Friday, December 18, 2015

Names from Christmas Songs

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Merry almost-Christmas everybody! This is my last post for 2015--I'll see you all back after the new year. Happy happy holidays, enjoy this list of Christmas song inspired names.

Blue--"Blue Christmas"
Blue is a lovely name, but I wouldn't name my child after a sad Christmas song.

Christmas--Take your pick of Christmas song!
Christmas is definitely out-there, but still a usable name. It's obviously featured in many a Christmas song (if not all of them).

Dominick--"Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey"
The song is a silly one, but Dominick is a very nice name. Spelling it Dominic gets rid of the former grocery store chain connection.

Drummer--"Little Drummer Boy"
A classic Christmas song and a very new name. You won't meet many baby Drummers around, but it does sound very on-trend.

Holly--"Holly Jolly Christmas"
Holly is not a particularly popular name, though I suspect usage increases in December. I love her as a nickname for the whimsical Holiday.

Joy--"Joy to the World"
Joy feels quite dated, but she's an understandable choice for a holiday-time baby.

Navidad--"Feliz Navidad"
Navidad is the Spanish word for Christmas (hence the song title) and also a Spanish variation of the name Natalia. Like Christmas, she's a bold choice, but perfect for a December 25th baby.

Nick--"Little Saint Nick"
Nicholas is a modern classic, and his main nickname gets plenty of use. The Beach Boys' song "Little Saint Nick" is a cute one to be named after.

Noel--"The First Noel"
Noel is another name that is heavily associated with Christmas time, and works for a boy or a girl.

Plum--"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"
You all know how much I love the name Plum, and the song from the Nutcracker ballet makes her that much sweeter.

Rudolph--"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
Rudolph would be a hard name to wear, even though the song promotes not teasing others. Go with Rudy instead.

Silver--"Silver Bells"
Silver is a daring color name that is slightly softened by the Christmas song association. The calming melody offers a nice balance to the sparkly, intense color.

Suzy--"Suzy Snowflake"
I hadn't heard this song until a few minutes ago. If you're not familiar, the song seems to have originated in Chicago, and may not have been widely known outside of the city (though I am from Chicago, and I had never heard of it). The name Suzy would feel retro-cool on a baby today, though I prefer the softer spelling Susie.

Winter--"Winter Wonderland"
Winter is name that's rising up the charts. She's the freshest of the season names, and comes with the adorable nickname Winnie. "Winter Wonderland" is a wonderful song to have your name in, as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

10 Hawaiian Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

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Mele Kalikimaka friends! Our last Wednesday post of 2015 is all about Hawaiian names for girls. Enjoy!

Ailani- Sweet, lyrical Ailani makes a lovely name for a baby girl--Hawaiian or not. She means "cheif," which is a strong and empowering sentiment.

Ekika- Ekika is the chirpy Hawaiian form of Edith. She's a fun and unusual way to get to Kiki, but still fits in with the three-syllable-ends-in-"A" name trend. Ekika is a downright cheerful choice--I'd love to see her used on a baby.

Huali- Huali may sound like she means "hula," but her real denotation is "pure, bright, polished, and gleaming." Either way, she's bound to conjure up images of the beautiful dance for some people. Huali is the name of an electric van company in China, but if you live anywhere else, she's more than usable.

Inoa- All you name nerds, are you looking for a name that sums up your obsession? Inoa could be your girl--she means "name" or "name chant." Noa is currently becoming more popular among girls--Inoa is a great way to use that name while distinguishing her from all the male Noahs.

Iolani- Unlike many other Io- names, Iolani's first syllable is pronounced like an "E," ee-oh-LAHN-ee. Her meaning is somewhat debated. Nameberry (my go-to for reputable information) says she means "hawk of royalty," while other sites claim "bird of heaven" or "to fly like a hawk" as her meaning. No matter what the case, Iolani definitely counts as a bird name, and a mighty one at that.

Kalea- Kalea is Hawaii's answer to Claire, though unlike her "light" sister, is said to mean "joy" or "happiness." She's a simply gorgeous name--one of my favorites back in the day. Kalea would wear well back on the mainland. I can see many parents embracing her--much like they have with Leilani.

Kilikina- I love a name that's fun to say, and Kilikina is just that! She's the Hawaiian variation of Christina, but feels like a more contemporary choice. Kiki or Kina would make cute nicknames.

Moanna- Moanna is a beautiful, beachy name meaning "ocean." She's quite similar to the Maori name Moana--meaning "sea"--which is also used in Hawaii. Moana is also the name of a princess in an upcoming animated movie.

Noelani- It wouldn't be a Hawaiian name post without three names that end in -lani. Noelani, though she means "heavenly mist" is an especially appropriate name for a baby born around this time of year. The easy-to-spot "Noel" makes her a Christmas name of sorts.

Silivia- Silivia seems like a made-up mash-up of Silvia and Olivia, but she's authentically Hawaiian. She is the Hawaiian form of Sylvia, and is said to mean "woman of the woods." Silivia is a unique and appealing name--I wonder if she'll ever catch on in the U.S.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Crooner Names

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Would you ever consider giving a December-born baby a holiday singer name? I like the idea--it makes a subtle connection between the name and time of year--much less conspicuous than Holiday or Yule (though I'm a fan of both of those). Let me know your favorites, and which names you would add.

Bing- Bing Crosby has one of the most classic Christmas albums of all time--after seventy years it's still on heavy rotation. Bing is a swanky old-fashioned nickname with a lot of potential. Kate Hudson used it as a nickname for her son Bingham.

Carey- Mariah Carey is the modern Christmas song queen, but her first name feels past its peak. Carey, on the other hand, feels unexpectedly fresh--on a boy. Carrie and Cari are girls of the past, but Cary, Carey, and Kerry are ready for revival.

Crosby- If Bing isn't your thing, you might want to try Crosby. He's an lively Irish surname with some serious style. Some people might associate Crosby with the character from Parenthood, but it's more likely they'll think of Bing.

Dean- Dean Martin is credited with popularizing the hit Christmas song "Marshmallow World" over ten years after it's debut. Martin was actually born Dino. As a name, Dean is rising in popularity in the U.S. and was at #221 last year.

Ella- Ella is one of those name that are so popular, most associations are just a wash. However, many a parent (and celebrity) have cited Ella Fitzgerald as the inspiration for their daughter's name. Her Christmas album is one of my very favorites--I play it all season long.

Fitzgerald- Ella's last name is much more distinctive--how often do you meet a baby with the first name Fitzgerald? Fitz is a cute nickname, though Fritz, Gerry, and Gerald are also options.

Frank- Frank Sinatra is about as classic as it gets. It's no surprise that his Christmas songs are still heard on radio stations all over the country (and he even has a spot on my eclectic holiday playlist). His first name, Frank, has the same sophisticated vintage feel to it--yet he's been falling in popularity for as long as the data's been kept.

Garland- Garland is a rare double-Christmas-connection name. Not only is it what we drape around Christmas trees and fireplace mantels, it's also the surname of Christmas singer extraordinaire, Judy Garland. Her most famous holiday song is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Gene- Gene Autry sang many of today's favorite Christmas songs, and even penned a couple himself. He's responsible for "Here Comes Santa Claus," and  popularized his versions of such favorites as "Frosty the Snowman," and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." That makes the clunky-cool Gene a Christmas hero name of sorts.

McCartney- Lennon and Harrison are fair game, so how about McCartney? Irish surnames are certainly popular right now, so I don't think it'd be a crazy choice, especially because of Paul. The Beatle wrote "Wonderful Christmastime" in 1979, and it's been a favorite ever since.

Nat- Nat King Cole's Christmas songs are a cherished tradition in many households. His most famous one is "The Christmas Song." All three of his names are worthy for a 2015-born child, but Nat is the simplest and most unexpected. Plus, like Garland, it has the extra Christmas connection of meaning "born on Christmas Day."

Presley- Who could forget Elvis Presley's wonderful collection of Christmas tunes? It's not the Holidays without "Blue Christmas" (or in my house--"Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me"). His first name is too strongly tied to the singer, but America has embraced Presley--especially for a girl.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Names from Christmas Movies

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There are so many classic Christmas movies out there, and many of them offer great inspiration for baby naming. I culled some of the most usable and interesting (first and last) names from beloved holiday films to share with you guys today. Let me know, would you consider naming a baby after a Christmas movie character?

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Charlie
Linus
Lucy
Sally
Schroeder
Violet

Christmas in Connecticut
Alexander
Lane
Norah
Sloan
Yardley

A Christmas Story
Ralphie
Randy

Elf
Buddy
Jovie
Walter

The Family Stone
Everett
Meredith
Sybil

Home Alone
Buzz
Harry
Marv
Kevin

Holiday Inn
Daphne
Dixon
Francois
Gus
Lila
Mamie
Parker
Reed
Ted

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Cindy Lou

It's a Wonderful Life
Bailey
Bert
Billy
Clarence
Ernie
Eustace
George
Harry
Ruth
Tilly
Violet
Zuzu

Love Actually
Annie
Daisy
Jamie
Juliet
Natalie
Peter

Miracle on 34th Street
Doris
Fred
Granville
Kris

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Art
Audrey
Bethany
Clark
Ellen
Lewis
Margo
Rocky
Ruby Sue
Rusty

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Clarice
Hermey
Rudolph

Scrooged
Brice
Claire
Eliot
Frank
Lew

White Christmas
Betty
Emma
Waverly

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

10 Italian Names You Never Thought of Using: Boys

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Today's Italian boys names aren't quite Romeos, but they have something even better--scarce usage. That being said, they do have their charms, and some are quite romantic. Take a look, and let me know what you think.

Alessio- Alessio is the Italian form of Alexis. He's not quite as dramatic as Alessandro, although if you like both, Alessio would work as a nickname.

Aurelio- You've likely heard of Aurelia, the Latin girls name steadily rising up the charts, but what about Aurelio? This just as attractive Italian name hasn't caught on for the boys yet. If you're a fan of color related names, Aurelio means "the golden one."

Brio- Brio is a unisex name in Italy, but the -o ending (rather than an "A") sounds more masculine to the American ear. Brio is a musical name, the definition being "vigor or vivacity of style or performance." He's an uncommon yet alluring music name--a difficult combination to find.

Carlo- With the popularity of Charlie, Charles, and Carlos being so high, it baffles me that Carlo isn't even in the top 1000. That puts him in the "uncommon yet familiar" category--a sacred place of baby name gems. Use them, and nobody will call you crazy, but there also won't be another one on your block.

Cassio- 
Cassio is a handsome Shakespearean name, coming from the play Othello. He's the Italian version of Cassius, so Cash could be a nickname if you so choose. Cassio's feminine form is Cassia--a cinnamon-like spice and modern day Cassandra.

Cecilio- Like his sister name Cecilia, Cecilio unfortunately means "blind." But that hasn't stopped thousands of parents each year from using them. Meanings aren't often talked about--or even known--so this is a minor issue, at most. Cecilio is very fashionable, and has a gentlemanly Italian feel.

Cosimo- Cosimo is a charming, sophisticated name waiting to be discovered. He comes from Cosmo, a more antiquated Italian choice. Cosimo means "the universe," perfect for night-sky loving parents.

Nino- Ooh, Nino! Ever since I watched the movie Amelie (one of my favorites) I swoon every time I see the name. Nino is a lovely, nickname style name that's gaining favor in many European countries (#26 in Switzerland!). He works as a nickname for any -nino name, but is just as delightful on his own.

Pellegrino- Pellegrino may remind people of the elegant bubbly water, but is that such a terrible association? He comes from Peregrine, which means "traveller" or "pilgrim," and is also a type of bird. Nino would make a cute nickname. If you need convincing, see above.

Silvio- Silvio is a common name in many parts of Europe, but unsurprisingly is most used in his country of origin--Italy. With Sylvia and Silvia increasing in popularity in the U.S., Silvio makes a friendly and usable option for a boy.

Monday, December 7, 2015

"Light" Names for Hanukkah

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Happy Hanukkah to all my friends and readers who are celebrating! Light is a very important theme and symbol of the holiday, so I thought we'd take a look at names that mean light today. It's a fun connection to have if your baby is born during these eight days of celebration. Names that are bolded also have Hebrew origins, for an extra Hanukkah link.


Girls

Azenor
Chiara
Elaine
Eleanor
Elena
Ellen
Helen
Helena
Laoise
Leora
Lucasta
Lucia
Luciana
Lucienne
Lucille
Lucinda
Lumiere
Luz
Lux
Nahara
Nell
Nira
Noor
Ori
Orit
Orli
Senara
Toula
Yetta
Zohara


Boys

Beacon
Deepak
Hikaru
Lito
Lucian
Luciano
Lucius
Meyer
Ori
Pradeep
Siraj
Uri
Valo
Zohar

Friday, December 4, 2015

Elf on the Shelf Names

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Do you have an Elf on the Shelf in your house? The tradition didn't exist when I was a kid, but it's so fun and whimsical--I wish it had! The Elf on the Shelf website lists the 20 most popular name for the registered elves--Nameberry did an comparison between elf names and baby names last holiday season, but I'm here to offer some more creative options for your elf. But first, the Elf top 20:

1. Buddy
2. Elfie
3. Jingle
4. Snowflake
5. Jingles
6. Jack
7. Charlie
8. Fred
9. Chippy
10. Sparkle
11. Elfy
12. Holly
13. Max
14. Twinkle
15. Jolly
16. Elvis
17. Bob
18. Clyde
19. Peppermint
20. Nick

How I wish I could see the full list!

The website also says that Cookie, Frisbee, Snowball, Sprinkle, and Tinsel are popular, and cites Oodle as a "unique" name belonging to 220 elves.

If you want an uncommon name for your family's Elf on the Shelf (that is, if you have a say in naming it), I have come up with some more creative ideas.

Blizzard
Chestnut
Cider
Cranberry
December (Ember could be a nickname)
Drummer
Eggnog
Evergreen
Fig
Garland
Holiday
Icicle
Ivy
Mistletoe
Mittens
Pax
Piper
Plum
Poinsettia
Popcorn
Season
Silver
Socks
Spruce
Stella
Toboggan
Winter (or Winnie)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

10 Italian Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

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Today we're talking about ten lovely Italian ladies. If you're in need of a glamorous name with a hint of mystery, these girls have got you covered. Take a look. 

Celestina- I'm a fan of any Celeste name, so naturally, I'm fond of Celestina. She's the Italian and Spanish form of Celeste, although in Italian, she's pronounced with a "ch" sound at the beginning. If you're looking for a long, romantic, unusual name, put Celestina on your list. 

Cosetta- Cosetta is an extreme rarity--she was given to four or fewer girls in the U.S. last year. For those of you searching for an almost unique name, Cosetta is a pleasant option. She's the Italian variation of the French name Cosette--almost instantly recognizable from the character in Les Miserables. 

Dicembre- Need an Italian name for your December-born baby? Dicembre would be perfect. She's scarcely used--both in America and in Italy. Like Cosetta, Dicembre is an almost unique choice. 

Domenica- Domenica is a lively, refreshing alternative to Dominique. She's a feminized form of Dominic, and works to honor any of the Dom- names. Nica makes a cute nickname, and is much more modern than Nicki. 

Eloisa- If Eloise is a little too "Plaza Hotel" for you, Eloisa could be the answer to your problems. She's just as sassy and retro, but doesn't carry the same mischievous little girl associations.

Graziella- Graziella is one of those names that is just so fun to say. She can be said with either three or four syllables, but in the U.S. it might be easiest to do four--grahtz-ee-EL-ah. She's a diminutive of Grazia, the Italian form of Grace. 

Isabetta- Elisabetta is a five-syllable mouthful, but fortunately her nickname Isabetta is more managable. She's very charming on her own, but Isabetta can also be used as a nickname for American favorite Elizabeth. She is perfect for families that pass down the name Elizabeth, but want a more distinctive nickname.

Leonida- There's been a lot of love for Leo names lately, especially on the boys side. Leonida is a gorgeous option for a girl. She's the Italian version of Leona, and also stems from the Greek Leonidas. 

Simona- Simona is a name used throughout Europe, particularly in Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. She's a nice option if you want a name that can honor a Simon, but is longer, or a bit more exotic than Simone. 

Vivia- No doubt about it, "V" is the hottest letter of 2015. We love names with Vs in them--Olivia, Vivian, Ava, Evelyn, etc. Vivia an undiscovered gem that will blend right in. She seems like she could have been made-up--essentially a mash-up of Olivia and Vivian--but trust me, Vivia is one hundred percent Italian.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Literary Namesake Names

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November is National Novel Writing Month, and seeing as the month is coming to close, it's only fitting that we take a look at literary namesake names today. There are so many wonderful authors that you could look to for naming inspiration. I've only coved a few in this post--mostly writers with distinctive names or ones who are heavily associated with their names. Which ones would you add?

Agatha--Agatha Christie
Alcott--Louisa May Alcott
Anais--Anais Nin
Angelou--Maya Angelou
Astrid--Astrid Lindgren
Austen--Jane Austen
Beatrix--Beatrix Potter
Bronte--the Bronte sisters
Carroll--Lewis Carroll
Eliot--T.S. Eliot
Ernest--Ernest Hemingway
Fitzgerald--F. Scott Fitzgerald
Flannery--Flannery O'Connor
Franz--Franz Kafka
Gertrude--Gertrude Stein
Hawthorne--Nathaniel Hawthorne
Joan--Joan Didion
Jules--Jules Verne
Oscar--Oscar Wilde
Roald--Roald Dahl
Salinger--J.D. Salinger
Sylvia--Sylvia Plath
Tennessee--Tennessee Williams
Truman--Truman Capote
Wharton--Edith Wharton
Wilder--Laura Ingalls Wilder
Woolf--Virginia Woolf
Zora--Zora Neale Hurston

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

10 Dutch Names You Never Thought of Using: Boys

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We're talking about Dutch names for boys today--this list is full of short and sweet choices perfect for nicknames or own their own. Let me know your favorites in the comments.

Arjan- Arjan (pronounced AHR-yahn) is the attractive Dutch form of Adrian. Speaking of Adrian, he's at an all time high right now at #59, so Arjan makes a nice alternative if you want something less popular. Arje is a sweet nickname possibility.

Bas- Bas is quite trendy in the Netherlands, both on his own, and as a nickname for such names as Sebastiaan and Bastiaan--the Dutch variations of Sebastian and Bastian. Another, much more American spelling is Baz, which you might recognize as the name of esteemed director Baz Luhrmann.

Bram- Bram is a lovely choice--one of my very favorites. He's the Netherlands' answer to Abraham, and feels decidedly more modern. The Dutch can't get enough of Bram--he ranks #2 over there. Bram makes for an incredibly easy import into the United States. With names like Graham starting to make their way up the charts, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bram crack the top 1000 sooner or later. So grab him while he's fresh!

Mies- Calling all you nature mamas and papas: Mies means "son of the earth"--perfect for the child of planet-loving parents. He's originally short for Bartholomeus, meaning he could work as a nickname for Bartholomew, assuming you're not a fan of Bart.

Pim- It's no secret I love Pimm--for a girl. Well, the masculine form, Pim is a Dutch nickname for Willem and just almost as cute. If you're not feeling Will, Billy, or even Liam as a nickname for William, Pim is an intriguing and very unexpected option.

Rem- Unlike the Dutch, most American parents won't consider a name as short as Rem stand-alone. Fortunately, he can act as a nickname for Jeremy, Remington, and the like. Rem is a bit more masculine than the unisex Remy, if you are searching for an alternative.

Roel- Roel is the Dutch form of Roland--pronounced like "rule" in the Netherlands, but more likely "role" in America. He's a classy way to honor a Joel, Roland, Rudolph, or Orlando in your life.

Rutger- Rutger comes from Roger, and could be used as a contemporary update for him. Rutger could also be a fun way to honor your alma mater, provided you went to Rutgers University. The University in New Jersey was named after Colonel Henry Rutgers, who fought in the Revolutionary War.

Sander- Sander is the Dutch and Scandinavian nickname for Alexander, although he is considered a name in his own right as well. Sander, or even more so, Sanders would make an extremely topical choice right now, considering the impending presidential election, and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

Thijs- Thijs (pronounced like "twice" without the "W") is another Dutch favorite, ranking at #15. He comes from Matthijs, the Netherlands' variation of Matthew. News anchor Matt Lauer subtly honored himself by naming his son Thijs--something only a name enthusiast would notice.


Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers! I'm taking Friday off for the holiday weekend--see you next week!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Puritan Names Worth Considering

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We've all heard of those crazy Puritan names--Fear-God, Obedience, and what not--but that's not what I'm hear to talk about. Just in time for Thanksgiving, I've got a list of the more usable Puritan choices--many of them virtue or Biblical names. The Puritans had a big influence on the naming culture during the time of the Pilgrims, and thus, impacted early American (and even current) naming culture.

Adore
Alydea
Amity
Ashael
Azaliah
Charity
Clemency
Comfort
Concord
Constance
Dinah
Faith
Felicity
Fidel
Fidelia
Fidelity
Fortune
Gomer
Grace
Gracious
Honor
Hope
Hopewell
Jethro
Jolly
Joy
Justice
Kezia
Liberty
Lively
Love
Lovell
Loyal
Martha
Mercy
Moses
Nehemiah
Obadiah
Oceana
Oceanus
Patience
Peregrine
Priscilla
Promise
Prudence
Rejoice
Seraphim
Sincere
Tacita
Tacy
Thurgood
Trinity
True
Truth
Unity
Verity
Victory
Virtue
Winthrop
Zebedee

Friday, November 20, 2015

Best Unisex Names for Boys

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This list surprised me in many ways. The first is by some of the names. I never would have guessed that names like Dominique, Kimball, and Wynn are all more popular for boys (to be fair, they're all pretty close in terms of boy/girl usage). Second, this list is quite a bit longer than Monday's. I would have thought that there are more unisex names that are considered "for girls" rather than the other way around. Granted, I couldn't have thought of every unisex name, so there still could be more "girlish" ones, I suppose. Let me know what you think--are all of these better suited for the boys?

Abbott
Adrian
Aiden
Alex
Anchor
Angel
Ari
Ash
Ashton
Birch
Bo
Brady
Brighton
Cameron
Carlton
Casey
Cedar
Charlie
Chris
Christian
Cove
Dallas
Daryl
Devin
Dominique
Doran
Drew
Dylan
Elliot
Ellis
Evan
Gardner
Garland
Glenn
Gray
Finn
Flynn
Hart
Hayden
Jazz
Jordan
Jory
Joss
Justus
Keegan
Kimball
Kyle
Lake
Lane
Lincoln
Logan
Linden
Maguire
Mercer
Micah
Nico
Noel
North
Oak
Oakley
Parker
Paxton
Phoenix
Quincy
Ray
Reece
Reid
Ren
Rio
River
Rory
Rowan
Ryan
Sacha
Sam
Samar
Sawyer
Sean
Storm
Tate
Terry
Toby
Tony
True
Tyler
Wynn

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

10 Dutch Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

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Next up is Dutch Names! I've got a whole bunch of gorgeous choices for you all today. Let me know your favorites, and any names you might add.

Anouk- Ooh, the lovely Anouk! She's one of my favorites. She is the French and Dutch form of Anna, and would be wonderful for honoring anyone with an Ann- name. Anouk's second syllable typically rhymes with "nook," though some people say it like "fluke."

Daffodil- Yes, Daffodil is Dutch. She's an extremely uncommon flower name, and would cause much more of a stir than your average Lily or Rose. However, she makes for a very fun and whimsical choice--just don't let anyone call her Daffy.

Jetje- Jetje (said YET-yuh or YET-chya) is the Dutch variation of Henrietta. Even though the pronunciation isn't there, Jet or Jette would still work as a nickname. Jetje is cheerful and spunky--she's not quite an easy import, but it would be manageable.

Lissa- Lissa is a pan-European pick, with use in England, Greece, France, and the Netherlands. She's short for Melissa, but is much more modern than Missy. She could be used as a nickname for such names as Amaryllis, Elizabeth, Felicity, Melissa, Phyllis, and Wallis, or stand on her own.

Madelief- Those of you who know Abby have undoubtedly heard the name Madelief before. She's really only used in the Netherlands, where she ranks #122. Madelief is pronounced as she looks, MAD-el-eef, though if you're not a fan of the "leaf" sound, you could slightly alter it to say MAD-el-eeve.

Mariel- Mariel is a French and Dutch diminutive of Mary, who took cues from the once popular Muriel. She's most well known as the name of Mariel Hemingway, an actress from the famous family, though it's also the name of a town in Cuba. Mariel can also be spelled Marielle.

Rika- Like Jetje, Rika also comes from Henrietta (the Swedish form of which is Henrika, and the Dutch, Heintje). Unsurprisingly, she's used in both Sweden and the Netherlands, and is commonly used as a nickname for all sorts of -rika names, like Fredrika and Enrika.

Sanne- Sanne is a Danish and Dutch nickname for Susanna (which would be spelled Susanne there). She's pronounced SAH-na, and means "lily." She's perfect for honoring a Susan or Lily in your life.

Saskia- Saskia comes from the word "Saxon," a German tribe that took it's name from their word meaning "knife." That's not an entirely pleasant association, but odds are, not many people will know that. Saskia is both German and Dutch in origin, but is more popular in the Netherlands. She's most common in England, where she peaked at #125 in 1999--slightly dated over there, but very fresh for an American.

Verandia- Verandia is a unusual name--you won't find much information about her out there. She's the Dutch form of Verena, and lends herself to the nickname Randi. Her similarity to the word "veranda" is not necessarily a downside, but something I'd consider before choosing Verandia as "the one."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Best Unisex Names for Girls

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Don't let the title fool you--this post is not about the definitive "best" unisex names for girls. Rather, I've listed unisex names that are used more often for girls than they are for boys. All of them work for either gender, in fact, many of these names have extremely similar usage among both genders. Check back on Friday for the boys list!

Addison
Ariel
Ashby
Ashley
Aspen
Avery
Bailey
Blue
Campbell
Dakota
Dana
Day
December
Eden
Ellison
Emerson
Emery
Fallon
Finley
Harbor
Harley
Harper
Indiana
Izzy
Jess
Jules
Justice
Kendall
Kennedy
Kimber
Larkin
London
Mackenzie
Marlowe
Meridian
Merritt
Monroe
Morgan
Palmer
Paris
Peyton
Presley
Quinn
Rain
Reagan
Reese
Riley
Romy
Sage
Sailor
Sasha
Scout
Sheridan
Sky
Skylar
Sloane
Sparrow
Sutton
Taylor
Teagan
Tierney
Valentine
Yuki

Friday, November 13, 2015

Broadway Names

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Love musical theater? Why not give your baby a Broadway worthy name? All of the following come from the titles of Broadway musicals, past and present.

Abner--Lil' Abner
Adele--Adele
Aida--Aida
Allegro--Allegro
Alma--Alma, Where Do You Live?
Annie--Annie; Annie Get Your Gun
Anya--Anya
Babette--Babette
Beatrice--An Evening with Beatrice Lillie
Bess--Porgy and Bess
Billie--Billie
Billy--Billy Elliot
Birdie--Bring Back Birdie; Bye Bye Birdie
Brooklyn--Brooklyn
Carmelina--Carmelina
Carmen--Carmen Jones
Caroline--Caroline, or Change
Carrie--Carrie
Charity--Sweet Charity
Charley--Where's Charley?
Chris--Chris and the Wonderful Lamp
Christine--Christine; Marie Christine
Coco--Coco
David--King David
Dolly--Hello, Dolly!
Eddie--Very Good, Eddie
Edwin--The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Eileen--Eileen
Elsie--Elsie
Evangeline--Evangeline, or the Belle of Arcadia
Fanny--Fanny
Finian--Finian's Rainbow
Flora--Flora the Red Menace
George--George M.!; Sunday in the Park with George
Giovanni--Bravo Giovanni
Hattie--Panama Hattie
Hazel--Hazel Flagg
Henry--Henry, Sweet Henry; John Henry
Illya--Illya Darling
Irene--Irene
Jamie--Three Wishes for Jamie
Jane--Jane Eyre
Jerome--Jerome Robbins' Birthday
Jerry--Jerry's Girls
Jersey--Jersey Boys
Joey--Pal Joey
John--John Henry
Johnny--Johnny Johnson; Little Johnny Jones
Juan--Juan Darien
Jubilee--Jubilee
Juliet--Me and Juliet
Juno--Juno
Kate--Kiss Me, Kate
Kay--Oh, Kay!
Kean--Kean
Kelly--Kelly
Lennon--Lennon
Liberty--Miss Liberty
Lillie--An Evening with Beatrice Lillie
Mabel--Mack & Mabel
Mack--Mack & Mabel
Maddox--Red, White, and Maddox
Marie--Marie Christine
Marinka--Marinka
Memphis--Memphis
Merlin--Merlin
Millie--Thoroughly Modern Millie
Molly--The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Monty--The Full Monty
Nanette--No, No, Nanette
Paris--Paris
Peter--Peter Pan
Pippin--Pippin
Rex--Rex
Roberta--Roberta
Rocky--Rocky the Musical
Rosalie--Rosalie
Rose-Marie--Rose-Marie
Sadie--Sadie Thompson
Sally--Sally
Sammy--What Makes Sammy Run?
Sarafina--Sarafina!
Sawyer--The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Sweeney--Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tiffany--Breakfast at Tiffany's
Todd--Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tom--The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Tommy--The Who's Tommy
Venus--One Touch of Venus
Victor--Victor/Victoria
Victoria--Victor/Victoria
Will--The Will Rogers Follies

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

10 Hindi Names You Never Thought of Using: Boys

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Today we're talking all about Hindi names for boys. Every single name on this list would work well on an American or English-speaking child, so don't be afraid to use one!

Deshan- Deshan is an unpopular Hindi name meaning "of the nation." He'd be an easy import, considering his similarities to familiar names like Deshawn.

Dhani- Dhani is most recognizable as the name of George Harrison's son. Dhani Harrison is named after notes in the Indian musical scale, which is very fitting for a musician's child. There could be some confusion between Dhani and Danny, but as long as you stress the first syllable when introducing him to people, it shouldn't be too much of a burden.

Hari- Just as Dhani is similar to Danny, Hari sounds a lot like Harry. However, Hari has the attractive "A" sound that is found in Charlie, which gives him some style points. Hari is an alternate name for the Indian gods Vishnu and Krishna.

Kamal- Kamal is a cross-cultural name, with roots in Arabic and Hindi. He comes from the more feminine Kamala, a Hindu goddess name. Kamal has many meanings--in Arabic he's considered to mean "perfection," while in India is it said he means either "lotus" or "pale red."

Nalin- Like Kamal, Nalin also means "lotus." He's a popular name among Indian Buddhists, as the lotus symbolizes nirvana and enlightenment. Nalin is pronounced na-LEEN, and can also be spelled Naleen.

Narain- Narain--also spelled Narayan--is another name associated with the god Vishnu. He means "protector," and is also considered to be the name of the god of creation. A famous Indian actor goes by the name mononymously.

Rajah- Rajah means "prince" in Hindi, and is used as a title there (similar to the use of Prince in English). Rajah is a simple, but stylish name, and he comes with the nickname Raj. Most people will recognize it as the name of a character in the Disney movie Alladin.

Ravi- Ravi is the cheerful name of the Hindu sun god, and fittingly means "sun" in Sanskrit. He'd be extremely easy to wear in the U.S., though he hasn't caught on. The Dutch have taken quite a liking to Ravi though, as he ranks at #127 in the Netherlands.

Sarad- Sarad means "born in autumn," so if you're due within the month, put him on your list! All jokes aside, he's a very attractive name that could be worn by a baby born in any season. He does have similarities to the name Sarah, but the -d ending and alternate syllable pattern makes me think this won't be a problem.

Varan- Varan is a derivitave of Varuna, who is the Hindu god of water. Even though he's not the actual name of the god, Varan is probably a better choice for an American baby, as Varuna will sound too feminine to many ears.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Some Changes

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Hello everyone--I just wanted to deliver an official update about some changes that are going on around the blog. You may have noticed that I've started to feature banner ads on the sidebar. As my readership grows, this blog is a great opportunity for me to make some extra money, so I have decided to take advantage of that. Also, after years of trying, I've finally added links to the names on the "Boys Names" and "Girls Names" pages on the top bar. Now if you click on any name on those pages, it will take you to all the posts it's mentioned in. (Please let me know if any of the links don't work--I had to link thousands of names, so there's bound to be a few mistakes). I've also updated my About page to include the link to my Nameberry articles. Thanks for your patience everyone! Regular posting will resume on Wednesday.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Apple Names

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Happy (almost) Halloween guys! I wanted to do a post about apples before Fall ended, and I figured this would be the ideal time, right in the middle of apple season. All the following names come from apple varieties--perfect for an Autumn baby!

Abbey
Adam
Albany
Albert
Alexander
Alford
Allen
Ambrosia
Anna
Annie
April
Ariane
Arthur
Bailey
Baldwin
Barry
Beacon
Bella
Ben
Bess
Beverly
Billy
Bonnie
Bridget
Brock
Cameo
Carlos
Caroll
Charles
Christmas
Clark
Clay
Cole
Connell
Crispin
Cybele
D'arcy
Davey
David
Dawn
Dayton
Derby
Earl
Early
Eddie
Edmund
Edward
Elise
Elizabeth
Ellison
Elton
Emneth
Erwin
Evelina
Everard
Fearn
Filippa
Florina
Foster
Franklin
Fuji
Gala
Garland
Gavin
George
Gibson
Gilbert
Ginger
Grove
Harrison
Harvey
Henry
Hokuto
Holiday
Holland
Holly
Hudson
Ida
Ingrid
Jackson
James
Jazz
Jersey
Johnny
Jonathan
Jordan
Jubilee
July
June
Jupiter
Kalei
Karen
Katy
Katya
Kent
Kerry
King
Kingston
Kinsei
Lane
Liberty
Lilibet
Luscious
Mac
Maclean
Maigold
Malinda
Marie
Marisa
Melba
Meridian
Miller
Milo
Milton
Mollie
Moore
Morgan
Morley
Newton
Niagara
Noble
Oliver
Opal
Orin
Palmer
Park
Paula
Pax
Pearl
Perry
Pine
Pippin
Pixie
Pomme
Porter
Prairie
Princess
Priscilla
Quebec
Quince
Rajka
Rome
Rose
Rosemary
Rosette
Ross
Rosy
Royal
Russet
Rusty
Sam
Santana
Scarlet
Scarlett
September
Sharon
Shay
Sierra
Smith
Snow
Sonya
Spencer
Stirling
Summer
Sundance
Sutton
Taylor
Tom
Topaz
Turner
Upton
Victoria
Virginia
Walter
Wayne
William
Winston
Winter
Wolf
Yates
York
Zari


I'm taking next week off to do some blog maitenance--regular posting will resume November 9th.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

10 Hindi Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

Made by me
I love learning about names from other cultures--it helps me find names I never even would have heard of. I've listed ten of my favorite Indian names for girls today. Let me know what you think! Also, please tell me--what other cultures do you want to see featured in this series? I want to research ones you guys will be most excited about.

Beeja- Starting out with my favorite--Beeja is so beautiful. She's easy to say and spell, plus she comes with the adorable nickname Bee! Beeja means "happy," which is always lovely.

Chandra- Chandra peaked in the 1970s around #300, so to some she might feel kind of dated. I, however, think she works as a familiar update to mom-name Sandra. Her Ch- beginning (a la Charlie) makes her even more accessible. Chandra has a stunning meaning, "moon goddess."

Hanita- Another update to a dated classic, Hanita is a fresh spin on the mom/grandma name Anita. She's much more contemporary, and (another great meaning alert!) means "divine grace."

Leya- Leya is a Spanish, Yiddish and Hindi name, pronounced the same as Leia. Hopefully with her different spelling, she won't get all the Star Wars princess associations. Leya works as an alternative to the ever-popular Leah, which is at #35.

Megha- Here's another alternative/honor name, this time for 90s hit Megan. Megha (pronounced either like "mega" or MAY-guh) is a splendid choice for a baby girl of any background. Meg works for a charming, somewhat old-school nickname.

Neeja- Neeja is a flower name, but not of your typical Violet/Rose/Daisy variety. She means "lily," which is prime for an Easter or springtime baby. For those of you looking for nickname-proof names, Neeja is a good option. I don't think "Nee" would stick.

Neela- Neela is the Hindi variation of the African Nila, both meaning "sapphire blue." She's not technically considered a feminization of Neil, but she definitely works to honor one. Other spellings include Neala and Neila.

Reva- Reva has roots in both Hebrew and Hindi, making her a good cross-cultural choice. She's pronounced RAY-va, and is the name of a sacred river in India. Reva is super glamorous--I find her very sophisticated.

Savita- Savita means "sun" and is quite popular in India. The fact that she's three syllables and ends in "A" means she'd fit in perfectly with other American kids' names.

Shivani- We've had a post chock full of wonderful meanings, and the most intense one got saved for last. Shivani means "life and death," which is by no means horrible--just maybe not the happy-go-lucky meaning you were looking for. That aside, Shivani is a gorgeous name, as well as one of an Indian goddess.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Full Names for Toby

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Isn't Toby a charming name? He's so sweet and lovable. When Joanna Goddard gave the name to her son five years ago, I was pleasantly surprised. Toby feels very fresh on a baby, even though he's taken a slight dip in popularity. If you can't commit to using Toby on his own, take a look at this list to see some of his fuller forms.

Alberto- Alberto may not have the "tob" sound directly, but separately, it's all there. He's a funky, but fun way to get to Toby, especially if the nicknames Al or Bertie aren't your thing.

Barton- Barton is a serious English surname that could have potential--if only his most obvious nickname wasn't Bart. If you decide to go the nickname route, Toby is the best answer.

October- October is an exciting unisex name that works especially well for babies born this month. However, at three syllables long, people start looking for a nickname. There aren't many choices, but even if there were, I'd still suggest Toby.

Tobiah- Tobiah is the biblical name that eventually gave way to Tobias. With names like Isaiah and Josiah so popular, it's surprising that people have rarely heard of him. Tobiah makes for a unique and easy way to get to Toby, although you could use him in his own right too.

Tobias- Toby may be falling in popularity, but Tobias is rising. He's the most popular full name for Toby, and many people use him specifically for that purpose. I have too many Arrested Development associations to ever pull the trigger on Tobias, but he is a classic and classy option.

Tobin- Tobin is a surname derivative of Tobias, and has a contemporary, pleasant sound. If you're not into "old-man-chic" style names, he could be a wonderful full name for your Toby.

Umberto- Umberto is an extremely Italian name, so if your little Toby is going to have Italian roots, he's one to consider. He's a variant of Humbert, and infinitesimally more attractive.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sweet Names for Girls

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Everyone likes dessert, and many of us love it. Why not carry your passion through to your children's names? I have a list of six sinfully sweet names for baby girls for your perusal--all of them are delightfully delicious.

Carmela- Carmela's meaning may have nothing to do with sugar (it's "garden"), but her delicious sound reminds us all of caramel's sticky sweetness.

Dulcie- On the other hand, Dulcie literally means "sweet." She's used more often in England and Australia than the United States, but she was in our top 1000 until 1905. Other Dulcie-like options include Dulce, Dulciana, Dulcibella, and Dulcine.

Florentine- Florentines are mouth-watering. very thin chocolate cookies, with nuts and preserved fruit on top. Florentine is a French name, a variant of Florence and Florentina. It is a bit of a big name for a tiny baby, but the cookie connection makes it that much sweeter.

Madeleine- Like Florentine, Madeleine is also a French dessert and baby name. The cookie is light, lemony, and cake-like, and the name is a well-used variation of Madeline. If you do go with this French spelling, the dessert could be a cute baby shower/birthday party/any party theme.

Maple- Maple syrup is nature's natural sweetener, so it's no wonder that it immediately comes to mind when the name is heard. Maple is also commonly associated with the tree, and was the title character in a Robert Frost poem. Maple is similar in sound to the increasingly popular Mabel, so that could boost her attractiveness to parents.

Sundae- She's by no means a common choice, but Sundae attracts a small number of users each year. She's considered an alternate spelling of the slightly more common Sunday, albeit, a sweeter one. Sundae is cheeky and cheerful--and not for the timid namer.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

10 Irish Names You Never Thought of Using: Boys

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Need an interesting Irish name for your little lad? These choices hit the sweet spot between unusual and familiar.

Caledon- Most people only recognize Caledon as the name of a supporting character in the Titanic movie, but he's originally a place name of sorts. Caledonia, from which he derived, is the Latin word for Scotland. So makes Caledon the perfect name for an Irish-Scottish baby boy. Bonus points for the cowboy-cool nickname Cal.

Colm- Malcolm may be stuck in the nineties, but Colm is lovely for a 2015 baby. He isn't pronounced quite the same--it's more like "column," but he is related to Malcolm, as well as up and comer Callum.

Corrigan- Corrigan is a striking Irish surname with a lot of potential. He's ideal if you're looking for an updated version of 20th century favorite Cory, especially if you need to honor one. One possible downside: Cory is his only obvious nickname, so if you're not a fan, Corrigan might not be the name for you.

Fallon- The hit TV show Dynasty made Fallon a possibility for girls in the eighties and nineties, but now that late night host Jimmy is on the scene, this unisex name could very well go to the boys. If you like his sound, but not the television connections, try spelling him Faolan, Felan, or Phelan.

Fintan- Finn is one of the hottest, most likeable names for boys right now. Many people use him in his own right, but others see Finn more as a nickname. If you want a longer name for Finn, but something less feminine than Finley, and more unique than Griffan, Fintan might be the best option. He's fun, easy to pronounce, and has two cool possible nicknames, "white bull" or "white fire."

Larkin- Simple, stylish Lark is a hit for the ladies right now, but Larkin--which comes from Laurence, so he and Lark are unrelated--feels entirely right for a guy. Like many trendy names right now, he is originally a surname, but unlike those, he's not currently trendy. Larkin dropped out of the top 1000 in 1909, making his re-entrance about six years overdue.

Malone- Malone is particularly popular as a last name, but never quite made it as a first. His syllable pattern lends him well to the middle position, but if you like nicknameless names, Malone would be prime as a first name. But enough talk about where to place him--Malone has some serious swagger, and deserves more notoriety.

Oran- It can be hard to find a fashionable name that seamlessly blends two cultures together. But if you need a name for a Jewish-Irish fellow, Oran does just that. He ranks at #100 in Ireland, but surprisingly doesn't make the charts in the U.S. For a name that's so easy to like, I hope that changes soon.

Roark- Roark is a strong surname with a fantastic meaning--"illustrious and mighty." He has a plethora of spellings--Roarke, Rorke, Rourke, or Ruark--so take your pick. Unfortunately the one I've cited here has an unfortunate connection to an Ayn Rand book, so Roarke (or Rourke, if you're a fan of Mickey) might be a better option.

Tadhg- And finally, the one that might confuse people. No, Tadhg is not intuitive in his pronunciation (it's TYEG, as in tiger)--he does not rhyme with the equally charming Teague. However, for you poetry fans, Tadhg means "poet," and he's featured in Irish mythology as Finn McCool's grandfather.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Full Names for Huck

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Do you guys read the blog Hey Natalie Jean? She has the most adorable son named Huck, and ever since I started reading her blog (back in middle school!) I've loved the name. Her son's full name is Henry, but if that's not your style, there are some other options for getting to this full-of-fun, slightly mischevious nickname.

Charles- If Charles can be Chuck, then why not Huck? Besides, the latter is a lot more contemporary--I think Chuck needs another generation or two before he can be revived.

Henry- Lovable Henry has many nickname options, most of which I just adore. If you love Henry, just not his popularity status (ahem, me), bite the bullet and use a cool nickname--Hal, Hank, Harry, Huck!--to distinguish him from the others.

Huckleberry- On the other hand, why not use Huck to make his full name seem tamer? Huckleberry is a wild choice, but he's certainly usable (Bear Grylls has a son with the name), plus it gives you the added connection of Huckleberry "Huck" Finn (though it's quite debatable whether or not that's a good thing).

Huxley- Huxley is an English surname that people have been loving lately. He's currently at #1346, but looking at his trajectory, I wouldn't be surprised to see him break the top 1000 this year. His spelling lends himself to the nickname Hux, but I personally prefer Huck.

Huxton- Huxton appears to be an invented name--he was only used on 12 baby boys last year--but he mirrors the English surname style quite well. If you're not deterred by his lack of history, Huxton is a perfect full name for Huck.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Names with "an"


I recently got an email from a reader asking for some naming inspiration.

Fiona writes:

My first 2 children both have a theme of "an" - Marianne and Kassandra. It happened accidentally, but the more we think about future names, the more we seem attracted to this sound. It would be great to have some help and inspiration please! 
Our second child was only born this year, so we are jumping the gun a little but we do plan a 3rd child (hopefully, as obviously thanks to mother nature's blips, having a child is not in our complete control!) and our experience is that it is never too early to start thinking about names.

With many thanks,
Fiona 

Past the page break I have put together an exhaustive list of names with -an in them. I've italicised the ones I think work best with Marianne and Kassandra. Feel free to leave your thoughts or suggestions for Fiona in the comments. If you have a naming question that you would like me to post on the blog, feel free to email me at skihm (at) hotmail (dot) com. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10 Irish Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

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So many Americans have Irish heritage, yet few have embraced truly Irish names. I'm not talking about Caoimhe or Eithne necessarily, but using names with Irish origins can be a fun way to showcase your heritage. I have ten more than usable choices here--stay tuned for the boys list next week.

Aine- You've definitely seen the anglicized version of Aine before--Anya. Aine is much the same, but with a slight pronunciation difference. Aine is said more like AWN-ya. In Irish mythology, Aine is the queen of the fairies.

Carlin- Spunky, androgynous Carlin is the modern answer to Carly. She's an uncommon unisex choice, but the -lin suffix has me thinking she's better on a girl, although Carlin was traditionally a boys name. Carlin is the perfect name for your young star--she means "little champion."

Darcy- Darcy is quite the pan-European choice, with roots in Irish, English, and French. Like Carlin, it can be used for boys and girls, though in Ireland Darcy is strictly feminine. Darcy's lack of popularity in the U.S. has always surprised me. She's very similar to Lucy, and many Americans love Pride & Prejudice.

Fia- Talk about a pan-European name--Fia blows Darcy out of the water with use in Ireland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, and more. In Ireland, she's spelled Fiadh, but that could prove tricky for anyone without (or even with) Irish heritage. Last Monday I talked about Full Names for Fia, in case she's a bit too short for you.

Flannery- Flannery is one of the most striking literary names out there. She's heavily associated with Southern Gothic writer Flannery O'Connor (born Mary Flannery O'Connor), who makes for a mystical namesake. We're seeing a rise in names like Waverly and Bellamy, so why not Flannery?

Mirren- Speaking of notable namesakes, how about everyone's favorite Dame, Helen Mirren? Her last name is of Irish-Scottish origins with a puzzling history. She may be a variation of the Irish Saint Mirin's name, or possibly a Scottish nickname for Marion and other Mary names. Either way, Mirren is a lovely, fashionable name waiting to be discovered.

Oona- We've all heard of Oona, right? She's hardly unheard of, but the chances that you'll run into one on an American street are slim to none. Spelled Oonagh, she's quite popular in Ireland. Like Aine, she has roots in Irish mythology, this time as a princess.

Orla- Oona may have been a mythological princess, but Orla actually means "golden princess." She's very trendy in Ireland and Scotland, ranking #69 and #29, respectively. If the "oral" anagram bothers you, consider spelling her the traditional Irish way, Orlaith (which is actually a slimmer version of Orfhlaith).

Roisin- Rose is a beautiful name. She's particularly alluring as a middle name, as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of girls named "first name" Rose "last name" every year. I suggest as a country, we look for alternatives to this admittedly lovely, but perhaps overused appellation. Roisin is (part of) the answer. She's a perfect middle name, means "little rose," and sounds an awful lot like America's Favorite Middle Name. Roisin isn't just reserved for the middle though. She makes a delightful first name as well.

Tierney- Tierney is a unisex first name and familiar Irish surname. The surname actually came second in this case--in the beginning, Tierney was only a first name. Like most Irish names, this isn't her original spelling. Tierney is a variation of Tighearnach--but don't worry, that spelling doesn't get much use anymore.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Full Names for Holly

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Holly has been on a downward trend since the 1980s, but many people still find her very appealing. She doesn't sound terribly dated, especially with the increasing popularity of many of her full forms. I'm still on the fence, but I want to know what you guys think! Is Holly ready for revival or stuck in the seventies?

Holland- Holland has skyrocketed in popularity this year. She recently broke the top 1000 at #891, and will only continue to go up from there. Holland is one of the trendiest place names right now, and quite possibly the most modern ways to get to Holly.

Holiday- Of course, if you're using Holly, why not go for a whole Christmas theme? Then, obviously, your only choice for the full name would be Holiday. Needless to say, Holiday isn't only a Christmas name--she'd suffice for a baby born any time of the year (or on any holiday).

Hollin- Hollin  may sound like a made-up modernization of Holland (especially if you spell her Hollyn), but actually she's an English surname. With Holland rising so quickly, this might be a good alternative. Alternate spellings include Hollan and Hollen.

Hollis- Hollis is a sweet, likable unisex name. At one point it was only used for boys, but once he dropped out of the top 1000 in the seventies, Hollis turned into a more feminine choice.

Hollister- If only the clothing brand wasn't so darn popular. Hopefully it will soon be seen as an ancient relic of the early 2000s, becasue then the name Hollister will become usable. One notable Hollister is Hollister Hovey, co-creator of Hovey Design along with her sister Porter.

Holloway- If you like the sound of Holiday, but not the wordiness, Holloway might be the answer. She's just as quirky and whimsical.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Same Meaning Sibsets: Part Six

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Today's sibsets are all about nature and the elements. So feel free to mix and match for any combinations you can imagine. Cordelia, Samson, and Adam for a Sea, Sun, and Earth sibset maybe?

Earth
Adam, Bartlett, + Seb
Adamina + Hermione
Afra, Avani, + Dhara
Dion, Eartha, Ilesha, + Tierra
Gaia, Kaj, + Sena

Moon
Ayla, Chandra, + Qamar
Altalune + Selenale
Cia + Kamaria
Indu, Luna, + Nuray (g)
Liuana + Stellaluna

Sea
Cordelia + Firth
Dylan, Kai, + Zale
Hali, Kairi, + Marine
Irving, Marvin, + Murphy
Kailani, Moana, + Ula
Merrigan, Nerissa, + Topanga

Sun
Aarush, Mehri, + Soleil
Apollonia + Cymbeline
Eilidh + Samson
Helia + Solana
Kalindi + Savita
Marisol + Sunniva

Woman
Agatha, Freya, + Genevieve
Basha + Damita
Elmira + Hilda
Shakira + Zoraida

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

10 Japanese Names You Never Thought of Using: Boys

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Japanese names are super fun. They are lively, cheerful names with fabulous meanings. If you're looking for dapper Japanese names that you won't hear in the U.S., check out the following list.

Fuji- Ever since the renaming of Mt. McKinley to Denali, mountain names have been on my mind. Fuji is one of the most distinctive of the bunch. He is strong yet gentle--a tough balance to strike.

Haruki- Many people will instantly recognize Haruki as the first name of Murakami, author of famous books such as 1Q84. Fans of his writing might be instantly motivated to use Haruki, but even if you're not a literature fan, he's still a great choice. Haruki means "born in the spring," so he'd be an extra special name for an April, May, or June baby.

Iku- It's not often that I find and "I" name that I'm excited about, but I was thrilled to learn about Iku. He's simple, stylish, and not too difficult for English speakers. Iku means "nourishing," which I find quite endearing.

Issey- On the same note, Issey is also a wonderful "I" name. He has a slighly feminine feel, but it's not too concerning, considering plenty of boys respond to Izzy. Issey is traditionally used for the first born child in a family.

Jiro- Jiro is a nice, upbeat name that means (but is not reserved to) "second born son." Jiro Ono is the Japanese sushi chef that is featured in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and might be a good namesake.

Kenji- Like Jiro, Kenji is also a name that means "second born son." He's part Benji, part Ken, a useful combination when it comes to honoring people fashionably. There are many famous Japanese Kenjis, ranging from professional athletes to musicians. Kenji was briefly in the United States top 1000 from 1978-1979.

Ren- Ren is a popular unisex name in Japan, though more often than not, he's used for boys. Americans have mostly male associations with the name as well, from Ren & Stimpy to the protagonist in Footloose. Ren doesn't have an overwhelming Japanese sound. He'd fit in with many names, from most (if not all) cultures.

Sanjiro- If Jiro was just a little bit slight for you, Sanjiro might be a better option. The two are completely unrelated. Sanjiro even has a different meaning--"admired." Of course, Jiro would still work as a nickname, but I think Sanji is pretty cute as well.

Seiji- Seiji (SAY-jee) comes from the Kanji characters meaning "truth" and "just," making him a virtue name of sorts. He shares a lot of sounds with Sage--a name rising for both girls and boys--but is a bit more masculine.

Yukio- Depending on how you translate it, Yukio can mean "happy man," or "snow boy." Either one is fantastic--it's a win-win situation. Yukio is considered strictly masculine in Japan (the -o ending makes it so), although there is a female Marvel character with the name. There also appear to be other Yukios in comic series who are male, though none as prolific as Marvel's Yukio Okumura.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Full Names for Fia

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Isn't Fia a sweet name? I've been hearing her more and more lately, from Sophias who want a more unique nickname, to brand new baby girls. Fia can work as a nickname for any name with a ph or f sound, but I've culled my favorites for this post.

Delphine- Delphine is a double nature name, boasting associations with both dolphins and the delphinum flower. She's a stunning French choice that remains practically unused--only 34 baby girls last year! And if Del isn't your style of nickname, Fia would work perfectly.

Fiona- Fiona doesn't have any obvious nicknames, but don't let that deter you from using her. Fia would work just fine! Fiona is at a wonderful place in the top 1000--#204--not too popular, but definitely familiar.

Fiorella- Fiorella, however, is a different story. At only 30 uses in 2014, she's even more obscure than Delphine. She means "little flower" in Italian--how cute is that? Fia or Ella both work for nicknames, but why go for the common one when you named your daughter Fiorella in the first place?

Josephine- Josephine has oodles of nicknames. Fia wasn't on my original list, but she works just as well as any of the others. She's more tailored and professional than Jojo or Sephie, which is often a desired quality, even in nicknames.

Philippa- Everyone's favorite nickname for Philippa is Pippa. How could it not be, with the gorgeous Pippa Middleton as her poster child? But Pippa's not everyone's cup of tea, so for those of you who want Philippa minus the princess's sis, Fia is a nice nickname option.

Philomena- Philomena is a beautiful Greek name, but lets be honest, a clunky name like that can be somewhat of a burden. Fia (or Phia) is an elegant solution--a streamlined nickname to complement the heavier given one.

Seraphina- A princess name if there ever was one. Ever since Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner gave this name to their youngest daughter, people have paid attention. Yet she's still not in the top 1000, so Seraphina is still an unexpected pick. The spelling Serafina lends itself more to Fia, which is a more contemporary nickname than Sera

Sofia- Sofia is still a wildly popular choice--she's going up in popularity, while Sophia is going down. If Sofie isn't a sophisticated enough nickname for you, Fia would be terrific.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Stylish Choices Outside the Top 1000: 2014 Boys

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Uninspired by the names in the top 1000? Looking for something particularly unusual? Consider one of the following names for your son--none of them were given to more than 204 boys last year (and some were only given to 5!) It's all after the jump.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

10 Japanese Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

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Japanese names are gorgeous, but unless you live in Hawaii or along the Pacific coast line, you won't often hear them in the United States (and even then, they're not as common as you'd think). I'm always encouraging people to go back to their roots when searching for names, so if you have Japanese heritage (or are just a Japanese name enthusiast like me) consider one of the following for your daughter.

Aneko- It's not always easy to find names from your culture that will be well-received in America. Aneko, however, would be perfect on a Japanese-American child. Her similarity to Annika and the like give Aneko a familiar feel--no mispronounciations likely. Bonus: she means "older sister," perfect if you plan to have a big family.

Haruko- Haruko is a classic Japanese name. But even though she's conventional in Japan, you'll rarely hear her around the U.S. Haruko means "Spring child" or "sun child," which would be a sweet meaning for those warmer month babies.

Kyoko- Yoko is a beautiful name, but unfortunately she's hard to use due to the heavy associations with Yoko Ono. But add one letter and you get a completely different name (though it is, in fact, the name of Yoko Ono's daughter). To stray away from Yoko even further, use alternate spelling Kyouko.

Mieko- Lovely Mieko--that's mee-ay-ko--has many many meanings. Nameberry claims she means "prosperous," while Behind the Name cites "three branch child," "three blessing child," and "beauty blessing child" as possible meanings. Either way, it's all good (and she would make a nice choice for a third child).

Naoko- You've probably noticed that many Japanese names end in the -ko suffix. In Japanese, ko means "child," hence all these names have child as a part of their meaning. As for Naoko, she means "obedient child" or "honest child," depending on how you translate it.

Nomi- I suspect Nomi will be the overall favorite of my readers. She's easy to like--it's that long o sound--but delightfully unusual. Multicultural families take note: Nomi has roots in both Hebrew and Japanese.

Sakura- Sakura is a name many people are familiar with, though not necessarily as a given name. If you're into mommy blogs, you'll probably recognize it from the sling brand Sakura Bloom. She means "cherry blossom," which begs the question: is this the perfect name for a springtime Washington D.C. baby?

Takara- Looking to honor a Tamara or Kara in an interesting way? Takara is a beautiful option. She means treasure or jewel, so unsurprisingly there are more than a few jewelry companies with the name.

Umeko- I have loved the name Umeko for ages. There's just something about her--I can't put my finger on it. Umeko means "plum child," which gives you another excuse to use one of my favorite nicknames--Plum.

Yuki- Yuki is a unisex name that most Americans are familiar with. Perhaps, then, you already know that she means "snow." However, Yuki has many possible meanings. "Happiness," "valuable reason," and "chronicled reason" are among them. Whatever meaning you decide is right for your little Yuki will be perfect.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Nameberry Guest Blog

Hello everyone! My first guest blog for Nameberry was posted today. Here's the link to read it. The post is called 16 Arabic Names Ready to Import. If you read this or this post of mine, you will recognize a few of the names.

To new readers sent over from Nameberry: welcome! I encourage you to check out the archives and subscribe. I usually post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. More information about the blog and myself can be found in the About section.

Thanks to all my readers, and everyone at Nameberry. I am so lucky to be a part of such an amazing community.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Stylish Choices Outside the Top 1000: 2014 Girls

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We all know the parents with that one requirement when it comes to names: Nothing inside the top 1000. Who knows, maybe it's you! I'll admit, I can be a bit of a name snob myself--I do prefer my favorites to be practically unique. All the names after the jump are outside the top 1000, in order of most used to least used (Esperanza with 257 uses in 2014, Romilly with 5). What's your favorite? Let me know.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

10 German Names You Never Thought of Using: Boys

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We're on to German names for boys today--a real favorite of mine. What are your favorite German names? Tell me below.

Alaric- For those of you looking for a robust, masculine name, put Alaric on your list. He means "all powerful ruler," and has ties to ancient kings.

Ansel- With teen heartthrob Ansel Elgort making his way into the mainsteam, are we going to see more baby Ansels? My guess is yes. People are loving softer names for boys lately, and Ansel is just that.

Arno- The strong, sophisticated Arno has never been that popular (he peaked in 1897 at #728), but could be become so? The generation of children who grew up watching Hey Arnold! are transitioning into parenthood--might they be inspired to drop off the last two letters?

Benno- Ooh, I adore Benno! He's a swankier version of the much overused Ben, and a great pan-European choice.

Fritz- Fritz is another one of my favorites--he goes on and off my short list constantly. He can be used as a nickname for Frederick or on his own (we all know which I prefer). Fritz is downright spunky--I predict we will be seeing more of him in the coming years.

Humphrey- The big question here: is Humphrey a dog name? The short answer is yes. Currently, you will meet a lot more dogs than humans with the name Humphrey. But I have a theory (and I know I've explained this before) that the dog names we choose are just ahead of the curve for humans. In a couple years, we'll all be on board with Humphrey. Trust me.

Ivo- I'm a big fan of the short, unique name, and Ivo definitely falls into that category. He's gentler than Ivor, and more modern than Ivan. Ivo's an all around great choice.

Rainer- Nowadays, Rain has gone completely to the girls. If you're disappointed by this, I suggest you take a look at Rainer. He blends nature and surname-style perfectly.

Romer- It'll take a few generations for Homer to be usable again, but in the mean time, how about Romer? He gets bonus points for the unisex nickname Romy.

Till- This contemporary nickname is all over the place in Germany. He's in the top 100 on his own, but was commonly used as a short form of Dietrich or Theodoric in the past.