Wednesday, June 20

2011 Rarities: Part Four

photo by laliseuse, via Flickr

Here are some of the stand-out names used on only 7 children born in the US in 2011 —  

Achyuth  a Sanskrit name, meaning "imperishable," referring to the god Vishnu
Alassane  an alternative transliteration of Al-Hassan ("the good" or "the handsome") used most often in French-speaking African countries
Arohan  the ascending scale of notes in a raga, in north and south Indian classical music 
Baer  short form of Albaer, from the German for "bright"
Branch  a nature name that fits right in with names like Brock and Brandt
Caspar  it's weird that only 7 babies were named Caspar last year, right? I mean, there were 7 named Awesome born. Who'd have thought Caspar and Awesome would be equally unusual
Chipper  I hear "chipper," but I can only think "Fargo"
Covey  a word used to describe a group of birds 
Edwing  a Google search turns up a fashion designer and musician with this name, but I'm not sure where that G on the end came from. Any insight?
Emmaus  from the Hebrew hammat, meaning "warm spring." The name of a town near Jerusalem, mentioned in the New Testament. Plagues, suppers, battles, etc etc ...
Hoss — one source says this means "good luck" in Norwegian, but it's probably more of a cowboy throwback name, Bonanza-style
Issachar  a Hebrew name meaning "hireling," this name was given to one of the 12 sons of Jacob (founder of one of the 12 tribes of Israel)
McArthur, McCartney, McKai, McKinnon, McLean  these Mc-names were all used 7 times. I think the best of the bunch is maybe McArthur, since Arthur's a name on its own as well. McKai has a totally different vibe, doesn't it?
Mylon  a genus of butterfly in the family Hesperiidae
Niv — means "speech, expression" in Aramaic
Rally  from the word. Interesting, maybe? I like unexpected word names
Reason  here's another one, and I might prefer Reason to Rally, but then, I'm a pacifist like that
Redding  been thinking of the nickname Red since hearing it used as a middle name in a particularly cool combo. Bonus points for the Otis Redding connection
Zenith  pretty great meaning, if you can get over the brand name. Means "the highest point or state"

Aeon — sort of goes along with Zenith, actually. My favorite meaning is from Gnosticism, where it refers to one of a class of powers or beings said to emanate from the Supreme Being and perform various functions in the operations of the universe 
Alda  Saint Alda was an Italian mystic and nurse. It's the feminine form of Aldo, meaning "old," or "noble"
Almendra  the name of a village in Spain and a parish in Portugal, means "almond nut" in Spanish
Blue  only 7 Blue girls born last year. I wonder if it will rise much after Jay Z and Beyonce used it in January of this year
Caledonia  the Latin name given by the Romans to the land north of Britannia (Scotland)
Courage  a nice virtue name for a girl. Not the prettiest to look at, but a nice sound
Dollie  I like Dolly well enough, and usually prefer a Y-ending to an "-ie" one, but for some reason Dollie spelled this way makes me smile
Holiday — I knew a girl named Holiday and always admired it. Lovely sound and not too hard to pull off
Kulsoom  an Arabic name meaning "one with a full face"
Lucine  a variant of Lusine, an Armenian name meaning "moon"
Mavi  I met a little Mavi at the park a long time ago and it's one of my favorite "out and about" finds. It's Turkish, and means "blue"
Ohanna  a name from Arabia, meaning "god's gracious gift"
Pessel  I'm a sucker for P-names that contain the S sound (favorites include Persis and Priska) and this one certainly stuck out. I think this is a Yiddish name, a form of Hebrew name Batya, meaning "daughter of god"
Roselee  I may prefer this to Rosalie, the standard Rose + Lee smush, for its simplicity. It seems less fussy
Tulip — a lovely little-used flower name
Vielka  perhaps inspired by Dominican talk show host and former beauty queen Vielka Valenzuela, whose full name is Vielka Yudelka Valenzuela Lama ... that's awesome. Wonder where it comes from ...


  1. I find Tulip endearingly perky. And I agree, Dollie is heart-warming.

  2. Two new favorites for me: Reason and Covey. But to me they feel more like girls' names than boys' names.

    1. There's been a recent celeb-baby born here in the UK called Covey, son of Charlie Brooker & Konnie Huq. I guess because then names ends-in-y, that leads one to think it's a female name because many names which end in -y are female names. I think it's a quirky pick, personally.

  3. I love the idea of Courage on a girl, but I'm not too fond of the sound, and it reminds me of the cartoon "Courage the Cowardly Dog" which isn't a great association. It's still a wonderful sentiment.

    I sort of really like Holiday. I wouldn't be surprised if it blew up, to be honest. It has an obscure-but-not-really literary connection (Holiday "Holly" Golightly) that gives it the same sort of appeal as Harper or Holden, and there's a young actress named Holliday Grainger who is slowly gaining recognition right now. That seems like a perfect storm of pop culture connections to me.

  4. No clue where they come from but Vielka and Yudelka are fairly common Dominican names--Yudelka was the name of my nanny! Others I remember that have stood out from there: Morena, Leydi (with a ton of different spellings, all pronounced "lady"), Yoraine (yo-rah-ee-neh, kind of, I stink at phonetics), Almil, Belkis, Adislen, Joynel, Yamilka. Oddly enough, in the DR there is a pretty strong Arabic presence (mostly lost now, though)--my guess is that some of these names are made up incorporating those sounds.

    For boys: Aulio, Paviele, Cosme, Segundo, Yansel, Neftali, Lizardo, Darving, Salim (sah-LEEM).

    My good friend from there has a great sibset, no clue how her parents came up with these: Shakira, Sidharttha, Anthya, Yansel, Raimundo. (well, I thought the girl names were cool :))

  5. Love these posts Rowan!

    Just wanted to comment on Baer--this is likely also a Yiddish name (I have a Baer in my class this year, usually in Yiddish the name is Dov Baer, both of which mean bear. :)

    And cool to see Pessel--my Great-grandmother was Pesya, which became Batya when she didn't want to sound so Yiddish.

  6. AFAIK, Vielka means "old" and Yudelka is a femme diminutive of Yudel. Baer means "bear" in German [Ber in Yiddish], and "burn" in Hebrew, and is indeed commonly used as the double-name Dov Baer, in honor of Dov Baer of Mezritch [successor to the founder of Hasidism].


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