Monday, December 31, 2012

"New" Names

I'm quite intrigued by the up-and-coming girls' name Nova. I can definitely see the appeal--short & sweet, easy to spell & pronounce, astronomical connections. And, of course, the meaning is quite appropriate for a newborn--"new". Makes me wonder what other 'new' possibilities are out there--surprisingly, only a few established names have 'new' somewhere in their meaning. But, since Nova is simply 'new' in Latin, perhaps we can just use 'new' in other languages? A bit cheesy perhaps, but fun for the new year.

Established names:
  • Arata (ah-rah-tah, Japanese)--"new"
  • Athol (ATH-ol, Scottish)--"new Ireland"
  • Navin (nah-VEEN, Hindi)--"new". Also spelled Naveen.
  • Neville (NEV-il, English)--from French, "new town"
  • Xavier (eks-AYV-yer, ZAYV-yer, English)--from Basque, "new house"
  • Dagny (DAHG-nee, Scandinavian)--"new day"
  • Signy (SIG-nee, Scandinavian)--"new victory"

  • İlkay (eel-KYE, Turkish)--"new moon"

"new" in other languages:
  • Baru (bah-roo)--Indonesian, Malay
  • Berri (behr-ree)--Basque
  • Jauns (YOWNS)--Latvian
  • Kipya (KEEP-yah)--Swahili
  • Nayā (nuh-YAH)--Hindi [नया], Urdu [نیا]
  • Newydd (NEH-with [th like in 'the'])--Welsh
  • Nový (noh-VEE)--Czech, Slovak
  • Nua (NOO-ah)--Irish
  • Xin (SHEEN)--Chinese [新,dozens of other meanings, depending on the characters]
  • Uusi (OO-see)--Finnish
  • Yeni (YEN-ee)--Turkish

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bi-cultural Names--Italian/English (boys)

Spelled the same:
  • Aldo--English & Italian, AHL-doh
  • Alonzo--English & Italian, ah-LON-zoh
  • Walter--English, WAHL-ter; Italian, VAHL-tehr

One/two-letter difference:
  • Abel--English, AY-bel; Abele--Italian, ah-BEL-eh
  • Adam--English, AD-am; Adamo--Italian, ah-DAHM-oh
  • Adrian--English, AY-dree-an; Adriano--Italian, ah-dree-AH-noh
  • Albert--English, AL-bert; Alberto--Italian, ahl-BEHR-toh
  • Andrew--English, AN-droo; Andrea--Italian, ahn-DREH-ah
  • Ansel--English, AN-sel: Anselmo--Italian, ahn-SEL-moh
  • Antony--English, AN-toh-nee; Antonio--Italian, ahn-TOH-nyoh
  • Arthur--English, AR-thur; Arturo--Italian, ahr-TOO-roh
  • August--English, AW-gust; Augusto--Italian, ow-GOOS-toh
  • Bartholomew--English, bar-THOL-oh-myoo; Bartolomeo--Italian, BAR-toh-loh-MEH-oh
  • Basil--English, BAZ-il; Basilio--Italian, bah-SEEL-yoh
  • Benjamin--English, BEN-jah-min; Beniamino--Italian, ben-yah-MEE-noh
  • Bernard--English, ber-NARD, BER-nard; Bernardo--Italian, behr-NAR-do
  • Carl--English, KAHRL; Carlo--Italian, KAHR-loh
  • Cecil--English, SES-il; Cecilio--Italian, cheh-CHEEL-yoh
  • Christian--English, KRIS-tyen, KRIS-chen; Cristiano--Italian, krees-TYAH-noh
  • Claude--English, KLAWD; Claudio--Italian, CLOWD-yoh
  • Clement--English, KLEM-ent; Clemente--Italian, kleh-MEN-teh
  • Damian--English, DAY-mee-an; Damiano--Italian, dah-mee-AH-noh
  • Daniel--English, DAN-yel; Daniele--Italian, dah-NYEL-eh
  • David--English, DAY-vid; Davide--Italian, DAH-vee-deh
  • Dominic--English, DOM-in-ik; Domenico--Italian, doh-MEN-ee-koh
  • Edmund--English, ED-mund; Edmondo--Italian, ed-MON-doh
  • Edward--English, ED-ward; Edoardo--Italian, ed-WAHR-doh
  • Ernest--English, UR-nest; Ernesto--Italian, ehr-NES-toh
  • Eugene--English, YOO-jeen; yoo-JEEN; Eugenio--Italian, eh-oo-JEN-yoh
  • Frederick--English, FRED-er-ik; Federico--Italian, feh-deh-REE-koh
  • Ferdinand--English, FER-dih-nand; Ferdinando--Italian, fehr-dee-NAN-doh
  • Gabriel--English, GAY-bree-el; Gabriele--Italian, gah-BRYEL-eh
  • Gerard--English, jer-ARD; Gerardo--Italian, jeh-RAR-doh
  • Gilbert--English, GIL-bert; Gilberto--Italian, jeel-BEHR-toh
  • Gregory--English, GREG-oh-ree; Gregorio--Italian, greg-OR-yoh
  • Harold--English, HEHR-ohld; Aroldo--Italian, ah-ROHL-doh
  • Hubert--English, HYOO-bert; Uberto--Italian, oo-BEHR-toh
  • Hugo--English, HYOO-goh; Ugo--Italian, OO-goh
  • Isaiah--English, eye-ZAY-ah; Isaia--Italian, ee-SYE-ah
  • Jacob--English, JAY-kob; Jacopo--Italian, YAH-koh-poh
  • Leander--English, lee-AN-der; Leandro--Italian, leh-AN-droh
  • Leonard--English, LEN-ard; Leonardo--Italian, leh-oh-NAR-doh
  • Luke--English, LUEK; Luca--Italian, LOO-ka
  • Mark--English, MARK; Marco--Italian, MAR-koh
  • Martin--English, MAR-tin; Martino--Italian, mar-TEE-noh
  • Oliver--English, OL-iv-er; Oliviero--Italian, oh-leev-YEHR-oh
  • Orson--English, OR-son; Orsino--Italian, or-SEE-noh
  • Oswald--English, OZ-wald; Osvaldo--Italian, oz-VAHL-doh
  • Otto--English, OT-toh; Ottone--Italian, ot-TOH-neh
  • Paul--English, PAWL; Paolo--Italian, POW-loh
  • Raymond--English, RAY-mond; Raimondo--Italian, rye-MON-doh
  • Robert--English, ROB-ert; Roberto--Italian, roh-BEHR-toh
  • Roman--English, ROH-man; Romano--Italian, roh-MAHN-oh
  • Samuel--English, SAM-yul; Samuele--Italian, sahm-WEL-eh
  • Sebastian--English, seh-BAS-tyen; Sebastiano--Italian, seh-bahs-TYAHN-oh
  • Simon--English, SYE-mon; Simone--Italian, see-MOH-neh
  • Sylvester--English, sil-VES-ter; Silvestro--Italian, seel-VES-troh
  • Theodore--English, THEE-oh-dor; Teodoro--Italian, teh-oh-DOH-roh
  • Vincent--English, VIN-sent; Vincente--Italian, veen-CHEN-teh

Larger difference, but still recognizable:
  • Alexander--English, al-eks-AN-der; Alessandro--Italian, ah-les-SAHN-droh
  • Ambrose--English, AM-brohz; Ambrogio--Italian, ahm-BROH-joh
  • Benedict--English, BEN-eh-dikt; Benedetto--Italian, behn-eh-DET-toh
  • Bennett--English, BEN-net; Benito--Italian, ben-EE-toh
  • Christopher--English, KRIS-toh-fer; Cristoforo--Italian, krees-TOF-oh-roh
  • Cyril--English, SEER-il; Cirillo--Italian, chee-REEL-loh
  • Francis--English, FRAN-sis; Francesco--Italian, fran-CHES-koh
  • George--English, JORJ; Giorgio--Italian, JOR-joh
  • Hector--English, HEK-tor; Ettore--Italian, ET-toh-reh
  • Henry--English, HEN-ree; Enrico--Italian, en-REE-koh
  • Jasper--English, JAS-per; Gaspare--Italian, GAS-pah-reh
  • Jonathan--English, JON-ah-than; Gionata--Italian, JON-ah-tah
  • Jordan--English, JOR-dan; Giordano--Italian, jor-DAH-noh
  • Joshua--English, JOSH-yoo-ah; Giosuè--Italian, joz-WEH
  • Julian--English, JOO-lee-an; Giuliano--Italian, jool-YAH-noh
  • Justin--English, JUS-tin; Giustino--Italian, joos-TEE-noh
  • Laurence--English, LOR-ents; LAW-rents; Lorenzo--Italian, loh-REN-tsoh
  • Matthew--English, MATH-yoo; Matteo--Italian, mat-TEH-oh
  • Maximilian--English, maks-ih-MIL-yan; Massimiliano--Italian, mahs-see-meel-YAH-noh
  • Michael--English, MYE-kel; Michele--Italian, mee-KEL-eh
  • Nicholas--English, NIK-oh-las; Nicolò--Italian, nee-koh-LOH
  • Philip--English, FIL-ip; Filippo--Italian, fee-LEEP-poh
  • Roland--English, ROH-land; Orlando--Italian, or-LAHN-doh
  • Patrick--English, PAT-rick; Patrizio--Italian, pah-TREE-tsyoh
  • Peter--English, PEE-ter; Pietro--Italian, PYEH-troh
  • Raphael--English, RAF-ay-el; Raffaele--Italian, raf-ah-EL-leh
  • Richard--English, RICH-ard; Riccardo--Italian, reek-KAR-doh
  • Roger--English, ROJ-er; Ruggero--Italian, roo-JEHR-oh
  • Steven--English, STEE-ven; Stefano--Italian, stef-AH-noh
  • Terrence--English, TEHR-rents; Terenzio--Italian, teh-REN-tsyoh
  • Thaddeus--English, THAD-dee-us; Taddeo--Italian, tahd-DEH-oh
  • Thomas--English, TOM-as; Tommaso--Italian, toh-MAH-zoh
  • Timothy--English, TIM-oh-thee; Timoteo--Italian; tee-moh-TEH-oh
  • Ulysses--English, yoo-LIS-seez; Ulisse--Italian, oo-LEES-seh
  • Victor--English, VIK-tor; Vittore--Italian, veet-TOH-reh
  • Xavier--English, eks-AY-vyer; ZAY-vyer; Saverio--Italian, sah-VEHR-yoh

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Known but Not Common"

Some people like 'unique' names; some prefer solid classics. In my experience, though, most parents are searching for that elusive name that everyone recognizes but no one is using. This can lead two ways--a famous name that few use because it's inextricably linked to one figure; or, even more difficult, a name that is consistently underused. Never super-popular, but never out of style; it's the hardest sort of name to pin down.
But, of course, I have to try anyway, so here are names that have continuously been in the US top 1000 for the past 80 years, but have never broken the top 100 (yet! Asterisks indicate names that are more popular now than they've ever been).

This list has gone through many changes since its publication in 2012; see notes!

  • Abel*
  • Abraham
  • Alfredo
  • Alonzo
  • August
  • Avery*
  • Blaine
  • Brooks*
  • Bryant
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Clark
  • Clay
  • Clayton
  • Clinton [as of 2015, Clinton is out of the SSA Top 1000]
  • Conrad
  • Cyrus
  • Dallas
  • Damon
  • Davis
  • Dexter
  • Donovan
  • Duncan
  • Edgar
  • Eduardo
  • Elias* [as of 2015, Elias is now in the SSA Top 100]
  • Elliot*
  • Ellis
  • Emmett*
  • Enrique
  • Ernesto
  • Everett* [as of 2018, Everett is in the SSA Top 100]
  • Felipe
  • Felix
  • Francisco
  • Grady*
  • Graham*
  • Grant
  • Guillermo
  • Harley
  • Harrison*
  • Hector
  • Hugh (okay, I cheated here; it did fall from the Top 1000 for one year--2008)
  • Israel
  • Jasper*
  • Jean [as of 2012, Jean is out of the SSA Top 1000]
  • Jefferson
  • Julio
  • Julius
  • Kendall
  • Lane*
  • Lincoln* [as of 2014, Lincoln is now in the SSA Top 100]
  • Malcolm
  • Manuel
  • Marcel
  • Mario
  • Marshall
  • Maurice
  • Miles* [as of 2018, Miles is now in the SSA Top 100]
  • Morgan
  • Moses
  • Nelson
  • Noel
  • Orlando
  • Oscar
  • Pablo
  • Preston
  • Quentin
  • Rafael
  • Ramon
  • Raul
  • Reginald
  • Reid*
  • Ricardo
  • Roderick [as of 2013, Roderick is out of the SSA Top 1000]
  • Roland
  • Roman* [as of 2016, Roman is in the SSA Top 100]
  • Ross [as of 2013, Ross is out of the SSA Top 1000]
  • Ruben
  • Rudy
  • Salvador
  • Saul
  • Sidney [as of 2014, Sidney is out of the SSA Top 1000]
  • Silas* (fell from the Top 1000 for 1967)
  • Simon
  • Solomon
  • Sterling
  • Terrell
  • Thaddeus (fell from the Top 1000 for 2009)
  • Toby
  • Vaughn [as of 2018, Vaughn is out of the SSA Top 1000]
  • Wade 
  • Wilson
  • Winston
  • Zane*

  • Adrienne
  • Alma
  • Aurora* [as of 2015, Aurora is now in the SSA Top 100]
  • Bridget
  • Camille*
  • Carmen
  • Cecilia
  • Celeste
  • Celia
  • Claudia
  • Corinne
  • Daphne (fell from the Top 1000 for 1938)
  • Elisa
  • Elise*
  • Elsa
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gwendolyn
  • Helena (fell from the Top 1000 for 1992)
  • Hope
  • Iris
  • Ivy* (fell from the Top 1000 for 1946) [as of 2018, Ivy is now in the SSA Top 100]
  • Joy
  • Juliana (fell from the Top 1000 for 1936)
  • Lena
  • Lucia*
  • Marina
  • Mercedes [as of 2015, Mercedes is out of the SSA Top 1000]
  • Meredith
  • Miriam
  • Nina
  • Nora* [as of 2013, Nora is now in the SSA Top 100]
  • Priscilla
  • Rosa
  • Sonia [as of 2015, Sonia is out of the SSA Top 1000]

(I probably should have expected this, but I'm totally shocked by how much longer the boys' list is than the girls. Holy crap!)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Usual Nickname, Unexpected Name--Emma/Emmy

Yet another "nickname" that's actually a full name in its own right. Emma is definitely a hot name right now, and not just in the US--it's a top 100 name in more than a dozen countries! So, even though it is a full name, wanting a more uncommon given name is understandable. Quite a few names that lead to Emma/Emmie are already common in the US, or fast on the rise (Emily, Emilia, Emery, Emerson, Emmelyn, Ember).
So, what else can we find...?

  • Emanuela (eh-man-WEL-ah, Italian)--from Hebrew, "God is with us". French form is Emmanuelle
  • Embla (EM-blah, Scandinavian)
  • Emerald (EM-er-ald, English)
  • Emerentia (em-ehr-ENTZ-ee-ah, German)--from Latin, "praiseworthy"
  • Emerita (em-eh-REE-tah, German)--from Latin, "respected"
  • Emese (EM-eh-sheh, Hungarian)
  • Emika (eh-mee-kah, Japanese)
  • Emina (eh-MEE-nah)--Bosnian, from Arabic, "truthful"; Scandinavian, form of Emma.
  • Emira (eh-MEER-ah, Bosnian)--from Arabic, "commander"
  • Emperatriz (em-peh-rah-TREEZ, Spanish)--"empress"

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Hanukkah!

Okay, I don't celebrate Hanukkah, but for my friends who do--a list of Hebrew names. Actually, many names used in English are ultimately Hebrew in origin, so I'll be avoiding the usual Biblical names that we're all familiar with.
Chag sameach!

  • Adir (ah-DEER)--"mighty". Feminine is Adira.
  • Adiv (ah-DEEV)--"gentle, courteous". Feminine is Adiva.
  • Ari (ah-REE)--"lion"
  • Aviv (ah-VEEV)--"spring" [the season]. Feminine is Aviva.
  • Ayal (ah-YAHL)--"stag". Feminine is Ayala or Ayelet.
  • Chaim (khah-EEM)--"life". Also spelled Chayim. Feminine is Chaya.
  • Dekel (deh-KEL)--"palm tree"
  • Erez (eh-REZ)--"cedar"
  • Eyal (eh-YAHL)--"strength"
  • Harel (hah-REL)--"mountain of God"
  • Idan (ee-DAN)--"era"
  • Ilan (ee-LAHN)--"tree". Feminine is Ilanit or Ilana.
  • Lev (LEV)--"heart"
  • Oren (oh-REN)--"pine tree"
  • Ravid (rah-VEED)--"ornament"
  • Ronen (roh-NEN)--"song"
  • Shalev (shah-LEV)--"calm"
  • Tamir (tah-MEER)--"tall"
  • Tomer (toh-MEHR)--"palm tree"
  • Yaniv (yah-NEEV)--"prospering"
  • Zev (ZEV)--"wolf"
  • Ziv (ZEEV)--"bright, brilliant". Feminine is Ziva.

  • Adina (ah-dee-NAH)--"gentle, delicate"
  • Adva (ahd-VAH)--"ripple, wave"
  • Ahava (ah-hah-VAH)--"love"
  • Ahuva (ah-hoo-VAH)--"beloved"
  • Aliza (ah-lee-ZAH)--"joyful"
  • Arava (ah-rah-VAH)--"willow"
  • Ateret (ah-TEHR-et)--"crown"
  • Bina (bee-NAH)--"wisdom"
  • Dalia (dahl-YAH)--"branch". Also spelled Dalya.
  • Dorit (doh-REET)--"generation" 
  • Emuna (eh-moo-NAH)--"faith". Also spelled Emunah.
  • Irit (ee-REET)--"asphodel"
  • Kalanit (kah-lah-NEET)--"anemone, buttercup"
  • Keren (keh-REN)--"ray of light"
  • Keshet (KEH-shet)--"rainbow"
  • Kineret (kee-neh-RET)--"Sea of Galilee"
  • Kochava (koh-KHAH-vah)--"star"
  • Liat (lee-AHT)--"you are mine"
  • Malka (mal-KAH)--"queen"
  • Margalit (mar-gah-LEET)--"pearl"
  • Meital (may-TAHL)--"dew drop". Also spelled Maytal.
  • Nava (NAH-vah)--"beautiful"
  • Nessa (nes-SAH)--"miracle"
  • Nurit (noo-REET)--"buttercup"
  • Rona (roh-NAH)--"joy, song"
  • Shira (sheer-AH)--"song"
  • Sivan (see-VAHN)--"season" [9th month of Jewish calendar, May-June]
  • Techiya (teh-khee-YAH)--"rebirth"
  • Tova (toh-VAH)--"good"
  • Zahava (zah-HAH-vah)--"gold"

  • Aviel (ah-vee-EL)--"God is my father"
  • Hallel (hahl-EHL)--"praise"
  • Lior (lee-OHR)--"my light". Also spelled Leor. Feminine is Liora/Leora or Liorit
  • Liron (lee-ROHN)--"my joy, song"
  • Nitzan (neet-ZAHN)--"bud". Feminine is Nitza or Nitzana.
  • Noam (NOH-ahm)--"pleasantness"
  • Shai (SHYE)--"gift"
  • Yarden (yar-DEN)--"Jordan River"

Monday, November 26, 2012


Apologies for the unexpected hiatus! Planning ahead is apparently not my strong suit.

Daphne Constance made her appearance this weekend, and is doing wonderfully. :D

New posts and whatnot will resume soon. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Same Name?!--Mini Grab Bag (boys)

  • Benedict (BEN-eh-dikt, English)
    • Bengt (BENGT, Swedish)
    • Benito (ben-EE-toh, Italian)
    • Bennett (BEN-net, English)
    • Benoit (ben-WAH, French)
  • Laurence (LAW-rents, LOH-rents, English)
    • Labhrás (LAHV-rahs, LOW-rahs, Irish)
    • Lars (LAHRS, Scandinavian)
  • Steven (STEE-ven, English)
    • Esteban (es-TEH-bahn, Spanish)
    • Étienne (ay-TYEN, French)
    • István (EEST-vahn, Hungarian)
    • Tapani (TAH-pah-nee, Finnish)
  • Thomas (TOM-as, English)
    • Tavish (TAH-vish, Scottish)--anglicized from Támhas
    • Tommaso (toh-MAH-zoh, Italian)
  • William (WIL-yam, English)
    • Guillaume (gee-OHM, French)
    • Guillermo (gee-EHR-moh, Spanish)
    • Gwilym (GWIL-um, Welsh)
    • Willis (WIL-lis, English)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Medieval Madness

'-ee' names are big right now, especially for girls. No denying that! But, it's not a new trend, in fact, it's been decently common since the Middle Ages. Quite often when a name was imported from Latin to English and/or French, the '-ius/ia' was replaced with simply '-y/ie'; and in Norman French in particular, names of any origin were altered to end in '-y'.
Later in English, this expanded to '-y/ee/ie' becoming a diminutive of any name, but it has stayed more common for girls. Quite often, just like today, these regional forms and nicknames became accepted as separate names on their own.

  • Anthony [Antonius]
  • Aubrey [Alberich]
  • Avery [Alberich/Alfred]
  • Barnaby [Barnabus]
  • Emery [Emmerich]
  • Geoffrey/Jeffrey [Walahfrid/Gaufrid]
  • Godfrey [Godafrid]
  • Gregory [Gregorius]
  • Hilary [Hilarius]
  • Humphrey [Hunfrid]
  • Jeremy [Jeremiah]
  • Stacy [Eustace]
  • Toby [Tobias]
  • Zachary [Zacharius]

  • Audrey [Etheldred]
  • Barbary [Barbara]
  • Cecily [Cecilia]
  • Clemency [Clementia]
  • Dorothy [Dorothea]
  • Dulcie [Dulcia]
  • Idony [Idonea]
  • Jenny [Jane]
  • Lucy [Lucia]
  • Margery [Margaret]
  • Mary [Maria]
  • Nancy [Annis/Anne]
  • Sibley [Sibyl]
  • Sidony [Sidonia]
  • Tiffany [Theophania]

It is rather interesting how names evolve. In some cases, the original forms & the '-y' forms stayed separate; in others the '-y' is currently regarded as a nickname. Many of the forms have died out entirely. And of course, a few have inevitably changed from male to female. 
Really makes me wonder what the naming pool will look like in 500 years. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Usual Nickname, Unexpected Name--Kai

Okay, technically, Kai is quite an established name in many parts of the world (with several different origins).
But, in the U.S., where nicknames like Ty for Tyler & Sy for Silas/Simon are fairly expected, I can see how Kai can feel incomplete, especially since Kyle is still quite a common name.

And yes, Kai is unisex, but it's overwhelmingly more common for boys in the U.S., and besides, boy-only posts are in the minority on this blog. :)

  • Arkaitz (ahr-kites, Basque)--"rock"
  • Caetano (kye-eh-TAH-noh, Portuguese)
  • Caius (KYE-us, Latin)--prob. the original form of Kai (in Europe)
  • Chaim (KHIME, Hebrew)--"life"
  • Ekain (eh-kine, Basque)
  • Ekaitz (eh-kites, Basque)--"storm"
  • Hezekiah (hez-eh-KYE-ah, Hebrew)--"God strengthens"
  • Ikaia (ee-kye-ah, Hawaiian)--form of Isaiah
  • Ikaika (ee-kye-kah, Hawaiian)--"strong"
  • Kaino (KYE-noh, Finnish)
  • Kaito (kah-ee-toh, Japanese)
  • Makaio (mah-kye-oh, Hawaiian)--form of Matthew
  • Malachi (MAL-ah-kye, Hebrew)--"my angel"
  • Micaiah (mih-KYE-ah, Hebrew)--original [unisex] form of Micah
  • Mordecai (MOHR-deh-kye, Hebrew)
  • Nikolai (NIK-oh-lye, Russian)--form of Nicholas

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Old-Fashioned Fun with Modern Names

While reading on another board about "name-stealing"--a subject I have mixed feelings about--I began to wonder if part of the problem was that we've become severely limited in the ways we create nicknames. The naming pool was significantly smaller in previous generations, and yet no one seemed to really care about sharing their name with others, or about close friends/family "stealing" their baby name (or maybe no one bothered to record it if they did).
Perhaps part of the problem is how most of our current popular names have only one "go-to" nickname (maybe two)? If you look at historically-common names, they can have several, even dozens! Whether the nickname-creativity was spurred by the over-abundances of Marys, Margarets, Richards, & Johns, or just a by-product of flexible archaic English, I'm not sure, but either way, we're missing some opportunity for fun. ;)

While today's nicknames tend to be made in one way (shortening it, and maybe adding 'ee' or 'ah'), in older times, nicknames could be made in several ways:
  • Shortening to main syllable, just like today
  • Rhyming: Ed --> Ted
  • Adding N to vowel-names (a result of affectionately saying 'Mine ____'): Ann --> Nan
  • Contraction: Florence --> Floss
  • Adding 'ee' (for either gender), 'see', -in, or -kin: Adam --> Addy, Beth--> Betsy, John --> Jonkin
  • Slight vowel-shift: Simon --> Sim
  • Using a regional pronunciation as a nickname: Mary --> Molly
Often these changes combined & built upon each other, for instance: Margaret --> Mag --> Meg --> Peg; Mary --> Molly --> Polly; John --> Jan --> Jankin --> Jack

Now imagine the fun if we applied some of these methods to today's popular names. Hmmm.....
  • Sophia --> Sophie --> Sosie
  • Isabella --> Nissie; Isabella --> Ibbie --> Tibbie
  • Olivia --> Nol, Nollie; Olivia --> Olia
  • Emma --> Emsie
  • Abigail --> Allie; Abigail --> Aggie
  • Madison --> Missy
  • Aiden --> Aikin; Aiden --> Nay
  • Jacob --> Jobe; Jacob --> Cobin
  • Mason --> Mase --> Tase; Mason --> Maykin
  • Michael --> Mel; Michael --> Mykin; Michael --> Kel --> Kellin
  • William --> Wilkin --> Wilk; William --> Wim
  • Ethan --> Ean --> Dean
  • Noah --> Noey; Noah --> Koah; Noah --> Joah --> Joe

Yes, I purposely left out the names that I couldn't come up with non-silly nicknames for (of course, I can see many of these being considered silly). But imagine the possibilities! Who says that all Isabellas must go by Izzy or Bella? Having "such a common name" wouldn't really matter if you come up with your own new nickname for her. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Same Name?!?--Mini Grab Bag (Girls)

Quite frequently, I come across a name with a couple interesting variants, but not enough to dedicate an entire post to. I've been storing them away in the back of my mind, and I think I've collected enough for now. Girls' names today, and a little list of boys' names soon....and probably a few more grab-bag posts down the line (I love doing 'same name' posts--language is fun!).

  • Amy (AY-mee, English)
    • Aimee (eh-MAY, French)
    • Amada (ah-MAH-dah, Spanish)
  • Evelyn (EV-el-in, English)
    • Avelina (av-eh-LEE-nah, Germanic)
    • Eibhlín (EYE-leen, Irish)--anglicized to Eileen/Aileen
  • Guinevere (GWIN-eh-veer, English)
    • Gaynor (GAY-nor, English)
    • Ginevra (jin-EV-rah, Italian)
    • Jenifer (JEN-ih-fer, Cornish, English)
  • Matilda (mah-TIL-dah, English)
    • Mafalda (mah-FAHL-dah, Italian, Portuguese)
    • Mahaut (mah-oh, French)
    • Maud (MAWD, English)
  • Sophia (soh-FEE-ah, English)
    • Sonya (SOHN-yah, Russian)
    • Zosia (ZAW-shah, Polish)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Holy Crap! Nameberry!

I mean really--holy crap! I just logged on to find my page-views skyrocketing, and the culprit is a post by Abby Sandel of the fantastic Appellation Mountain. My astonished thanks to her, and welcome to random Nameberry viewers, since chances are if you're reading this, you followed her link here.

I'm a bit embarrassed, since I made the Modern Name Generator on a playful whim (and it is completely tongue-in-cheek, BTW!), and never actually expected anyone other than a few friends to find amusement in it. I'm quite proud of the girls' output, but the boys'...well, it's still a bit rough. Definitely. As it's nearly 2am here, I won't be taking the time to tweak it now, but it's shot to the top of my freetime priority list, that's for sure! So just stick to the girls' until then. ;)

Again, humble thanks for the link, Abby; and readers, if you somehow got here by some other way, you should go check out both Nameberry & Appellation Mountain. It's an honor to be mentioned on the same page as them. :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

People with People-Names, Round 2

Yeah, it's been a while. But, I kept coming across names I'd somehow missed the first time around, and my persnickety nature insists that I either add a whole bunch to the original post, or make a new one. I like sequels, so here're more names based on location/tribe.

  • Gaetano (gah-eh-TAH-noh, Italian)--from Latin, "of Caieta/Gaeta" [central Italy]
  • Laurence (LAW-rents, LOH-rents, English)--from Latin "of Laurentum" [western Italy]
  • Luke (LUEK, English)--from Greek, "of Lucania" [southern Italy]
  • Saveliy (sah-VEHL-ee, Russian)--from Latin, "of Sabine" [central Italy]
  • Sebastian (seh-BAS-tyen, English)--from Latin "of Sebaste" [central-eastern Turkey]

  • Cynthia (SIN-thee-ah, English)--from Greek, "of Kynthos" [Island of Delos, Greece]
  • Delphine (del-FEEN, French)--from Latin "of Delphi" [central-southern Greece]
  • Gaetana (gah-eh-TAH-nah, Italian)--feminine of Gaetano
  • Isaura (ee-SOW-rah, Portuguese, Spanish)--from Latin, "of Isauria" [central-southern Turkey]
  • Jocelyn (JOS-el-in, English)--from the Germanic tribe Gaut/Goth [prob. originally Scandinavian; spread thoughout Europe]
  • Magdalene (MAG-dah-leen, English)--from Latin, "of Magdala" [prob. Migdal, Israel]
  • Romola (ROH-moh-lah, Italian)--from Latin, "of Rome"
  • Sidonie (see-doh-NEE, French; sih-DOH-nee, English, zee-DOH-nee-eh, German)--from Latin, "of Sidon" [Saida, Lebanon]
  • Svea (SVAY-ah, Swedish)--"of Sweden"
  • Sveva (SVAY-vah, Italian)--from the Germanic tribe Suebi [originally Swabia, Germany; migrated to Portugal]

  • Devon (DEV-on, English)--from the Celtic tribe Dumnonii [south-west U.K.]
  • Indigo (IN-dih-goh, English)--from Greek, "of India"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Franken-Names II--The Mutations

Yeah, no points for originality for me this year. But, although they're not generally my own style, I do find combination-names interesting. As a result, this year's Halloween post is a simply a sequel to last year's.

Franken-Names II--The Mutations
*suspenseful music*
In a bizarre development, names have not only evolved that are hybrids of two established names, but are the monstrous amalgamations of word and suffix...of name and random sounds.

Just joking...mostly. Taking words and slightly tweaking them to sound more "name-like" has been going on for about as long as language has existed, no matter how much it's usually looked down upon now. And elaborating/combining established names is definitely nothing new.
Some of these names are quite established, and it'd be interesting to see which of the newer ones survive & become "traditional" in a couple generations. But, I do freely admit there're many I hope are never given to any child ever again!
These were all given to at least 5 girls last year.
  • Abrianna
  • Adiana
  • Adriella
  • Alexiana
  • Aliana
  • Aliciana
  • Alyla
  • Amberly
  • Amberlyn
  • Analia
  • Analicia
  • Anasofia
  • Andelyn
  • Andriana
  • Andrielle
  • Angelette
  • Angelise
  • Annabeth
  • Annalee
  • Annalisa
  • Annalise
  • Annalynn
  • Annamarie
  • Asialynn
  • Asianna
  • Aubria
  • Aubrianna
  • Aubrielle
  • Aubrina
  • Aubryn
  • Audria
  • Audriana
  • Audrielle
  • Avalee
  • Avalyn
  • Aviana
  • Avrianna
  • Bailyn
  • Blakelyn
  • Brandalyn
  • Brantley
  • Brecklyn
  • Breelyn
  • Breeza
  • Brianda
  • Briasia
  • Bricelyn
  • Britley
  • Britlyn
  • Brynlynn
  • Caliana
  • Cambrielle
  • Caralee
  • Carlianna
  • Cassiana
  • Charlianne
  • Chaselynn
  • Chazlynn
  • Chrisette
  • Christasia
  • Coralyn
  • Corianna
  • Cortasia
  • Dakayla
  • Daneen
  • Danilynn
  • Darielle
  • Darlene
  • Davianna
  • Dayleen
  • Daylin
  • Doreen
  • Dreama
  • Edelyn
  • Emberly
  • Emberlyn
  • Emlyn
  • Emmalise
  • Evalee
  • Evalette
  • Evalyse
  • Everlyn
  • Eviana
  • Faithlynn
  • Faylinn
  • Gabrianna
  • Gracelyn
  • Graelyn
  • Hazelyn
  • Icelynn
  • Ivyonna
  • Jacelyn
  • Jadalee
  • Jadelyn
  • Jakayla
  • Jakaylee
  • Janasia
  • Janelyn
  • Janessa
  • Jayana
  • Jaydence
  • Jayliana
  • Jazlyn
  • Jennalee
  • Jennalise
  • Jennalyn
  • Jennavecia
  • Jerilyn
  • Jerriona
  • Jessalyn
  • Jilliana
  • Joelliane
  • Jolene
  • Jolette
  • Jolisa
  • Jolynn
  • Josanna
  • Joshlyn
  • Joycelyn
  • Joyden
  • Joyelle
  • Joylynn
  • Kadelyn
  • Kaisley
  • Kalinda
  • Kambryn
  • Karianna
  • Karielle
  • Kaselyn
  • Kashley
  • Kashlynn
  • Katiana
  • Katilyn
  • Kayana
  • Kaybree
  • Kaydree
  • Kaylee
  • Kayleen
  • Kayleena
  • Kayliana
  • Kendalyn
  • Kenlyn
  • Kenyanna
  • Kimberlyn
  • Kimbree
  • Krislyn
  • Kristalyn
  • Lakely
  • Lakelyn
  • Laken
  • Lauralynn
  • Layliana
  • Loriana
  • Loveleen
  • Lovelynn
  • Lovette
  • Lydianna
  • Lynelle
  • Lynlee
  • Macilynn
  • Madilee
  • Makaylee
  • Makaylin
  • Makendra
  • Makyla
  • Marilyn
  • Markayla
  • Marvela
  • Mayla
  • Maylee
  • Maylin
  • Miabella
  • Mianna
  • Milliana
  • Myalynn
  • Nakayla
  • Nashly
  • Natalina
  • Natalynn
  • Nevaehlynn
  • Novalee
  • Novalynn
  • Oliviana
  • Paitlyn
  • Queena
  • Quinley
  • Rayanna
  • Reginae
  • Rocklyn
  • Royelle
  • Shaelyn
  • Shayden
  • Shaylee
  • Shaylene
  • Sherilyn
  • Shylee
  • Shylynn
  • Skyla
  • Skylee
  • Skyleen
  • Skylynn
  • Skyra
  • Soliana
  • Sophianna
  • Sophina
  • Starla
  • Starlene
  • Starlynn
  • Summerlyn
  • Takayla
  • Tamryn
  • Taralynn
  • Terriana
  • Tesslyn
  • Timberly
  • Timberlyn
  • Torianna
  • Travionna
  • Weslyn
  • Wrenna
  • Zakayla
  • Zaliyah

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Usual Nickname, Unexpected Name--Bree

Bree-names are big right now. From the fairly-established AubreyBrianna, & Gabriella, to the modern Cambria, Brielle, & Bria, and even new inventions, like Aubrianna, Abriella, & Mabree, Bree is a nickname we're likely to keep seeing more and more of. But if you're not willing to use a top 100 name, or a recent innovation, what's left?

  • Briallen (bree-AHL-len, Welsh)--"primrose"
  • Bricia (BREE-see-ah, Spanish)--origin uncertain; prob. a  form of Bridget or of Bricius/Bryce
  • Brighde (BREE-jeh, Scottish)--form of Bridget
  • Brigida (BREE-zhee-dah, Portuguese; BREE-hee-dah, Spanish)--yet another form of Bridget
  • Briseida (bree-SAY-dah, Spanish)-form of Briseis
  • Brisen (BREE-sen, Welsh)
  • Brîska (BREE-skah, Kurdish)--"glitter"
  • Brizo (BREE-zoh, Greek)
  • Bryndis (BRIN-dees, Norwegian)
  • Fabrizia (fah-BREE-tzee-ah, Italian)
  • Sabriye (SAH-bree-eh, Turkish)--"patient"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bi-cultural Names--Scandinavian/English (Girls)

Spelled the same, with (usually) slight pronunciation difference:
  • Agnes--English, AG-nes; Scandinavian, AHNG-nehs
  • Alexandra--English, al-eks-AN-drah; Scandinavian, ah-leks-AHN-drah
  • Amanda--English, ah-MAN-dah; Scandinavian, ah-MAHN-dah, ah-MAN-dah
  • Andrea--English, AN-dree-ah; Scandinavian, an-DREH-ah
  • Anita--English, an-EE-tah; Scandinavian, ah-NEE-tah, an-EE-tah
  • Anna--English, AN-nah; Scandinavian, AHN-nah
  • Anne--English, AN; Scandinavian, AN-neh, AHN-neh
  • Annika--English, AHN-nik-ah; AN-nik-ah; Scandinavian, AHN-nee-kah
  • Antonia--English, an-TOH-nee-ah; Scandinavian, ahn-TOHN-yah
  • Beatrice--English & Scandinavian, BEE-ah-tris
  • Camilla--English & Scandinavian, kam-IL-lah
  • Caroline--English, KEHR-oh-line, KEHR-oh-lin; Scandinavian, kah-roh-LEEN
  • Cecilia--English & Scandinavian, seh-SEEL-yah
  • Charlotte--English, SHAR-lot; Scandinavian, shar-LOT
  • Edith--English, EE-dith; Scandinavian, EH-dit
  • Elise--English, eh-LEES; Scandinavian, eh-LEE-seh
  • Ella--English & Scandinavian, EL-lah
  • Elsa--English & Scandinavia, EL-sah
  • Eva--English, AY-vah, EE-vah, EV-ah; Scandinavian, EH-vah
  • Emma--English & Scandinavian, EM-mah
  • Gabriella--English, gab-ree-EL-lah, Scandinavian, gah-bree-EL-lah
  • Greta--English, GRET-ah; Scandinavian, GREH-tah
  • Heidi--English, HYE-dee; Scandinavian, HAY-dee
  • Helena--English, HEL-en-ah, hel-AY-nah, hel-EE-nah, Scandinavian, hel-EH-nah, hel-EE-nah
  • Ida--English, EYE-dah; Scandinavian, EE-dah
  • Ingrid--English & Scandinavian, EENG-grid
  • Irene--English, eye-REEN; Scandinavian, ee-REHN, ee-REH-neh
  • Iris--English, EYE-ris; Scandinavian, EE-ris
  • Isabella--English, iz-ah-BEL-lah, Scandinavian, ee-sah-BEL-lah
  • Jessica--English, JES-sik-ah; Scandinavian, YES-sik-ah
  • Johanna--English, joh-AN-nah; Scandinavian, yoh-HAHN-nah
  • Josephine--English, JOH-sef-een; Scandinavian, yoh-sef-EEN
  • Judith--English, JOO-dith; Scandinavian, YOO-dit
  • Karina--English & Scandinavian, kah-REE-nah
  • Kristin--English, KRIS-tin; Scandinavian, KRIS-tin, KRIS-teen
  • Kirsten--English, KER-sten, KEER-sten; Scandinavian, KEER-sten
  • Laila--English, LAY-lah, LYE-lah; Scandinavian, LYE-lah
  • Laura--English, LOHR-ah, LAW-rah, Scandinavian, LOW-rah
  • Lena--English, LEE-nah, Scandinavian, LEH-nah
  • Linda--English, LIN-dah; Scandinavian, LEE-dah
  • Lisa--English & Scandinavian, LEE-sah
  • Lucia--English, LOO-shah, loo-SEE-ah; Scandinavian, loo-SEE-ah
  • Maria--English & Scandinavian, mah-REE-ah
  • Marie--English, mah-REE; Scandinavian, mah-REE, mah-REE-eh
  • Marina--English & Scandinavian, mah-REE-nah
  • Martha--English, MAR-thah, Scandinavian, MAR-tah
  • Mia--English & Scandinavian, MEE-ah
  • Nora--English & Scandinavian, NOH-rah
  • Olivia--English & Scandinavian, oh-LIV-ee-ah
  • Paula--English, PAW-lah; Scandinavian, POW-lah
  • Regina--English, reh-JEE-nah; Scandinavian, reh-GEE-nah
  • Rita--English & Scandinavian, REE-tah
  • Rosa--English, ROH-zah, ROH-sah; Scandinavian, ROH-sah
  • Ruth--English, ROOTH; Scandinavian, ROOT
  • Sandra--English & Scandinavian, SAN-drah
  • Susanna--English, soo-ZAN-nah; Scandinavian, soo-SAHN-nah
  • Sylvia--English & Scandinavian, SIL-vee-ah
  • Tyra--English, TYE-rah; Scandinavian, TEE-rah
  • Vera--English, VEER-ah, VEHR-ah; Scandinavian, VEHR-ah
  • Veronica--English, veh-RON-ih-kah; Scandinavian, veh-ROH-nih-kah
  • Victoria--English & Scandinavian, vik-TOH-ree-ah
  • Viola--English, vee-OH-lah, VYE-oh-lah; Scandinavian, vee-OH-lah
  • Vivian--English, VIV-ee-an; Scandinavian, VIV-ee-ahn
  • Yvonne--English, ih-VON, ee-VON; Scandinavian, ih-VON

One-two letter difference:
  • Agatha--English, AG-ah-thah; Agata--Scandinavian, ah-GAH-tah
  • Carla--English, KAHR-lah; Karla--Scandinavian, KAHR-lah
  • Carol--English, KEHR-ohl; Carola--Scandinavian, kah-ROH-lah
  • Christina--English, kris-TEE-nah; Kristina--Scandinavian, kris-TEE-nah
  • Clara--English, KLEHR-ah; Klara--Scandinavian, KLAH-rah
  • Dorothy--English, DOHR-oh-thee; Dorothea--Scandinavian, dor-oh-TEH-ah
  • Eleanor--English, EL-en-ohr, EL-en-er; Eleonora--Scandinavian, el-eh-oh-NOHR-ah
  • Ellen--English, EL-len; Elin--Scandinavian, EL-in
  • Elizabeth--English, eh-LIZ-ah-beth; Elisabeth--Scandinavian, eh-LEE-zah-bet
  • Erica--English, EHR-ik-ah; Erika--Scandinavian, eh-REE-kah
  • Esther--English, ES-ter; Ester--Scandinavian, ES-tehr
  • Hannah--English, HAN-nah; Hanna--Scandinavian, HAHN-nah
  • Henrietta--English, hen-ree-ET-tah; Henriette--Scandinavian, hen-ree-ET, hen-ree-ET-teh
  • Kaia--English, KYE-ah; Kaja--Scandinavian, KAH-yah
  • Karen--English, KEHR-en; Karin--Scandinavian, KAH-rin
  • Katrina--English, kah-TREEN-ah; Katrine--Scandinavian, kah-TREE-neh, kah-TREEN
  • Leah--English, LEE-ah; Lea--Scandinavian, LEH-ah
  • Lily--English, LIL-ee; Lilly--Scandinavian, LIL-lih
  • Mary--English, MEHR-ee; Mari--Scandinavian, MAHR-ee, mah-REE
  • Matilda--English, mah-TIL-dah; Mathilde--Scandinavian, mah-TEEL-deh
  • Maya--English, MYE-ah; Maja--Scandinavian, MAH-yah
  • Michaela--English, mih-KAY-lah; Mikaela--Scandinavian, mih-KYE-lah
  • Monica--English, MON-ih-kah; Monika--Scandinavian, MOHN-ee-kah
  • Sarah--English, SEHR-ah; Sara--Scandinavian, SAH-rah
  • Sonia--English, SOHN-yah; Sonja--Scandinavian, SOHN-yah
  • Sophia--English, soh-FEE-ah; Sofia--Scandinavian, soh-FEE-ah
  • Teresa--English, teh-REE-sah; Therese--Scandinavian, teh-REHS

Larger difference, but still recognizable:
  • Bridget--English, BRID-jet; Birgit--Scandinavian, BEER-git
  • Emily--English, EM-il-ee; Emelie--Scandinavian, EM-el-ee
  • Katherine--English, KATH-er-in; Katarina--Scandinavian, kah-tah-REE-nah
  • Margaret--English, MAR-gar-et; Margit--Scandinavian, MAHR-git
  • Raquel--English, rah-KEL; Rakel--Scandinavian, RAH-kel

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Same Name?!?--Agatha

Oh, that tricky 'th'. Agatha is mostly recognizable from language to language, but that last syllable sure is variable.
With only 51 girls named Agatha in 2011, it's probably not a name we can expect to see a lot of anytime soon. I can imagine it's still a bit too musty for most, but if the 100-year rule holds true, maybe Agatha will surprise us.

Original Greek form: Agathe [Αγαθη] (ah-GAH-thee)
English form: Agatha (AG-ah-thah)

Other forms:
  • Agafya (ah-GAH-fyah)--Russian
  • Agata (ah-GAH-tah)--Czech, Italian, Polish, Scandinavian, Spanish
  • Agathe (ah-GAHT)--French
  • Agathe (ah-GAH-teh)--German
  • Agda (AHG-dah)--Swedish
  • Ågot (AW-goht)--Norwegian
  • Ágota (AG-oh-tah)--Hungarian
  • Águeda (AH-geh-dah)--Portuguese, Spanish

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Greetings from Southern California!

Well, technically, I've been here over a week already (and leave pretty soon), but I just ran out of posts.

As I giggle over my Midwestern husband's attempts to pronounce local place-names, it has dawned on me just how many of those place-names are actually people-names (or would at least not be completely strange on a person).
So, in a little change of pace, I'm looking at a map. And anyone with Google, or other fellow locals, can probably tell fairly well where I grew up. :p
I can't guarantee that all these places are gorgeous & picturesque (most do have some lovely points, though), but people name their kids Camden, Brooklyn, Jersey, & London--does it really matter?

  • Avalon
  • Bonita
  • Santa Catalina Island
  • Santa Clarita
  • San Clemente Island
  • San Elijo Lagoon
  • Lake Elsinore
  • Glorietta Bay
  • Point Loma
  • San Marcos
  • Lake Morena
  • Murrieta
  • San Onofre State Beach
  • Palomar Mountain, Observatory
  • Pomona Valley
  • Ramona
  • Serra (various places, in honor of missionary Junípero Serra)
  • Solana Beach
  • Sonora Desert
  • Torrey Pines
  • Santa Ysabel
  • San Ysidro

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bi-cultural Names--Scandinavian/English (boys)

Yes, I'm cheating. There's so much overlap/similarity between the names used in the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland), and such inconsistency on which name is used where (at least from English/American sources), that it seems better to lump them all together. (and FWIW, I only included names with documented use in at least 2 of the aforementioned nations)

Spelled the same, but (usually) with slight pronunciation difference:
  • Axel--English, AK-sel; Scandinavian, AHK-sel
  • Albert--English, AL-bert, Scandinavian, AHL-behrt
  • Alexander--English, al-eks-AN-der; Scandinavian, ahl-eks-AHN-der
  • Alfred--English, AL-fred; Scandinavian, AHL-fred
  • August--English & Scandinavian, AW-gust
  • Carl--English & Scandinavian, KAHRL
  • Christian--English, KRIS-chen, KRIS-tyen; Scandinavian, KREES-tyahn
  • Daniel--English, DAN-yel; Scandinavian, DAHN-yel
  • David--English, DAY-vid; Scandinavian, DAH-vid
  • Elias--English, eh-LYE-ahs; Scandinavian, eh-LEE-ahs
  • Erik--English & Scandinavian, EHR-ik
  • Finn--English & Scandinavian, FIN
  • Gabriel--English, GAY-bree-el; Scandinavian, GAH-bree-el
  • Gunnar--English, GUN-nar; Scandinavian, GOON-nar
  • Herman--English, HER-man; Scandinavian, HEHR-man
  • Hugo--English, HYOO-goh; Scandinavian, HOO-goh
  • Jacob--English, JAY-kob; Scandinavian, YAH-kob
  • Jonas--English, JOH-nas; Scandinavian, YOH-nahs
  • Jonathan--English, JON-ah-than; Scandinavian, YOH-nah-thahn
  • Kai--English & Scandinavian, KYE
  • Kevin--English & Scandinavian, KEV-in
  • Linus--English, LYE-nus; Scandinavian, LEE-nus
  • Marcus--English & Scandinavian, MAHR-kus
  • Martin--English & Scandinavian, MAHR-tin
  • Otto--English & Scandinavian, OT-toh
  • Philip--English & Scandinavian, FIL-ip
  • Robert--English, ROB-ert; Scandinavian, ROH-bert
  • Roger--English, ROJ-er; Scandinavian, ROH-gehr
  • Samuel--English, SAM-yel; Scandinavian, SAHM-wel
  • Sebastian--English, seh-BAST-yen; Scandinavian, seh-BAHST-yahn
  • Simon--English, SYE-mon; Scandinavian, SEE-mon
  • Thomas--English & Scandinavian, TOM-ahs
  • Tobias--English, toh-BYE-as; Scandinavian, toh-BEE-ahs
  • Vincent--English, VIN-sent; Scandinavian, VEEN-sent

One-two letter difference:
  • Aaron--English, EHR-on; Aron--Scandinavian, AH-rahn
  • Antony--English, AN-toh-nee; Anton--Scandinavian, AN-tahn
  • Christopher--English, KRIS-toh-fer; Christoffer--Scandinavian, kris-TOF-fehr
  • Edward--English, ED-ward; Edvard--Scandinavian, EHD-vahrd
  • Edwin--English, ED-win; Edvin--Scandinavian, EHD-vin
  • Frederick--English, FRED-er-ik; Fredrik--Scandinavian, FREH-drik
  • George--English, JORJ; Georg--Scandinavian, yeh-OHR [Sweden], gee-OHR 
  • Harold--English, HEHR-ohld; Harald--Scandinavian, HAH-rahld
  • Henry--English, HEN-ree; Henrik--Scandinavian, HEN-rik
  • Isaac--English, EYE-zak; Isak--Scandinavian, EE-sahk
  • Jasper--English, JAS-per; Jesper--Scandinavian, YES-pehr
  • Lucas--English, LOO-kas; Lukas--Scandinavian, LOO-kahs
  • Matthias--English, mah-THYE-as; Mathias--Scandinavian, mah-TEE-ahs
  • Oscar--English, OS-kar; Oskar--Scandinavian, OHS-kahr
  • Osmond--English, OZ-mund; Åsmund--Scandinavian, AWS-mun
  • Oswald--English, OZ-wahld; Osvald--Scandinavian, OHS-vahld
  • Patrick--English, PAT-rik; Patrik--Scandinavian, PAH-trik
  • Paul--English, PAWL; Pal--Scandinavian, PAHL
  • Peter--English, PEE-ter; Peder--Scandinavian, PEH-der
  • Ralph--English, RALF; Ralf--Scandinavian, RAHLF
  • Reuben--English, ROO-ben; Ruben--Scandinavian, ROO-ban
  • Richard--English, RICH-ard; Rikard--Scandinavian, RIK-ahrd
  • Solomon--English, SOL-o-mon; Salomon--Scandinavian, SAH-loh-mon
  • Steven--English, STEE-ven; Stefan--Scandinavian, STEH-fahn
  • Theodore--English, THEE-oh-dohr; Theodor--Scandinavian, TEE-oh-dohr
  • Victor--English, VIK-tor; Viktor--Scandinavian, VIK-tohr
  • Walter--English, WAHL-ter; Valter--Scandinavian, VAHL-tehr

Larger difference, but still recognizable:
  • Andrew--English, AN-droo; Anders--Scandinavian, AHN-dehrs
  • Francis--English, FRAN-sis; Frans--Scandinavian, FRAHNS
  • John--English, JAHN; Jan--Scandinavian, YAHN
  • Michael--English, MYE-kel; Mikkel--Scandinavian, MEEK-kel
  • Neil--English, NEEL; Njal--Scandinavian--NYAHL
  • Nicholas--English, NIK-oh-lahs; Niklas--Scandinavian, NIK-lahs
  • Oliver--English, OL-ih-ver; Alvar--Scandinavian, AHL-vahr
  • William--English, WIL-yam; Vilhelm--Scandinavian, VIL-helm

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Long of It

Quite a ways back, I did a post on mini-names (which could probably use an update, or maybe a sequel). In general, American names are getting simpler, especially boys. Although Alexander is still pretty popular, parents are much more likely to skip the full name and just go with Alex or Xander than they used to be. For girls, the frilly, princess-y name trend (especially the newest influx of -annas & -ellas) ensures that there's still lots of long names in use, but a lot of the older appellations are now too "stuffy".

  • Algernon (AL-jer-non, English)
  • Aloysius (al-oh-IH-shus, English)--form of Louis
  • Antonius (an-TOH-nee-us, Latin)--original form of Anthony
  • Apolinar (ah-poh-lee-NAHR, Spanish)
  • Aurélian (oh-rayl-YAWN, French)--from Latin, "golden"
  • Archibald (AHR-chih-bahld, English)
  • Barnabas (BAHR-nah-bus, English)
  • Bartholomew (bar-THOL-ah-myew, English)
  • Benedict (BEN-eh-dikt, English)--from Latin, "blessed"
  • Cornelius (kohr-NEEL-yus, English)
  • Demetrius (deh-MEE-tree-us, Latin)
  • Ebenezer (eb-en-EE-zer, English)
  • Ferdinand (FER-dih-nand, English)
  • Frederick (FRED-er-ik, English)
  • Gioachino (joh-ah-KEE-noh, Italian)--form of Joachim/Joaquín
  • Jedidiah (jed-ih-DYE-ah, English)
  • Korbinian (kohr-BEE-nee-ahn, German)
  • Leberecht (LEH-beh-rekht, German)--"lives rightly"
  • Lysander (lye-SAN-der, Greek)
  • Matthias (mah-THYE-as, English; mah-TEE-ahs, German)--form of Matthew
  • Montgomery (mont-GOM-er-ee, English)
  • Mortimer (MOHR-tih-mer, English)
  • Nicostrato (nee-koh-STRAH-toh, Italian)
  • Peregrine (PEHR-eh-grin, English)--from Latin, "traveller"
  • Reginald (REJ-in-ahld, English)--form of Ronald
  • Roderick (ROD-er-ik, English)
  • Silvanus (sil-VAH-nus, Latin)--original form of Silas
  • Sylvester (sil-VES-ter, English)
  • Taliesin (tal-ee-ES-in, Welsh)
  • Teodosio (teh-oh-DOHS-yoh, Spanish)
  • Thaddeus (THAD-ee-us, English)
  • Zacchaeus (zak-KEE-us, English)--from Hebrew, "pure"

  • Adelinde (ah-deh-LEEN-deh, Germanic)--"noble and mild"
  • Alastríona (al-as-TREE-on-ah, Irish)--feminine of Alastar/Alexander
  • Amaryllis (ah-mah-RIL-lis, English)--from Greek, "sparkling"
  • Augustine (oh-goos-TEEN, French)
  • Bernadette (ber-nah-DET, English)
  • Calanthe (kah-LAN-thee, English)--from Greek, "beautiful flower"
  • Celandine (SEL-an-deen, English)
  • Chrysanta (krih-SAN-tah, English)--from Greek, "golden flower"
  • Clementina (klem-en-TEE-nah, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Coriander (KOH-ree-an-der, English)
  • Demetria (deh-MEE-tree-ah, Greek)
  • Dezirinda (deh-zee-REEN-dah, Esperanto)
  • Dominique (doh-mee-NEEK, French)--feminine of Dominic
  • Emerentia (eh-meh-REN-tsee-ah, German)--from Latin, "praiseworthy"
  • Federica (feh-deh-REE-kah, Italian)
  • Felicitas (feh-LEE-tzee-tahs, German)--from Latin, "good luck"
  • Gennadiya (gee-NAH-dee-ah, Russian)--from Greek, "noble"
  • Karesinda (kah-reh-SEEN-dah, Esperanto)
  • Katarzyna (kah-tahr-ZHEE-nah, Polish)--form of Katherine
  • Katelijne (kah-teh-LYE-neh, Dutch)--another form of Katherine
  • Kazimiera (kah-zee-MYE-rah, Polish)
  • Liselotte (LEE-zeh-lot-teh, Danish, German)
  • Marjolaine (mahr-zhoh-LEHN, French)--"marjoram"
  • Millicent (MIL-lih-sent, English)
  • Octavia (ok-TAY-vee-ah, English; ok-TAH-vee-ah, Latin)
  • Seraphina (sehr-ah-FEE-nah, English)--from Hebrew, "fiery one"
  • Temperance (TEM-per-ants, English)--"self-restraint"
  • Willemina (wil-leh-MEE-nah, Dutch)--feminine of William/Willem

Friday, October 5, 2012

Y, oh Y?

Y is apparently a magical letter. It makes any sound you want, can turn boring names unique, and even transforms masculine into feminine!
I'm being facetious, of course, but our modern preoccupation with the letter Y astounds me. It's one of the rarer letters in normal American English words, but one of the most common in American names. The number of sounds it can legitimately make contributes, I'm sure, but it's hardly omnipotent. So how did we get to this point?

Well, to start off with, Y is the only letter that can function as both a consonant and a vowel. It was originally two separate letters (three if you count the thorn, but that's a different topic, and was pretty much limited to early typesetting)--a consonant that sounded just like our modern consonantal Y, and a vowel that doesn't exist anymore in English, rather like the German ü.
When English was switched from the Anglo-Saxon runes to the Latin alphabet, they were merged into one letter. Odd, but it does rather make sense--the consonantal Y is technically a semi-vowel [IPA: /j/], and the old vocalic Y [IPA: /y/] is pretty much the closest vowel sound to a consonant! Sometime in Middle English, the Y's vowel sounds shifted and merged with the I-sounds, and by the time spelling was standardized, they were considered interchangeable.

So, a rule of thumb--if it can be spelled with an I, it can be spelled with a Y (please note, that this doesn't necessarily mean that it should; changing a name's spelling is not something that should be done without lots of consideration, IMO).

What sounds can a Y make?
"ee" [IPA: /i/] like in lyric or baby (open syllables = long vowel)
"eye" [IPA: /ai/] like in style (silent e = long vowel) or sky (open syllable = long vowel)
"ih" [IPA: /ı/] like in myth (closed syllable = short vowel)
"eh/uh" [IPA: /ə/] like in martyr or Sibyl (closed syllables = short vowel, often reduced to a schwa, varies by region/dialect)

On top of that, it can, of course, form digraphs with most of the other vowels:
"ay" [IPA: /ei/] like in bay or fey
"eye" [IPA: /ai/] like in buy [rare] or Maya [in imported words/names]
"ee" [IPA: /i/] like in key
"oy" [IPA: /oi/] like in boy
Notice that, with the exception of the schwa, all the IPA representations include the letter I! More confirmation that the Y is basically a pretty I.

So, modern naming/spelling conventions aside, the Y is not a universal vowel. I realize that most people, at least intuitively, can tell when a Y doesn't work, but gosh, I've seen some doozies lately!
Now, if only I could explain why a Y-substituted boys' name is somehow feminine. That one still escapes me. :p

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Usual Nickname, Unexpected Name--Ed/Eddie

I admit, I love most of the Ed-names. There's just something about them. Edward is easily the most common,  but there are lots of ways to get to Eddie and the more archaic nicknames of Ned & Ted.

  • Edelmiro (eh-del-MEER-oh, Spanish)--from Germanic, "noble and famous"
  • Eder (eh-dehr, Basque)--"handsome"
  • Edgar (ED-gar, English)--from Germanic, "blessed spear". Other forms include Edgard (French) and Edgardo (Spanish)
  • Edis (EH-dees, Norwegian)--form of Giles/Aegidius. Older form is Edias
  • Edison (ED-ih-son, English)
  • Ediz (eh-DEEZ, Turkish)--"high"
  • Edlef (ED-lef, Germanic)--"blessed wolf"
  • Edmar (ED-mar, Scandinavian)--from Germanic, "wealthy and famous"
  • Edmund (ED-mund, English)--from Germanic, "blessed protector". Other forms include Edmond (French), Edmao (Limburgish), Edmondo (Italian), & Edmundo (Portuguese & Spanish)
  • Ednar (ED-nar, Norwegian)--masculine of Edna
  • Edric (ED-rik, English)--from Germanic, "blessed ruler"
  • Edsart (ED-sart, Frisian)--from Germanic, "brave sword"
  • Edur (eh-door, Basque)--"snow"
  • Edwin (ED-win, English)--from Germanic, "blessed friend"

Friday, September 28, 2012

Word-Names for Boys

I do rather feel sorry for the boys. Girls can pull off anything it seems--soft names, strong names, virtue-names, nature-names, mythological names, surnames, even boys' names! Boys have a much smaller selection to choose from, and parents are more criticized for thinking outside the box. The category that seems most girl-dominated is probably word-names (excluding occupational, but even those are up for gender-reassignment, it seems!), so I'm going to try to compile a decent list of nature & word-names for boys, both established and theoretical.
*in some of these cases, the name was originally a nickname/surname that just happened to coincide with an English word (e.g.--Dirk is a short form of Diederik, but also a synonym for "dagger").

  • Alder (AHL-der)
  • Ash (ASH)
  • August (AW-gust)--adj. "noble, venerable"
  • Basil (BAZ-il, BAYZ-il)
  • Bramble (BRAM-bl)--n. "thorny shrub" [usually from the Rubus genus]
  • Brant (BRANT)
  • Briar (BRYE-ar)--n. "thorny plant" [usually from the Rose genus or Rubus genus]
  • Brock (BROK)--n. "badger"
  • Brooks (BROOKS)
  • Chase (CHAYS)
  • Clay (KLAY)
  • Clement (KLEM-ent)--adj. "merciful, mild"
  • Cliff (KLIF)
  • Colt (KOHLT)
  • Coy (KOY)--adj. "quiet, shy"
  • Curt (KURT)--adj. "concise, terse"
  • Cypress (SYE-pres)
  • Dale (DAYL)--n. "valley"
  • Dell (DEL)--n. "valley"
  • Dirk (DERK)--n. "dagger"
  • Drake (DRAYK)--n. "dragon" or "male duck"
  • Earl (URL)--n. "nobleman"
  • Earnest (UR-nest)--adj. "diligent, serious"
  • Flint (FLINT)
  • Ford (FOHRD)--"river crossing"
  • Forest (FOHR-rest)
  • Gage (GAYJ)--v. "measure" or n. "security pledge"
  • Glen (GLEN)--n. "valley"
  • Grant (GRANT)--n. "gift, concession"
  • Gray/Grey (GRAY)
  • Griffin (GRIF-fin)
  • Grove (GROHV)--n. "small forest"
  • Halcyon (HAL-see-on)--adj. "calm, peaceful" [derived from the bird-name]
  • Hale (HAYL)--adj. "healthy, robust"
  • Hardy (HAR-dee)--adj. "brave, strong"
  • Hawthorn (HAW-thohrn)
  • Heath (HEETH)--n. "shrubland" [more specifically, plants of the Erica genus]
  • Jasper (JAS-per)
  • Jay (JAY)
  • Justice (JUS-tis)
  • Kale (KAYL)
  • Lake (LAYK)
  • Lance (LANTS)--n. "spear"
  • Lane (LAYN)
  • Linden (LIN-den)
  • Marten (MAR-ten) 
  • Merit (MEHR-it)
  • Merle (MURL)--n. "blackbird"
  • Moss (MOS)
  • Noble (NOH-bl)
  • Orion (oh-RYE-on)
  • Peregrine (PEHR-eh-grin)
  • Phoenix (FEE-niks)
  • Pierce (PEERS)
  • Prosper (PROS-per)--v. "to thrive, be successful"
  • Reed (REED)
  • River (RIV-er)
  • Robin (ROB-in)
  • Rowan (ROH-an)
  • Royal (ROY-al)
  • Sage (SAYJ)--n. "wise person", as well as several several species of plant
  • Sedge (SEDJ)
  • Sparrow (SPEHR-roh)
  • Sterling (STUR-ling)--a grade of silver, at least 92.5% pure
  • Stone (STOHN)
  • Talon (TAL-on)
  • Thane (THAYN)--n. "lord, royal official"
  • Trace (TRAYS)
  • Urban (UR-ban)
  • Victor (VIK-tor)
  • Wade (WAYD)
  • Ward (WAHRD)--n. "protection" or n. "person under protection"
  • Zephyr (ZEF-er)--n. "light wind" [or more specifially, the west wind]

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Same Name?!--Henry

Oh, Henry; handsome Henry. His usage may have waned for a few decades, but he's never fallen out of the top 150. With dozens of namesakes, including several royals from a few different nations, it's no surprise that he's spread throughout the Western world, and is always in style.

Original Germanic form: Heimirich (HYE-mih-rikh)
Latinized form: Henricus (HEN-rih-kus)
English form: Henry (HEN-ree)

Other forms:
  • Anraí (AHN-ree)--Irish
  • Arrigo (ahr-REE-goh)--Italian
  • Eanrig (EN-rik)--Scottish
  • Endika (en-dee-kah)--Basque
  • Enric (en-REEK)--Catalan
  • Enrico (en-REE-koh)--Italian
  • Enrique (en-REE-kay)--Spanish
  • Harris (HEHR-ris)--English (via Harry)
  • Harry (HEHR-ree)--Medieval English
  • Heikki (HAYK-kee)--Finnish
  • Heinrich (HINE-rikh)--German
  • Hendrik (HEN-drik)--Dutch
  • Henri (awn-REE)--French

Now to make things a bit tricker, there's the Germanic name Emmerich. It could be derived from Heimirich/Henry, but it could also come from Ermenrich or Amalrich. Most likely, the three similar names all got muddled into one, much like Guy/Vitus in ancient times, or Amelia/Emilia in modern English.
So, because the derivation is less clear, I've listed Emmerich's variants separately. Some linguists hold them equivalent to Henry; some don't.  
  • Amaury (ah-moh-REE)--French
  • Américo (ah-MEH-ree-koh)--Spanish, Portuguese
  • Amerigo (ah-MEHR-ih-goh)--Italian
  • Émeric (aym-REEK)--French
  • Emery (EM-er-ee)--English
  • Imre (EEM-reh)--Hungarian
  • Imrich (IM-rikh)--Slovak

Friday, September 21, 2012

Too Many Variants! (2011)

I have a feeling this won't have changed much from 2010, but what the heck? Maybe I can also try to make sense of what makes a name likely to be "creatively" spelled.
Yet again, these are the names from the boys' top 200, and girls' top 100, with 20 or more alternate spellings.
↓ indicates a name was given to fewer children than in 2010; ↑ to more.
(I used the lists compiled over at NameNerds, in case you're wondering, and of course there is a bit of subjectivity. For instance, is Caleigh "kay-lee" or "cal-lee"? It's listed with Kaylee, but I imagine that both pronunciations are in use.)

  • 59 spellings--Kayden ↓ (yup, that's 4 more spellings than last year!)
  • 54 spellings--Giovanni ↓ (up 8 spellings from last year!)
  • 47 spellings--Aiden ↑ (up 5)
  • 38 spellings--Jayden ↓ (down 8)
  • 34 spellings--Kason ↑ (up 4)
  • 31 spellings--Josiah ↑ (up 4)
  • 28 spellings--Zachary ↓ (down 3)
  • 27 spellings--Cameron ↑ (down 2), Isaac ↑ (down 4), Jaylen ↓ (up 2)
  • 26 spellings--Zayden ↑ (up 2)
  • 25 spellings--Brayden ↓ (down 1), Braylon ↑ (same), Isaiah ↑ (down 4), Nicholas ↓ (down 4)
  • 24 spellings--Malachi ↓ (up 7)
  • 23 spellings--Caleb ↓ (down 7), Grayson ↑ (up 8)
  • 22 spellings--Elijah ↓ (down 2)
  • 21 spellings--Damian ↓ (down 3)

  • 82 spellings--Arianna ↓ (down 8)
  • 74 spellings--Kaylee ↓ (down 6)
  • 69 spellings--Aaliyah ↑ (down 3)
  • 62 spellings--Makayla ↓ (down 11)
  • 58 spellings--Jocelyn ↓ (down 11), Kaelyn ↓ (down 9)
  • 57 spellings--Madelyn ↓ (down 1)
  • 41 spellings--Abigail ↓ (up 1), Aniya ↓ (up 3)
  • 40 spellings--Amaya ↑ (up 1)
  • 39 spellings--Mackenzie ↑ (down 2)
  • 37 spellings--Brianna ↓ (down 8), Liliana ↑ (down 2)Riley ↓ (down 3)
  • 36 spellings--Hailey ↓ (down 4)
  • 35 spellings--Kaitlyn ↓ (up 3)
  • 34 spellings--Alaina ↑ (down 1)
  • 31 spellings--Natalie ↓ (up 5)
  • 30 spellings--Emily ↓ (up 1), Kylie ↓ (down 1), Nevaeh ↓ (same)
  • 29 spellings--Chloe ↓ (same), Kennedy ↑ (down 4), Peyton ↓ (up 1)
  • 28 spellings--Adalyn ↑ (up 2), Amelia ↑ (down 5)
  • 27 spellings--Addison ↓ (down 4), Kaydence ↓ (down 2)
  • 26 spellings--Allison ↓ (up 9), Juliana ↓ (down 4), Reagan ↑ (down 1)
  • 25 spellings--Eliana ↑ (down 1)Lillian ↓ (down 2)
  • 24 spellings--Isabella ↓ (down 1), Olivia ↑ (up 2)
  • 22 spellings--Bailey  (same), Callie ↑ (up 2), Destiny ↓ (up 2), Madison ↓ (down 6)
  • 21 spellings--Kendall ↑ (up 9), Zoey ↑ (up 4)
  • 20 spellings--Katherine ↑ (up 1)

--It's interesting to see the commonalities with these names. They all have at least one of the following traits, usually more:
1) be vowel-heavy, especially long vowels ("ay", "eye", "ee")
2) contain the K and/or S sounds
3) have 3 or more syllables 
4) have good double-letter potential (DD, LL, SS, NN, etc)

--I'm also curious as to whether the number of alternates indicates a name's trendiness. I guess it's time for me to make some predictions, and then wait several months to see if they prove true. 

My predictions for names that will keep rising (more children + more spellings): 
Aiden, Kason, Josiah, Zayden, Grayson, Amaya, Adalyn, Olivia, Callie, Kendall, Zoey, Katherine

My predictions for names on the way out (fewer children + fewer spellings): 
Jayden, Zachary, Brayden, Nicholas, Caleb, Elijah, Damian, Arianna, Kaylee, Makayla, Jocelyn, Kaelyn, Madelyn, Brianna, Riley, Hailey, Kylie, Addison, Kaydence, Juliana, Lillian, Isabella, Madison

Now, a bit trickier--names with fewer children + more spellings. My interpretation is that these names are starting to overstay their welcome, so while some parents turn to alternate spellings in an effort to be "different", others give up the name altogether. So, these are names I think are more slowly on the way out
Kayden, Giovanni, Jaylen, Malachi, Abigail, Aniya, Kaitlyn, Natalie, Emily, Peyton, Allison, Destiny

And even more uncertain--names with more children + fewer spellings. My interpretation is that those who like "unique" names/spellings are becoming bored with them, but they've become established enough for parents who prefer traditional names/spellings. These names are becoming classics, or are at least in for the long haul
Cameron, Isaac, Isaiah, Aaliyah, Mackenzie, Liliana, Alaina, Kennedy, Amelia, Reagan, Eliana 

So, remind me to revisit this next Mother's Day! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

You're So Old....

...that no one even knows what you mean!
I have to admit, one of my biggest pet-peeves on baby-name websites is oversimplification. While the etymologies of many names are fairly concrete & easily traced, others have become lost or muddled over the millennia.
  • Aaron--the form of Aaron hasn't changed much--it's Aharon in Hebrew. But, unlike most Biblical names, it's only given to one person in the entire Bible! With no other contexts, or evolution of form, it's hard to determine its source. While it's possibly Hebrew, "mountain" or "brightness, light"; it's more likely an Egyptian import. 
  • Anthony--Although this is sometimes listed as meaning "flower", that's not quite true. The name has been around for a couple thousand years or so, but it didn't start being spelled & pronounced with "th" until a few hundred years ago, when someone decided it would be better if it looked like anthos, the Greek word for flower. Its actual origin was most likely Etruscan.
  • Camilla--the original Latin (masculine) form is Camillus, which also happens to be a word in Latin--"acolyte". Experts agree it's probably coincidental, and that the name was imported, probably from Etruscan. 
  • Carson--it was a surname first...that about all that's certain! It could be related to the Scottish name/surname Kerr, but is more likely from a French location, like Coursan or Carsan.
  • Cormac--'Mac' is Gaelic for "son of"; it's the 'Cor-' that causes problems. Possibilities include "raven" [fig. "myth, legend"], "corruption", "charioteer", or simply "Corb" [a Titan-like figure in Irish myth].
  • Eleanor--it's often listed as a variant of Helen, but is more likely from a Germanic name. One popular theory is that it comes from the Provençal phrase alia Aenor--Aenor being the mother of the first prominent Eleanor, Eleanor (Alíenor) of Aquitaine. However, records indicate she may not have been the first Eleanor/Alíenor, in which case, her name was likely a clever play on words.
  • Katherine--originally Aikaterine in Greek, it was changed to resemble katharos, "pure". Aikaterine has several possible sources: the Greek personification of skillful hands, Hekateros; the Greek goddess of magic and night, Hecate; or it could have even been imported into Greek from another culture, like Egyptian.
  • Mary--This is the form we got after the Hebrew Miryam passed through Greek, and then Latin. There have literally been whole papers written on the myriad of possible sources. The most likely Hebrew derivations include "sea of myrrh" [fig. "bitter" or "strong"], "lady of the sea", "shining sea, star of the sea", "drop of the sea", "rebellion", "beautiful one". It could also have been originally Egyptian, "beloved".
  • Monica--It's possible that the name is related to Latin "advisor" or Greek "one", but since the Monica who brought the name to the Christian world was African (St. Monica, St. Augustine's mother), it's almost certainly of Punic or Numidian origin.
  • Reilly--The English form (usually spelled Riley) is pretty easy to parse: "rye field". The Irish form, however, was shortened/Anglicized from something like Raghallach, which is not so easy to parse. It  could be from Old Norse, or it could be a relative of Kelly/Ceallach, which doesn't have a certain derivation either! Possibilities include "bright-headed", "church", "valiant", or "sociable".
  • Sabrina--The Latinized name of the Welsh Hafren river (Severn in English), no one seems to have any clue where it came from! Folklore links the river's name to a drowned girl or a nymph, but it's more likely the place-name came first. 
  • Teresa--originally Therasia in Greek, it has a few different possibilities: "summer", "to hunt", "harvest", or from the island of Therasia, which was possibly named for an ancient ruler, Theras, his name likely derived from 'ther', "wild creature".
  • Thelma--Never really popular, this one's nevertheless been popping up in records for centuries. It's possible that it's from Greek thelema, "will", but is more likely a shortened form of a Germanic name.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Usual Nickname, Unexpected Name--Theo/Thea

Theo is one of those nicknames we're likely to be seeing a lot more of. It just reappeared on the SSA charts for the first time in nearly 70 years--right on cue for a revival. Its traditional full form, though, Theodore, is either old-man chic, or permanently stuck in Chipmunk-territory, depending on who you ask.
As for poor Thea, she's not been seen in many a year, nor have her usual full forms, the twin sisters Dorothea & Theodora.

  • Philotheos (fil-oth-EH-os, Greek)--"friend of God"
  • Theobald (THEE-oh-bahld, THEH-oh-bahld, Germanic)--"of bold people"
  • Theocritus (thee-OK-rit-us, Latin)--from Greek, "judged by God"
  • Theodard (THEH-oh-dard, Latin)--from Germanic, "of strong people"
  • Theodolf (THEH-oh-dolf, Germanic)-- "of the wolf people"
  • Theodoric (thee-OD-ohr-ik, Germanic)--"people's ruler"
  • Theodosius (thee-oh-DOH-see-us, Latin)--from Greek, "giving to God"
  • Theodotus (thee-oh-DOH-tus, Latin)--from Greek, "given to God"
  • Theodulus (thee-oh-DOO-lus, Latin)--from Greek, "servant of God". Modern French form is Théodule.
  • Theofried (THEH-ah-freed, Latin)--from Germanic, "of peaceful people"
  • Theophilus (thee-OF-il-us, Latin)--from Greek, "friend of God".  Modern forms include Théophile (French), Theofilus (Dutch), & Theophil (German).
  • Theopont (THEH-ah-pont, Greek)--"sea of God"

  • Alethea (ah-LAY-thee-ah, ah-lah-THEE-ah, English)--from Greek, "truth"
  • Althea (ahl-THEH-ah, ahl-THEE-ah, Greek)--"healing"
  • Amalthea (ah-mahl-THEE-ah, ah-mahl-THEH-ah, Greek)--"soothing"
  • Anthea (an-THEE-ah, an-THEH-ah, Greek)--"flower"
  • Eidothea (ay-doth-EH-ah, Greek)--"knowledge goddess"
  • Pasithea (pas-ih-THEH-ah, Greek)--"acquired goddess"
  • Praxithea (praks-ih-THEH-ah, Greek)--"commerce goddess"
  • Theodosia (thee-oh-DOHS-yah, Greek)--"giving to God"
  • Theokleia (thee-oh-KLAY-ah, Greek)--"glory of God"
  • Theolinde (theh-oh-LEEN-deh, Latin)--from Germanic, "of tender people"
  • Theomilla (theh-oh-MEEL-lah, German)--Greek [theo] + Slavic [milla], "God's grace"
  • Theonoe (theh-on-OH-ee, Greek)--"intelligent goddess"
  • Theophania (thee-of-AN-yah, Greek)--"appearance of God"
  • Theophila (thee-OF-il-ah, Greek)--"friend of God"
  • Theophora (theh-OF-or-ah, thee-OF-or-ah, Greek)--"bearing God"
  • Timothea (tim-oh-THEH-ah, tim-oh-THEE-ah, English)--from Greek, "honoring God"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bi-cultural Names--French/English (girls)

Warning: I think this is my longest list yet!

Spelled the same, with slight pronunciation difference (usually):
  • Adelaide--English, AD-el-ayd; Adélaïde--French, ah-day-lah-EED
  • Adele--English, ah-DEL; Adèle--French, ah-DEL
  • Adeline--English, AD-el-ine, AD-el-in; French, ah-deh-LEEN
  • Adrienne--English, ay-dree-EN; French, ah-dree-EN
  • Agnes--English, AG-nes; Agnès--French, ahn-YES
  • Alexandra--English, al-eks-AN-drah; French, ah-leks-AHN-drah
  • Alexis--English, ah-LEKS-is; French, ah-leks-EE
  • Alice--English, AL-is; French, ah-LEES
  • Alison--English, AL-ih-son; French, ah-lee-SAWN
  • Anna--English & French, AN-nah
  • Anne--English & French, AN
  • Annette--English & French, an-NET
  • Barbara--English, BAR-bar-ah; French, bar-bar-AH
  • Beatrice--English, BEE-ah-tris; Béatrice--French, bay-ah-TREES
  • Bernadette--English & French, ber-nah-DET
  • Blanche--English, BLANCH; French, BLAWNSH
  • Camille--English, kah-MEEL; French, kah-MEE
  • Caroline--English, KEHR-oh-line, KEHR-oh-lyn; French, kah-roh-LEEN
  • Celeste--English, seh-LEST; Céleste--French, say-LEST
  • Charlotte--English, SHAHR-lot; French, shahr-LOHT
  • Chloe--English, KLOH-ee; Chloé--French, kloh-AY
  • Christine--English, kris-TEEN; French, krees-TEEN
  • Claire--English & French, KLEHR
  • Clementine--English, KLEM-en-tine; French, kleh-mawn-TEEN
  • Colette--English, kol-ET; French, koh-LET
  • Constance--English, KON-stants; French, kawn-STAWNS
  • Corinne--English, koh-RIN, koh-REEN; French, koh-REEN
  • Danielle--English & French, dan-YEL
  • Daphne--English, DAF-nee; Daphné--French, daf-NAY
  • Denise--English, deh-NEES; French, deh-NEEZ
  • Desiree--English, DEZ-ih-ray; Désirée--French, day-zee-RAY
  • Diane--English, dye-AN; French, dee-AN
  • Edith--English, EE-dith; Édith--French, ay-DEET
  • Elise--English, eh-LEES, ee-LEES; Élise--French, ay-LEES
  • Eloise--English, EL-oh-eez; Éloïse--French, ay-loh-EEZ
  • Emma--English & French, EM-mah
  • Estelle--English & French, es-TEL
  • Esther--English, ES-ter; French, es-TEHR
  • Eve--English, EEV; Ève--French, EV
  • Florence--English, FLOHR-ents; French, floh-RAWNS
  • Francine--English, fran-SEEN; French, frawn-SEEN
  • Gabrielle--English & French, gah-bree-EL
  • Genevieve--English, JEN-eh-veev; Geneviève--French, zhawn-vee-EV, zhawn-eh-vee-EV
  • Irene--English, eye-REEN; Irène--French, ee-REN
  • Iris--English, EYE-ris, French, ee-REES
  • Isabelle--English, IZ-ah-bel; French, eez-ah-BEL
  • Jacqueline--English, JAK-ah-lin; French, zhak-LEEN, zhak-eh-LEEN
  • Jade--English, JAYD; French, ZHAHD
  • Jasmine--English, JAZ-min; French, zhas-MEEN
  • Jeannette--English, jen-ET; French, zhen-ET
  • Jeanine--English, jen-EEN; French, zhen-EEN
  • Jessica--English, JES-sih-kah; French, JES-ee-kah
  • Joelle--English, joh-EL; Joëlle--French, zhoh-EL
  • Josephine--English, JOH-sef-een; Joséphine--French, zhoh-zay-FEEN
  • Judith--English, JOO-dith; French, zhoo-DEET
  • Julie--English, JOO-lee; French, zhoo-LEE
  • Justine--English, jus-TEEN; French, zhoos-TEEN
  • Lara--English & French, LAH-rah
  • Louise--English & French, loo-EEZ
  • Lucille--English & French, loo-SEEL
  • Margot--English, MAR-goh; French, mar-GOH
  • Marianne--English, mehr-ee-AN; French, mah-ree-AN
  • Marie--English & French, mah-REE
  • Marion--English, MEHR-ee-on; French, mah-ree-OHN
  • Marlene--English, mar-LEEN; Marlène--French, mahr-LEN
  • Melina--English, meh-LEE-nah; Mélina--French, may-lee-NAH
  • Melissa--English, meh-LIS-sah; Mélissa--French, may-lee-SAH
  • Michelle--English, mih-SHEL; French, mee-SHEL
  • Muriel--English, MYUR-ee-el; French, mur-ee-EL
  • Nadia--English & French, NAH-dyah
  • Nadine--English, nah-DEEN, nay-DEEN; French, nah-DEEN
  • Natalie--English, NAT-ah-lee; French, nat-ah-LEE
  • Nicole--English, nih-KOHL; French, nee-KOHL
  • Nina--English & French, NEE-nah
  • Noelle--English, noh-EL; Noëlle--French, noh-EL
  • Penelope--English, pen-EL-oh-pee; Pénélope--French, pay-nay-LOHP
  • Rachel--English, RAY-chel; French, rah-SHEL
  • Rebecca--English, reh-BEK-kah; Rébecca--French, ray-bek-KAH
  • Renee--English, ren-AY; Renée--French, ren-AY
  • Rosalie--English, ROHZ-ah-lee; French, roh-zah-LEE
  • Rose--English & French, ROHZ
  • Sandra--English, SAN-drah; French, SAHN-drah
  • Sarah--English, SEHR-ah; French, SAH-rah
  • Simone--English, sih-MOHN; French, see-MOHN
  • Stephanie--English, STEF-an-ee; Stéphanie--French, stay-fan-EE
  • Suzanne--English & French, soo-ZAN
  • Valerie--English, VAL-er-ee; Valérie--French, vah-lay-REE
  • Yvette--English & French, ee-VET
  • Yvonne--English, ee-VON; French, ee-VOHN
  • Zoe--English, ZOH-ee; Zoé--French, zoh-AY

One-two letter difference:
  • Agatha--English, AG-ah-thah; Agathe--French, ah-GAHT
  • Alina--English, ah-LEE-nah; Aline--French, ah-LEEN
  • Amber--English, AM-ber, Ambre--French, AHMBr
  • Amelia--English, ah-MEEL-yah; Amélie--French, ah-may-LEE
  • Anastasia--English, an-ah-STAYZH-yah; Anastasie--French, ah-nah-stah-ZEE
  • Andrea--English, AN-dree-ah; Andrée--French, awn-DRAY
  • Angela--English, AN-jel-ah; Angèle--French, awn-ZHEL
  • Angelina--English, an-jel-EE-nah; Angeline--French, awn-zhel-EEN
  • Arianna--English, ahr-ee-AN-nah, ah-ree-AH-nah; Ariane--French, ah-ree-AN
  • Ariel--English, AHR-ee-el, AYR-ee-el; Arielle--French, ah-ree-EL
  • Aurora--English, aw-ROH-rah; Aurore--French, oh-ROHR
  • Bertha--English, BUR-thah; Berthe--French, BEHR-teh
  • Carina--English, kah-REE-nah; Carine--French, kah-REEN
  • Cecilia--English, seh-SEEL-yah; Cécile--French, say-SEEL
  • Clarissa--English, klah-RIS-sah, Clarisse--French, klah-REES
  • Claudia--English, KLAW-dee-ah; Claudie--French, kloh-DEE
  • Deborah--English, DEB-oh-rah; Débora--French, day-boh-RAH
  • Dorothy--English, DOR-oh-thee; Dorothée--French, doh-roh-TAY
  • Eleanor--English, EL-en-or, EL-en-er; Eléonore--French, eh-lay-oh-NOHR
  • Elizabeth--English, eh-LIZ-ah-beth; Élisabeth--French, ay-lee-zah-BET
  • Emily--English, EM-il-ee; Émilie--French, ay-mee-LEE
  • Eugenia--English, yoo-JEEN-yah, yoo-JEN-ee-ah; Eugénie--French, oo-zhay-NEE
  • Evelyn--English, EV-el-in;  Évelyne--French, ayv-eh-LEEN
  • Felicity--English, fel-IS-ih-tee; Félicité--French, fay-lee-cee-TAY
  • Giselle--English, jih-ZEL; Gisèle--French, zhee-ZEL
  • Gwendolyn--English, GWEN-doh-lin; Gwendoline--French, gwen-doh-LEEN
  • Helen--English, HEL-en; Hélène--French, ay-LEN
  • Henrietta--English, hen-ree-ET-tah; Henriette--French, awn-ree-ET
  • Jocelyn--English, JOS-el-in; Jocelyne--French, zhos-el-EEN
  • Juliana--English, joo-lee-AH-nah, joo-lee-AN-ah; Juliane--French, zhoo-lee-AN
  • Juliet--English, JOO-lee-et, joo-lee-ET; Juliette--French, zhoo-lee-ET
  • Katherine--English, KATH-eh-rin; Catherine--French, ka-teh-REEN
  • Laura--English, LOR-ah, LAW-rah; Laure--French, LOHR
  • Leah--English, LEE-ah; Léa--French, LAY-ah
  • Letitia--English, leh-TEE-shah; Laetitia--French, leh-TEE-see-ah
  • Leona--English, lee-OH-nah; Léonie--French, lay-oh-NEE
  • Lillian--English, LIL-ee-an; Liliane--French, lee-lee-AN
  • Lisa--English, LEE-sah; Lise--French, LEEZ
  • Lucy--English, LOO-see; Lucie--French, loo-SEE
  • Lydia--English, LID-ee-ah; Lydie--French, lee-DEE
  • Martha--English, MAR-thah; Marthe--French, MAHRT
  • Martina--English, mar-TEE-nah; Martine--French, mar-TEEN
  • Matilda--English, mah-TIL-dah; Mathilde--French, mah-TEELD
  • Melanie--English, MEL-an-ee; Mélanie--French, may-lan-EE
  • Miriam--English, MEER-ee-am; Myriam--French, mee-ree-AM
  • Morgan--English, MOR-gan; Morgane--French, mor-GAN
  • Natasha--English, nah-TAHSH-ah; Natacha--French, nah-tah-SHAH
  • Olivia--English, oh-LIV-ee-ah, ol-IV-ee-ah; Olivie--French, oh-lee-VEE
  • Ophelia--English, oh-FEE-lee-ah; Ophélie--French, oh-fay-LEE
  • Paula--English, PAW-lah; Paule--French, POHL
  • Regina--English, reg-JEE-nah; Régine--French, ray-ZHEEN
  • Roxanne--English, roks-AN; Roxane--French, rohks-AN
  • Sophia--English, soh-FEE-ah; Sophie--French, soh-FEE
  • Sylvia--English, SIL-vee-ah; Sylvie--French, seel-VEE
  • Teresa--English, teh-REE-sah; Thérèse--French, tay-REZ
  • Virginia--English, ver-JIN-yah; Virginie--French, veer-zhee-NEE
  • Violet--English, VYE-oh-let; Violette--French, vee-oh-LET
  • Vivian--English, VIV-ee-an; Viviane--French, vee-vee-AN
  • Yolanda--English, yoh-LAHN-dah; Yolande--French, yoh-LAHND
Larger difference, but still recognizable:
  • Amy--English, AY-mee; Aimée--French, eh-MAY
  • Angelica--English, an-JEL-ih-kah; Angelique--French, awn-zhel-EEK
  • Bridget--English, BRID-jet; Brigitte--French, bree-ZHEET
  • Guinevere--English, GWEN-eh-veer; Guenièvre--French, goon-ee-EVr
  • Madelyn--English, MAD-el-in; Madeleine--French, mah-deh-LEN
  • Margaret--English, MAR-gah-ret; Marguerite--French, mahr-geh-REET
  • Monica--English, MON-ih-kah; Monique--French, moh-NEEK
  • Naomi--English, nah-OH-mee, nay-OH-mee; Noémie--French, noh-ay-MEE
  • Sibyl--English, SIB-il; Sybille--French, see-BEEL
  • Veronica--English, veh-RON-ih-kah; Véronique--French, vay-roh-NEEK
  • Victoria--English, vik-TOHR-ee-ah; Victoire--French, veek-TWAHR