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Showing posts from July, 2017

Corbeau

Corbeau (kor-BOW) is French for raven, from Old French corbel, and ultimately Latin corvus. While Corbeau can be found as a surname, this word has given us other surnames, such as Corbus, Corvo, Corvino, Corbinien, Corbin, Corby, and Corbelin. Of those, Corbin gained use as a given name in the U.S. with actor Corbin Bernsen and it now ranks at #239. Change the spelling to Korban or Corban and it is an unrelated name found in the Bible. Saint Corbinian was a Frankish bishop who lived between 670 and 730. The name Corbeau is not used in the U.S. as a given name.

Dulcibella

Dulcibella is one of the later forms of the Middle English feminine name Douce, from the word dulcis, meaning "sweet" in Latin. The name went through many spelling options between the 13th and 16th centuries, including Douse, Dowse, Dulcia, Dowsabel and Dousabel. Later variants include Dulcea, Dulcina and Dulciana. Dulcinea was the form used by Cervantes for Don Quixote. Although Dulcibel is pronounced DULL-sih-bell or DOOL-sih-bell depending on your native language, the spoken form of the name for centuries was Dowsabel, pronounced DOW-suh-bell. Like some other medieval names, the form Douce was also used for boys, and the name has given us surnames like Dowson and Dowse.

At some point in the mid to late-1600's, Shakespeare picked up the name and turned it into a term meaning "sweetheart" in The Comedy of Errors, a little bit like how Doll is a nickname but also a similar term. The only other place I see Dulcibella pop up is in the children's novel The Rid…

Catriana

Say it isn't so! This drop-dead gorgeous name is so rare it was only given to 6 girls in 1998, and that's it. And yes, she's legit. As is the case with Katherine/Catherine, Katriana is another option, both a variant spelling of Catriona. Catriona is the Irish and Scottish way to spell Catrina, from Katherine, meaning "pure." Catriona is pronounced kuh-TREE-nah. Caitria is another version of the name used in Ireland.

Catriana can be found at least once in a published work - The Celtic Monthly.

What isn't so clear is the intended pronunciation of Catriana. Did someone see Catriona in Ireland and mistake the pronunciation for kah-tree-ON-uh, then take the name elsewhere as Catriana (kah-tree-AH-nah)? Is it just a case of name typo? Or down another path, did someone first intend it as a different spelling for Catrina, independently of Catriona? Similar events led to the family of Caterina/Catarina, Catherina/Catharina, Cathryn/Kathryn etc. If you take a look at t…

Boys Names as Rare as Diamonds

Here's a list of boy names that were not used in 2016 in the U.S., many of which have not been used for decades - or ever.

Acis
Acteon (and Actaeon)
Aether
Alcide
Alderic
Amadis
Ardal
Ariodante
Auberon
Balint
Bard
Bas
Baudelaire
Belisario
Bramwell
Cadmael
Cadman
Cadmar
Cadmus
Cadwallon
Caliban
Cassio
Cathal
Cicero
Claren
Clasien
Cobalt
Corentin
Cyrano
Daan
Dalibor
Dardanus
Drystan
Elderic
Eleazer
Eltanin
Endymion
Ernani
Faust
Ferre
Florent
Gabin
Gabor
Galt
Ganymede
Gawain
Geo
Glastian
Gower
Guiscard
Gulliver
Heliodor
Humphrey
Hyperion
Iridian
Janus
Jaromir
Jessop
Kassian
Kermit
Kitterick
Levente
Lothar
Lowie
Ludo
Ludovic
Melchior
Melior
Mingus
Moe
Nat
Night
Odalric
Orfeo
Orpheus
Osgood
Paladin
Pascale
Pastor
Pelleas
Peregrino
Pherrick
Pieran
Pim
Piran
Placido
Priamus
Puck
Radovan
Raoul
Rastaban
Reynard
Rinaldo
Roald
Romaric
Rudyard
Ruggiero
Runyon
Salazar
Scipio
Septimus
Seraphim
Sheratan
Sim
Sixten
Sorrel
Spike
Squall
Sulien
Taddeo
Tancred
Tancredi
Tempest
Thersander
Thibault
Tho…

Girls Names as Rare as Diamonds

Below are the names that were not used on any baby girls in 2016, and most have never been recorded in the U.S. at all. These are all legit, many with historical, mythological or literary backgrounds.

Abigaia
Acantha
Accalia
Acrasia
Adamina
Aegina
Aeronwen
Aetheria
Alastrina/Alastriona
Aleydis
Alienor
Alifair
Allegria
Alsatia
Altamira
Aludra
Alula
Amabilia
Amapola
Amarantha
Ambroselle, Ambrosine
Amelina
Aminta
Amoret
Anatolia
Anaxandra
Angerona
Angiola
Angiolina
Antalia
Antalya
Aphra
Aquamarine
Aquilina
Aradia
Araminta
Archina
Ardith
Argenta
Arianell
Arianella
Arianwen
Aristea
Aristella
Armandine, Armandina
Arolilja
Artemesia
Ashera
Aspasia
Atalanta
Atira
Aveza
Awilda
Azzurra

Basia
Belisama
Bellona
Belphoebe
Belva
Berania
Bernardine
Betony
Betsan
Bevan
Bluebell
Boglarka
Boudicca
Bradamante
Branwen
Brianza
Brigantia
Britomart
Brunelle
Brunissende
Bunny

Cadwen
Caelia
Calcia
Calico
Calluna
Calpurnia
Calvina
Cambina
Canella & Canela
Capella
Capitola, Capitolia, Capitolina
Capucine
Car…

Osric

If Osric (OZ-rik) looks at all familiar, you've probably read Shakespeare's Hamlet, in which Osric is a courtier. Osric is also a prince in the fantasy series The Chronicles of Amber, a king in the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian, and there is actor Osric Chau.

From history we have a handful of namesakes. Osric of Deira was a king in the kingdom of Deira in the mid-600's, Northern England, but he did not leave much of a legacy. Osric of Northumbria ruled from 718 until 729, and he may be a descendant of Osric of Deira. Osric of Sussex probably ruled at the same time as Osric of Northumbria, but in Sussex alongside another ruler. Osric of the Hwicce was an Anglo-Saxon ruler in the kingdom of Hwicce and might've ruled jointly with his brother. His mother came from Northumbria, so there is a possible relation to the first two Osric's. This last king left a bit more of a legacy, founding two monasteries - Bath Abbey and Gloucester Cathedral. The legendary chronicler Bed…

Timea

This baby name was invented by the Hungarian author Mór Jókai for a character in his novel The Golden Man (Az Arany Ember), which was published in 1873. Timea (TEE-may-uh) was taken from the Old Greek name Euthymia, meaning "sweet-natured," and is not to be confused with Timaeus, meaning "honor" in Greek, because the feminine there would be Timaea (or Timaia, Timmia, or Timmea depending on what time period and namer). Most real-life namesakes are famous in sports, like Swiss pro tennis player Timea Bacsinszky. The U.S. only has records to show for this name starting in 1996, when Timea was given to 6 girls. Since then it had not been given to more than 12 girls in a year, and by 2016 it was down to only 5 girls.

Baby Names from Opera Titles

Female:

Adelaide
Adelia
Adriana
Agrippina
Aida
Alceste
Alcina
Alexandra
Alzira
Amelia
Angelica
Anna
Antigone
Ariadne
Ariane
Armida
Beatrice
Beatrix
Bertha
Bess
Carmen
Céphise
Charlotte
Dafne
Dalila
Daphne
Dido
Djamileh
Dolores
Elektra
Esclarmonde
Euridice
Evangeline
Fedora
Fifi
Florencia
Francesca
Galatea
Genevieve
Genoveva
Giaconda
Giovanna
Gloriana
Gretel
Helena
Helene
Iphigenie
Iolanta
Iris
Isolde
Jenůfa
Judith
Julie
Juliet
Káťa (Katerina)
Kate
Lakmé
Loreley
Louise
Lucia
Lucretia
Lucrezia
Luisa
Lulu
Lyudmila
Manon
Margaret
Maria
Marilyn
Martha
Mavra
Médée
Mélisande
Mignon
Mlada
Nina
Norma
Oresteia
Patience
Polixène (Polyxene, Polyxena)
Polyphème
Poppea (Poppaea)
Rodelinda
Rogneda
Salammbô
Salome
Šárka
Semele
Semiramide
Susannah
Szibill (Cybil)
Thaïs
Tirésias (Therese)
Tosca (this is a surname in the opera but I couldn't resist)
Treemonisha
Turandot (Turan-Dokht)
Vanessa
Venus
Vera
Violet
Yerma
Zaide

Male:

Abu Hassan
Achille
Acis
Acteon
Admeto
Adonis
Aeneas
Akhnaten
Alahor
Albert
Alessandro
Alessio
Alexander
Amadis
Amahl
Andrea
Angelo
Apollo
Ariodante
Aroldo
Ascanio
Attila
Atys
Bel…

2016 Top 50 Alternatives for Girls

Love Emily, but wish it wasn't so popular? Or do you have a grandma Sophia you'd like to name your baby after, but you wish you could make it a little more her own? Read on, as this is a list of familial variants to the top 50 most popular baby names from 2016 - legit alternatives to the most popular girl's names last year.

1. Emma - relations include Emmy, Ima, Erma/Irma, Irmuska
2. Olivia - Scandinavian Vivi, French Olivie, Croatian Olivera, literary Olivette, and Italian Oliviera
3. Ava - ancient Germanic Avila and Aveza are ripe for the picking, classy Evelina/Avelina and Eveline/Aveline are uncommon, and medieval Avis is short and spunky
4. Sophia - try European Sonia, or one of the two Polish versions: Zofia and Zosia
5. Isabella - short and sweet Isa, Disney beauty Belle, older English form Sabella, Basque Elixabete, Armenian Zabel, Biblical Elisheba, the Welsh version Bethan, international Elisaveta/Elizaveta or Elizabeta/Elisabeta, Scottish Elspeth, or the classy …

Cicely & Cecily

Sweet Cicely

Cecily (SESS-ih-lee) is the female variant of the Latin name Cecil, meaning "blind." This name can be found as early as 1246 with that spelling, and as early as 1210 as Cecilie. Going back further, Sisley is recorded in 1154. Cicely (SISS-eh-lee), however, is the later version of Cecilia (from Cecil, originally spelled Caecilia). Both of these sweet names can have the nickname Cece, although some might prefer the unusual nickname Celly. Or maybe you can borrow the Slavic name for Cecilia, Cilka.

Cicely ranked twice 1973 & 1974 but was only given to 16 girls in 2016, and Cicily to 5 girls. Cecily is much more popular - given to 194 girls in 2016, just below the top 1000 (but still far enough removed from it to classify as uncommon, perhaps even unusual).

Most notably there is King Richard III and Edward IV's mother Cecily Neville aka the "Rose of Raby." Cecily of York, the Viscountess Welles, was King Edward IV's daughter. There's also …

Onyx

The Gemma Augustea
Onyx (ON-iks) is a tricky name. People often think it's a name they can't use, but for what reason?

Raw onyx is anywhere from a golden-beige to smoky black. Polished onyx is usually shiny black and can be made into a wide variety of jewelry pieces. A banded variety of the mineral chalcedony, it's sibling is the agate stone and the only difference between them is which way their bands run. Sardonyx is the beautiful red variety of onyx, which was used by Roman warriors to represent Mars, the god of war, but you can find yellow, blue and green shades too.

While onyx is Latin, it ultimately comes from Greek word meaning "nail" or "claw." Historically it has been used since ancient times for ornamental carvings, cameos, bowls, and other works of art. It's also mentioned in the Bible.

Elsewhere, Onyx was used as the name of a planet in the novel Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, as a comic book character from the DC Universe, is the name of a pro-…