Thursday, May 17

2011 Rarities

streets of Addis Ababa, photo by Irene2005 via Flickr
Of course I went straight to the bottom of the newly-released 2011 SSA name list — the "beyond the top 1,000" names are really so much more interesting than the names at the top, at least for someone who knows those names inside-out and is always looking for something unusual popping on to the radar. 

A fair amount of the lesser-used names are just (awful) spelling variants, like the 10 Kharters born last year, but if you weed those out, there are plenty of great finds. These are names that are memorable and strange. Some have potential, some are popular in other places but remain obscure in the US, and some are just plain weird.

Here are some names that we used on just 10 babies born last year in the US  

Adonai — this is a masculine Hebrew word meaning "my lord." Many of the more striking/non made-up names at this level of the list are very obviously religious. Makes me wonder if uber-religious people are more prone to delving deeper into whatever text/history they follow, in search of names that reflect their beliefs. I saw Jerusalem, Psalms and Bethlehem used, among others. I wasn't aware that the name Adonis was connected to it, but it's actually the Greek form
Arbor — Harper's popularity could make this one an appealing alternative. I've also seen Harbor tossed around
Blimie —  apparently this is a legit name (uncommon, obviously but used both as a surname and first name) but all I see is "blimy!" 
Chapel — I wouldn't put this one in the "religious" category I described above, just because as a noun it's got a somewhat wider appeal. I can see it on a southern country-club girl, or as part of a double first name (like Mary Chapel, maybe?)
Dennesly — Google this one. It's weird
Efrata — the name of an Israeli settlement in the West Bank named for the biblical place name Ephrath, meaning "fruitful"  
Elowen —  I actually know a little Elowen. It's a recently-coined Cornish name derived from the word for "elm tree" and I think the pretty, fluid sound and nickname potential could make this one a rank-climber in the future
Ghislaine — a lovely French name meaning "pledge," this is pronounced "zheez-LEN"
Kalkidan — love the look of this one. It's an Olympic name, too, belonging to Kalkidan Gezahegne, an Ethiopian runner. I could only find it used on other Ethiopian people, but have no idea what it means. Can someone enlighten me?   
Rediet — hmm, I must have an eye for Ethiopian names. This one traces back there, too. Unfortunate that it looks like "re-diet" in English, but the pronunciation I found here makes it sound quite lovely
Vincy  — a French place name, or a sweet way to name a girl in honor of a Vincent?

Addis — themes usually crop up when I make lists like these, and it appears the theme for this bunch of names is definitely Ethiopian. It's a sign, maybe? Should I hop a plane? I have always loved the place name Addis Ababa, and Addis seems like a pretty cool boys name
Bronco — is it better if the kid's named after a horse or a Chevy? You decide
Calogero — you know I love me some hermit saints. And the sounds here are hard to beat (and hard to pull off, probably) It's from a Latin name meaning "beautiful elder"  
Chesky — this makes me giggle. Like a mixture of chesty + husky
Kalyan — at first glance you might write this off as made-up, but it's actually a Sanskrit name meaning "beautiful, lovely, auspicious" and is a place name in Uzbekistan, Nepal, Pakistan and India. It also has an artistic connection, referring to a certain musical scale
Kashmir  — I could say this is carrying on the Indian vibe, but what I want to know is how many of these Kashmirs were named for the Led Zeppelin song?
Kingdom — if you're gonna go there, go all the way, I say
Nevada — want to know a secret? I kind of love Nevada on a boy 
Ojani — sometimes I know random pop culture tidbits just because the person had a memorable name. This is the only (ONLY) reason I know that Ojani Noa was Jennifer Lopez's first husband. I still think his name is pretty rad. Is a useless factoid like that still a waste of brain space if you blog about it? Don't answer
Rexford — a rare boy name-smush, technically. Rex + Ford. I like this one, though I wouldn't use it or put it on my list. There should be more Rexes 
Zurich — well, it sounds like a name. Actually the Italian name for Zurich sounds even better: Zurigo 


  1. I know a 14-year-old Adi, but his real name is either Admire or Admir. I don't know, because he's been called by both. Is this related to the Addis and Adonai here? I could see that being a trend. Interesting nonetheless!

  2. Elowen and Ghislaine are both lovely; I'm loving Bronco and Nevada for boys.

    Blimie is awful, and Adonai is ridiculous on a girl (like calling a boy Dame! Wait - maybe people do call boys Dame???)

  3. Ooo...Rexford is a charming choice!

  4. Kalkidan is typically said to mean "covenant" -- I found this: "KAL means the word that comes out from oneself being the truth, hence without any change to the end of eternity and KIDAN means the alpha/omega of the Kal or word that was given."

    "Bronco — is it better if the kid's named after a horse or a Chevy?"
    It's worse if he's named after a football team.


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