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.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Full Names for Minnie

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Ever since I watched the wonderful new movie The Diary of a Teenage Girl, I can't stop thinking about the name Minnie. She'd make a great nickname for a baby born today (or even a full name). Take a look at these options for full forms.

Araminta- This quirky British name lends herself more to Minty than Minnie, but the latter is better for parents who want a more subdued nickname.

Clementine- Clementine is one of the few long names with a lack of nickname options. If Clem or Clemmie aren't your thing, Minnie would be a lovely nickname for your darling Clementine.

Dominique- Most of the Dominiques I know go by Domi when they need a short form, but Minnie makes for a more whimsical choice.

Domino- Speaking of whimsical names, how about Domino? She's certainly delightful on her own, but Minnie makes her more accessible.

Jasmine- Jasmine strikes me as slightly dated, but she's still in the top 100 (albeit, at #100), but as the most popular name on this list, she very well could be the most prominent way to get to Minnie (I doubt it, but they don't have statistics on this stuff, so who knows!). Minnie's a great nickname option for those of you who don't like Jazz.

Jessamine- Jessamine is Jasmine's funkier ancestor--she was the original spelling of the flower's name. Jess and Jessa sound a bit old as nicknames, but charming Minnie is perfectly fresh.

Mignon- Mignon is a sweet French name meaning "delicate and dainty." Her original nickname is Mignonette, but if you're looking for something slimmer--and perhaps a bit less dainty--Minnie is your girl.

Minerva- The nickname Minnie originally comes from Minerva--the name of the Roman goddess of wisdom. She shares her meaning of wisdom with Sophia, making Minerva/Minnie a good alternative to Sophia/Sophie.

Minna- Minna, though German by origin, is currently used all around Europe. She's especially popular in Scandinavia. I don't think she needs a nickname, but if you must, Minnie's the best option. 

Minuet- For a Minnie with a musical connection, try Minuet. She's a French ballroom dance, which gives the name a romantic, rhythmic feel.

Wilhelmina- Wilhelmina a lot to handle for a baby girl, but luckily she's chock full of nicknames. I'd vote for Minnie over Billie or Willa any day.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Celestial Names: Moons

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Today's installment of Celestial Names is all about Moons. I love how each planet has a theme for the names of its moons. Uranus's Shakespeare themed moon-set is lovely!






Wednesday, September 16, 2015

10 German Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

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As you will be able to tell from today's post, I love German names. Some of my very favorites are on this list, as well as some real wild choices. Let me know your favorites in the comments.

Anke- If you're looking for a slimmer, more exotic version of Annika, Anke is your girl. She's pronounced much the same--AHN-ka--though is actually the German form of Agnes.

Ida- Sweet sweet Ida is due for a comeback. Americans love short vowel names ending in -a--Eva, Ava, Ella, etc.--so Ida seems like the next step. Ida is delightfully vintage--let's hope she can shake off the dust.

Isa- Isa is Ida's more stylish cousin. She sounds very modern, thanks to full forms Isabel and Isabella being so trendy. She doesn't have quite the same pronounciation as those two--it's EE-sah. Isa is a cross cultural choice, with roots in German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and Arabic (where it's a male name).

Lotte- A helpful hint with the German pronounciations: names ending in -e are said as if it is an -a. Therefore, the gorgeous Lotte is pronounced like Lotta (which is the Swedish form). She's originally a nickname for names like Charlotte, Liselotte, and Carol, but I think Lotte is wonderful on her own.

Mareike- Mareike is pronounced mah-RYE-kah--sort of a cross between Mariah and Micah. Infact, Meike (said like Micah) is one of her nicknames. Mareike has a beautiful sound, but are her spelling and pronounciation too hard for English speakers to handle?

Minna- Minna is one of my all time faves. I'm always suggesting her to people--I'm astonished she isn't more popular! She came about as a nickname for Wilhelmina, though nowadays she's better off on her own.

Romy- How lovely is Romy? By origin she's a nickname for Rosemary, though many a baby namer will suggest Romilly for a more contemporary full form. As I always say, I think Romy would be just as dashing in her own right.

Tilda- I know I've told you guys how much I love so many of the names on this list, but Tilda really is my favorite. She's currently one of my tops--she's just so darn cute! The -da sound isn't all that trendy right now, but with Matilda as a possible full name, and Tilda Swinton glamorizing her name, Tilda wouldn't be an outrageous choice for a daughter.

Zelma- Speaking of sounds that aren't very stylish right now, how about the -elma names? Abby's a big champion of Thelma (which I'm still on the fence about), and Nelma, Selma, and Velma just aren't doing it for me. Zelma, however, is a name I can get behind. The zippy Z beginning adds a faux modern touch to a very old-fashioned name.

Ziska- Ziska comes from Franziska--a German form of Frances. While Franziska might be a little much for an American girl to wear, Ziska has just the right amount of quirkiness.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Full Names for Cassie

I made this.

Cascade- Everyone loves a good word name, and Cascade seems like a perfect one. She conjures up images of brisk, serene waterfalls--what more could you ask for?

Cassandra- The classic full name for Cassie. She's been on a downward trend ever since the '80s, but she doesn't strike me as terribly dated. I wouldn't bat an eye at a baby Cassandra in 2015.

Cassandria- But if you want to get more dramatic, Cassandria is the way to go. Just like Alexandra/Alexandria, Cassandra/Cassandria shows us that one tiny "I" can make a big difference in terms of image.

Cassatindra- I first came across Cassatindra while doing research for this post, and I was immediately intrigued. However, a simple Google search yielded almost no results. All I could gather was that she is a variation of Cassandra (obvoiusly), but a name like her must have some history. Cassatindra would make a show-stopping name for a daughter.

Cassia- Brought into the spotlight by the young adult novel Matched, Cassia is a beautiful way to get to Cassie. Cassia actually a nature name--the spice is often used as a substitute for cinnamon.

Cassidy- Cassidy peaked in 1999 at #99, and has been on the decline ever since. However, she's had a slight uptick in recent years--maybe it's because she's a great full name for Cassie.

Cassiopeia- This celestial name may seem like a mouthful, but fortunately enough people are familiar with her that you shouldn't get too many mispronounciations. And if she does prove to be too much, you can always call her Cassie.

Jocasta- Jocasta is one of the prettiest (and certainly most underused) Jo- names. Her long "A" sound doesn't quite lend itself to Cassie, but you can defitintely make it work.

Lancaster- Lancaster is a British surname and place name not often used on girls. With (or even without) the nickname Cassie, Lancaster would be wonderful on a baby girl.

Nicasia- A lovely name for honoring a Nicole is Nicasia. She has a gorgeous, slightly exotic feel, but the nickname Cassie makes her all-American.

Pascasia- Pascasia is the feminine version of Pascal. These names are usually used in the early Spring (they mean Easter and Passover), but a name as beautiful as Pascasia should be used all year round.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Celestial Names: Stars

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After a month of middle names, it's time to get back to the sky! Today we're looking at star names. Each star in a constellation has its own name, and I've picked the very best ones to share with you.




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

10 Arabic Names You Never Thought of Using: Boys

I made this one.
I don't put too much stock into the meanings of names, but this list has some great ones! If name meanings are something you care about, consider one of the following for your son.

Basim- Starting off with a good one, Basim means "smiling." He's not a popular name at all, but with easy spelling and pronounciation, I think he'd do well in the U.S.

Eyad- Eyad is a modern Arabic name (I couldn't find a meaning). I recently discovered him when watching the Israeli film A Borrowed Identity. The movie was amazing, which obviously colored my view of the main character's name. Watch the film and get back to me :)

Hakeem- Hakeem (and his variant, Hakim) has a debatable meaning. Some say it's "judicious," others, "wise." I prefer the latter, but it's really a win-win.

Nadim- Possibly the name with the best meaning of the list, Nadim is roughly defined as "drinking companion." Count him under Names for People 21 and Older.

Osman- Not many Arabic names come with wonderful nicknames, but I couldn't resist calling a little Osman Ozzie. I mean, how cute is that?

Rafi- Does Rafi still reek of children's songs? I met a young Rafi recently, and he seems perfectly wearable to me. He's a cross-cultural name with many different meanings, but the Arabic form means "noble."

Samar- Samar is a unisex name that means "evening conversation." Sorry Nadim, but that one might be my favorite. If that swanky meaning doesn't convince you, I don't know what will. Maybe the fact that you can call him Sam?

Sulaiman- Sulaiman is the Arabic form of Solomon, which, as many people know, means "peace." He's different yet familiar, with some exotic flair. Perfect.

Zaki- We really are winning with all these meanings today! Zaki means "pure." You could use him as a nickname for any of the Zach- names, but I really like him on his own.

Zinedine- Zinedine has roots in Arabic and French, and means "beauty of faith" or "jewel of religion." Again, the meaning is outstanding. He's pronounced ZAYN-ah-din or ZI-nah-din--though the former allows you to use the nickname Zane.

Friday, September 4, 2015

DIY Double Barrel Names

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If you're not a name nerd, you've probably only heard of the term "double barrel" being used in terms of surnames. You know, when parents combine their surnames into one hyphenated last name for their baby? It exists for first names too. The Social Security Administration doesn't take the hyphen into account, so unfortunately double barrel names are not recorded in the United States. To see how popular these names are, we have to go to the European data. Double barrel names are a hit in places like the U.K. (as seen in this article from The Telegraph)--Amelia-Rose, Lily-Rose, and Elllie-Mae are some of the most fashionable.

Now's the chance to build your own double barrel name! I've provided some options for the first and second names, but feel free to go off script. Tell me your favorite ones in the comments.

First Name

     Second Name

*I'll be back after Labor Day with Arabic Names for Boys--have a good holiday!*

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

10 Arabic Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

via For the Love of Names on Pinterest. Follow her!
Depending on where you live in the United States, Arabic names are seldom heard. You're much more likely to hear them in Europe, Africa, and of course, the Middle East. I'm lucky to live in a place where almost all cultures are represented, so I'm no stranger to Arabic names. However, this list contains some names that even I had never heard of, and I'm excited to share it with you.

Anisa- Anisa is a simpler variation of Aanisah, and means "good natured." Even though the two are unrelated, her similarity to the spice anise makes me think she'd be a good name for the daughter of a chef.

Aziza- Looking for a zesty alternative to Aviva? Aziza is your best option. She's spunky and fresh--I kind of love her.

Farida- So many Arabic names have simply beautiful meanings, and Farida is no exception. She means "unique and precious pearl," how lovely is that? She'd be wonderful for a June baby, who's birthstone is the pearl.

Hadiya- I've told you before about my love for Hadiya. Nothing has changed! I would love to see her used more often in the U.S.--Hadiya is extremely import friendly.

Nazia- Nazia is one of those names I had never heard of before (she doesn't even have an entry on Nameberry!), but I'm so glad I finally did, because she's remarkably beautiful. Nazia means "woman who we are proud of," and her likeness to Nadia makes her a perfect unsual yet familar pick for an American baby.

Noor- You've most likely heard of Noor. But unless you live in the Netherlands (where she is so popular) you probably never really thought of using her. Her sweet simplicity makes her attractive to parents from all cultures. Noor can fit into many a sibset.

Omaira- Omaira means "red," so put her on the list for any ginger-haired, Autumn-born babies that you'll have. There's not much information on her, but it seems as if she derived from Omar, and therefore makes a lovely honor name for him.

Peridot- Oh, Peridot. I have talked about her so much (one, two, three, four, five, six). She's definitely one of my guilty pleasure names. And the nickname Dot! I die.

Zaina- Zaina (and similarly, Zayna) are variations of Zaynab--"beautiful" in Arabic, and also a tree name. -ain names might be the next big thing in the U.S., so Zaina would be right on trend.

I'm a big fan of a Julia substituion (see here: Tulia), so you can imagine how excited I was to find Zuelia. I love her soothing zue sound, though I understand the similarity to "zoo" might bother some people.