Saturday, October 1

let's talk about: Julian

Roman emperor Julian the Apostate, and Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas.
You guess who's who.

Ladies, meet Julian. He's old, he's young, he's musical and philosophical, he's powerful and sensitive. He has a beard, he doesn't have a beard. He's anything you want him to be. I like to feature names with history for these posts, because there's more to talk about -- but I try not to pick names that are so common that they don't have a "vibe" anymore. The classics are classics for a reason (though I'm sure cavepeople weren't all named John and Mary) but I'm interested in names with a little more flavor.

That said, Julian is very popular. It's in the top 100s of Austria, Chile, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United States, where it has been steadily rising for 10 years, and currently sits comfortably at #53. 

Julian is a form of the Roman name Julius, which makes a nice, less-popular choice. In the Middle Ages, girls were named Julian -- gasp, medieval unisex naming! There are great nickname choices -- you could go with Jude, like John Lennon's firstborn son, or Jules, like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. Spell it like the French -- Julien -- and it's a little softer on the eyes. For something rare, try old English Jolyon, and for the girls, there's always-sophisticated Julia, better-with-a-G Gillian and endless flowery variations like Juliana and Juliette.

Julian is a name equally suited to a Roman emperor or a rock star, a name with plenty of character and spark -- it's popular enough that it won't confuse any non-namer types, and it still manages to retain a bit of intrigue. A great, solid "new" classic.


  1. It's interesting how Julian seems to have a very different "feel" in the US than in the UK, where it is considered by most to be really quite "camp" (a result, presumably, of the fame of the actor/comedian Julian Clary and the fictional duo Julian and Sandy in the classic British radio comedy "Round the Horne").

    Personally, I've always liked it.

  2. I wasn't aware of Julian's UK cache -- very funny. One of its main pop culture associations, for me, is with Julian, an RV-park-dwelling petty criminal from the Canadian comedy series Trailer Park Boys. It seems to be one of those names that can easily "become" whoever carries it, and I definitely dig that about it.


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