Monday, May 30, 2016

Musical Instrument Names

David Trang via Dribbble
Would you ever consider a musical instrument name for your child? Xylophone or Accordian might be a little too far out there, but consider one of the following.

Banjo- The bluegrassy banjo is great name inspiration for a son or a daughter. It's also a poetic name of sorts, considering well-known poet Banjo Patterson bears the name.

Bell- Belle may be the more conventional spelling, but spell her Bell and you have a musical name! I actually prefer this spelling--she has fewer frills and no princess association.

Calliope- The calliope is a whistly, organ-like instrument most often found around carousels these days. As a name, Calliope is famous for her Greek mythology roots.

Cello- Cello may not seem very name-like at first, but definitely should be. The -el sound is more popular than ever, and no one will argue with a name ending in -o, so feel free to put Cello on your list.

Fife- A fife is a sweet and small flute, very similar to a piccolo. It's not very common as a name, but I could see that changing. If Piper continues her steady rise, we might see more use of Fifer, which Fife makes a lovely nickname for.

Harmonica- Add another syllable to Monica and we get the name of this versatile instrument. It's the type of name that requires a brave namer. I'm too chicken to use it, but I'd be secretly thrilled if someone else did.

Harp- Harp is on my list of names to watch. With Harper so popular these days, parents will undoubtedly turn to alternatives. Why not the name of this lovely string instrument?

Lyre- The lyre is a string instrument that is heavily associated with ancient Greece. In 2016 she's seen as a variation of Lyra, a gorgeous name that really flys under the radar.

Mandolin- I'm surprised we haven't seen more baby Mandolins. She's only a few steps removed from her likewise French sister Madeleine. Plus, you can call her Mandy. For those of you who are more inclined to be cooking, Mandoline (of the same pronunciation) is a--slightly dangerous--kitchen tool used for slicing and julienning.

Marimba- The name of this instrument really emulates its sound. The marimba is a percussion instrument that's especially popular in Latin America. Marimba makes for a fun, upbeat name for a daughter.

Viola- With Violet's soaring popularity, I'm always surprised that Viola doesn't make the top 1000. She's feminine, Shakespearean, and has a musical connection (though the instrument is typically pronounced vee-OH-la, instead of the standard name pronunciation vye-OH-la).

Friday, May 27, 2016

Stylish Choices Outside the Top 1000: 2015 Boys

via Studio MPLS
It can feel almost impossible to find a unique, uncommon name for a boy. But trust me, not everyone gives their son a name in the top 20, and there are some wonderful options out there if you want a name on the less popular side. I've culled the beyond the top 1000 list (so you don't have to) and picked out some of the best underused names, with between 202 and 5 uses. Last year's list is here--click over the jump to view this year's.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Stylish Choices Outside the Top 1000: 2015 Girls

Syd Nagoshi via Instagram
It can be really frustrating to see your top choices break into the top 1000--no one wants people to discover their favorite name! If you are looking for a name that's guaranteed to be uncommon, outside the top 1000 is the best place to look. None of these names were used over 263 times--that being said, it's impossible to tell how many of these are being used as nicknames for more popular names. The names are ordered from most uses to least: 263 to 5. Make sure to come back on Friday for the boys list, and check out the 2014 list to see what's changed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

10 Native American Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls


If you're someone who likes names with meanings to match, Native American names are right up your alley. All of their names have very intentional meanings that were (and sometimes still are) widely known throughout the tribes. There are thousands of wonderful Native American names from tribes all over the country, but I chose ten I think would work on girls of all cultures. As always, let me know your favorites (and names you wish I'd featured) in the comments.

Aylen- Aylen is a name from the Mapuche tribe that means "happiness." Even though she has ancient roots, Aylen features a contemporary sound that would fit in seamlessly with other children's names of today.

Citlali- Citlali is absolutely stunning. She means "star," and comes from Nahautl culture. Citlali had a brief run in the top 1000 from 2001-2006, peaking in 2005 at #915.

Galilahi- This Native American name may seem very similar to the faith-based names Galilea and Galilee, but they share no connection. Galilahi means "gentle and attractive" in Cherokee. Gala and Lila would make cute nicknames.

Lilakai- Lilakai is a name that I can see becoming embraced by people of all cultures, a la Leilani. The Navajo name feels upbeat and youthful--a quality coveted by my parents. Plus, with easy-access nicknames like Lily and Kai, Lilakai is hard to argue with.

Maiara- Maiara comes from the TupĂ­ tribe. Despite her Native American roots, she's most popular in Portugal. Maiara made it into their top 100 for the first time in 2014, coming in at #81. I'm not sure if she could become as equally popular in America, but I do believe Maiara could make it into the top 1000 one day if she got some publicity 

Miski- Miski means "honey" and "sweet" in the Quechua language. She has a old-school sound a la Misti and Missy, but Miski is still wearable for a 21st century baby.

Nayeli- Nayeli comes from the Zapotec tribe, where she means "I love you." She is most common  among Latino families, and has been at a relatively steady ranking around #400 for the past ten years. Nayeli peaked at #175 in 2001.

Siaska- Need an uncommon way to get to Sia? Take a look at Siaska. She is a name from the Ho-Chunk tribe, which is native to Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Uki- It's not often that I recommend a U name, so I was thrilled to find the charming and likable Uki. She's an Inuit name that means "survivor." She's pronounced the same was as the Japanese name Yuki, which could lead to some confusion.

Zyanya- Like Nayeli, Zyanya comes from the Zapotec tribe. She means "forever and always," which I'm sure many parents would find delightful.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Names for a Fifth Born

Valerie Jar via Dribbble
Happy Blogoversay! To celebrate the fifth year of the blog, we're going to look at names that mean five. Perfect for a fifth born, a baby born on the 5th of the month, or for a V.

Enu- Enu is a West African name meaning "fifth born." It's a unisex name, and would make a perfect middle for a boy or a girl.

Five- Why not take a page from the celebrity baby name handbook and name your fifth child Five? Celebrity designers Bob and Cortney Novogratz gave this name to their third son (Their other children have great names as well--Wolfgang "Wolfie," Bellamy, Tallulah, Breaker, Holleder, and Major).

Fritz- I know of a V who goes by Fritz. Does it work? I vote yes. Fritz sounds enough like "fifth," and by the time you have five men with the same name in one family, you're bound to run out of nicknames.

Gorou- Gorou is a traditional Japanese name for the fifth son. He's practically unheard of in the US, but that doesn't make him unusable. If you're unable to take the plunge, you could always use Gorou as a pet name for baby number five.

Quentin- Bring on the Q names! The Quen and Quin suffix mean "fifth," so really any Quinn name works spledidly for a fifth born child. I picked some of my favorites to highlight, including Quentin. He's got a classic aura about him--Quentin is never a bad choice.

Quincy- Quincy is a darling French name that used to be solely masculine. Nowadays, it's considered unisex, but still is heard much more on boys. However, that might not be for long. I predict Quincy will go the way of Quinn, eventually the numbers will even out, and then I believe Quincy could even be seen as more feminine. In this day and age of unisex name and gender-bending, who knows what could happen?

Quinto- This lovely Spanish Quentin variation is ideal for a family who loves the sound of Quinn, just not the popularity (or unisex factor). Quinto is fresh and fun--plus, your son is guarunteed to be the only one on the block.

Quinty- If Quincy isn't jaunty enough for you, how about Quinty? She's a modern Dutch name derived from Quinta. Quinty has a jovial spirit; I would love to hear her used in the US.

Pompeo- Pompeo is an Italian variation of Pompey, a historical Latin name. Both mean "five," but Pompeo is the more wearable option, especially for an American baby. With a handsome sound and historical origins, Pompeo is a fantastic choice for a fifth-born baby.