Wednesday, September 4

Old Québec Names: G

seahorses at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Zeus at the Getty Villa

Maybe, just maybe  now that Ottilie's back in preschool and the end of my novel is finally in sight — I will be able to post here regularly again. 

Enjoy these rare French-Canadian "G" names, found on headstones in a Québec cemetery.


Géméline — a pretty choice, reminiscent of Gemma and Madeline, pronounced "zhay-may-leen"

Gémina — perhaps from the Hebrew male name Jamin, meaning "right hand"

Génévra — a variant of Ginevra, which is the Italian form of Guinevere, meaning "fair," or "white"

Georgelle — always fun to find a new "Georg-" name. This one seems particularly sophisticated to me

Gillaine — fun to say, quite fresh and modern-sounding, too

Goldine — I've been seeing/hearing Goldie more and more lately, which makes me think a teensy leap in popularity may be inevitable. I think Goldine has potential as a longer, less childish form. Love how retro it feels

Graciette — I haven't seen this Grace variant before, but I love its frilly, Victorian feel


Gaël — unlike the rest of these names, Gaël appears in the US top 1000. It first appeared on the list in 2002, no doubt thanks to the popularity of actor Gaël Garcia Bernal. It did see a big rise from 2011-2012, shooting from #408 all the way to #146. It is also popular in Spain and France

Gallius  — perhaps related to Roman family name Gallus, meaning "rooster"

Garneau — most often found as a surname, it comes from Germanic name Warinwald, which means "guard" or "to govern." I think male names ending in "-eau" are always so handsome 

Georgias  — and a fresh old-new "Georg-" name for the boys as well, I like this one very much

Gilfred  — as a fan of Gilbert and Wilfred, I wholeheartedly support Gilfred the super nerd

Gloriam  — would be a nice way for a boy name to honor Gloria. "Ad maiorem Dei gloriam" is the Jesuit motto, and it means "For the greater glory of God"

Guydon — does this qualify as an old-school "-ayden" name, or what? Surprised I haven't come across one yet

Monday, May 20

Old Québec Names: F

it's headed towards summertime on my Instagram

Here are some French-Canadian choices found on old gravestones in Québec. In looking through the "F" names, I realized just how awkward F is, as a letter. It's strange-looking and not very popular as a name-beginner. But I think F is a versatile sound, just look at how it works in these names —


Fleur-de-Mai — translated, it means "flower of May," and I can see it making a totally kickass double-hyphenate middle name

Fleurie — I like the idea of this one, maybe more as a nickname for Fleur than on its own, since it might get confused for the word "flurry" in English-speaking places

Florange — we've seen Solange, a name from the Latin word sollemnis, meaning "religious," incorporating the French words for "sun" and "angel," but this creation switches the Sol- for Flor-,  creating a whole new meaning

Florémie  — this one reminded me of "do-re-mi," like at the beginning of musical scales 

Florémonde  — I was drawn to the names that started with "Fl-" because I liked that the "L" sound toned down the harshness of the "F" at the beginning.  Here, the "-monde" ending balances out the frill factor for a more sophisticated look

Fortille  — I should do a post on names that end with "-ille," because most of the time I really like them and hardly ever see them in use. There's Bertille, Pernille ... Lucille might be the most popular (and my least favorite). Must get a list together


Faldorat — though I'm generally drawn to more subdued boy names, I also have a great appreciation for more dramatic choices. These Québec lists have been a great source of that type of name. I like Faldorat, it sounds like the villain in a Victor Hugo or Charles Dickens novel

Faramond  — this one is a form of Faramund, an ancient Germanic name created from elements meaning "journey" and "protection." It was used on a legendary early king of the Franks, so it has a rather long history of use

Fédéas  — love that this one has strong, familiar sounds but an unusual look. To make it more approachable, I think it could be understood without the accents quite easily

Fédorel  — so fun, dignified yet fresh, so very Dostoevsky-an 

Fénon  — I could totally see a modern parent choosing this, it's short and familiar, masculine and cool. I have seen it used as a surname but not as a first

Ferno  — you know I'm a sucker for a new "ends in 'O'" boy name. This one's kind of crazy, I mean it's two letters off from "inferno," but I think it's interesting as a concept

Thursday, May 9

Brand Spanking New

Here are some names that entered the top 1,000 anew in 2012 — 


Neymar #699
Brentley #750
Kyree #804 (last ranked in 2003)
Thiago #862
Kyrie #866 — it's come to my attention that there is a basketball player named Kyrie Irving that might be responsible for the success of this one
Jionni #870 — thank you, Snooki
Yael #878 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Oakley #880
Yousef #888 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Austyn #898 (last ranked in 2006)
Axton #917
Lucca #919
Truman #929 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Eliot #935 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Zaid #937 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Leroy #943 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Dariel #945
Kaysen #957
Mack #958 (last ranked in 2009)
Titan #961
Briggs #966
Immanuel #967 (last ranked in 2009)
Kase #972
Maison #979
Simeon #980 (last ranked in 2008)
Anton #981 (last ranked in 2009)
Emory #983  — also appeared on the girls side for the 1st time, see below
Graeme #987
Jael #989
Karsen #991
Jarrett #992 (last ranked in 2009)
Apollo #993
Denzel #994 (last ranked in 2009)
Foster #995
Kylen #998
Augustine #999

Litzy #594 (last ranked in 2008)
Kenia #642 (last ranked in 2007)
Colette #659 — go Colette!
Adley #731 — wow, where did this come from?
Winter #772
Ariah #817 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Coraline #823
Emory #881
Estella #882 (ranked in '10 but not in '11, before that hadn't ranked since 1974)
Elissa #888 (last ranked in 2005)
Emmaline #890 (last ranked in 1915)
Dallas #901
Azalea #906 — Iggy Azalea putting it out into the zeitgeist, maybe?
Everly #907
Lillyana #909
Emmalyn #910
Annalee #920
Evalyn #927 (last ranked in 1941) — so nice to see this sweet one back 
Raylee #936
Aubrielle #938
Bayleigh #939
Katrina #942 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Alaysia #946 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Celine #947 (last ranked in 2007)
Monroe #949 — Mariah Carey's daughter?
Estelle #950(last ranked in 1963) — very happy to see this one as well
Harlee #954
Jazzlyn #955
Zahra #957
Collins #960 — character in The Blind Side (ugh ...)
Azariah #963 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Milena #965
Kora #975
Aubriana #986
Aya #989
Dalilah #990
Devyn #991 (ranked in '10, but not '11)
Landry #995
Sofie #996
Jessa #999 — Girls and the Duggars + Jessica-adjacent = something for everyone! 
Katalina #1000

(I doubt this is a comprehensive list — it's just what I noticed while browsing through.)

Initial Thoughts on the 2012 SSA List

Here they are: the top 10s for 2012!

Excitement abounds! Time to dive in to this data. First, let's talk about the top 10.

Not much has changed here — the #1s are still Jacob and Sophia. On the girls' side, Chloe dropped a spot from #10 and was replaced by former #11, Elizabeth. On the boys' side, Liam is the notable new entry, coming in at #6. We lost Daniel, the former #10, and there was some rearranging: Ethan rose from #7 to #3, and William, Jayden, Michael and Aiden fell.

As for the predictions I made in my post yesterday, nearly all of them did indeed see a rise. The biggest risers were Archer, which did not quite make it into the top 300 like I thought it would, but just missed it, coming in at #404; Atticus, which rose 52 spots to #410; Declan, which went from #177 to #143; Gemma, which went from #356 to #317 (Jemma also rose); Ivy, which moved into the top 200 at #187; Lincoln went from #132 to #178; and Olive went from #416 to #368.

Beatrice rose a few spots only (and Beatrix did not rank), Camden only rose 4 spots to #156, and Rayna and all her variants all saw declines in popularity, the opposite of what I guessed!

This was not Clementine's year to crack the top 1,000 — there were 204 born, though. India also did not rank.

Adele, Arlo (almost 100 spots), Aria (now firmly in the top 100 at #91), Charlotte (shot into the top 20 at #19 as I predicted), Ezra, Finn, Harper (moved into the top 25 at #24), Isla, Leo, Liam, Luca, Oliver, Pearl,Penelope, Ruby, Scarlett, Willa (big jump from #983 to #723) and Willow all rose as predicted, though I was wrong about Xander — it dropped 11 spots, and Zander only rose 4. 

Two of my guesses for new entries to the top 1,000 made it in! Everly came in at #907 and Thiago came in at #862. 

Some others that are new to the top 1,000 and caught my eye on first glance — 

Axton — at #917 
Briggs — at #966
Graeme  — at #987 
Kyrie — at #866 (yes, for boys)
Lucca — at #919, this spelling now joins variants Luca and Luka in the top 1,000
Titan — at #961

Annalee — at #920
Azalea — #906
Collins — at #960 (yes, for a girl!)
Emmalyn — at #910
Jessa — at #999, maybe thanks to Girls?
Monroe — at #949 (also on the girls side)
Paislee — debuting at #718 (Paisley is #104)
Winter — at #772 (wow!)

And my absolute favorite newbie, Cataleya, which made it not only into the top 1,000 but into the top 500, coming outta nowhere to land at #479! That means there were 636 babies named Cataleya born in 2012, and in 2011 there were only 28. That is a real shocker.

Wednesday, May 8

The 2012 SSA Name List: Names To Watch

Quick! Name these eggs ...

It's that time of the year, name-lovers — the 2012 statistics from the Social Security Administration are due to be released at the end of this week. The top 10 is looking to see some changes. Is this the year Jacob will end its 12-year reign as the #1 boy name? Will a new girl name, like Ella, enter the top 10 for the first time? I'm very interested to see what shifts around at the top of the lists, but of course my real interest is farther down the rankings. What new names might appear? Which names will make big, unexpected leaps, like pop-culture influenced Isla and Aria did last year? 

Here are the names I'll be looking for — 

Archer — Archer first appeared on the list in 2009, and had risen all the way to #447 by 2011. TV show Archer might have put it on the radar for new parents in 2012, and it has an obscure, poetic feel that appeals to people looking for something hip but not "weird." I'd look for it to rise into the 300s, at least

Atticus — I've been seeing this one around more often. All at once old-fashioned and modern-sounding (and of course there's the literary connection, always nice) I'd love to see it rise from its current spot at #462. It's been gaining popularity steadily since it first appeared on the list in 2004, so it'll be interesting to see if that trend continues

Beatrice/Beatrix — classic clunky beauty Beatrice appeared on the list in 2006 after falling off after a very long decline that started in the 1920s. (It was most popular in 1910, when it rose all the way to #36!) But it made a jump from #836 to #707 in 2011, and I'm wondering if something similar happened this year. Beatrix is not in the top 1,000, but I wouldn't be surprised if the spunkier variant follows suit and makes a debut appearance in 2012

Bennett — Bennett has made an uneven but overall steady rise since the early 1990s, and made big jumps in 2009, '10 and '11. It's currently at #239 and I think its rise will continue

Camden — Camden was probably the biggest "celebrity baby" name of 2011, and that is always an indication of an imminent popularity rise. It's currently at #160 and I wonder if it'll crack the top 100 this year

Clementine — though this sweet French beauty hasn't been on the list since 1953, I have been hearing it quite often in both real-life and online-naming circles. Understandably, since it's such a beautiful choice. I wonder if this is the year it'll sneak into the top 1,000 — I'd love to see it there

Declan — Declan made an almost 100-spot jump in 2011, going from #274 to #177. I definitely expect it to rise again. I'm surprised it doesn't rank higher, since it appeals to people looking for an accessible Irish boy name that isn't already heard everywhere, like Connor or Aidan

Gemma — this one first appeared in the top 1,000 in 2008, and by 2011 had risen all the way to #356. I'm curious to see if it gains more popularity, since it's very popular/bordering on dated in the UK

India — India had been on the decline since 2001 and fell out of the top 1,000 in 2010. I have a  namey-feeling that it might have a little more life left in it, though, and could make a little comeback this year

Ivy — okay, so Blue might never be a popular name, but Ivy has a chance. I mean, it's been in the top 1,000 since 1880! It's already pretty high-ranking, sitting at #266. I wonder if this is its year to make a big leap

Olive — Olive reappeared in 2007 at #989 after leaving the list in 1950. It's currently at #416 and I'd love to see it rise even higher this year

Lincoln — another old-timer, Lincoln's been on the list since at least 1880. It broke into the top 500 in in 2005 and is currently at #178. I expect a continued rise, but the question is  — how high will it go? I don't know if I can see it in the top 100, but it wouldn't surprise me

Rayna — this one jumped from #900 to #869 in 2011, not a huge jump, but when you factor in the popularity of its variants — Reyna at #730, Raina at #736 and Reina (#979 in 2010), plus the fact that it's the name of a popular TV character, I think it's definitely an interesting one to keep an eye on


Here are some names that entered the top 1,000 last year. I'll be looking closely at them to see if they rise or fall in 2012 —

Adele (actually entered in 2010 but had a huge jump from #909 to #627 in '11 — is that sustainable?)

Bowen/Kohen (also Cohen/Coen, already on the list)
Mae (same as Adele, entered in '10 but had a big jump the next year)

I predict big jumps for Adelyn, Aria, Charlotte, Ezra, Finn, Harper, Isla, Leo, Liam, Luca, Oliver, Pearl, Penelope, Ruby, Scarlett, Willa, Willow and Xander/Zander.

My guesses for new appearances in the top 1,000 are Boden, Forrest, Lachlan, Lucien, Magnus and Thiago for boys, and Addie, Astrid, Aurelia, Everly, Maren, Naya and Wren for girls.

Okay, that's all folks — I'm ready for namer-Christmas! 

Tuesday, May 7

Sets Sets Sets

crystals and canyons

Every once in a while I come across a really striking set of names — where it's not so much the individual names that stand out, but the way they play off one another. Namers know that there are tons of message board games that involve creating sets like these, and there's always talk about whether or not a name "goes with" the names of potential siblings. How a name functions in a set can change its overall effect, make it a more surprising choice, add a mismatched edge or blend seamlessly into a specific style.

My favorite sets seem to be the ones where the names seem like they shouldn't go together at all, but when they're all viewed together, you get a better sense of why they match up. A good sibling set should be like a collage — the pieces stand alone, but work together as part of a bigger overall picture. Here are some that I've created/come across lately:

The "quasi-religious, oblique Biblical, southern belle/beau" set — 

Hart (boy)
Vesper (girl)
Sunday and Selah (girls)

I love how Hart works here as a sort of theme anchor. Obviously it sounds like the word "heart," which serves to bring you in to the more overtly religious trio of Vesper (meaning "evening," and can refer to evening prayer services/mass), Sunday (for the Sabbath) and Selah (a word used in the book of Psalms referring to a musical pause)

The "European, history-buff, daring but classical" set — 

Aquilla (boy)
Bruno (boy)
George (boy)
Olympia (girl)

The use of Aquilla for a boy sets the tone here. Following it up with Bruno and George, two very masculine choices, grounds the set, and then Olympia is a nice bookend, reminding us of the daring choice of Aquilla, a name from ancient Rome that means "eagle"

The "modern, hip, artsy, sort of hippie but not really" set  

Seth (boy)
Remy (girl) 
Jude (girl) 
August (girl) 

I'm not generally a fan of Seth, but I like how it works here. The first three names are 4-letters long, which would make you expect a fourth one to match, and I like the surprise of August, instead. I like the use of boy names on girls here, too  if this were an all-boy set I don't think it'd work nearly as well

The "lyrical feminine, strong and mystical, princessy" set  

Maialen & Taliesen (all girls)

I love that this sister set uses names with different endings, but similar soft, lyrical sounds. Aurelia starts it off with a bang, is grounded by the lovely, simple Cecile, and the very unusual Maialen and Taliesen (used here as twin names) make it clear that this set isn't just about super-girly names, it's about a collection of beautiful sounds. If you take apart the elements here, they are heavy on the "L," "-ay" and "-ah"

Check back later this week for my predictions/guesses on what's coming up on the 2012 SSA lists!

Wednesday, April 17

Old Québec Names: E

Cute Instagram Ottilie, and our cat Huck

There were so many great "E" names from this collection of names found on old gravestones in Québec — I couldn't narrow it down, so I've included all the ones that caught my eye. Enjoy!

Starting out with the "Ed-" names, we have Edalène/EdalineEdimée and Edmée, and Edyenne. I find Edaline and Edmée to be relatively accessible to the English-speaking ear. I'd say Emmeline and Esme are two mainstream-yet-unusual names, and if you're looking for something similar but distinctive, these familiar-sounding choices could work. Feminine and pretty, they're all good ways to honor someone with an "Ed-" name, as well.

I liked Effée for its simplicity and old-fashioned sweetness. Effie is quite hip right now, but Effée feels less like a flimsy nickname, and would be pronounced more like "eff-AY." Eglantine has always appealed to me in a frilly sort of way, like a character in a childrens' book. (For a literary connection, a character named Madame Eglantine does appear in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.)  I liked similar Egléphine, which takes it one step further into fairy-tale land.

There were plenty of beautiful "El-" names on this list. My favorites include Eleanor-spinoffs Eléonare, Eléonelle and  Eléonine — I can't decide which I like best. Then there's striking Eléanide and Eléantine, and lyrical Elélia and Eléva. For something with more unusual sound combinations, I was drawn to Eliorée, Elizadie and Ellemire and Elmyre. Elmyre might be my sleeper favorite of the whole "E" group  — I love that it sounds a little bit country, a little bit magical and a little bit old-fashioned. Along those lines, Elphémia and Elphémie stood out for being what I will just classify as "French clunkers," names that look unwieldy yet somehow manage to sound airy and light.

I thought Elvie was simple and really cute. I love all the vowels in Enoée and the frilliness of Emmélise and Esmérina. As an Estella-fan, I liked the looks of Estelline. I liked the way Evantine reminded me of Valentine, and I had to include Exalisse, which just has to belong to a tough, cool girl, right?

There were some winners on the boys' side of things as well. I liked Edaire for its cool ease, and Edem for its simple, masculine sound. Edgène and Edmile are two new-to-me "Ed-" names, and I liked Eliodor and Elisas, which both seem like something I might find in the birth announcements in Arizona. Eméland and Emérent are two of my favorite finds, strong choices that would make great middle names. I can see EméoEnoël and Evance catching someone's eye, and slipping into mainstream use without too many "that's super weird, what kind of name is that?" comments. On the frillier side of things, I really dug Eudovic and Eulysse, which are takes on Ludovic and Ulysses, I think.

Friday, April 12

Inspired By: Fleetwood Mac

Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
and wouldn't you love to love her
takes to the sky like a bird in flight
and who will be her lover

Generally, when I write a story, I use placeholder names for the characters. Once I get to know them a little better, when they've stopped being abstract ideas and become full-on imaginary friends, then I finalize the name. Sometimes, the placeholder name becomes them, shapes who they are, but sometimes there's a big change pretty far along in the story. That happened recently, when I changed a character's name to Rhiannon. 

In the story, Rhiannon is the daughter of hippie parents who named her after the Fleetwood Mac song — the inspiration became a part of her background and helped me better understand who she is. Singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks was born in Arizona, where I grew up and where the story takes place. Her songs in particular use desert imagery and motifs in ways that I respond to — they feel familiar and nostalgic in a special way because of where I'm from. But mainly they are just a massively talented group of musicians who write killer pop songs, no duh.

Here are 10 names inspired by Fleetwood Mac — 

Fleetwood — if my last name was Fleetwood, I'd totally use it for my band's name as well. It's so fun to say, and evokes something nature-y and cool. It sounds fast and flashy, and I like it. It's like the word Creedence, without the heavy overtones. I could see just using Fleet as well, and I do like the nickname Woody a lot
Lindsey — I love that Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks have names that are more often found on different genders. It's part of their mystical love connection, I am sure. On a girl, Lindsey is quite dated in the US — it and the Lindsay spelling popped into the top 1,000 in the mid-'70s and peaked in the '80s — but for a boy I think it's fresh, ready for some new use
Nicks — speaking of new use, I can see Nicks (though given peoples' love for "cool X names," it would probably be  more popular spelled Nix) finding a following
Shadow — maybe a bit canine, but there are lots of shadows in Fleetwood Mac songs and the sound is pretty great, fitting in with other trendy "-ow" names like Harlow and Marlow
Tusk — my favorite Fleetwood Mac album, it would be pretty daring and distinctive, which I refuse to believe are lame qualities to be looking for in a name, no matter how many "but they'll get teased/won't be taken seriously" arguments I hear

Illume — all right, so maybe this is a brand of candle? But I love the sounds, and it feels like I might come across it in the Dutch stats I did a series on, or something. Love the nickname Lumi, too, and the meaning: "to make brighter"
Rhiannon — Rhiannon is a Welsh name meaning "great queen," and in Welsh mythology she was the goddess of fertility and the moon. Clearly, Stevie Nicks was always going to obsess over this name. According to interviews, Nicks first came across it in a book, and she wrote the song about a witch queen. Here is a quote: "I wrote this song and made her into what I thought was an old Welsh witch. And then I had just, just found out that Rhiannon was a Welsh witch. There's a whole trilogy of books written about her called the Song of Rhiannon. Which is pretty weird because I never saw that."
Sara — "Sara/ you're the poet in my heart/ never change, never stop" I've never been a fan of the name, but man, Sara gets all the good songs. (I'm thinking of a Dylan one in particular)
Silver — many "silver" references in their songs as well. I wonder why this one isn't at least a little more well-used, it seems ready-made for it, with its similarity to Sylvia/Sylvie 
Stevie — and, of course, there's Stevie itself. It's her nickname (her full name is Stephanie) and I think it would be adorable on a little girl, pretty cool on a teenager and work nicely on an adult all the same

Wednesday, April 10

let's talk about: Charles

detail from the Crowning of Charlemagne by Raphael, via Flickr

It's my husband's birthday today, so I thought I'd take a closer look at his middle name, Charles — versatile and familiar, charming and sturdy, it's a modern classic that has been a steady presence in the English-speaking name world since at least the 8th (yes, the 8th!) century.

Though it was first recorded in Anglo-Saxon times as Cearl or Ceorl (there was a King Cearl of Mercia, which is in modern-day England, who ruled in the early part of the 7th century), we have Charlemagne to thank for Charles' rise in popularity. It was so associated with the Carolingian dynasty that it became the standard word for "king" in many languages. Because it is so old, its meaning is debated, but is basically agreed to mean "man," sometimes qualified as "old man," "free man," "slave," "nobleman," or "warrior," depending on the source. Charlemagne ruled over most of Europe, and the name has been used by Holy Roman Emperors and kings from places as varied as France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Hungary. It became popular in Britain in the 17th century thanks to the Stuart king, Charles I.

Charles has been in the top 100 in the US for as far back as online data shows. In 1880, it ranked as high as #4. From 1880 to 1954 it was in the top 10 — that is definitely the mark of a well-used, well-loved name with broad appeal. After 1954, though, it started to decline in popularity. By the mid-'60s it had fallen to #20, and with each passing decade it has lost more ground. It currently ranks at #62, still very high, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it lose a bit more ground in the coming years. Interestingly, Charlie as a name, on its own, ranks at #236, and has been gaining popularity since the beginning of the 1990s. 

Charles has many lovely variants, including Catalan Carles, Croatian Karlo, Finnish Kaarle and Kalle, Hungarian Károly, Irish Séarlas, Spanish Carlos and Carlito, and Welsh Searl. Feminine forms like Caroline and Charlotte are classics in their own right — at #27, Charlotte is currently more popular than Charles, and Caroline is not too far behind, at #87.

Sunday, April 7

Old Québec Names: D

two recent Instagram rainbows

Here are some of the names from the "D" group of names found on old gravestones in Québec  —  

Déiclara  I wonder if this is a smush of the Italian "dei" meaning "of," plus Clara. Would be a pretty cool way to honor a grandparent or parent named Clara, anyway. Or maybe it's meant to read more like "clear god"? I pick most of the names in this series for their look + sound, and I really love the sound of this one
Déléanthe —  this got me thinking about the name Leanthe. I am a fan of other "-anthe," names, like Ianthe, Iolanthe and to a lesser extent Calanthe, but have never seen this one. Very pretty
Déléosa — actually, if we subtract the "De-" from these names, you get some more interesting choices: Iclara, Léanthe, Léosa, Lonine, Métrie, Vonie ... I like Déléosa for its unusual "-osa" ending
Délonine —  this one is a little stronger-sounding, but I love its streamlined look
Démétrie — French feminine form of the Russian male name Dmitriy, a name derived from the ancient Greek goddess of agriculture, Demeter
Dévonie — I thought this one has some mass-appeal potential. I've seen Devony around, mentioned on lists and used on actual people. Pretty, and recognizable enough to catch someone's eye
Domitille — this has been one of my favorite obscure French names for a while now. It's the French form of Domitilla, which is the feminine form of Roman family name Domitius, meaning "tamed"
Dovilie — this one also seems an easy pick, even for someone who doesn't speak French. Pretty "dove" beginning and the sweet "-ilie" ending (of which I am obviously a fan!) It reminds me of Lithuanian name Dovilë, which means "giving hope"

Dalmien —  chosen for its similarity to Damien, a name I think gets unfairly looked over thanks to the horror-film association. Dalm- calms it down a bit, maybe
Dalphus — this seems adorably dorky. I'd also like Alphus, for something a little softer
Dantes — fans of Alexandre Dumas could use this one, if they don't like Edmund. Dante's well-used, leaning towards outdated, but Dantes is handsome and would definitely stand out
Déitan —  a D-and-French-ified Ethan?
Dénery — a D-and-French-ified Henry?
Dëus — I generally like boy names that end in "-us" or "-s," like Cyrus or Caius, and Dëus fits right in. It means "god," so it's a little ... aspirational ... but I think the right kid could really suit it
Didion —  had to put this one on, since I'm a huge Joan Didion fan and a fan of naming after favorite writers or musicians. If you're not into Joan, this might be a good way to honor Diddy, too? Uh, forget I said that ...
Dorémus — this one also has a nerdy feel to it, I think. (Maybe I'm thinking of Remus?) Pretty cool

Friday, April 5

Academy Names

photo by laliseuse, via Flickr

Here's a look at some names found in the lists of nominees for Best Supporting Actress, and the  list of characters they played. Some great ones to be found!

Beah — Beatrice is popular with the hipster set these days, with designs on making a true comeback by breaking into the mainstream. Its nickname possibilities make that transition easy — Bea, Bibi and Trixie fit in nicely with other trendy, cute, nickname-y names for girls, and so does Beah. I would assume this is pronounced "bay-uh," or "bee-uh"
Eve — I wonder why we don't hear Eve more often. It's a lovely, feminine sound, a word name, a great (and sinful — yay!) namesake and I'd say it definitely hangs out in the "sophisticated old lady" category. Eve seems like a pretty solid choice, and it is on an upswing. It appeared in the top 1000 in 1998 after falling off the list in the mid-'80s, and after a pretty big jump from #704 in '99 to the mid-500s in 2000, has been slowly climbing the charts. It currently sits at #546
Geraldine  I love this clunky feminine form of even-clunkier Gerald so much. I think the right girl could totally pull it off. It's one to watch, as well — it appeared in the top 1000 in 2011, for the first time in forever. At #960, I think it's ready for a jump
Lilia — my personal favorite Lil- name, it has a freshness that I think Lillian lacks, and is much less popular than Lily
Lotte — it seems that most Charlottes go by either their full name or Charlie, but I have always preferred the nickname Lottie, or Lotte as a full name on its own. Retro, European, feminine and simple, it hits all the bases 
Mercedes — pretend you don't know about the car, which was named after a girl, anyway, taken totally out of modern context, this is a great name. Unusual sounds, sweet nicknames — I like Merce more than Sadie — and a lovely meaning (should be obvious: "mercies")
Saoirse — a popular name in Ireland, Saoirse is pronounced "SEER-sha" and means "freedom." I love the sound and meaning, and wonder if actress Saoirse Ronan's career means that it might start to be used more often in the US, despite its Gaelic spelling. For the record, I'm not opposed to altering the spelling to something more familiar, like Seersha, but I think the original looks best
Spring — I had to put this one on the list, since it's being such an insanely nice spring here in LA. I like it as a name, too. We see enough of Summer, Autumn and Winter, why not Spring?
Tuesday — as far as day-of-the-week names go, Sunday's my favorite, but Tuesday comes in at a close second. Fun and spunky, for sure
Winona  I really like Winona. It is a name from the Dakota language, meaning "first-born daughter," and has such a distinctive, appealing sound

Armande —  the feminine form of French male name Armand, which is actually related to Herman, and means "army man." So, an unattractive background, but I love the look and sound of this one
Blanche — bring back Blanche! Bring back Blanche! Meaning "white," Blanche last appeared in the top 1,000 way back in 1964. If you're looking for something at the very forefront of name trends, probably so far ahead of your time that when your Blanche is a teenager she'll start hearing her name used on newborns, use this one. There were only 6 born in the US in 2011. Six! That's a travesty for such a cool name
Clancy  dig this one on a girl, not so much on a boy. Maybe because I just picture Ralph Wiggum's dad?
Gareth — very surprised to find this on a female character. A somewhat-dated male name more popular in the UK than it ever has been in the US, Gareth is a name found in Arthurian legend, as a night of the round table. I can sort of see how it can work on a girl, the "-eth" ending makes me think of Gwyneth, and the sounds aren't terribly masculine
Gillian — are there names you like, but only with certain spellings/pronunciations? Gillian is one of them, for me, on two counts: I only like it with a "G," (Scully!) and I only like it with a hard "G" pronunciation
Glory — there were 63 baby girls named Glory born in the US in 2011. It's pretty underrated, as far as word names go, and seems a logical update on Gloria, though I like that one more, personally
Irene — I love Irene. It's one of my sisters' middle names and has a history of use in my family. Very cool, and you can't beat the meaning: "peace." The French and Italian pronunciations are really pretty, too. This note is for Ottilie and Brian: she was also the first woman to lead the  ... Byzantine empire! (<--- said in a scary, Professor Z voice)
Lois — Lois has been enjoying some use in the UK recently. I've always found the sound a little anatomical, or something, but it is very pretty, and Superman fans could use it instead of naming their kid Kal-El. It hasn't been in the top 1,000 since 1983, and there were 68 born in 2011
Maerose — a really nice name-smush, I love this and Mayrose, would love to see either one used on a real person
Pilar — a Spanish name that literally means "pillar," referring to a legend that had the Virgin Mary appearing on a pillar before Saint James the Greater. (Who's the lesser, I wonder, and why?) It's never cracked the top 1,000 (at least not as far back as the online records show) but was used 74 times in 2011