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Locryn

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

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

www.culturespotmc.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Boys
Ailwin
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)
Birstan
Blacwin
Brynstan
Caedmon (30 in 2016)
Cenhelm or Kenelm
Cenred
Cynric - prn. KIN-rik
Delwyn
Dunstan
Edric (42 in 2016)
Elstan
Elwin (13) & Elwyn (12)
Everard (none, but 87 Everardo)
Fordwin
Godric (36 in 2016)
Harold (285 in 2016)
Herbert (80 in 2016)
Holbert - gives the nickname Holt easy
Jaruman
Lambin
Lanfranc
Leofred
Leofric
Mervin (53 in 2016)
Norbert (5 in 2016)
Nordman (0), Norman (180)
Nothelm, possibly Northelm
Ordric
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)
Sabert
Selwyn (6)
Sperling
Swithin - a bit of an oddball but I could see Swift being a nickname, or Swin
Tancred
The…

Brightwen

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…

Sunniva

Saint Sunniva via http://bergen.katolsk.no/?p=5824

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!

Aarona
Abyssinia
Acelina & Ascelina
Aebfhinn (EEV-in)
Aenor (AY-nor)
Affery
Afina
Aikaterine
Ailbhe (AL-vah)
Ainsel (AYN-sell)
Alberie
Alcina
Alzira
Amandine
Ametrine
Amicia & Amisia
Ancelina & Anselina
Ancora
Andelia
Anemone

Bedelia
Bethan
Bethia
Betula
Beyza
Bibia
Blanchefleur
Blodwen
Blondine
Brightwen
Brilliana
Brisen
Bronmai
Bryonia
Bryndis

Caesia
Calamint
Caliadne
Calistine, Calixtine
Calligena
Camena, Casmena
Careen
Carmine
Carvilia
Caryatis, Karyatis
Castina
Cat
Catanance
Catiline
Chantilly
Chervil
Cherwell
Chicory
Chione
Chloris
Circaea
Cissaea
Citrine
Claretta
Cliona
Clodia
Colina
Coria
Corneline
Corvina
Cressa
Crina
Crisiant
Csi…

Tyr

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

www.krishna.com

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…

Sibyl

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…

Philantha

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.

Gennady

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…