Monday, October 3

Panning for Name Gold: 1900

I couldn't not include this.
A new month, a new week — how about a new century? Welcome to the 19-aughts. 

Casimir — from a Polish name that combines elements which mean "to destroy," and "glory." This is some Kali-esque craziness that I totally dig
Horatio — I think of Hamlet first. Horatio's a pretty solid character. Horatio is old — think ancient Rome. Kind of loses its bite spelled Horacio, but variants Horatius, Orazio and Horace have potential
Nels — Swedish form of Nicholas — Nils is a variant. Great musical connections: Nels Cline, guitarist from Wilco, and musician Nils Lofgren. Nils is more popular, but I like the sweet sound of Nels
Prentice — more common as a surname, Prentice is from the word "apprentice," which might seem off-putting. However, I think it makes a handsome first name, kind of lazily distinguished
Woodrow — sometimes, people who don't really know anything about names say things like, "You should give a child a name you can picture on the President!" And I think to myself, you must not know a lot about presidentsMillard, aforementioned Rutherford, Chester ... has poor Grover Cleveland been totally forgotten? Woodrow Wilson took office in 1913, which is not entirely coincidentally the year Woodrow reached its peak in popularity. By the end of his term, the name had fallen from #44 to #201

Iver — I'm inclined to think that the 5 girls named Iver in 1900 were named with the French word meaning "winter" in mind, though I really wonder about this one 
Olympia — from the name Olympos, home of the Greek gods. I like the French form Olympe, and alternate spelling Olimpia, too
Romaine — lettuce what? Male form Roman has fared well, but I think the long "A" in Romaine seems perfectly feminine and strong. Look to variant Romina for something less salad-y
Savilla — perhaps a misspelling of the Spanish place name? I can picture a girl nicknamed Savi or Sav, and the elements are all familiar enough to a modern palate
Zina — like Zeno, this name is from Zeus. Its long form, Zinaida, has a pretty French variant — Zénaïde. Apparently there was a saint Zinaida who had a sister called Philonella. Now there's a sibling set to remember. Here's something really awkward: in Islamic law, zina is defined as sex between a man and a woman who is not his wife or his slave. Scandalous! This name caught my eye because of a character in one of my favorite books by science fiction author Philip K. Dick, who was a fellow onomast, I am sure


  1. Casimir is brilliant - would love to see this name more often.

  2. Iver - maybe an offshoot of Ivy? The 'hiver' reference is good though, it's possible!


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