Wednesday, July 18

2011 Rarities: Part Six, the boys

my sister laliseuse is in Europe, the traitor. I will steal pictures from  her now

And that's it for the 2011 Rarities series! Enjoy.

Acheron — the name of a river in northwest Greece, described in myth as one of the five rivers of the underworld, the name means "river of pain." I don't mind meanings that are a little bit more nuanced than "joyful one" or whatever, but a hell-river of woe seems like a good one to avoid, maybe
Aliou  a quick Google shows this name is found most often on Senegalese men. I'm guessing it's a French-influenced form of Ali
Brave, Bravery  these were both used 5 times. I can see the appeal of Bravery (it has that trendy "Bray-" beginning, and the similarity to Avery helps it transition from word to word-name) but my preference is for the adjective form Brave, a simple virtue name that gets written off too easily
Cagney  anyone have a parent who's a lawyer? Honor them by naming your son Cagney, an Irish surname meaning "grandson of advocate" 
Clayson  at first glance this looks like a (capital-T) Trendy in the vein of Clayton and Bryson, but its regular use as a first name in Brasil makes it a little more interesting. 
Cypher — a word with many meanings, cypher (or cipher) can refer to the mathematical symbol denoting zero, an Arabic numeral, a person having no influence (there's a character in the Matrix series named Cypher) or a cryptic code. There's always the nickname Cy if you don't feel like being called a nonentity your whole life
Dartanian, D'Artagnan  the name of the "fourth Musketeer" means "from Artagnan," a town in southwest France. Quite a romantic sound, which I like in a boys name, I give credit to the parents choosing it for their boys 
Derby  a variant of surname Darby, meaning "deer town." And a dashing hat
Dragon  plenty of names mean "dragon," (Draco, Drake, Ryu) but why not get to the point? 
Eustace  way beyond the limits of most "charming old-man names," Eustace is one that probably won't be making a comeback anytime soon. Means "fruitful"
Getty — a surname (well-known as the surname of American industrialist J. Paul Getty) of Scottish origin. I've seen it used as a first name for a girl, as well
Jadis — interesting to see this one on a boy. Writer CS Lewis used it as the name of the white witch in his Narnia series. His inspiration may have been the French adverb jadis meaning "of long ago," or Persian jadu, meaning "magic"
Kalex, Calex  here's an interesting one. Both spellings of this name were used 5 times each, but spellings Calyx and Kalix were used 9 times each, and Calix was used 19 times. Perhaps inspired by Calixto, meaning "most beautiful"
Loyd — a variant of Lloyd, meaning "grey." I've never liked the double-L, and spelling it with just one makes it a bit more clean and modern
Lulan  I love the look of this one (and my guess as to how it's pronounced) but know nothing about it, other than it's a place name in China
Mantra  a repeated sound, word or statement used to aid in meditation, capable of creating spiritual transformation. I'm unsure of how I feel about it as a name, but I think I like the idea
Mauer  the German word for "wall." I've seen Bauer used, and Mauer seems just as likely to find its way to regular use as a first name
Quince  from the name of the fruit. I like this sentence from the Wikipedia entry for quince: "Cultivation of quince may have preceded apple culture." Mmm ... apple culture. Fruit names for boys are pretty rare, and this is the best one I can think of
Romain — the French form of Romanus, meaning "Roman" (duh?) It ranks highly in Belgium and France. This is a good name because LOOK 
Swift  my mother-in-law had an early love connection with a guy who went by the nickname "Swifty." I know this because she and my father-in-law have told the story a zillion times. Because we're naughty children, my husband and I like to tease them  "Old Swifty always held a candle for me," we say in exaggerated old-people voices. (And this is how we make our fun.) Anyway, Swift is pretty cool, I guess 
Tashi  a Tibetan word meaning "good fortune"
Tirso  a Spanish and Portugese form of Thyrsus, a Greek word referring to a staff of fennel carried by Dionysus, and the name of a saint. There's a little Bulgarian prince (born in 2002) with the name Tirso. His older brothers are Mirko and Lukás
Toretto  I didn't know anything about this name and guessed before researching that it was the surname of a soccer player. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that its main use in pop culture is as the surname of Vin Diesel's character in The Fast and the Furious series. Parents, no!
Utah — according to this fascinating link, the word Utah comes from the name of the "native tribe known as the Nuutsiu or Utes (which itself may come from the Apache yudah, yiuta or yuttahih, meaning 'they who are higher up'), whom the Spanish first encountered in modern-day Utah in the late 1500s. In the tribe’s language, ute means 'Land of the Sun'"
Zell  a character in the videogame Final Fantasy VIII and the name of American politician Zell Miller, former governor of Georgia. I've found it has Hebrew origins but cannot find a meaning
Zimri  means "my praise" or "my music" in Hebrew


  1. Wow some amazing finds from the bottom of the rankings.

    I agree - Acheron is just way too dark, although I can see the attraction of the name (besides the meaning).

    I have also seen Toretto in use, and like you, was slightly dismayed when I saw its namesake.

    Lulan, Jadis and Eustace are fascinating, and I like the vocabulary names Brave, Dragon and Quince. Mantra and Cypher seem a bit weird, especially as there's a Bond villain whose name translates into English as The Cypher.

  2. Romain is lovely, but it does remind me of romaine lettuce. Still, I do like it a lot. And Lulan is fab.

  3. I really like the sound of Tirso, and I've long liked Zimri.

    I wonder if Tashi has any precedent of use as a girls' name in Tibet? I don't know if there's any legitimacy there, but I like the idea of it on a girl.

  4. Here in Utah you'd be more likely to find this used as a girl name than a boy name, so I was surprised to see it on your list. The only person I know personally is actually named Utahna.

    Tirso de Molina is a famous Spanish playwright from the Golden Age of Spain.

    I only think lettuce with Romain, though I thought your pictorial argument for it was good.

    Doing a study I actually interviewed a family with a son named D'artagnan. I would have expected to think it ridiculous but at the time, I just thought, wow, that's cool, and how fun to have that name, though that could change in grade school.

    I really do NOT like Loyd with one l. I don't like it with two either, but at least then it looks welsh.

  5. You're correct about Aliou.

    Lulan is an Albanian name, but I can't find the meaning anywhere.

    In Hebrew, [tsade.lamed], which can be transliterated as 'zel', means "protection, shadow." In German, Zell/e is a habitational/topographic name -- 'zelle' means "cell (small room/chamber)".


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