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Showing posts from 2018

Savia and Sabia

Savia is a very old Italian [feminine singular] word name meaning "wise." It was a medieval augural name, and the masculine form is Savio. It also happens to mean “tree sap” in Spanish. It is not a name that has been used in the U.S.

Sabia comes from the Irish mythology name Sadb, meaning “sweet” in Gaelic. It is also sometimes regarded as another form of the name Sabina, whose meaning (the closest we can guess) is “of one’s own kind.”  Sabine and Sabina are quite well known, with the saints of their name, ancient Roman town and the story of its women to give them historical credibility. Sabine was first seen on 5 girls in the U.S. in 1916, until 2007 when it was finally given to more than 100 girls in a year, but it is hovering now, with 94 girls in 2017. Sabina was more popular and was used since before 1880 and consistently afterward, but now it was given 94 times last year as well. Sabia, on the other hand, was only used 5 times in 1996 and 5 times in 2007.

I have includ…


Myrddin Wyllt is the Welsh legendary character that became Geoffrey Monmouth's Arthurian character Merlin, who may have also been inspired by the legendary Welsh figure Emrys. To be clear, Merlin, Latinized as Merlinus, came after Myrddin. His own tale closely resembled Lailoken, a British figure found in the 12th century Life of Kentigern, but in the 15th century they may have blended a bit. A madman living in the Caledonian forests, he was an ex-bard reflecting over his life, who'd become wild and mad, and may have had some power of prophecy. The name Myrddin derives from the capital of the Demetae tribe called Moridunum, meaning "sea fort." As an important note, the place Caerfyrddin means "Myrddin's castle" and was supposedly his place of birth.

Myrddin can also be found as a Stargate character, and it was the name of Welsh writer Myrddin Fardd.

Mryddin has never shown up in U.S. data, while Merlin has been used since at least 1885. It started with …


This girl's baby name is Welsh in origin, and it derives from Arianrhod, meaning "silver circle." Arianrhod was a Celtic goddess associated with the moon. Pronounced arh-ee-AHN-wen, it means "blessed silver." Arianell is a related name meaning "shining silver."

Arianwen verch Brychan was the daughter of legendary 5th century Welsh chieftan Brychan Brycheiniog, and in more recent times we can find the name on celebrity Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood, and even in the book series The Magician Trilogy by Jenny Nimmo as the character of the Snow Spider.

Arianwen had no U.S. data, nor does Arianell or Arianrhod.


From Germanic rodinus, composed of hrod, meaning "glory." It was transfered to use as a surname in France and is now several French place names. Since 1990 only 7 or so boys were given Rodin as a first name in France.

World-renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin was perhaps the most well known namesake for Rodin as a surname. Rodel and Rodon are other forms from the same root that are found in France, as well as the diminutives Rodilon/Rodillon and Rodineau, each suffix in the last two denoting the region it comes from. They are not related to the similar names Roudic, Roudel, Roudet et al, which comes from Latin rota, meaning "wheel," nor are they related to the French names Rodde and Rodiere, which come from Occitan roda, meaning "bush." But they are all great surnames which would make nice modern given names.

Rodina, however, is not a feminine form - it is a Russian political party.


MorganleFay by Frederik Sandys
Morgana is one of those names a good majority of people have heard of, yet rarely, if ever, see on a real person. It might really be the perfect “beautiful-dark” name, as it conjures the same imagery of sorcery, a dark haired maiden, and ancient magic in almost everyone’s mind, seeing how the most well known namesake was the legendary Morgan le Fay of Arthurian tales. She’s seen many variants over time, including Morganna, Morgen, Morgaine, Argante, Feimurgen, and her sister is similar-sounding Morgause. Morgana, half-sister of King Arthur, is a sorceress who shows signs of being both good and evil (here’s a nod to feminine duality in literature) and she undeniably has healing abilities along with several other magical abilities. In early versions of Arthurian legend, Morgana was called Queen of Avalon.

Morgana is an Old Welsh name meaning “sea-born,” the earliest form being Morgen. The male version is Morien in Old Welsh. The name Morgen is cognate with…

Alphabet Week: W-Z

Windy: a name that has occasionally been a variant of Wendy, but most often a word name in the English language. It is considered a 70’s name because it peaked in 1975, dropping down to just 7 girls in 2017.
Warrick: this name comes from the place name Warwick, or Warwickshire, meaning “dam settlement.” There are several namesakes for Warrick both as a given name and a surname.

Xanthippe: a name that hasn’t been used in the U.S., Xanthippe means “yellow horse” in Greek. Most people will not be aware that she was the wife of Socrates.
Xenon: this is a chemical element that would make an edgy baby name and fit right in with other X names and boy names ending in -n. It is a noble gas found in our atmosphere and is atomic number 54.

Yanella: this is the Hispanic form of Janella, which ultimately comes from Jane, meaning “god is gracious.” This spelling hasn’t been used in the U.S. but Yanela, Yaneli, Yanelis, Yaneliz, Yanelle, Yanellie and Yanelly have been.
York: a town since ancient Roman ti…

Alphabet Week: T-V

Tacita: this Latin name means “silent, secret,” and was given to the nymph Lara after Jupiter was cruel and cut out her tongue. Tacitus is the masculine, used as a Roman cognomen, and found on the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus. The names are pronounced TASS-ih-tuh and TASS-it-uss. The names Tacy and Tace derive from the root word taceo as well, and could make fitting nicknames.

Talarican (tah-LAR-ih-kan), Tarkin (TAR-kin), and Tarquin (TAR-kwin): while Talarican stands out as the name of a Pictish bishop and saint, Tarquin is the English variant of Latin masculine name Tarquinius, which was a famous Roman gens used by the kings of Rome. The etymology is unknown.  Tarquin is the only spelling that has been used in the U.S., since 1987, and only rarely. 
Uriana: this may be a female form of Urian, meaning “privileged birth,” from Welsh masculine name Urien.  Urien was a legendary Welsh figure who featured in Arthurian Romances. Uriana has only been used a handful of times in the U.S. …

Alphabet Week: Q-S

Quill, unisex, or Quilla if you prefer to add an a at the end for a girl, comes from Middle High German, meaning “hollow stem.” As a bird feather a quill was used for writing with ink. Be aware that Quilla was also the Hispanic spelling of Mama Killa, the Incan goddess, but it was pronounced KEE-lah, whereas Quill is KWILL. Quilla was used between 1902 and 1964, rarely, while Quill has not been used for either gender.

Rada: a short form of the Czech girl name Radoslava (and in Slovak, and Polish Radoslawa), Rada, pronounced RAH-dah, means “good glory, eager glory” from rad “glad, eager” and mil “glory.” As a word, rada means “advice.” Radoslav is the masculine form. Rada has been used since 1893 in the U.S. but rarely, only given to 5 girls in 2017. Radoslav, on the other hand, was only given to 5 boys in 1976. Radoslav was a 9th century Serbian ruler as well as several after him. Radič is a diminutive mainly used in Serbian and Bosnian. 

Sabelina: coming from the word sable of Slavic o…

Alphabet Week: M-P

Magali: this girl name is probably a Provence diminutive of Margaret, meaning “pearl,” or according to French sites it derives from Magdalene, meaning “tower.” Magaly and Magalie have been seen as alternate spelling options. Magali has been used in the U.S. since 1950 and was given to 53 girls in 2017. (Mah-gah-LEE and MAH-gah-lee seem to be both accurate pronunciations.)
Marduk: a god of healing in ancient Babylon whose name means “bull calf of the sun god Utu.” A simpler meaning is “solar calf.” He could use magic and was given some of his power by an older god, Ea. Marduk has not been used in the U.S.

Nigella: usually said to be the female variant of Nigel, Nigella actually comes from the Late Latin word nigellus, meaning “blackish.” And although most of the world is familiar with chef Nigella Lawson, the name still is not used in the U.S.
Nicander: from Greek Nikandros, meaning “victorious man.” One of the first people with this name was a 2nd century BCE scholar. Being so similar to…

Alphabet Week: I-L

Iskra: a Croatian, Russian and Polish girl name meaning “spark,” it is seeing the light of day in the U.S. thanks to body-positive model Iskra Lawrence. It was also the name of a newspaper founded by Lenin in 1900. The name is still not listed in U.S. statistics.
Ingram: this name came to England from the Normans, and it likely means “Ing’s raven” or comes from the ancient Germanic tribe known as the Angles, combined with hraben, meaning “raven.” Listed in the U.S. starting in 1883, it has always been extremely rare, and was only given to 10 boys in 2017. Gram could make an easy nickname.

Jacoba: everyone seems to love Jacob, but not as much love is given to Jacoba and Jacobina. Jacoba, always rare in the U.S., was used since 1900 and given to 5 girls in 2017. Jacobia was used only in 1991 and 1992, 5 times each, and Jacobina seems to have not been used at all.
Jackdaw: this is a bird name, and one not usually seen among other bird name lists. It is one of few birds able to imitate human…

Alphabet Week: E-H

Elbereth: this name has not been used in the U.S. it is a Lord of the Rings name meaning “star-queen.”
Elynas: this name has not been used in the U.S. you may remember this as the name of the King of Albany (Scotland) from the story of Melusine. Traditional searches for this name’s meaning turned up nothing until I found his supposed real name - Gille Sidhean, which might mean “steward of the fey,” or Elinas d’Albha. He is connected to the Vere and Anjou lines and said to be born circa 704, but with names this old sometimes there is more speculation than fact, although it becomes very interesting when the lines blur (like, some would say, King Arthur). At the end of this speculation there is a bit more of his ancestry connecting him to the Ulsters. Unfortunately I have yet to find the name’s meaning, but Helinus looks promising.

Fruzsina: the Hungarian form of Euphrosyne, meaning “mirth.” It is pronounced fruuz-EE-nah. Eufrozina and Frosina are other variants. The variant Frozine was th…

Alphabet Week: A-D

This week I will cover 26 boys and 26 girls that are considered rare.

Ashwin: a Sanskrit name meaning “light,” and possibly Anglo-Saxon meaning “spear.” As a given name it has been used since 1977 in the U.S. always rare, it was given to 56 boys in 2017.
Amellina: a Spanish and Italian variant of Amelia meaning “rival.” This name is very rare, with no statistics.

Brynja: a Norse name meaning “armor.” Pronounced BRIN-yah, this name has been used since 1993 in the U.S. but is very rare, given to only 7 girls in 2017.
Bedivere: a Knight of the Round Table, his name means “birch man.” This name has not been used in the U.S. despite its chivalrous vibe, along with the possible unusual nicknames Bev, Bear, or Biv.

Csilla: a Hungarian name meaning “morning star.” It was created by the Hungarian author Andras Dugonics in 1803. Pronounced tCHEE-luh. This name was only used 5 times, in 1961.
Cain: a Bible name with a negative story, this Hebrew name meaning “acquired” was liked enough to be in the to…

Norway 2017 Top 10

1. Sophie/Sofie
2. Nora/Norah
3. Emma
4. Sara/Sarah/Sahra/Zara
5. Ella
6. Olivia
7. Maia/Maya/Maja (I am wondering why Mya isn’t here)
8. Emilie
9. Sophia/Sofia
10. Ingrid/Ingerid/Ingri

1. Jacob/Jakob
2. Lukas/Lucas
3. Emil
4. Oscar/Oskar
5. Oliver
6. William
7. Filip/Fillip/Philip/Phillip
8. Noa/Noah
9. Elias
10. Isac/Isaac/Isak

Check out this list from 2015.


Lecelina is the medieval variant of Letitia, a Roman name meaning "happiness." Specifically, it is a double diminutive of Lece, taken from Lettice. Leceline and Lescelina are other spelling variants. Lasceline de Turqueville was an illegitimate daughter of Richard I of Normandy. Letitia, today’s most common variant, was the Roman goddess and personification of happiness. The name has been used since the 12th century, most commonly as Lettice. Lecia is another rare variant. Leta may be a cousin name, meaning "happy" from the Latin root laeta. Queen Letizia is the current queen in Spain. There are no SSA statistics for Lecelina or Leceline, but Lecia is used five or six times a year, usually two to five years apart.


Locryn (LOK-rin) is the masculine Cornish variant of Locrinus, a Welsh name meaning “England.” Locrinus may seem familiar because it was the name of a legendary king of Britain whom Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote about, and in his writing, the place Locrinus was from in southeastern Britain was called Loegria. Locrinus was a descendant of Brutus and Aeneas, and his two brothers were named Albanactus, meaning “Scotland,” and Kamber, meaning “Wales.” The name may also seem familiar because Locrinus married Gwendolen, the daughter of the supposed founder of Cornwall, but Locrinus kept a lover - Estrildis, who gave birth to a daughter named Habren. this is where the story behind the name Sabrina comes from. Gwendolen drowned her in the river Severn, which was Latinized in the 2nd century as Sabrina.

Locryn ranks mid-level in Cornwall as far as anyone can tell, but the data is from a few years ago and it’s not a top 100 name there. It is exceedingly rare in the U.S. with no data so far. There …


Desdemona by Theodore Chasseriau

Desdemona (dez-deh-MOH-nah) is an English literary name meaning "ill-fated." William Shakespeare used the name in Othello, but the play was based on the story Un Capitano Moro which was in Giovanni Battista Giraldi's Gli Hecatommithi, where the name was spelled Disdemona, from the Greek word dysdaimonia. It has never been a terribly popular name because of the character, who is murdered by her husband, and the name's meaning. However, Desdemona has been a character name in several other works of fiction since, including the Midnighters trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, the book Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and Jimmy Buffet's Where is Joe Merchant? Desdemona also features in two other plays - Toni Morrison's Desdemona, and Paula Vogel's Desdemona: A Play about a Handkerchief. It's also been used for four songs, is a moon of Uranus, and an asteroid demonically named 666 Desdemona. Desdemona Mazza was an Italian silent film…


Ruslan (ROOS-lahn) is a Slavic masculine name, and Ruslana is the feminine form. It is said this is the Russian form of the Turkic word arslan (and the Turkish name Aslan), meaning "lion." That may be true but there is also a possibility it comes from the Kievan Rus, called Rus, the Rusichan or Ruthenians, who came before Russia as we know it. If this is the case, Ruslan likely means "to row/rower," and shares an etymological root with Russia itself. Some of you may recognize Aslan as the name of the lion in the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. This is used in Russia and the surrounding area, and it's also a Circassian name. Eruslan, Yeruslan and Uruslan have been seen as variants.

One of the oldest uses of the name is of a legendary hero from the Pushkin poem/epic fairytale Ruslan and Ludmila published in 1820. The majority of namesakes are from the 1900's and includes plenty of footballers, other athletes, and politicians. Rusla…


Diletta D'Andrea

Diletta (dee-LAY-tah, dee-LET-tuh) is an Italian girl's name that comes from the Latin word dilecta (diligere, diligo) meaning "preferred, diligent, to be loved by choice." It is used in Italy and Switzerland and the numbers are going up, I first saw this name over at The Well-Informed Namer along with some other Italian beauties. Nicknames for Diletta could range from Dila, to Letta, to Letty, to Dita. There are only a few namesakes, such as opera singer Diletta Rizzo Marin, actress Diletta D'Andrea, Italian swimmer Diletta Carli, and journalist Diletta Petronio. In the Italian language version of Gone With the Wind, Scarlett and Rhett's daughter is Diletta instead of Bonnie. Diletta is also a character name in a novel by Frederico Moccia. Diletto is the masculine form of the name. Diletta has not been used in the U.S.

Wellesley or just Welles

Welles is an Old English surname meaning "spring of water." Wellesley is a variant, commonly found as a surname as well. As a surname Welles dates back to 1086 and is credited to a well (spring) in Lincolnshire. As far as Wellesley goes, there were 5 girls given the name in 2015, none in 2016, 5 in 2017and 6 boys in 1923, that is all. For Welles, there were 46 boys given the name in 2017 and no girls. There's really only one namesake with Welles as a first name - Welles Crowther, an American who died saving others during 9/11. Wellesley is perhaps more well known as the surname of the Dukes of Wellington and there are no well known namesakes with Wellesley as their given name. Welles is a decidedly nickname-free name, while Wellesley can be shortened to Welles.


Grecia (GRAY-see-uh is the most common pronunciation although some do say GRAY-shuh) is a Latin girl's name, variant of Grace, meaning "mercy; favour." Grecia is also the Italian and Spanish word for the country Greece. As far as anyone can tell, Grecia is bestowed as both a variant of Grace and as a place name. Grecia was given to 139 girls in 2017, so it is rare but not unheard of. There aren't many namesakes, but one is Venezuelan-Argentine actress Grecia Colmenares. One of the oldest known persons was Grecia de Briwere (Groecia de Bruere), daughter of Lord Horsley, born about 1176.


Caprice is derived from the Italian musical word capriccio (kah-PREE-chee-oh), "on a whim," which can also be translated as "a sudden motion," and "a fantastical thing." However, the etymology of the word is capo riccio, "curly head," and it was influenced by capra, "goat." When it applies to the given name, meanings such as "fanciful," "whimsical," and "curly hair" are acceptable. Caprice is the French take on the Italian word. It is where the English word capricious comes from, which means "impulsive, unpredictable." Capricia (kah-PREE-shuh) has been found as a variant.

Caprice is one of only a few ways to get Capri as a nickname. While the Italian island Capri is pronounced KAH-pree, as a nickname for Caprice it can be pronounced kuh-PREE.

Caprice was a 1913 film, Caprices a 1942 French film, the 1967 film Caprice, 2013 independent film Blue Caprice, 2015 French film Caprice, as well as the na…

Ancient Germanic Female Deities

Loki and Idun by John Bauer

Here is a list of ancient Germanic goddess and personifications. There is some overlap with the goddesses of the Norse pantheon, and I've limited it to those names that I think would wear well today on modern babies. Of the following names, only the following were used in 2016. Sol was given to 91 girls, Ran to 5 girls, Saga to 9 girls, and Beyla to 6 girls.

Beyla - as a possible agricultural personification, her name could mean "cow," "bean," or "bee," but she has been associated with bees and mead, so my guess is "bee." However, there's been a proposed connection to the reconstructed Proto-Norse name Baunila, which means "little bean." This is also a Spanish and Italian girls name.

Fulla - possibly means "bountiful." Her other name is Volla, which I think is equally accessible as a name. She is a virgin goddess in Old Norse mythology.

Gersemi - means "treasure." She is daughter of …


Rainer (RAY-ner) is an Old German boy name and patronymic surname meaning "deciding warrior," or "advising army." You might choose the older spelling option Rayner, older still is Ragnar, which ultimately came from the elements ragina, "counsel from the gods," and harjaz, "army." It has seen several variations of spelling from country to country, such as Raynor, Rainiero, and Rainier. There's loads of namesakes for each international version of the name, from Prince Rainier of Monaco to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Rain is the Estonian short form, but would obviously work well as a nickname today.


Zisa (ZEE-sah), sometimes spelled Ziza, was a Germanic goddess, possibly the equivalent of the god named Tyr of the Norse pantheon who was also called Ziu, or more likely she was the Germanic version of Tyr's wife. Since Tyr means "god," Zisa means "goddess." Her name can be found in manuscripts dating from the 12th to 14th century. Most of them recall a battle between the Swabians and the Roman Empire in the 1st century BCE. A connection has also been made between this goddess and the Swabian goddess Isis. She is the patron goddess of Augsburg, which was originally named Zizarim after her. Her worship has been primarily left to that general area, which is one reason she remains mostly unheard of. From the little bit we know about her, she was a protective goddess, and it is rumored that Tuesday was not actually named after Tyr, but after Zisa, as it was "Zistag" according to the Suevi. Zisa is unused as a baby name in the U.S., with no records.

Bex or maybe Bix

Bex can be a nickname for Rebecca and Beckett, but Bex, which happens to be a municipality in Switzerland, could be a name of its own. Some of you might recognize Bex Taylor-Klaus who has starred in the TV shows Arrow, House of Lies, Scream, and The Killing. However, Bex can be short for Bexley, which happens to be a place in east London and in Ohio. That's two-for-one in the place names department. Bexley, which means "boxtree meadow," ranked #970 in 2016 for girls (275 girls total), while it was only given to 13 boys that year. Bex was not used at all. As far as namesakes go, Bexley was the surname of actor Donald Thomas "Bubba" Bexley. Bexley is sometimes said to mean "pasture by the stream," and as this article claims, it was recorded as Bix, later Bixle, in the Domesday Book. But that might not be entirely accurate, and it seems Bex was recorded in the book itself. This source tells us it actually means "box tree meadow," from the eleme…


Caterina Sforza

Caterina/Catarina is a stunning, classy name that is surprisingly rare. It seems like Katherine/Catherine has won the hearts of most parents, leaving this gem to be found by those looking for something beautiful and underused. Caterina was given to 43 girls in 2016, with data since at least 1904 (with 5 births that year). Catarina was given a bit more in 2016 with 60 births. Also, Catherina and Catharina were each given a mere 5 times in 2016. This name definitely falls into the "familiar but rare" category. Caterina is an Italian and Catalan variant of the Greek name Katherine, which is generally accepted to mean "pure," from the word katharos. However, that meaning was largely a Christian take-over of sorts, and it could just as easily be from hekateros, "each of the two," or, slightly less likely, from the goddess Hecate, meaning "far off."

For famous namesakes, there's Italian noblewoman Caterina Sforza, born in 1463. Sh…

Anglo-Saxon Names We Can Still Use

These medieval names still have potential for the right parents. Here they are with U.S. statistics when applicable.

Alden (still in use with 388 boys in 2016)
Alric (13 boys in 2016)
Anselm (12 in 2016)
Ashwin (70 in 2016)
Beric (6 in 2016)
Bertram (6 in 2016)
Caedmon (30 in 2016)
Cenhelm or Kenelm
Cynric - prn. KIN-rik
Edric (42 in 2016)
Elwin (13) & Elwyn (12)
Everard (none, but 87 Everardo)
Godric (36 in 2016)
Harold (285 in 2016)
Herbert (80 in 2016)
Holbert - gives the nickname Holt easy
Mervin (53 in 2016)
Norbert (5 in 2016)
Nordman (0), Norman (180)
Nothelm, possibly Northelm
Osborn (16 in 2016), Osmer, Osmund, Osric, Oswin
Randal (190 Randall compared to 24 Randal)
Roderic, Roderick (7 Roderic & 199 Roderick)
Rodney (338)
Roger (407)
Selwyn (6)
Swithin - a bit of an oddball but I could see Swift being a nickname, or Swin


Brightwen is a unisex baby name that means "bright friend" in Old English from the root words beorht and wine. However, as pointed out by K. M. Sheard, it was also influenced by Beorhtwynn, beorht still meaning "friend," wynn meaning "joy." Brightwyna/Brigthwyna (BRIYT-win-uh seems intuitive but it's likely BRIGT-win-uh) is a strictly female form of the name, a variant of Brichtwyn (BRIKT-win), which may be related to the Dutch name Brecht (BREKT), whose feminine form is Brechtje (BREKT-yeh). Its other close relations Robert and Albert may be more familiar. Brithwen, Beorhtwynn, and Brichtwen could be other forms. We also know of Beorhtwulf, which was used around 840 on medieval Anglo-Saxons, possibly a king. The bert/beorht element was not uncommon.

Brightwen may be more often found as a surname, as in the case of Scottish naturalist Eliza Brightwen. It is important to note that the surname developed after the Norman Conquest, while the given name ex…


Saint Sunniva via

Sunniva (SOON-ee-vah) has a beautiful meaning, "sun gift," from its Anglo-Saxon form Sunngifu. It can be found recorded as the variant forms Suniva, Sunneva, Sunnifa, Sunnefa, Syneva, Synna, Synne (which became very popular), Synnev, Synneva, Synneve, Synnevi, Synniva, Synva, and more. The earliest recorded use was Sweden in 1353 but the name is attested to Saint Sunniva from the 10th century, who was an Irish princess. Unfortunately she died from a cave collapsing in Norway after fleeing an invading king who wanted to marry her. Miracles were reported on the little island she escaped to, Selja, with her followers. Her brother became Saint Alban. Their tales were written about in Latin and Icelandic.

This Scandinavian name has been used in Norway (most usage, rank #66 in 2015, also common there in Middle Ages), Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Finland, hitting the U.S. charts in 2005 with only 5 births. It di…

Our top 10 in other languages

Girls 2016

1. Emma - Ima, Imma, Ema, Ermintrude, Trudy, Irma, & connected to Emily which is #7
2. Olivia - Oliviera, Olivera, Olivette, Olivie
3. Ava - Eve, Eva, Hava/Havva, Chava, Evelia, and Evita
4. Sophia - Sofia (which also ranks), Sonya/Sonia/Sonja, Sophie/Sofie/Sophy, Zofia, Zosia, Sohvi, Zsofika, and Zsofia
5. Isabella - Isa, Sabella, Belle, Babette, Elisa, Elisavet, Elizabeth (#10) and her variants
6. Mia - as a variant of Maria this one has too many to list, but examples include Moira, Mariska, Mariella, Miriam, Marika, Mirja, Maureen, Mimi, Marietta, Maiken and Mya
7. Charlotte - Charlotta, Lottie, Lotte, Lotta, Charlize, Carolina/Karolina, Carla/Karla, Carola/Karola, Searlait, Carlita, Charlita, Charletta
8. Abigail - other than the Biblical Greek variant Abigaia, Abigail really only has spelling variations such as Abigayle and Avigail
9. Emily - see Emma which is #2, also Aemilia, Amalia, Amelia, Amma/Ama, Emelina, Emmeline, Emilia, Emilita and Emmy
10. Harper - this …

Ranking of Cat- names

Here are the 2016 statistics for all girl names starting with Cat, in order of appearance.

Catherine, 1660, #195
Catalina, 1024, #314
Cataleya, 606, #510
Cattleya, 119
Catarina, 60
Cathy, 53
Catalaya, 51
Caterina, 43
Cathryn, 39
Cate, 37
Cattaleya, 29
Catelyn, 27
Catelynn, 18
Cataleyah, 16
Catalyna, 16
Cathleen, 16
Catrina, 15
Catriona, 15
Catalea, 12
Catalia, 12
Catharine, 12
Catie, 12
Catalena, 10
Cathalina, 10
Cataleia, 8
Cateleya, 8
Cataleah, 7
Catalya, 7
Catori, 7
Catalayah, 6
Catia, 6
Cataliya, 5
Cathaleya, 5
Catharina, 5
Catherina, 5

0 births in 2016 include Catriana, Catrin, Catrinella, Catharinella, Catrine, Cathrine, Catina, Cateline, and Cato.

More rare, unused girl names

Here's another giant list of super-rare names, none of which were used in 2016 (and likely for several years beforehand). See the last list here. As you'll notice, some of these treasures could be mixed in with today's popular names with no trouble, and some are still very unusual. Some of them might be too pretty to pass up!

Acelina & Ascelina
Aebfhinn (EEV-in)
Aenor (AY-nor)
Ailbhe (AL-vah)
Ainsel (AYN-sell)
Amicia & Amisia
Ancelina & Anselina


Calistine, Calixtine
Camena, Casmena
Caryatis, Karyatis


Tyr (TEER, alternatively TER in some other countries) is an Old Norse boy's name and the god from which Tuesday was named (perfect for a baby born on a Tuesday). He was likely the son of Odin and Thor's brother. In Old Norse Týr literally means "god," and he was the god of law, justice, war and heroic glory. He was known as the one-handed god because he had his hand chewed off by the wolf god Fenrir. He was also thought to be the bravest god in the Norse pantheon. His tales were told in the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda, and there is enough historical data to prove he was a very important god in ancient times.

In the U.S. this is a rare baby name, given to only 10 boys in 2016 and only used since 2002. The recent Thor movies did not impact this name, but I thought parents would've been inclined to research other Norse mythology names. Odin and Thor are doing well on the charts, though, and Loki is being used a bit more but would still be considered rare.


Rani (RAH-nee) is a Hindu girl's name, Arabic, Sanskrit and Nepali for "queen." As a word, it is the feminine form of Raja or Rana, which applies to male rulers. It is still used as a given name today in India. Some sites will tell you Rani means "she sings," but in Hebrew it is a nickname for the masculine name Ran, meaning "he sings," which is where the common misunderstanding comes from.

Rani has dozens great namesakes. Because Rani is also a title it's a bit hard to siphon out the namesakes where Rani is a given name. Rani Vijaya Devi is one example. She was a princess in India, but articles do not specifically point out her birth name.

Rani Rashmoni founded the Dakshrineswar Kali Temple and played a part in blocking British trade on the Ganges river. Rani Karnaa, born in 1939, was a dancer who was so respected that she recieved the Padma Shri award. There was also a famous Pakistani actress called Rani, and Indian actresses R…

Usable Valkyrie Names

The Valkyrie by Arthur Rackham

Valkyries are a magical, powerful, bold choice for parenting inspiration, and some have considered using Valkyrie itself as a given name - 48 in 2016, the highest number so far. But after seeing the imagery of a beautiful warrior from myth, we have to face the fact that Hrist and Sigrdrifa are not going to go over so well in the U.S. Using Valkyrie as a name, then, might just be the way to go, but Valkyrija and Valkyria (both val-KEER-ee-uh / val-KEER-yah) have been used - officially accepted as a name in Iceland in 2015. Here are a few others to mull over:

Brynhildr - could be shortened to Bryn (or just go with Bryn as an "honor" name). It could mean "armor battle" or "bright battle."
Eir - pronounced AYR, this is easy to say and short, but the spelling and pronunciation is not intuitive to a native English speaker. It means "peace, mercy."
Herja - prononced HARE-yah, its a lot like Freja or Anja, so if people see th…

Herb Baby Names

I often wonder what makes Rose a more popular choice for a baby girl than Hyacinth, or River more chosen than Ocean, and in the case of herbs, why Sage is taking off but Sorrel is still quite rare. Here is a list of herbs and spices that have baby name potential with how many times they were used in 2016.

Tarragon, 0
Chervil, 0
Calamint, 0
Belladonna, 22 girls
Lavender, 82 girls
Celandine, 0
Chicory, 0
Anise, 13 girls
Verbena, 0
Dittany, 0
Damiana, 22 girls
Thistle, 0
Centaury, 0
Chamomile, 0
Pandan, 0
Bay, 33 girls, 8 boys
Clover, 172 girls
Basil, 22 girls, 60 boys
Marjoram, 0
Parsley, 0
Artemisia, 12 girls
Caraway, 0
Betony, 0
Vervain, 0
Vetiver, 0
Galingale, 0
Coriander, 0
Hyssop (which reminds me of Aesop), 0
Korarima, 0
Koseret, 0
Cicely, 16 girls
Gentian, 0 (the nickname Gent would be adorable)
Orris, 0
Valerian, 0 Valeriana, 6
Perilla, 0
Cayenne, 8 girls
Rue, 35 girls
Nigella, 0
Hawthorn, 0, but 36 spelled Hawthorne
Paprika, 0
Ginger, 56 girls
Saffron, 30 girls
Cassia, 62 girl…


Sibylla Palmifera by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Sibyl, from Greek sibylla, meaning "prophetess," was originally a word referring to one of the ten female oracles, and they were so mystically respected that even in early Christian theology their gifts were highly regarded, or at least intriguing, and Sibyl began being used as a given name in the Middle Ages.

Sibyl also comes with a delightful list of variants, each quite beautiful. The spelling Cybil/Cybill has been used, as well as English Sybella and sometimes versions starting with a Z, such as Zibylla. Both Sibylle and Sybille have been used in France, Sibylla in Sweden, Sybille and Sibylle in German, Sibylla in Greek, Sibilla in Italian, Sybilla in Late Roman, Sébirein Norman, and my favorite - Sibyllina, as in Blessed Sibyllina Biscossi (although she may have been known as Sibila, Sibilina or Sybil).

This name has not ranked in the U.S. since 1929. In 2016 it was only given to 19 baby girls. Sybella was given to 11 girls, wh…

Beryl & friends

Beryl (BEHR-ill) is a girl's baby name that is also a mineral gemstone, and it has been used since the 19th century. The etymology of Beryl can be traced from 12th century Old French beryl, from Latin beryllus / Greek beryllos, to Prakrit veruliya and Sanskrit vaidurya. It may ultimately come from the city Velur in India. The Greek meaning was considered "precious blue-green, color-of-seawater stone."

There are seven varieties of Beryl that often get overlooked, especially as baby name potential: morganite, emerald, aquamarine, maxixe, goshenite, and heliodor or golden beryl, and red beryl (formerly known as bixbite). While Morgan and Morgana are still used as baby names, Emerald is unusual but familiar, and Heliodor, Heliodoro, and even Heliodorus had their day in the sun, Aquamarine is usually reserved for fantasy characters and movie titles, and Maxixe is unheard of. Goshenite comes from the name of Goshen, Massachusetts.

Beryl last ranked for girls in the U.S. in 19…


Greek, meaning "lover of flowers." This is also a moth in the genus Cosmopterigidae family, and the name was used in a novel by Eilis O'Neal titled The False Princess. As a given name it has been used every now and then. Philanthea is an alternate option. Nicknames for Philantha could include Fanny/Phanny, Filly/Philly, Fanna/Phanna, Lanthy or Anthy.


Gennadius II

Gennady has a striking similarity to Kennedy, which is a popular unisex name in the U.S. Gennady, alternatively spelled Gennadiy, Gennadi, and Genndy, and Геннадий in Russian. This Russian boy's name comes from Gennadius, the name from Greek gennados, meaning "noble, generous." In Bulgarian and Georgian the name is spelled Genadi, while it is Ghenadie in Romanian. None of these are used in the U.S.

Saint Gennadius was a martyr from Constantinople, the 21st Ecumenical Patriarch of that ancient city. He was born around the same time as Gennadius of Marseilles, the 5th century priest and historian who was called Gennadius Scholasticus. Perhaps ironically, there was later a man known as Gennadius Scholarius who was a Byzantine theologian and philosopher. There was also 7th century Gennadius II, a Byzantine general. In the 400's there was politician Gennadius Avienus. In the 9th century there was a Bishop named Gennadius of Astorga.

Genndy Tartacovsky was th…