Tuesday, March 13

Panning for Name Gold: 2010

Lawrence Durell's The Alexandria Quartet

This is the final installment in the Panning for Name Gold series. To view the rest of the decades (all the way back to 1880), check out the link at the right, or go here. See you in 2020!

Issam — an Arabic name meaning "safeguard," or "security." This one has elements that aren't often popular in English names, but really appeal to me (ending in "M," especially) — I wonder about its popularity in the Arab world. Anyone know?
Janus — means "archway" in Latin. In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of beginnings and transitions, a great meaning to bestow upon a baby. He is often depicted with two faces because he looks to the future and the past
Oslo — oh look, another place name. They just stick out in the list, bright spots in a sea of fifty-ways-to-spell-Nevaeh. Milo, Otto and Oscar are trendy boy choices, why not Oslo? 
Seraph — we have oracles, gopis and gods in this set, now we have an angel. The word means "burning ones," and refers to a celestial being, the exact type of which varies from religion to religion. Again, I like the sound more than anything
Welles — for fans of Orson? From an English place name (the village of Well in Lincolnshire), I like this spelling much more than Wells. Something about the symmetry, maybe, and it looks less like a plural noun. It's mostly found as a surname but I could see it make the transition to given name quite naturally

Atlanta —  taken from the name of Atlas in Greek mythology, this feminine form is most well-known as the capital of Georgia. It's mostly overlooked as a first name, though obviously a few parents looked past its city ties and saw something really unusual and kind of pretty. I also like similar Atalanta, who was a mythological figure in her own right (she refused to marry anyone who could not beat her in a footrace — her name comes from the Greek for "equal in weight") 
Clea — this one has some lovely connections. Clea was one of the Delphic oracles, and the title character of a Lawrence Durell novel from his series The Alexandria Quartet (the other three books have lovely name-titles as well: Justine, Balthazar and Mountolive). Its similarity in sound to names like Leah, Mia, Chloe and Cleo means that it's an unusual choice with an easy, recognizable sound
Lalita — a Sanskrit name meaning "playful, charming." In Hinduism, Lalita was a gopi ("cow-herd girl"), a playmate and devotee of the young god Krishna. It's such a sweet name, and paired with the meaning, almost onomatopoeic
Solace — a word meaning "comfort in distress," Solace might be too much for an actual child, but I love the sound and sentiment
Tennessee — another US-place that isn't commonly used as a name, I think Tennessee could totally work on the right person. I first heard it used on musician Tennessee Thomas from The Like, who is the daughter of drummer Pete Thomas, who played with Elvis Costello and the Attractions (her full name is Tennessee Jane Bunny, which is pretty righteous)


  1. There was a lady in my mum's prenatal group when she was pregnant with me who went on to have a son named Tennessee nn Tenner - the slang for a ten pound note here in the UK.

  2. Wow, some fantastic name choices in rare use. I had Clea on my own blog several months ago - the name of a fashion designer. I think it's so stylish sounding, and as you say, fits in perfectly with current trends.

    I have seen an Atlanta recently :) Seraph is a beautiful and unusual choice - Seraphina for a girl is reasonably well known, but so few people think to use the male form.

  3. You forgot Tennessee Williams, U.S. playwright. Despite the fact that Tennessee was his nickname/professional name, he his by far the most famous Tennessee out there.


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