Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cecilia (Cecelia)

Today's name: Cecelia, Cecilia

Pronunciation: seh-SEEL-ya

Potential nicknames: Cece, Cici, Ceil, Celia, Cellie, Cilla, Lia, Cecily, Cicely, Cissy
Variant forms: Ceceilia, Cecely, Cecila, Cecile, Cecilea, Cecilija, Cecilla, Cecille, Cecillia, Cecily, Cicely, Ceila, Ceilena, Ceilia, Cela, Celia, Celie, Cellie, Cescelie, Cescily, Cicelie, Cici, Cicilia, Cicilie, Cicily, Cilka, Cilia, Cilla, Sasilia, Sacilia, Seselia, Seely, Selia, Sesilia, Sessaley, Silke, Sisely, Sissela, Silja, and Zelia. Sheila is related.

Origin: (1) Old Welsh, meaning "sixth," from the name Seissylt. (2) Latin, meaning "blind," from the Latin name Caecilia, the feminine form of Caecilius, also a Roman clan name. The modern male form of this name is Cecil. The Latin version of Cecilia started being used in the 18th century. If you don't like the "blind" meaning, stick with the Old Welsh meaning. (3) When the Normans brought this name to the Christians of England in the Middle Ages, the name became Cecily.

Popularity: Cecilia ranked in at #277 in 2010 with 1,186 births. There were also 373 baby girls named Cecelia, 96 Cecily, 15 Cecillia, 8 Cicily, 20 Cicely, 7 Cicilia and 7 Cece. (Cecilia's ranking has stayed about the same for a decade.)

Fun fact: (1) The blind Saint Cecilia from the 2nd or 3rd century was a virgin martyr known for being the patron saint of music. (2) Without knowing it, this is my 3rd post (Saoirse, Bryony) having to do with the movie Atonement. Cecelia Tallis was one of the characters. (3) Cecilia Jupe from Charles Dickens' Hard Times. (4) Cecilia Lisbon from The Virgin Suicides. (5) A character in The Hunger Games. (6) Opera star Cecilia Bartoli. (7) Cecily Parsley, a rabbit character from a Beatrix Potter story.



Today's name: Fifer (unisex, and a great alternative to Piper)

Pronunciation: FYF-ur

Potential nicknames: Fife (Fifi for a girl)

Origin: (1) Scottish surname meaning "resident of Fife." Fife is a former county of Scotland and current council area. (2) A fife is a small musical instrument, therefore the meaning can be "one who plays the fife." (3) The anglicized spelling of the German surname Pfiefer, originating in medieval Austris which was home to Celtics.

Popularity: There were no baby boys or baby girls named Fifer in 2010 or 2011 in the U.S.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Today's name: Saoirse

Pronunciation: SEER-sha, sometimes SAYR-sha, and more rarely SIR-sha

Potential nicknames: Sersh, Search, Sea, Isa, Shay, Shy

Origin: Modern Irish Gaelic, meaning "freedom." It has only been used since the last century, specifically the 1920s, and is strongly patriotic due to the fact that it is a word-name, equivalent of Liberty or Freedom in the U.S.

Popularity: Saoirse is very popular in Ireland, ranking in at #25 in 2009. There were 71 baby girls named Saoirse in 2010 in the U.S. In 2011 it rose to 101 births for girls.

Fun fact: (1) Saoirse is the name of an Irish Republican newspaper, and it is considered a patriotic, Nationalist/Catholic Nationalist, Republican baby name. It refers to Ireland being completely free, not a part of the UK. (2) Saoirse Ronan, famous Irish actress who played  in the movie Atonement.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today's name: Indio

Pronunciation: IN-dee-oh

Potential nicknames: Indy, Dio

Origin: Modern, American, debatable origin. It could be the masculine version of the girl's name India, referencing the country India, or it could be a reference to Native Americans (Indians), or it could be a place-name, after Indio, California, where Coachella is held.

Popularity: There were only 9 baby boys named Indio in 2010 in the U.S. Going by just the nickname, there were 12 baby boys named Indy and 8 named Indie. In 2011 there were 8 boys named Indie and 16  Indy, while it seems there were no boys named Indio.

Fun fact: (1) The son of Robert Downey Jr. and Deborah Falconer. It was used by model Jolie Kidd for her son. (2) For many Mexicans, the word indio is an insult, roughly translating to "inferior," refering to a poor person. That doesn't mean you can't use it in countries other than Mexico. There are many other baby names with undesirable meanings used in countries where those meanings do not apply. In fact, most people do not even know which names have undesirable meanings in other countries.

Possible female version: India


Monday, September 26, 2011


Today's name: Vittoria

Pronunciation: vih-TOR-ee-ah, vee-TOR-ee-ah

Potential nicknames: Vita, Toria, Tori, Ria, Rita

Variant of: Victoria (Latin)

Origin: Italian variant of Victoria, meaning "conqueror," "victorious," and "victory."

Popularity: There were 56 baby girls named Vittoria in 2010 in the U.S., along with 18 spelled Vitoria. In 2011 there were 37 girls named Vittoria and no Vitoria.

Fun facts: (1) Nike was the goddess of victory. (2) Queen Victoria gave her name to the 19th century, the Victorian Age, and was the reason behind many babies named Victoria, but not so much until the 20th century. (3) The Puritans simply used Victory as a name. (4) Vittoria Colonna was an Italian poetess and noblewoman. (5) Santa Vittoria (Saint Vittoria) is a wine from Italy, named for the actual Saint Victoria. (6) According to legend, Victoria and her sister Anatolia were arranged to be married to prominent non-Christian men, but they refused, and so their grooms outed them as Christians. The authority gave these suitors permission to imprison the sisters and do what they could to make them renounce their faith. In the end, neither suitor was successful, and the sisters were given to the authorities. It is unclear who killed the sisters, but one would-be murderer was converted to Christianity when the snake that was supposed to kill/bite Anatolia refused to bite her and bit him instead. This man's name was Audax, and he had a change of heart when Anatolia saved him. They are now Saints Anatolia and Victoria.

Male version: Vittorio (and Victor)


Saturday, September 24, 2011


Today's name: Aramis (male)

Pronunciation: AIR-uh-miss

Potential nicknames: Air, Ara, Aram, Ram, Ramis, Ramy, Amis

Origin: This name comes from one of the characters from Alexandre Dumas's "The Three Musketeers." He was one of three famous swordsmen in this story, the other two being Athos and Porthos. They are joined by D'Artagnan. You may recognize their motto, "all for one, one for all." The fictional Aramis is loosely based on a real man named Henri D'Aramitz, a black musketeer of the Maison du Roi (The Musketeers of the Guard), who lived in France in the 17th century.

Popularity: There were 52 baby boys named Aramis in 2010 in the U.S., and 37 in 2011.

Fun fact: Aramis is now a men's cologne, but I can't say that it is very well known.


Eulalia & Eulalie (& Euphemia)

Today's name: Eulalia & Eulalie (Eulalie is the variant of Eulalia)
Alternate spellings: Eulalee, Eulaylee, Eulaylie, Eulaylia, Olalla

Pronunciation: Eulalia: yu-LAH-lee-ah or yu-LAY-lee-ah; Eulalie: yu-LAH-lee or yu-LAY-lee

Potential nicknames: Eula, Eulala, Eulie, Eulia, Lala, Lalie, Lalia, Lia, Lila, Leila, Laia, Lily, Lalita, Allie, Ellie

Origin: Old Greek, meaning "well-spoken," although you can say "eloquent" or "articulate" as well. The "well spoken" meaning of this name comes from the Greek eu (well) lalein (speak), translating to "articulate." The Greek baby name Euphemia (pronounced yu-FEE-mee-uh) also means "well-spoken." Euphemia's most popular nickname is Effie.

Popularity: Surprisingly, there were only 40 baby girls named Eulalia in 2010 in the U.S., and no baby girls born named Eulalie, even though these names are gaining in interest on baby name websites. In 2011 I predicted a slight rise in the amount of births for this name, but it turns out there were only 25 baby girls named Eulalia in 2011, no Eulalie, and 5 Euphemia.

Fun fact: Eulalia was the name of a 4th century virgin martyr Spanish saint, known as the patron saint of Barcelona. Her feast day is February 12, although it is August 22 in the Orthodox Church. After reading about what had been done to this little girl (she was only 12) I think this would be a beautiful way to honor a child who died for her beliefs. If you were to do a little research on Eulalia the saint, you would find out it was said that a dove flew from her body as she died. A middle name meaning "dove" might be perfect. There was also a Saint Eulalia of Merida, Spain, whose story is very similar.

Eulalie is also a poem by Edgar Allen Poe.

Fun link: Check this out for the names of Eulalia's and Eulalie's born in 1911 in England and Wales


Friday, September 23, 2011


Today's name: Rowan (unisex)

Visit for the story of the Rowan Tree Fairy

Pronunciation: ROW-an

Potential nicknames: Rowe, Rowy, Roan

Variants: Rowen

Origin: (1) Gaelic, meaning "little red-head." (2) A flowering tree with red berries, also known as the Mountain Ash and Lady of the Mountain, thus the name means "red berry tree." (3) Rowan was a surname in Scotland after the 1500s, and as some surnames do, it turned into a given name around the 1900s.

Popularity: Rowan's popularity in the U.S. in 2011 was #309 for boys and #535 for girls. In 2010 it was #327 for boys and #493 for girls. There were 947 baby boys born in 2010 named Rowan, and 197 Rowen's. There were even 8 spelled Rowin, and 20 spelled Rowyn. For girls, there were 606 Rowan's, 60 Rowen's, and 50 Rowyn's. This name is generally considered unisex, because the numbers of boys and girls given this name are never too far apart. Also, its last ranking in Scotland was #190 for boys and #143 for girls.

Fun facts: (1) In European lore, the Rowan tree is believed to be a tree with magical properties that protects people. In the British Isles people make charms out of it for protection and good luck. (2) Rowan Mayfair was a lead female character in Anne Rice's Mayfair Witch novels. More recently it has been used for a female character, Rowan Redfern, in an L. J. Smith novel series. (3) Rowan was the name of a 6th century Irish saint, male. (4) Rowan Oak is the name of William Faulkner's residence, which you can now tour.

Note: Rowena is not the female variant of Rowan.

Visit for all things Rowan, including "The Bonny Rowan," a poem.


Thursday, September 22, 2011


Today's name: Chamomile (feminine, but could work for boys too if you shorten it to Miles, Mo or Cham) Also try the British spelling, Camomile.

Pronunciation: rarely SHAM-oh-meel, more often KAM-oh-meel or KAM-uh-my-ul

Potential nicknames: Cham, Chammie, Chamo, Moe, Momo, Mile, Miles, Milo, Millie

Origin: Chamomile in an English wordname, meaning "chamomile," also meaning "peace" and "spice." Wikipedia says the word chamomile derives, via French and English from a Greek word meaning "earth apple," which is weird and lovely at the same time. Chamomile is a plant that looks just like a daisy. It is widely known as a kind of tea that has a very calming effect, sometimes used as a sleep aid, sometimes used to calm certain organs like the stomach, and sometimes used for anxiety relief.

Popularity: If names like Sage, Clove and Saffron are getting more popular right now, why not consider Chamomile? There were no babies born in 2010 or 2011 in the U.S. named Chamomile, yet most are familiar with the word, and my guess is there hasn't ever been more than, say, 50 births in a year with this name.


Things to Consider When Choosing a Baby Name

I feel like it might be best to write this post while this blog is still quite young, meaning, there's a high probability of this post offending someone. Then again, everyone is offended by everything these days, so I'll just go ahead.

1. Please research the names you like. Don't just say, "Oh, Jemima, that sounds great," without being aware of the cultural associations it has. Don't just say, "I'm going to name my baby Anthony," because, although it's a great name, it's also the 10th most popular name in the U.S. as of 2010. Live in Michigan? It's #23. Live in California? It's #3. And your baby will surely be known as Anthony J. or Tony J. or whatever your last initial is for his entire education, and will undoubtedly know a handful+ more boys with the same name. Don't just say, "I'm going to name her Persephone," without knowing the name means "bringer of destruction" and that she was called a goddess of death. I'm NOT saying you should avoid these names, (and Persephone is a great, great name), or any similar, I'm just saying to be aware of what comes with the name. It's popularity, meaning and cultural associations come with it. If you've made this mistake before, give some friendly advice to someone you know so that they can be well aware of these things.

2. That said, please remember that you are not naming yourself, you are bestowing a name unto a child that has no control over your decision. If you take a traditional name and spell it creatively, your child will likely have to spell it out for everyone they meet, and it's really not worth the trouble just because you think it looks/sounds better. If you take a word name and spell it backwards, they will also have to spell it out for everyone they meet, plus have to explain what it means, and sometimes be secretly laughed at. If you give them a very silly or inappropriate name like Dick, even if it was your beloved Grampa's name, or a very hard-to-wear name that celebrities are so famous for, such as Audio Science, there is a high probability they will be made fun of. And not all kids can learn to own their name, so to speak. Poor little Twinkle (of which there were 6 born in 2010) will be very confident early in life, but is going to feel very awkward later in life, as an adult, with such a silly name. My point is, be respectful of your baby and don't make them want to go through a name change later in life. Poor little Treasure (of which there were 201 born in 2010, along with 7 Tresure and 13 Trezure) might be your little treasure, but she's not going to feel like it if her word-name isn't even spelled right, or if she meets five other little Treasure's in life. I can't stress enough about how important it is to spell word-names right, though. Take Symphony, for example. Some like it, some don't, but everyone will think you're illiterate if you spell it Symphonie, Symphany, Symphani, Symphony, or Symphoni (all of which were actual births in 2010).

3. Names you think are ridiculous may or may not be. Many a blog-writer have frowned upon such names as Harlow Winter Kate and Sparrow James Midnight, the children of Nicole Richie and Joel Madden. However, these names are no longer unusual, at least not in communities where moms and future moms are well-informed about potential names and trends. Your immediate circle may not appreciate these gems, but they're not ridiculous. However, Magic and Majesty pretty much are ridiculous. I would suggest to try to keep it to one rare/trendy name per baby, meaning, don't go overboard with a name like Winter Midnight or Athena Saffron, as magical as they may seem to you. Try Winter Katherine or Katherine Midnight, for example. Also, take advantage of baby name websites with forums and polls, such as Nameberry, Baby Name Genie, and Behind the Name. You can ask for experienced and inexperienced namers alike for advice and have them vote on your polls.

4. Don't name your baby after a fad, trend, product (Nivea, anyone?), celebrity, celebrity baby name, or whatever you happen to like at the time or be watching on TV. Chances are that fad is going to get super popular and stress everyone out (like Aidan), that trend may not be so great to you in a few years, the celebrity might do something really stupid to piss you off, or the character on TV might really disappoint you. There's also the "Harry Potter thing." A lot of blogs talk about this, but the Harry Potter series brought up some fantastic names like Bellatrix and Firenze. However, since there are SO many people that can recognize these names, they're probably going to call you out on it. "Oh, did you name your baby after Bellatrix Lestrange?" It's up to you whether you want the association, and I don't think it is either a good or a bad thing. No, scratch that, I'm going to contradict myself: Harry Potter brought up some wonderful names and you should use them regardless of the association. There, I said it. But don't name your baby Crisangel or Apple.

5. Don't name your baby something you think is unique and special, because a lot of other people think that same name is unique and special. Point: Younique, Unique, Miracle, Precious, Princess, etc. These names are cringe-inducing. (By the way, creative spellings of the name Unique are by far the worst.) On that note, don't blend names together in hopes that it will be creative. Examples: Rayshawn, Marcanthony, Renesmee.

6. I know a ton of people will disagree with this, because everyone loves to get opinions, but try to limit how much information you share with friends and family and online forums. I cannot tell you how often I hear someone complain that their friend used the name they were going to use first, or their family hates all the names they came up with, or the annonymousnamenapping. Don't share your short list with family (and even friends) because the chances of them being critical are very high, unless you're naming the baby after one of them. Friends and family always want to help, but sometimes they get upset if you don't like their suggestions or the names you picked aren't up to their ideal.

7. Really plan out the first, middle, and last names together, so that there aren't any unexpected consequences, like Barbara Wire, James Dean, Virginia Mary, or Will Smith. These can be an easy target for others to make fun of, and other combinations can be redundant, like Scarlett Rose. (Roses are red, scarlett is red, you get the point.) You think it's cute. Others think it's stupid.

8. Try to keep out excess punctuation, like dashes, spaces, and apostrophes. Most legal documents (and the SSA list, by the way) cannot accomodate these extra marks, or can only contain the letters. Some forms are even capital letters only, and a name like AnneMarie (with two capital letters) will not register. And on that note, try to keep in mind your child's potential future career. Certain names are often disregarded when employers look through resumes. Names like Andromeda, Captain, Arian, Mujahamahad (if that's even a real name, I haven't checked), and Star-Shine sometimes don't make the professional world's list of acceptable names, and employers pass over them.


Today's name: Cashel

Pronunciation: CASH-ell, KAH-hal, or CASH-ill

Potential nicknames: Cash, Cass, Cashy, Shel, Shelly, Ash

Origin: Irish, meaning "castle," "fortress," or "stone fort." In Ireland it is often spelled Cashlin or Caislin. It is also the name of a town in Tipperarry, Ireland. The German placename Cassel also means "fortress."

The picture above, from, is a picture of the Rock of Cashel, also known as St. Patrick's Rock and the Cashel of Kings, located in Tipperarry. It is a historic site built between the 12th and 13th centuries, known for being the traditional seat for the Kings of Munster before the Normans invaded. Some believe that this is where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster.

Popularity: Although never breaking into the top 1000, in 2009 there were 21 baby boys named Cashel in the U.S., in 2010 there were only 7, and in 2011 there were 18. There were also 17 baby boys named Castle. In 2011 there were still 18 boys named Cashel, and 17 named Castle.

Fun fact: (1) The name of Daniel Day Lewis's son. (2) A novel called "Cashel Byron's Profession," by George Bernard Shaw. Cashel, the main character, is a prizefighter.

Female version: Though not recognized as a feminine variant of Cashel, both Cashele and Cashelle (both pronounced CASH-elle) have been given to baby girls very rarely. There were none of either born in 2010.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Today's name: Milana

Pronunciation: mil-AHN-ah, mee-LAH-nah

Potential nicknames: Millie, Mila, Lana, Milla, Laney/Lainey, Lani

Origin: (1) Czech and Slavic pet form of female "mil" names, meaning "gracious," or "favored." It is a form of Milena. (2) Italian, meaning "from Milan." (3) Greek, meaning "black." Other Greek names also mean black, such as Melania, Melaina and Melaine, and this name could be a variant of those or a variant of the Greek name Milena, also meaning "black." They are all related. (4) Hawaiian, meaning "beloved," coming from the Gaelic name Muirne. (5) Spanish, meaning "miracle of the blessed virgin and light."

Popularity: 208 baby girls named Milana were born in 2010 in the U.S., which raised to 251 in 2011, ranking at #998, the first time it ever ranked.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Today's name: Linden (unisex, but mainly male)
Linden can also be spelled Lyndon, Lyndan, Lynden, Lindan, Lindon, and Lindyn.

Pronunciation: LIN-den

Potential nicknames: Lin, Denny, Linzie, Linny, Lindy, Linda, Indy

Origin: German and English, meaning "linden tree," and commonly known as a "lime tree," although not the tree of the same name that produces limes. The spelling Lyndon, however, means "linden tree hill," and variants include Lyndale, Lyndall, and Lyndell.

Fun fact: President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Popularity: There were 57 baby boys named Linden in 2010 in the U.S., 5 boys named Lindan, 15 named Lindon, 37 Lyndon, and 106 Lyndon. Alternately, in 2010 as well, there were 54 baby girls named Linden, 36 named Lynden, 6 Lyndin, and 11 named Lyndon. I would say these statistics definitely make Linden a unisex name. In 2011 there were 120 boys named Lyndon, 66 Linden, 26 Lynden, 16 Lindon and 5 Lyndan. For girls, there were 51 named Linden in 2011, 14 Lindyn, 14 Lyndon and 22 Lynden.

"Here a linden tree stood, bright'ning
All adown its silver rind,
For as some trees draw the lightning,
So this tree, unto my mind,
Drew to earth the blessed sunshine
From the sky where it was shrined."
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Monday, September 19, 2011


Today's name: Sapphira
Alternate spellings: Sapphire, Safira, Saffira, Saphira, Safeera

*Sapphire is the birthstone of September*

Pronunciation: sa-FEER-uh (Sapphire is pronounced SAFF-ire)

Potential nicknames: Sapphire, Sapphy, Sappho, Saph, Phira, Fire

Origin: Sapphira, Saphira, and Safira come directly from Sapphire, which is an English word name for the precious gemstone. Sapir, a Hebrew name meaning "sapphire," was typically used as a boy's name. Variants of Sapir include Safir, Saphir, and Saphiros. Sapphira and Safira are used in various languages, but the spelling Safira is an Esperanto baby name for girls, also meaning "sapphire."

Popularity: In 2010, 8 babies were born in the U.S. named Safira, 102 were named Saphira, 23 Saphire, 24 Sapphira, 91 Sapphire, and 7 named Sapphyre. In 2011 there were 12 girls named Safira, 23 Sapphira and 98 Sapphire.

Fun facts: (1) A similar name, Sefira or Sephira, a feminine variant of Zephyr, means "west wind." (2) Sapphira is a Biblical name with an unpleasant story, due to the fact that God actually killed this woman and her husband for lying about money. (The first followers of Christ shared all of their stuff, and it was apparently horrendous that Sapphira and her husband would even dare keep a small amount for themselves.) Unlike other Bible names with bad associations, such as Jezebel, this name can make a comeback solely based on its precious gemstone meaning. (3) Sapphires are commonly known to be a deep blue, however, they come in other colors as well, such as green, pink, purple and orange, and there is the star sapphire to be considered as well. Also, the blue sapphire is widely considered to be Saturn's gemstone. Evidence of this is in the native Persian and Sanskrit words for sapphire, which both mean "precious to Saturn."


Sunday, September 18, 2011


Today's name: Dashiell

Pronunciation: DASH-eel, DA-sheel, da-SHEE-ell, dash-EE-el, DASH-ull

Potential nicknames: Dash, Dashy, Dashing, Shiell, Shield, Ash

Origin: Possibly meaning "page boy," or "young man," Dashiell is an Anglicized surname popularized by the author Samuel Dashiell Hammett (whose pen name was Dashiell Hammett) famous for his detective novels. Dashiell, his middle name, was his mother's surname. The name changed over time from the original old French form, de Chiel, to Da Chiell, to Da Shiell, to Dashiell. It can be traced to James de Chiel from Lyon, France, who emigrated to Scotland around 1600. The de Chiells were French Huguenots, and from Scotland they can be traced as finding their way to Maryland, with many ancestors still using Dashiell as a surname.

Fun fact: This name was chosen by Cate Blanchett, C. Thomas Howell, and Helen Fielding for their sons. Alice Cooper may have been the first celebrity to name his son Dashiell, which was in 1985.

Popularity: 120 baby boys were named Dash in 2010 in the U.S., 145 were named Dashiell,  and 25 were named Dashiel. In 2011 there were 133 boys named Dash, 124 Dashiell, 37 Dashel and 20 Dashiel.

Side note: Dashel seems to be growing more popular. Nicole Sullivan recently used Dashel for her son, and it is a phonetic spelling of Dashiell. If you only prefer one pronunciation it is best to consider how you will spell it. Dashel looks and sounds very similar to the boy's name Cashel.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Felicia & Felicity

Today's name: Felicia (also Felicity, which is a variant)

Pronunciation: fel-EE-sha, occasionally fel-EE-cee-uh

Potential nicknames: Fe (pn. Fay), Fee, Fifi, Fellie, Ellie, Licia, Elle, Lissy, Licie, Lisa, Flicka

Variant forms: Falecia, Falicia, Falisha, Falishia, Felice, Faleece, Feliciana, Felicidad, Felicie, Felicienne, Feliciona, Felicite, Felicity, Felis, Felisa, Felise, Felisha, Feliss, Felita, Feliz, Feliza, Felysse, Filicia, Filisha, Phalicia, Phalisha, Phelicia, Phylicia, Phyllicia, Phyllisha, Felixa

Origin: Latin, meaning "lucky, fortunate, happy." It is derived from the word felicity, which comes from the Latin word felicitas. This is the feminine form of Felix. Felicity simply means "happy." Unlike Felicia, Felicity only has three variant forms: Felicita, Felicitas, and Felicidad.

Popularity: Felicia has not ranked in the top 1000 since 2005, however, 126 baby girls were born with this name in 2010 and Felicity ranked at #764 in 2010 with 335 births. Also born in 2010 were 6 Feliciti, 8 Felice, 6 Felecia, 5 Felicitas, 6 Felisa, 20 Felisha and 5 Feliz. In 2011 there were 422 girls named Felicity, ranking at #666, and 155 girls named Felicia, not ranking. There were also 15 named Felisha, 8 Feliciana, 6 Felicitas and 5 Felecia.

Fun fact: Triple the Princess names! (1) Princess Felicitas Cecilie Alexandrine Helene Dorothea of Prussia was the German princess and great-granddaughter of the last German Emperor, Wilhelm II. Her sister's name was Princess Christa, her mother's name was Dorothea. (2) The daughter of fictional Shrek character Princess Fiona. (3) Princess Felicia Juliana Benedicte Barbara van Lippe Biesterfeld of the Netherlands.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Zander / Xander

Today's name: Zander, Xander

Pronunciation: ZAN-der

Potential nicknames: Zan, Xan, Ander, Anders, Andy

Variant forms: Zan, Zandro, Zandros, Zann, Xan, Xandro, Sandor, Sander, Sandino, Sender, Sandero, Saunder, Sandy, Sandro

Origin: Greek, short form of Alexander that stands alone as its own name, meaning "man's defender."

Popularity: Both Zander and Xander are in the top 300 of the top 1000 U.S. baby names. There were 1,336 baby boys named Xander in 2010 and 1,106 baby boys named Zander. In 2011 Zander was #265 and Xander was #205.

Fun fact: (1) Zander/Xander Harris was a character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (2) Actress January Jones recently chose the name Xander Dane for her son.


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Today's name: Imogen (female)

Pronunciation: EE-mo-jehn, IM-o-jehn
Note: only some of the variants, such as Emogene and Imogene, can be pronounced "eh-muh-jean."

Potential nicknames: Gen, Imo, Genny, Immy, Ginny, Mogie, Enna, Genna

Variants: Emogen, Emogene, Imogene, Imogenia, Imogine, Imojean, Imojeen

Origin: Irish and Gaelic, meaning "maiden." It comes from the Celtic name Innogen, which was derived from "inghean." Shakespeare's character Imogen, in his play "Cymbeline," was intended to be spelled Innogen, the traditional Celtic way. It is possible he saw this spelling used by Raphael Holinshed, an English chronicler who Shakespeare used as a source of information for his plays, but his mistake in spelling it Imogen was successful. Imogen could have been misspelled before Shakespeare by Holinshed or anyone else in a misunderstanding that the name referred to "the last born," in Latin, "imo gens."

Popularity: Although it has never reached top 1000 popularity, in 2010 there were 100 baby girls born in the U.S. named Imogen, and 11 named Imogene. In 2011 there were 13 girls named Imogene and 106 named Imogen.

Fun fact: (1) Imogen was a female character in Sir Walter Scott's novel "The Heart of Midlothian." (2) You may recognize the name from famous singer Imogen Heap.

The last baby name I posted about that meant "maiden" was Cora. Here are even more names that mean "maiden":
Aluma, Azra, Berdine, Berengaria, Bertilde, Chorine, Maida, Mayda, Morwenna, Parthenia, Virginia


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Today's name: Remy
Also spelled with accent on e, pronunced RAY-mee:
Pronunciation: REH-mee, RAY-mee

Potential nicknames: While Remy sounds like a nickname itself, you could shorten it further to Rem, Re or Re-re.

Variants: Remi, Remee, Remie, Remmy, Remmey, Remo, Rhemy

Origin: French, meaning "from Rheims," which is a town in central France. (2) French, meaning "oarsman," from Remigius, a Roman family name. (3) English variant of Remington. (4) Possibly from Remedius, meaning "remedy."

Popularity: In 2010 there were 237 baby boys named Remy in the U.S., ranking at #874, then moving down to #881 in 2011.

Fun fact: Remy could serve as a nickname for longer names such as Remington or Remus. It can also be unisex. (3) Remy has also been used as a girl's name.(4) Saint Remy, from the fifth century, was a French saint.



Today's name: Cora

Pronunciation: KOR-ah

Potential nicknames: Cor, Ora, Ra, Coco, Corey/Corie

Elaborations and variations of this name include Corabel, Corabelle, Corabella, Corabellita, Coralie, Coralee, Coralia, Corabeth, Coralin, Coralyn, Coree, Corie, Corrie, Corey, Correy, Corry, Cory, Corri, Cori, Corella, Corena, Corene, Coretta, Corilla, Corine, Corinna, Corrine, Corisa, Corrisa, Corita, Corlene, Correne, Corrella, Correlle, Correna, Correne, Correnda, Corrinna, Corinne, Corrissa, Corynna, Corynne, Coryssa, Kora, Korabell, Kore, Koreen, Koretta, Korey, Korilla, Korina, Korinne, Korrie, Korry, Koryne, Korynna, Koryssa, and Lacoria.

Origin: (1) Greek, meaning "maiden." It is most likely derived from Kore directly or from Corinna, a variation of Korinna, derived from Kore. Corinna has its own variant forms. (2) Cora, or Kore, is another name for Persephone (3) It is believed that Cora was not used as a given name until James Fenimore Cooper wrote his novel "The Last of the Mohicans," in 1826. It was later used by Langston Hughes in his short story, "Cora Unashamed."

Popularity: In 2010 there were 1,188 baby girls born in the U.S. named Cora, ranking at #276, then it went up to #204 in 2011. It has never been out of the top 1000 since records started being kept in 1880.

Fun fact: (1) Cora can also be used as a nickname for any longer name with "Cora" in it, such as Corazon or Coraline. (2) Cora is not to be confused with the name Coral, which comes from the Latin word "corallium," meaning sea coral. It can now also refer to the color coral.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Today's name: Solomon (male)

Pronunciation: SAUL-uh-mun, SAH-lah-mun, SAH-lo-mon

Variant forms: Solomon, Salomo, Salmon, Salomon, Salomone, Shalmon, Sol, Solaman, Sollie, Soloman, Shlomo, Shalom, Sulayman, Zalman, Selman

Potential nicknames: Sol, Soul, Solo, Solly, Salo, Sonny

Origin: Hebrew, meaning "peace." Solomon is a Biblical name. He was the son of David and Bathsheba and became a king of Israel, known for wisdom, writing, and communication with animals.

Fun fact: The name Salem is related to Solomon, also meaning "peace." It was the name of an ancient city later identified with Jerusalem.

Popularity: In 2010, Solomon ranked at #467 in popularity in the U.S. In 2011 there were 597 boys named Solomon, ranking at #449.

Female version: Salome


Monday, September 12, 2011


Today's name: Elsa

Pronunciation: ELL-sa

Potential nicknames: Elsie, Ells, Ellie, Elle, Ella, Elyse, Sia

Origin: (1) A pet form of Elizabeth turned independent. As such, it is Hebrew, meaning "God is my oath."

Popularity: Elsa has been popular in Sweden - in 2006 it ranked #16. In 2010 it ranked at #484 in the U.S., and in 2011 it was #578.

Fun fact: Elsa was the name of a lioness in the novel Born Free.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Side Note: Name Bullying

When I grew up, kids would figure out a way to bully you using your name, no matter what your name was. Usually the easiest way to accomplish making fun of someone and keeping it playful at the same time was to change the gender of the name, such as Christina to Christopher, and Christopher to Christina. Other names had obvious ways to make fun, such as Dennis the Menace, the Blair Witch, or "Harry" Harry. And then there were (and still are) names that can be a lot harder to have, such as Fanny, or Dick as a nickname for Richard, initials that spell out bad or funny words (T.O.E. or P.E.E.), and names that have negative associations (Chester the Molester, Gaylord, Aunt Jemima, Adolph, Big Bertha, Prudence the Prude), which are all nice in their own right, but awfully easy to make fun of or insult someone with.

I bring this up because when I talk with friends and family about certain names, they are quick to come up with every possible way someone could make fun of whatever name it is we're talking about. My mother's response to my earlier post, Plumeria, was "Plummy the Plumber." But the point of this post is for two reasons. One, be aware of the potential "naughty nicknames" the name you choose for your baby can bring. Two, be aware that this trend of making fun of names is slowly fading. Due to such an increase in unusual and unique baby names in the past decade, maybe even decade and a half, kids these days are getting used to hearing a wide variety of names, with unique spellings, hyphens, apostrophes, and more. There is also quite a bit less judgement on names among young kids these days. For example, many adults are offended by unisex names or gender stealing (ex: using Logan for a girl instead of a boy) and young children will not be aware of such things. Another example is Casper, a beautiful boy's name that most generations automatically read "Casper the Friendly Ghost." Future generations will not know this association, and will judge a little Casper on the playground the same as they will a Mason. This is not to say that making fun of names is disappearing. Some names are always going to be easy targets, and if a child wants to make fun of another child's name, they're going to, just not necessarily the same way we did in the past.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter, or your personal experience or observations.


Today's name: Everett (male)

Pronunciation: ehv-RET, ehv-er-ET

Potential nicknames: Ev, Rett, Ever

Spelling variations: Everitt, Everritt, Everist
Variant forms: Eberhard, Everard, Eberhardt, Everhardt, Averett, Averet, Averrett, Averit, Averitt, Evered, Everet, Evert, Ebert, Evrard, Eward, Ewart, Evreux, Eberado, Evraud

Origin: An old variant of Evered, which came from the Old English Eoforheard, meaning "brave as a wild boar." Derived from an English surname that meant "Everett's son."

Popularity: In 2011, Everett ranked #257, in 2010 it was #287, and it has only been rising from the #585 spot in 2000. This has been a fairly popular name throughout the past several decades. When census records first started being used to record baby names in 1880, Everett made the list. It's highest rank was #81 in 1906.


Saturday, September 10, 2011


Today's name: Plumeria

Pronunciation: plu-MAYR-ee-uh, plu-MARE-ee-ah (essentially the same)

Potential nicknames: Plu, Plum, Mer, Ria, Meri/Mary, Meria, Flower

Origin: Plumeria (originally spelled Plumiera in honor of the 17th century botanist Charles Plumier) is a genus of flowering plants native to such tropical locations as Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. The common name is Frangipani, which comes from a 16th century Italian noble family's marquess, who invented a plumeria-scented perfume. Plumeria is related to the Oleander. Like jasmine, plumeria is most fragrant at night.

Popularity: There were no babies born in 2010 or 2011 with this name, and it remains an extremely rare baby name in general. However, there were 5 girls named Plum in 2011.

Fun fact: (1) In Hawaii, the girl's name Melia (pronunciation: MAY-lee-uh) means plumeria. (2) In parts of Asia, superstition holds that plumeria provides shelter for ghosts and demons. (3) In Polynesia, women wear plumeria to show their relationship status. (4) One variety of plumeria is the national flower of Nicaragua and Laos. (5) You may recognize the incense Nag Champa - this has plumeria in it. Champa is also the word for plumeria in Laos. (6) In Sri Lanka, plumeria is associated with worship and is something worthy of the gods.


Friday, September 9, 2011


Today's name: Riley (unisex)

Pronunciation: RY-lee

Potential nicknames: Although Riley sounds like it is already a nickname, possible nicknames include Ri/Ry, and Lee/Leigh.

Variant forms: Reilly, Reilley, Rilee, Rylee, Ryleigh, Rileigh, Ryley

Origin: (1) An Irish and Gaelic variant of the surname O'Reilly, which came from an Old Irish personal name (Raghallach, of unknown meaning), meaning "courageous." (2) English, meaning "rye clearing." (3) Riley and Reilly are also common surnames. (4) Please research which spelling and gender goes with which meaning.

Popularity: The popularity of this name has skyrocketed. In 2010 this name ranked at #40 for girls and #105 for boys. In 2011 it was the most popular R name for girls at #47 and #111 for boys. The spelling Rylee was #102 for girls, Ryleigh was #193 for girls, Rylie #358 for girls, and Rileigh was just outside the top 1000. For boys, Rylee was the only other spelling that ranked, at #741.



Today's name: Aisling (female)

Pronunciation: ASH-ling

Potential nicknames: Ash, Aishli, Li, Lin

Variant forms: Ashlin, Aislin, Aislinn, Aishlinn, Aishling, Aislyn, Aislynn, Aislynne, Ashling, Ashlynn, Ashlyn, Ashleen, Aishellyn, Aislee, Aisley, Ash, Ashly, Ashleen, Eislinn, Isleen, Islene, and possibly Iselin.

Origin: (1) An Irish Gaelic word name meaning "fantasy," "vision," or "dream." The most common meaning is "dream." This name was not used before the 20th century (when it was first created). This spelling (Aisling) is the anglicized form. (2) It may or may not be related to the name Ashley.

Popularity: There were 43 baby girls given this name in the U.S. in 2010 and 12 in 2011. However, in 2005 it was the 31st most popular girl's name in Ireland.


Thursday, September 8, 2011


Today's name: Dominic (male)

Potential nicknames: Dom, Nic, Domino, Dominy, Nico

Pronunciation: DOM-in-ick

Variant forms: Demenico, Domenico, Demingo, Domenic, Dom, Domenique, Dominique, Domingo, Domini, Dominick, Dominico, Dominie, Dominik, Domino, Dominy

Origin: Latin, from Dominicus, meaning "belonging to a lord," which is from the word dominus, meaning, "lord." Today's meaning is "belonging to the Lord."

Fun fact: (1) Saint Dominic was the founder of the Dominican religious order. (2) Santo Domingo (Saint Dominic) is the capital of the Dominican Republic. (3) This is a name traditionally given to boys born on Sunday, "the Lord's day."

Popularity: In 2010 this name was at the #72 spot on the Social Security Administration's top 1000 baby names, and in 2011 it was #76.

Female forms: Dominique, Domenica, Dominica, Dominga, Dominika


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pomeline & Pomellina

Charlotte Marie Pomeline Casiraghi

Today's name: Pomeline (female)
Alternate spelling: Pommeline, Pomelline, Pomellina, Pomelina, Pommelina

Potential nicknames: Pom, Pomme, Pommie, Polly, Poppy, Mellie, Ellie, Elle, Lina, Meline, Melina, Millie, Apple, Plum, Mila, Mina

Pronounciation: POM-uh-leen, occasionally po-MAY-leen

Origin: 1400s aristocrat Pomellina Campo Fregoso may have influenced the French version of the name, Pomeline. She is the ancestor and inspiration behind Princess Caroline of Monaco's daughter, Charlotte Marie Pomeline (Charlotte Casiraghi). There have been other Pomellina's noted in Genoa from the 1300s into the 1500s. Before this, Pomeline and Pomellina's origins are unclear. The name could come from Saint Poma/Pome who is no longer acknowledged, the Roman goddess of fruit, Pomona, pomella (from certain Italian dialects) meaning apple, the word pomme, which means apple in French, or the Latin word pomum, referring to fruits. The best guess is a mixture of all of these -- the meaning is "fruit," whether an apple, or fruit in general.

Popularity: Pomeline has never reached the top 1000 on the Social Security Administration's popularity chart, although it has been given to baby girls very rarely, and no baby girls were named Pomeline or Pomellina in 2010 or 2011. It has been used sparingly in France.

Fun fact: September and October are all things apple -- apple picking, apple cider, candy apples, etc., so why not use this seasonal name?


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Today's name: Arsenio (male)

Potential nicknames: Ars, Arsen, Sen, Senio, Nio

Pronunciation: ar-SEN-ee-oh, ar-SEE-nee-oh

Variant forms: Arcenio, Arcinio, Arsanio, Arseenio, Arseinio, Arsemio, Arsen, Arsene, Arseni, Arsenios, Arsenius, Arseno, Arsenyo, Arsinio, Arsino, Arseny, Arseniusz, Eresenio, and Senio.

Origin: Spanish and Greek, meaning "masculine," or "virile."

Fun fact: (1) The 4th century Saint Arsenius the Great tutored the sons of Roman emperor Theodosius. He is called one of the "Desert Fathers of Christianity" famous for saying "I have often been sorry for having spoken, but never for having held my tongue." His feast day is May 8th. (2) Actor Arsenio Hall.

Popularity: This name last charted in 1990 at the #742 spot. In 2010 there were only 15 baby boys named Arsenio, 23 named Arsen, and 7 Arseniy. In 2011 there were 17.

Female version: Arsenia



Today's name: Saskia (female)

Potential nicknames: Sas, Sass, Sassy, Kia, Ski, Skia, Sasa, Saski, Saska, Sax

Pronunciation: SAHS-kee-ah (SAS-kee-uh)

Origin: Danish and Old German, meaning "Saxon," "Saxon woman," or "the Saxon people," coming from the word sachs. (2) Possibly of Slavic origin, related to Sasha, a short form of Alexandra that can stand on its own.

Fun fact: (1) There is currently a Princess Saskia of Hanover. (2) Saskia was the wife of Rembrandt, the famous 17th century Dutch painter, and use of her name in the Netherlands can be traced back to her.

Popularity: Saskia has been very popular in the UK for ages, and has become popular in Australia, but in 2010 there were only 19 American babies given this name, according the the Social Security Administration. In 2011 there were only 16.


Friday, September 2, 2011


Today's name: Leander (male)

Potential nicknames: Lee, Andy, Ander, Leo, Leader

Variant forms: Ander, Leandre, Leandrew, Leandro, Leandros, Leanther, Lee, Leiandros, Leo, Liander, and Liandro.

Pronunciation: lee-AN-der

Origin: Derived from the Greek Leiandros, meaning "lion man."

Popularity: There were 55 baby boys named Leander in 2010 in the U.S., along with 51 Leandre's, 10 Leandrew's, and 262 Leandro's. In 2011 there were 48 boys named Leander, along with various other spellings: 34 Leandre, 27 Leondre, 5 Leeandre, and 5 Liandro (Italian). For girls, there were 81 named Leandra in 2011, along with 9 Leandrea, 8 Leandria and 8 Leeandra.

Fun fact: (1) This is a fun alternative to all the Leo's out there, considering the le- beginning in Leander, Leopold, Leo, Leonard, etc. all have the same meaning, "lion." It also feels fresh compared with the ever-popular Alexander. (2) Saint Leander of Seville was an early Spanish saint. (3) In Greek mythology, Leander swam across the Hellespont every night to see his love, Hero. However, one night Leander drowned, so Hero threw herself from her tower so that she would die as well.

Female version: Leandra


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cymbeline & Cymbelina

Today's name: Cymbeline

Gender note: Cymbeline was originally a male name, used a long, long time ago, but it is ripe for female takeover, just like Kimberly and Lindsay have been overtaken by the girls. However, if you don't want to mess around with that, try Cymbelina, the female form.

Alternate spelling: Cymbelline, Cymbaline, Cymballine

Potential nicknames: Cym, Cymbelle, Cymbellie, Bell, Belle, Belline, Bellina, Lina, Cy, Cybil, Ellie

Pronunciation: modern is SIM-bell-een, occassionally KIM-bell-een, the original pronunciation

Origin: (1) Gaelic, from the sun god Belenus, meaning "sun lord." (2) An English and Celtic female form of Cunobelinus, meaning "Lord of Belinus," or just "war lord." This name can also mean "dog of the god Belenus," because the beginning four letters of Cunobelenus mean "hound." (3) Possibly from the Greek word kyme, meaning "hollow vessel," in reference to a cymbal, which is a percussion instrument.

Popularity: U.S. census records show that whenever Cymbeline has been used, it has almost always been for girls. In 2010, Cymbaline/Cymballine, Cymbeline/Cymbelline, and Cymbellina/Cymbelina did not rank at all in the U.S., meaning there were less than five baby girls born in 2010 and 2011 with this name.

Fun fact: (1) There is a book called "Cymbelina and The Cat With No Name." (2) Shakespeare wrote a play called "Cymbeline" in 1609, about King Cunobelinus of Britain. (3) There is a wedding dress company named Cymbeline USA.