Monday, July 2

2011 Rarities: Part Five

thoughtful seahorse by laliseuse, via Flickr

It's my daughter's first day of preschool today, so I actually have time to do a post (and try to keep it together emotionally!) — I'm definitely looking forward to learning the names of all her classmates.

Here are some of the stand-out names used on only 6 children born in the US in 2011 —  

Camp  wonder what the inspiration behind this is. A Palin-esque choice, like Track, maybe
Cartel  this is not a good idea
Draper  the inspiration here is obvious, a Mad Men name that fits right in with other trendy "-er" ending occupational surnames
Gaspard  often overlooked, I feel. Gaspard is the French form of Jasper, from the Persian for "treasurer"
Humphrey  you don't have to be Bogart to pull this off. A handsome, old-school choice with a great meaning: "peaceful warrior"
Iroh  apparently this is a name from the series Avatar: the Last Airbender. I really like the look of it, would love to know if it was made up for the series or if it has actual history
Jaya  a unisex name meaning "victory" in Sanskrit. It may seem feminine to the western ear but I think it's great on a boy
Kalif  variant of Khalifa, a Sanskrit name meaning "successor, caliph." I like this pared-down spelling best. (The title caliph refers to a successor of the prophet Mohammed)
Lalo  in Spanish, this is a nickname for Eduardo. I first heard it on Argentinian composer and pianist Lalo Schiffrin
Otilio  had to include this, of course. Variant of Otto, meaning "wealth" or "fortune"
Slyon — like the looks of this one, not sure where it comes from
Tanielu  the Armenian form of Daniel is Taniel, and the Finnish form is Tanieli, so this is probably related, perhaps a Pacific Islander form
Vartan  derived from the Armenian element vard, meaning "rose." Maybe this counts as a masculine floral name?
Venkat  from Venkata, the name of a sacred hill in southern India

Amma — this is a name with many meanings. It's the name of the supreme being according to the Dogon people of Mali, the name of the ancestress of Norse freemen, an Ashanti name given to Ghanaian girls born on a Sunday, and it's the word for "mother" in many Indian languages (and in Korean!)
Annajo  the SSA doesn't allow for hyphens in its records, so the 6 girls named Annajo could very well be Anna-Jo. However, I think it's kind of nice all together, gives it a Dutch look
Auset  a name for the Egyptian goddess Isis
Avanelle  a lovely, old-fashioned twist on popular Ava
Calais  probably inspired by the port city in northern France
Chinelo — chinelos are traditional Mexican dancers. The word derives from the Nahuatl word zineloquie, meaning "disguised"
Duru — a Turkish name meaning "clear" or "lucid"
Eimi  in Greek, the verb eimì means "to be." It's also a Japanese name meaning "beautiful scripture"
Ezinne  a Nigerian name meaning "good mother" 
Filza  a lovely name with many lovely meanings. In Hindi, it means "moonlight," and in Arabic it refers to a part of the heart, or a "piece of the heart"
Henchy  refers to a descendent of Angus, generally found as a surname
Jamina  feminine form of Jamin, a Hebrew name meaning "right hand"
Jetaime — from the French for "I love you," a pretty sound but sort of odd. Would French parents ever use Iloveyou?
Jinx — not just for cats? This one's looking for trouble
Kanna  another name with lots of meanings. It's a name from feudal Japan meaning "lily," as well as a Greek word meaning "reed" (perhaps where we get the word canon) It is also a name of one of the avatars of Krishna, and the name of a South American succulent known for its psychoactive qualities
Kawaii — the Japanese word for "cute"
Kokoro  means "heart" or "spirit" in Japanese
Maame  I like the look of this, no idea where it comes from
Nimco — the name of popular Somalian singer Nimco Dareen
Ojasvi  a Hindu name meaning "brave"
Orchid  lovely flower name, surprised it was only used 6 times
Steely — parents big fans of Steely Dan, no doubt. I can see the appeal
Tiger  though I'm not a huge fan of Tiger on a boy, on a girl it seems more appropriate (the cat thing, maybe?)
Tsering  a Tibetan name meaning "long life"
Wrenna  perhaps an elaboration of the bird name Wren, makes it sound a bit more feminine


  1. Oh dear Camp? Does that have the same slang meaning in the US it does elsewhere? ie gay, effeminate

    I like Humphrey and Jaya, and Vartan is interesting.

    Jinx is surprisingly cute, and I like Kokoro, Orchid, Tiger and Wrenna.

    Calais is one I've seen around, and I can imagine Avanelle going down well, although it sounds like a medication to me.

    1. The Wiki page on camp is informative:

      Personally, I always thought of 'camp' as just something that was cheesy & over-the-top theatrical.

      Either way, not a great name for a child, IMO.

    2. Agreed! It's terrible, even if you take it completely literally as a place to put up a tent.

      I do see that the US doesn't stress the gay aspect so much as in the UK, but even Wiki notes that most "camp icons" are either gay or appealing to a particular gay market eg Andy Warhol, Liza Minelli.

  2. There are some really lovely ones, like Iroh, Wrenna and Amma (with one M is it means 'to love' in Portuguese). Some of the others are a bit strange, though. Chinelo in Brazil tends to mean a flip-flop, and Camp, Cartel and Draper seem too much like the parents have already chosen what their child's going to be when they grow up.

  3. AFAIK, Maame is one word for mother in Twi, the name of a clan in the Anishinaabe tribe, & a title for a scholar or shaman in Wolof

  4. I liked these names:

    Camp, Draper, Gaspard, Humphrey, Auset, Tsering, and Wrenna.

    Camp doesn't have that association for me at all. If I met a kid named Camp I would think it was a family surname. I also have no clue about the Mad Men's character. I would think a kid named Draper had a family surname also (though it's a town here where I live, as well).


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