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.


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.


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.

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