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Tana River, Kenya (source)

Tana can be pronounced TAH-nah or TAN-uh, whichever you prefer. It can be a short form of Tanya or Tatiana in Russian, which comes from the Roman cognomen Tatius and is assumed to mean "from the house of Tatius," however could mean "I arrange" or "founder." It is also an Anglicized spelling of Arabic Thana, meaning "praise." It can even be a nickname for Tiziana, from Titus, Latin meaning "honored."

In the arts Tana is a character in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, a reporter in the Superboy comics, and a video game character in Fire Emblem. In real life there is Cayetana "Tana" Ramsey, wife of Gordon Ramsey, Czech actress Tana Ficherova, Thai footballers Tana Sripandum and Tana Chanabut, children's book author Tana Hoban, and Irish novelist Tana French. There's also a Gujarati (Indian) legend about twins Tana and Riri, born around 1564, who commited suicide in refusing to sing in Akbar's court, as it was their vow to only sing in front of their local deity.

In geography, Tana is a popular place name. It's used for several villages across Europe and Asia, landmarks in Europe and the Americas, an island in Vanuatu, a lake in Ethiopia and one in Norway (that means "great river" in Sami), and a river that runs through Kenya.

1641 Tana is a main-belt asteroid. Tana was also the first long Albanian film made in 1958.


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Witchy Baby Girl Names!

Circe Invidiosa by John William Waterhouse
Have a little girl due in October? Looking to name a character? Here's my [seemingly endless] list of witchy-sounding baby names. Most of them also fit in the "clunky but cool" category, or "vintage." Most plants, trees, herbs, spices, flowers, gems, space and nature names fit the bill, because in stories and current practice these things are useful to witches. I've put any actual witch names from legend, myth, literature, movies, etc in bold and up front. I have not considered the names of actual, living people or their Pagan names, and I've left out any characters that only have a surname, or truly ridiculous given names. In the second half you'll see a list of names that, to my knowledge, have not been used for witch characters. Please know that this is not a complete list. Wikipedia has an almost complete list you can view here.
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Norway's Top 10 Baby Names

Taken from Statistics Norway. I have no clue how/why there are multiple spellings, but I'm assuming they group spellings for each name and then rank them, unlike the U.S. that goes by individual spelling.

2015 Stats
1. Emma
2. Nora/Norah
3. Sara/Sahra/Sarah
4. Sophie/Sofie
5. Olivia
6. Sophia/Sofia
7. Emilie
8. Ella
9. Lea/Leah
10. Maja/Maia/Maya

1. William
2. Mathias/Matias
3. Oliver
4. Jakob/Jacob
5. Lukas/Lucas
6. Filip/Fillip, Philip/Phillip
7. Liam
8. Axel/Aksel
9. Emil
10. Oskar/Oscar


1. Emma
2. Nora/Norah
3. Sara/Sarah/Sahra
4. Sofie/Sophie
5. Linnea/Linea
6. Thea/Tea
7. Maya/Maia/Maja
8. Emilie
9. Ingrid/Ingri
10. Julie

1. Emil
2. Lucas/Lukas
3. Mathias/Matias
4. William
5. Magnus
6. Filip/Fillip/Philip/Phillip
7. Oliver
8. Markus/Marcus
9. Noa/Noah
10. Tobias


Here's one of my personal favorites, although I'm surprised I still like it after seeing Forrest Gump so often (thanks, Dad). In fact, the name peaked in popularity for the second time the year the movie was released, jumping to number #217 in 1994. Now he's on the move yet again, rising to 132 boys given the name in 2015 from a low dip to 47 in 2006. To be clear, Forest is the word spelling and Forrest the name spelling, and Forrest remains a much more popular choice with 387 boys given the name in 2015, ranking at #659. Forrest also had a dip in 2006 with only 147 births, disappearing from the charts between 2003 and 2013, and it also peaked in 1994 with 1,343 boys born, rising to #217. Historically both spelling options have been very popular.

Forest doesn't have an obvious nickname, but it's one of those names you enjoy saying without having to shorten it. Forest is Old French, meaning "woods." A famous namesake is St. John Forest of the 16th century…