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Showing posts from June, 2017

Cloelia

15th c. Illuminated manuscript, CloeliacrossingtheTiber
Cloelia (clo-AY-lee-uh modern, CLAY-lee-uh original) is the perfect rare alternative for parents who love Claudia (which used to be #200 in 2000 and fell to #761 in 2016) or Chloe (#20 in 2016 and the spelling Khloe #125), but can't come to terms with how popular both of those names have been. If Cloelia isn't quite what you're looking for, Clelia (CLAY-lee-uh) is her twin sister, which in sound is a little bit like Claudia or Kaylee (#70) and a little like Leila (#230 and the spelling Laila #164).

Internationally the name Cloelia is not really used, but 19th century Clelia still has a place. Clelia was #187 in Italy in 2015, and was not on the list a few years beforehand, so it seems it's having a bit of a resurgence. In France it was #378 in 2015 and has been on their list of top names since 1982. The height of Clelia's popularity in the U.S. was in 1920 when it was given to a mere 20 girls, and 2013 was th…

Tygo

Dutch boy's name Tygo has a little bit of tiger in him, short and spunky. An added benefit is America's love of Ty- names and its current crush on -o ending names, ensuring a familiar-yet-rare and likeable vibe. Only downside - Tygo is typically pronounced TEE-go in its homeland, and Americans will certainly want to pronounce it TY-go.

Tygo is the Dutch form of Tycho, an ancient Greek name meaning "hitting the mark," which is a pretty accurate meaning for this name. Scandinavian Tyko and Russian Tikhon are other forms. As of 2011 Tygo ranked #33 in the Netherlands. In the U.S. Tycho was given to 18 boys in 2016 but no Tygo.

A few important namesakes include Dutch actor Tygo Gernandt, born in 1974, 5th century Saint Tychon (an early Greek spelling of the name), who opposed worship of Aphrodite on the island of Cyprus, and Danish astronomer Tyge Ottesen Brahe, born in 1546

Brianda

Brianda is a Spanish feminization of the Gaelic boy's name Brian. Brian, and possibly Briana, made his way to Spain during Christian religious wars, where he may have been "Briandus," which was found as early as 1282 if not earlier. It has also seen some use in Italy. Briana, used in 1590 by Edmund Spenser for The Faerie Queene, is a more common variant of Brian today, which means "high, noble." Brianda has been found in real use as early as 1487 in Spain, and 1250 in France (where Briande de Septeme was noted as the wife of Guillaume de Beauvoir) in the Regesta comitum sabaudiae. Brianda became much more common in the 1500's.

Similar-sounding Brianza is an Italian place name that could work well for place-name lovers.

Two namesakes for Brianda include Azorean (Portugal) Brianda Pereira, who became a popular heroine figure in the late 19th century and may be a mostly mythical figure associated with the Battle of Salga, and Brianda Domecq, a Spanish-Mexican …

Floyd

In medieval Wales the descriptive word llwyd, meaning "grey," was corrupted to Lloyd, and since the double "ll" sound in Welsh is so hard to make if you don't have a handle on the language, it came out Floyd for English speakers.

The namesake that comes to mind first is boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, who is a junior. The story on his name isn't clear, but because we know he is Floyd Jr., we can assume his father was named Floyd because it was a moderately popular name in the year he was born, 1952. It ranked in the top 100 in 1886, 1889, and 1893. In 2015 it was given to 107 boys, a far cry from the 1,864 boys given the name in 1952. However, there is a chance Floyd Sr. was named after boxer Floyd Patterson, who won the Olympic gold medal in the middleweight division the year 1952.

There has been a hurricane Floyd, tropical storm Floyd, and two songs with the name. Over a dozen places in the U.S. are named Floyd. Pink Floyd is an English progressive rock…

Fiamma & Fiammetta

Fiammetta by Emma Sandys

Fiamma (fee-AH-mah, FYAH-mah) and Fiammetta (fee-ah-MAY-tah, fya-MAY-tah) are medieval Italian girl's names meaning "flame," and "little flame, little fiery one." Fiamma is the actual word for flame, Latin flamma, in medieval Italian. In the U.S. it is not used at all. In Italy the name is sometimes used to express the flame of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and it is a very uncommon name there - not even in the top 200.

One namesake is the late fashion designer Fiamma Ferragamo, who was a member of the Ferragamo fashion house with other extremely well named women - Ginevra, Vittoria, Fulvia, and Vivia to name a few. There's also comic author Fiamma Luzzati, model Fiammetta Cicogna, journalist Fiammetta Fadda, Italian actress Fiammetta Baralla, Swiss actress Fiamma Camesi. Most recently "La Fiamma" was used as a character's nickname in the show Mozart in the Jungle. There is also an Italian singer who goes by Fiammetta.

Denzel

The Denzell family armorial

Denzel is a Cornish name that originated as a surname meaning "from Denzell manor (which is in Cornwall)." Denzil may have been an original spelling. Denzel was given to 186 boys in 2015. It is worn by famous actor Denzell Washington, who is actually Denzel Jr. His father was named Denzel after the doctor who delivered him - presumably Denzel was his surname, and (also presumably, the doctor was Caucasian). He has said that his father's name is pronounced DEN-zell, while the actor's name is commonly pronounced den-ZELL.

Denzel can be traced back to a John Denzel of Cornwall who died in 1535. He was Attorney General to Elizabeth of York, the Queen Consort, and his regal home was the "manor of Denzell," otherwise known as Lanherne, in St. Mawgan Parish. This historic site once belonged to the noble Arundell family.

Denzel Whitaker is another actor who was named after Denzel Washington, Denzel White and Denzel Curry are rappers, De…

Tomyris

Tomyris painting by Castagno

Tomyris (pronounced TOM-ir-iss or toh-MY-riss) is the name of an ancient Massagetean queen known for having Cyrus the Great beheaded. Although he had built the largest empire then known and defeated Tomyris's army in one battle, she challenged him to a second and won. Cyrus did try proposing marriage to her in order to gain control over the Massagetae, but she laughed and this probably made him more eager for battle. Tomyris's son, the army general, was captured in the first battle, and he committed suicide to escape being a prisoner. Tomyris sent a message to Cyrus warning him to release her son, but he ignored her and her son died, resulting in the final battle.

Her name - originally in the form of Tahm-Rayiš is Iranian (Persian) in origin, as she ruled in Central Asia and the Scythian language was a branch of Iranian. This article makes an educated guess that her name either means "iron" or "brave glory." Her name recently be…