Monday, October 24

let's talk about: Vera

A scene from Věra Chytilová's film Sedmikrásky (Daisies)
Here's a bit of name prophesying —  keep your eye on Vera. If it seems dusty and awkward, you're probably behind the times already. With all the hallmarks of a name poised for a popularity rise —  pop culture connections (designer Vera Wang, maker of popular floral-patterned handbags Vera Bradley, and actress Vera Farmiga), ends in "A," (like six out of the current top 10 girl names in the US), high on the charts in Europe (in the Netherlands and Sweden) — Vera's ready for her comeback.

Vera was at its most popular in 1919, when it reached #65. It went through a long, slow decline and finally disappeared from the list in 1983. Here's the part that makes me think Vera's up to something —  after a 26-year hiatus from the top 1,000, it suddenly reappeared, in 2009, at #894. And in 2010? It climbed 219 places to its current spot at #675. Very sly, Vera. But I see what you're doing, there.

In English, Vera has two possible pronunciations. "VEER-ə," with a long "E" sound, and "VER-ə," to rhyme with Sarah. While it's impossible to tell which of the pronunciations  is more popular with  modern parents, I think gentler "VER-ə" fits right in with popular throwback names like Sophia, Emma and Ella.

Vera means "faith" in Russian, though it is also connected to the Latin verus, meaning "true," and the Albanian word verë, which means "summer." It is found as a place name around the globe —  in Argentina, Mozambique, Spain, the US and Norway, to name just a few. I can't get enough of its longer, more elaborate variants, like Verusha, Verochka, Veruschka, Verica and Verena. Also nice are Finnish Veera, Ukranian Vira, and simple, Dutch Veer

When the names statistics for 2011 are released next May, Vera's one of the names I'm most excited to check up on. Will it fade back into obscurity, or are the stars aligning to bring Vera into the naming zeitgeist once again? Either way, it's a lovely name and deserving of a closer look.


  1. I love Vera and I'm always shocked at how people think it's fusty since it seems ripe for picking to me! I prefer the VEER-ah pronunciation best.

  2. You called it! I was just thinking the other day how I was disappointed I left this name out of my Great-Grandmother Revisited list of names, it so belonged there!

  3. I ran into a little Vera at the beach two years ago. Very stylish, and stood out in a good way. Ava, Avery, Victoria ... why not Vera?

  4. Vera is definitely an underused gem. I'd love to see her get more popular. She'd make a great Ava or Avery alternative.

  5. I am sending this message to all of my blog followers. At my mom's request, I have indefinitely privatized my blog. If you would like to keep reading, send me a request, and I will add you as a reader of my blog. Thanks! :)

    ~Joy Caroline


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