Friday, March 31, 2017
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.
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.