Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Today's name: Crispin (male)
Alternate spelling: Krispin

Variant forms: Crespin, Crispian, Crispino, Crispo, Crispus, Crisspin, Crespin, Crispinian, Crispianus, Crispinus, Crispen, Crispanius

Potential nicknames: Cris, Crisp, Spin

Pronunciation: KRIS-pin

Origin: Latin, meaning "curly-haired." It comes from the Latin crispinus, derived from an old Roman family name Crispus.

History lesson: (1) Saint Crispin is the patron saint of shoemakers. St. Crispin's Day falls on October 25. (2) Crispin and Crispinian were Roman twins who were martyred in c.286 for preaching Christianity in Gaul. With Vatican II they were removed from the liturgical calendar based on a lack of credibility. (3) Crispin the monk, who lived in Viterbo, Italy, was cannonized in 1982. (4) In Shakespeare's Henry V, the king gives a memorable, motivating speech on St. Crispin's Day. (Crispin Glover is named for this speech.)

Popularity: According to the Social Security Administration this name has never reached a top 1000 popularity status, and only 24 boys were given the name in 2009, then 21 in 2011.

Fun fact: (1) There are two famous actors named Crispin -- Crispin Glover and Crispin Bonham-Carter, and one famous voice-over actor named Crispin Freeman. In speculation, this rare name could lead to being famous. (2) The "Crispin Apple" is a relative of the Golden Delicious apple.

Female form: Crispina


Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Today's name: Bryony (female)
Alternate spelling: Briony

Potential nicknames: Bry, Bryn, Brynna, Bree, Bria, Bonnie, Bronny

Pronunciation: BRY-on-ee, BRY-uh-nee, and sometimes BREE-uh-nee

Origin: (1) Greek, from the word bryonia, meaning "climbing plant," or vine. (2) 20th century flower name for a perennial flowering vine indiginous to Europe.

Popularity: There were 7 baby girls named Briony in the U.S. in 2010, according to the Social Security Administration, and 5 named Bryony. Both are pronounced the same. In 2011 there were 16 girls named Briony and 5 named Bryony.

Fun fact: You probably recognize this name from the recent movie "Atonement," based on the book of the same name by Ian McEwan.


Monday, August 29, 2011


Today's name: Siobhan (female)

Potential nicknames: Shea, Bonnie, Bon-Bon, Bon, Shiba, Von, Vonnie, Sio, Oba, Ava, Ova, Shiv, Annie, Anne, Chevron

Pronunciation: shih-VON, shuh-VAHN, shih-VAWN

Origin: Irish form of Joan, which is the feminine form of John, meaning "God is gracious."

Variant forms: Chevon, Chevonne, Chavonne, Chivon, Chyvonne, Shavaun, Shavon, Shavonne, Siobhian, Shervon, Shevon, Shevonne, Shirvaun, Shivahn, Shivaun, Shovonne, Shyvonne, Sioban, Shiobahn, and Syvonne.

Popularity: In 2010, 72 babies were born with the name Siobhan in the U.S. according to the Social Security Administration's annual list. This name does not make it to the top 1000 in America, but it does is Ireland (even the Anglicized versions.) In 2011 there were 51 girls named Siobhan.


Sunday, August 28, 2011


Today's name: Lemon (unisex)
This name can equally suit a boy or girl

Potential nicknames: Although this name is more of the nickname itself, ideas include Lem, Lemmy/Lemmie, Lemony, Mon, Emon, Mona, and Monte

Pronunciation: LEH-mon

Origin: (1) English, meaning "lemon." (2) English form of male name Lefman, meaning "beloved man, sweetheart." (3) Common surname.

Popularity & fun fact: (1) Lemon briefly made it onto the Social Security Administration's list of the top 1000 most popular baby names from 1882 to 1910. It was not given to any girls in 2011, despite the popular TV show character named Lemon from "Hart of Dixie." (2) This would also make a very cute nickname.


Saturday, August 27, 2011


Today's name: Rosaria (female)
A variation of Rosario (male, but is used for girls, too)

Potential nicknames: Ro, Rose, Rosie, Rosa, Aria, Ari, Sara, Sari, Saria

Pronunciation: row-ZAHR-ee-yah, ro-SAHR-ee-ah

Origin: (1) Italian, derived from the Latin rosarium, meaning "rosary, crown, garland of roses." (2) Italian, the feminine form of il rosario, meaning the rosary. (3) Spanish, from the phrase "Nuestra Senora del Rosario," the Virgin Mary, our Rose Lady.

Fun fact: (1) Rosaria has a "name day," which is October 7, with St. Rosario. (2) This name may be given in honor of the Virgin Mary, who is sometimes referred to as "The Blessed Virgin of the Rosary."

Popularity: According to the Social Security Administration, there were a total of 6 babies born with the name Rosaria in 2010 and 12 in 2011.


Friday, August 26, 2011


Today's name: Stellan (male)

Potential nicknames: Stell, Stellar

Pronunciation: STEH-len, STEL-lahn

Origin: Swedish, meaning "peaceful."

Popularity: In 2010 there were 41 baby boys named Stellan in the U.S. In 2011 there were 37.

Fun fact: (1) Using the male baby name Stellan could be a fun way to honor a female relative named Stella. (2) Stellan Skarsgard is a popular actor from Sweden, (as seen in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and "Good Will Hunting"), who now has a popular actor son named Alexander Skarsgard (of "True Blood" fame).


Today's name: Magnolia

Potential nicknames: Maggie, Maggs, Lia, Nolie, Meg, Noa, Nola, Lina

Pronunciation: mag-NOL-ee-ah

Origin: Latin, meaning "Magnol's flower," after 17th century botanist Pierre Magnol. It can either mean the magnolia tree, or the magnolia flower itself.

Popularity: The baby name Magnolia went off the Social Security Administration's list of the top 1000 most popular baby names in 1940. In 2010 there were 164 babies born named Magnolia, and in 2011 there were 185.

Fun fact: (1) Magnolia flowers bloom in pink and white. (2) The magnolia is the state flower for both Louisiana and Mississippi. (3) A character on the TV show "Hart of Dixie."


Thursday, August 25, 2011


Today's name: Asher (male)

Potential nicknames: Ash, Ashy

Pronunciation: AH-shur, or ASH-er

Origin: (1) Hebrew, meaning "blessed, happy." (2) Biblical - Asher, the 8th son of Jacob, was promised a life full of abundance. (3) Old English, meaning "ash wood" or "lives near an ash tree."

Popularity: In 2010 Asher was #139, and in 2011 it was #113. It has only been moving up.

Fun fact: The name Asher was brought into Enlish usage by the Puritans.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Today's name: Lilith
Alternate spelling: Lillith
"Lilith" by John Collier, 1862

Potential nicknames: Lil, Lily, Lilly, Li-Li, Lithy/Lithie, Lila, Lilah

Pronunciation: LIL-ith

Origin: (1) Arabic, meaning "of the night." (2) In Jewish folklore - Lilith was Adam's first wife, who thought she was equal to Adam because they were created at the same time out of the same material. In some legends she chose to leave Adam, in others she spoke the name of God and vanished. (3) In Jewish mythology, Lilith is thought to be a demon, most likely from an entire class of female demons, but scholars debate this. The name could come from the Akkadian word lilitu, meaning either "spirits" or "of the night," or the Hebrew lilit or lilith, meaning, roughly, "female night being/demon." (4) There are also Sumerian, Babylonian and Mesopotamian meanings to this name, although they are disputed and hard to come by.

Fun fact: (1) In some myths, Lilith is a blood-thirsty demon, which has been a great inspiration for vampire story authors in need of a name. (2) Lilith can be seen as a powerful feminist symbol: a woman who knew she was equal to Adam and refused to be subservient to him, thus rebelling. In fact, the Lilith Fair, a concert specifically for female musicians, which helped donate to women's charities nation-wide, was created by Sarah McLachlan and had a three year run, with a reboot a few years later.

Popularity: In 2010, Lilith ranked #992 on the Social Security Administration's list of the top 1000 most popular baby names. In 2011 it went up to 923 with 279 births. There were also 82 spelled Lillith.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Today's name: Nina (female)
Alternate spellings: Neena, Neenah, Nena, Nyna
International spellings: Finnish: Niina, Eastern European & Hungarian: Ninacska, French: Ninon, Spanish: Nenah, Neenah, Ninah

Potential nicknames: Nana, Ni, Nine, Nin, Ni-Ni, Ina, Ninoshka

Pronunciation: NEE-nah (and occassionally NYNE-ah)

Origin: (1) Spanish, meaning "little girl." (2) Hebrew, meaning "great grand-daughter." (3) A Russian and Polish nickname for Anne and Antonia, or names ending in -nina. (4) Swahili, meaning "mother." (5) Hindi use suggests the meaning "beautiful eyes." (6) A Babylonian goddess of the seas. (7) An Incan goddess of fire.

Fun Fact: (1) The Nina was one of Christopher Columbus's three ships. (2) Nina is very multi-ethnic - you will find that many countries use this name equally.

Popularity: There were 994 baby girls named Nina in 2010 in the U.S., ranking at #318, moving up to #304 in 2011.

Male version: Nino, meaning "God is gracious," which can be a pet form of John and names ending in -nino, typically used in Italian and Spanish.


Sebastian & Sebastiana

Today's name: Sebastian (male)
Alternate spelling: Sebastien

Potential nicknames: Bastian, Seb, Bas, Seba, Shea, Baz, Sebas, Sebasti, Sebi, Basi, Base, Asti, Ian, Bash

Pronunciation: seh-BASS(t)-chen

Origin: (1) Greek, meaning "revered." (2) Latin derivation of Sebastianus, from the Greek word "sebastos," meaning venerable. (3) Latin variant of Sebastianus, meaning "from Sebastia" or "man from Sebaste." Sebastos was the Greek translation of the Roman Emperor title Augustus.

Popularity: There were 6,323 baby boys named Sebastian in 2010 in the U.S., ranking at #68, which is still the same ranking for 2011. There were also 6 baby girls named Sebastian as well.

Fun fact: (1) St. Sebastian is the Patron Saint of soldiers. (2) Some of you might remember Sebastian the crab, from "The Little Mermaid," whose full name was Horatio Thelonius Ignacius Crustaceous Sebastian. (3) La Sebastiana is the name of one of poet Pablo Neruda's residences in Chili. (4) There is a main belt asteroid called 1482 Sebastiana. (5) King Sebastian ruled Portugal between 1554 and 1578. (6) Composer Johann Bach's middle name. (7) Shakespeare used this name twice, for his plays Twelfth Night and The Tempest. (8) Oscar Wilde used the name Sebastian Melmoth as an alias when he was released from prison. (9) John Sebastian was a musician whose band, The Lovin' Spoonful, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000. (10) Sebastian Cabot was a Venetian explorer born in 1474.

Female version: Sebastiana, an Italian and Spanish variant, with only 8 U.S. births in 2010 and 5 in 2011. There is also Sebastienne, the French variant, which is unheard of in the U.S. Neither has ever ranked in the 1000. Other versions that have rarely been used are Sebastianella and Bastiana.


Monday, August 22, 2011


Today's name: Ginevra

Potential nicknames: Gin, Ginny, Ever, Eve, Eva, Nev, Evra

Pronunciation: jin-EV-ra, juh-NEV-ra

Origin: (1) Welsh, variant of Jennifer, (Jennifer coming from Guinevere,) meaning "smooth" and "fair." Considering Guinevere was a queen, I labeled this name under "Princesses and Queens." (2) Italian, meaning "fair one," possible variant of Jennifer, Genevieve, or Geneva. Sidenote: different books and websites say varying origins, but it is most likely all three.

Popularity: Unbelievably (and you'll see why in my "fun fact" for today) there were only 15 baby girls named Ginevra in 2010 in the U.S., and only 6 in 2011, according to the Social Security Administration's extended list of baby names. Simply unbelievable. The nickname/name Ginny actually beat it out with 21 births.

Fun fact: Ginevra is a character in the Harry Potter series, Ginevra "Ginny" Weasley.