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!


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

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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,

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?

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

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

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

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

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.