate versions of Coral include Coraline, Coralie, and Coralia. Coraline was made famous by the Neil Gaiman animated film and the opera La toreador, Coralie is the French version of the name, and Coralia was a 19th century mermaid ballet. Coralie's popularity as a French name was brought over to Quebec, where it ranked at #8 in 2007. Coralie seems to have the most namesakes as well. Actress Coral Browne was born Coralie. Other than Coraline, which got a recent pop culture boost and was virtually unheard of beforehand, these variants have never been as popular as Coral, which has also been used on boys. Other options have sprung up here and there, like Coralina and Coralyn.

Stats for 2015: 199 Coral, 73 Coralee, 6 Coralia, 104 Coralie, 5 Coralina, 524 Coraline. Coralie ranked twice on the SSA - once in 1880 and once in 1929.

A difference in the total number of babies born every year means Coral may have been more popular overall back in the 60's and then the 80's, even though it was given to about half the number it is given now. And if you're looking for a name that can't be misspelled, I don't think you can do that with this one. It also offers an alternative to a-ending girls names or otherwise 'frilly' names. If you're looking to complete a sibling set, Coral, Carlo and Carol are anagrams.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Meliora

Melior is a Cornish and Devon girls name, sometimes spelled Meliora. This was the name of a fairy in medieval legend, sister to the illusive Melusine, except all we really know about her is that she lived on the Isle of Avalon. Her story can be found in Jean d'Arras's Le Roman de Melusine, where Melior and her sisters take revenge upon their father for breaking their mother's marriage terms, but their mother punishes them for the act. Melior's fate was to be imprisoned in an Armenian castle. In The Romans of Partenay, the king of Armenia completes a challenge and asks for Melior's hand in marriage, but Melior knows that he is a descendant of her sister Melusine. He doesn't really care, but they still don't get married. Their sister Palatine has no better luck, as she was punished to guard a treasure that no man can win.

There's another namesake, however - Saint Melior, whose gender is undetermined. If someone wanted Melior for a boy and Meliora for a girl, or Melior for a girl, I don't think it would cause any fuss. The name likely comes from Meleri, a form of the Welsh name Eleri, probably meaning "earth, soil." A different chain could make Meliora come from Latin melior, meaning "better." Meleri and Eleri have their own historical namesakes: Eleri, daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, and Meleri, wife of the legendary Cunedda. However, there is a chance this name is actually connected to the male name Meilyr from Old Welsh, which means "May sea." This was the name of a 12th century poet, and variations on the name include Mylor and Meilir. Melora is a variant of Meliora.

For a rare name from a small country, there are still a couple namesakes. In literature, Melliora is a character in Eliza Haywood's novel Love in Excess, and in Victoria Holt's novel The Legend of the Seventh Virgin, although it is spelled Mellyora there.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2015 Belgium, Hungary Top 10

Belgium

1. Louis & Emma
2. Arthur & Louise
3. Noah & Olivia
4. Lucas & Elise
5. Liam & Alice
6. Adam & Juliette
7. Victor & Mila
8. Jules & Lucie
9. Mohamed & Marie
10. Nathan & Camille

Other lovelies in the top 100 include Lina (f), Rayan (m), Noor (f), Nina (f), Sacha (m), Lotte (f), Seppe (m), Fien (f), Lore (f), Inaya (f), Anaïs (f), Tuur (m), Axelle (f), Aya (f), Clement (m), Daan (m), Imran (m), Eline (f), Fleur (f), Lowie (m), Amina (f), Senne (m), Pauline (f), Enora (f), Ferre (m), Romain (m), Roos (f), Ilyas (m), Elif (f), Jana (f), Fenna (f), Loïc (m), Kato (f), Leonie (f), and the 5-way tie between #100's Febe, Lena, Lise, Noa and Rosalie.

Hungary

1. Bence & Hanna
2. Máté & Anna
3. Levente & Jázmin
4. Adam & Luca
5. Marcell & Lili
6. Dominik & Nora
7. Dávid & Zoé
8. Daniel & Zsófia
9. Milan & Emma
10. Áron & Boglárka

I think it's a bit odd seeing Luca as a female name in a top 10 list, but that'll require some investigation later. I adore Lili here. Some lovely names further on the top 100 include girls names Dorina, Fanni, Mira, Eszter, Zselyke, Amira, Panna, Blanka, Fruzsina, Kinga, Emese, Timea, Zita, Kata, Kitti, Kira, Katalin, Kincső, and Dalma. You can see there's no shortage of K names here. For boys, the following are very striking and also very foreign to most Americans: Bálint, Zoltán, Gábor, István, Zsolt, Zétény, Csaba, Szabolcs, Ferenc, Mihaly, Tibor, Soma, Gellért, Florian, and Vencel.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2015 Slovenia Top 10

1. Luka (m) & Ema (f)
2. Filip (m) & Eva (f)
3. Nik (m) & Zala (f)
4. Mark (m) & Sara (f)
5. Žan (m) & Lara (f)
6. Jakob (m) & Nika (f)
7. Jaka (m) & Julija (f)
8. Žiga (m) & Ana (f)
9. David (m) & Lana (f)
10. Anže (m) & Mia

The funny looking Z is usually pronounced "sh." Here is a Slovene name site to hear certain pronunciations, but not all Slovene names in use are listed.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Gunther

Gunther seems like he should be more popular, especially since Gunner and Gunnar are in the top 1000. However, in 2015 the name Gunther was only given to 26 boys, and that is only a slight increase from the handful of years before. It has been in use since at least 1924 in the U.S., but in native Germany (where he's pronounced GOON-thur) this name is very well known, usually spelled Günther. Guenter, Guenther, Gunder and Gunter have also been used.

There are several namesakes for the spelling Gunther, including fictional namesakes. The 5th century king of Burgundy was a bit of a legend, his story told in the Germanic saga Nibelungenlied. Another interesting story is that of Gunther of Bohemia, a Catholic hermit and saint from the 11th century. One more famous namesake was Gunther of Cologne, an archbishop who died in 873. He was from Frankish nobility, but for a long time was not very popular.

Simplified, Gunther means "warrior" in Germanic from the elements gund or gunþiz, meaning "battle," and hari, meaning "warrior, army." (No, it doesn't mean "bold warrior," but maybe it could be taken to mean "battling armies.") It comes from the Old Norse name Gunnar, meaning "strife." So the original form is the one currently in the top 1000, but they are cognate.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Juniper

Juniper


Juniper (JOO-nih-pur) comes from Latin juniperus and iuniperus, meaning "juniper tree." Its older form, gynypre, was tweaked to conform better to the Latin language, but from this spelling you can better see the connection to French genevre, later genievre. Ginevra and Geneva also share this root. It is possible Juniper ultimately comes from combining the words junio, meaning "young," and parpare, meaning "to produce," although it could come from PIE yoini-paros, meaning "bearing juniper berries." Likely this is a case of 'which came first?'

Back in the day, Juniper was unisex - still is, but Juniper entered the U.S. top 1000 in 2011 for girls and has always been a more popular gender for the name. It would be unusual to see a female Juniper in, say, Renaissance times, but Ginevra would be well received. A celebrity example as a boy name includes Tess Holiday's son Bowie Juniper. In 2011 when the name entered the charts it was unused for boys. It started being used the next year, but by 2015 it was only given to 13 boys. iN 2015 Juniper ranked at #429 for girls.

Juniper is used to flavor alcoholic gin, although the industry term is jeniver/jenever. The name "gin" came about as the French name genièvre got shortened bit by bit. It was not unheard of for gin to be called Geneva (as in the place name) in Europe or Genevieve in certain French dialects. But while Geneva is related to Juniper, Genevieve derives from Genoveva. It is also important to note that while Juniper and Jennifer sound familiar, Jennifer's original form Guinevere has a different meaning: "white phantom/magical being."

There's a handful of things you might know the name Juniper from. Perhaps the song "Jennifer Juniper" by Donovan, Pamela Dean's novel Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary, the cartoon series The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, or the movie Benny & Joon. A classic tale by the Grimm Brothers is called The Juniper Tree. There are many other fictional namesakes.

There is also a Saint Juniper, or Junipero Serra, called one of the "founding fathers of the United States" by Pope Francis, who canonized him. Junipera Serra took his name in honor of Brother Juniper, a friar known as the "jester of the Lord" who died in 1258. Juniper trees have also been believed to be sacred - in ancient Wales they thought a woodcutter who chopped down a juniper tree would die the next year, while in Renaissance times the juniper tree represented chastity in art, which can be seen in the Ginevra de'Benci painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Juniper berries are still used in cooking today.

Nicknames range from Jenny to Jinny, Jip or Jipsy, to June and Juno.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Carrick

Carrick is an Anglicised spelling of creag (sometimes spelled carraig), the Gaelic word for "rock." As a surname it is not that uncommon, but as a place name it is very common - over fifteen places in Ireland bear the name in some form. There's even a city named Carrick in both Cornwall and Scotland, and a couple in the U.S. and Australia.

It can also be seen as a title: Earl of Carrick, from Scotland. Donnchadh (Duncan), Earl of Carrick was a prince and magnate who died in 1250. After being held prisoner by King Henry II of England for some ten years, he returned home with permission to rule over Carrick, but not all of Galloway. Marjorie of Carrick, who was likely Donnchadh's granddaughter, was born just three years after his death, and she was the mother of Robert the Bruce.

In 2015 Carrick was given to 26 U.S. boys, which is a slight decrease from the past few years, but still a good rise in popularity from when it was just starting out in the 1970's. Carey would make an easy nickname.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Amapola & Poppy

poppy amapola


For being such a pretty flower, Amapola, which is Spanish and Filipino for "poppy," has seen no statistical usage in the U.S. It has never made the Spanish popularity charts either. To my knowledge there is only one namesake - Maria Amapola Cabase, a Filipino singer/actress, but there is a song titled "Amapola" by Joseph Lacalle, a 2014 flim titled "Amapola" from Argentina, cargo airline Amapola Flyg, and La Amapola was the ring name of Mexican pro-wrestler Guadalupe Ramona Olvera.

The name Poppy is a bit more popular and has a bit of a cult following (or it might be more accurate to say it is a hipster name or some other trendy label) as it is currently lurking just beyond the top 1000 with 257 girls given the name in 2015. That's a dramatic rise from a decade before, when only 57 girls were given the name in 2005. It's also increasing in popularity overseas, ranking pretty well in Australia (#73), New Zealand (#45), Northern Ireland (#32), England &Wales (#10) and Scotland (#28). What caused such a bump up, considering it's been used since at least 1919? There was also a slight spike in the early 1970's.

Poppy comes from papaver, an older name for the flower. It is Latin, likely meaning "to swell." One species of poppy are what opium, codeine, morphine and heroin are made from, but long before its modern drug usage the same properties were used for other natural purposes, such as cooking oil, seeds for baking, paint and makeup, and its qualities were revered like any other flower or herb. We also know the poppy as the flower of remembrance, thanks to the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae. The California poppy is the state flower of California.

Celebrites that chose this name for their kids include Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin, Jamie Oliver, Anthony Edwards, and Jessica Capshaw. Celebrities wearing the name include Poppy Montgomery, Poppy Delevigne and Poppy Drayton, though there are several namesakes in other professions. In fiction we see quite a bit more, including children's TV show and book characters as well as some books for grown-ups. Most recently Poppy was the main character in the animated Trolls movie.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Jaromir

Jaromir (YAH-rom-eer / YAR-oh-meer) is a masculine Slavic name meaning "fierce peace" and "spring peace." It is fairly common in Czechoslovakia and other European countries, but not in the U.S. In 1998 we saw the only usage, given to 6 boys. It's also a Polish name, where the meaning is "good reputation."

Jaromir, Duke of Bohemia proclaimed himself Bohemian Duke of Prague in 1004. Jaromir, Bishop of Prague was an ally of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI and lived to a decently old age, dying in 1090. In modern times there are a handful of slightly famous namesakes, mostly Czech. In the Czech Republic it currently ranks #79.