Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Great Greek Names for Modern Boys

Greek names are fascinating, however, many of them are too wrapped up in archaic spellings to be considered usable today. But over the centuries, some of those names developed diminutives or were passed through a process of modernization to make them easier on our ears today. 

Here are some of the most usable Greek boy names around! Which do you enjoy most?


Alexander
Andrew
Apollo
Atlas
Calix
Christopher
Damian
Demetrius
Erasmus
Evander
Flavian
George
Gregory
Hector
Isidore
Jason
Jericho
Leander
Leonidas
Lucas
Lysander
Maximos
Memphis
Nicholas
Odysseus
Orion
Peter
Phillip
Phoenix
Sebastian
Stephen
Thaddeus
Theodore
Theon
Thomas
Timothy
Titus
Troy
Xander
Zacchaeus
Zander
Zephyr

Are there any other traditionally Greek names that you could consider using on a modern boy?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What Will May's Names of the Month Be? You Decide!


Thank you for voting! If you'd like to submit your own favorite name combinations to be used in future Names of the Month polls, go to this page and enter them!  

Check FacebookTwitter or Instagram on May 1st to see which names won.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Barely Used Girl Names: Alba, Darlene & Tallulah [Part Seven]

Congratulations on the little girl you're expecting in the near to distant future!  I couldn't be happier for you!  Not pregnant? No problem.

If you're looking for an unusual name for a book character, pet, or simulated video game character, I'm happy that you've also stumbled across this page.

Below are ten interesting names that have either had their heyday in your grandparents era, or have never quite taken off.  Either way, these names deserve consideration if you're into the uncommon. Go on, browse a bit, then be sure to check out the other six parts of this series for even more ideas!

Damaris (161 births - #1,428) Damaris was a woman in the New Testament who was converted to Christianity by Saint Paul. It is a Greek name from the word δαμαλις (damalis) which possibly means "calf, heifer, girl". The meaning is a little unusual but the biblical association makes up for it. Damaris has been used for girls in the US since 1916. It also gained minimal usage for boys in 1969. The year with the most female births was 2006, which ranked it at #604 for the year. However, it dropped out of the Top 1000 in 2012. Will it regain some usage in the future? Middle Name Ideas: Damaris Magdalene, Damaris Lily, Damaris Elaine, Damaris Sophia, Damaris June, Damaris Ruth, Damaris Lucille

Azul (160 births - #1,430) Pronounced ah-zhool, Azul is the Spanish word for "blue". This name should gain some popularity for being a triple threat. It's a color, it contains the cool letter Z, and it has that Spanish flair.  It's only been around since 1995 in the US. Interestingly, this name spiked in popularity for 4 years (2007-2010) before dropping off the chart again. Could you see it making a splash in the future? Middle Name Ideas: Azul Gabriella, Azul Rosalinda, Azul Carina, Azul Miranda, Azul Selena, Azul Olivia, Azul Victoria

Gretchen (160 births - #1,431) Gretchen is the German diminutive of Margareta, which of course is a form of Margaret, which comes from the Latin Margarita and the Greek margarites meaning "pearl." Gretchen has been in use in the US since 1882 and had the most births per year in 1971. It was almost always in the Top 1000 until it dropped off the chart in 2010. Has Gretchen's time run out, or could it ever be well-used again in the future?  Middle Name Ideas: Gretchen Adelaide, Gretchen Elise, Gretchen Rosalie, Gretchen Amelia, Gretchen Charlotte, Gretchen Louise, Gretchen Matilda

Ida (159 births - #1,439)  The name Ida comes from the Germanic element id, which refers to "work" or "labor". It was common in England after the Normans introduced it, but it greatly lost usage in the Middle Ages. It made a strong comeback in the 19th century after being used as the name of a heroine in a poem in 1847 by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Births-per-year peaked in 1918 for Ida in the US, but then usage declined until the name left the Top 1000 in 1987. Middle Name Ideas: Ida Genevieve, Ida Lorraine, Ida Delaney, Ida Julianne, Ida Charlotte, Ida Grace, Ida Madeline

Darlene (158 births - #1,443) Exactly as you might guess, Darlene comes from the English word darling, but the suffix -lene was substituted to make it more acceptable as a name. This name first appeared in the birth record in 1896 in the US for girls. It was even briefly applied to males from 1927-1976 and 7 births as recent as 1989. However, this name is better suited for females as evidenced by its peak in popularity in 1958 with over 8200 births for the year. Shortly thereafter, the name began a decline in usage that has yet to turn around. The name left the Top 1000 in 2003. Could you picture modern Darlenes?  Middle Name Ideas: Darlene Marianne, Darlene Elizabeth, Darlene Claire, Darlene Olivia, Darlene Rebecca, Darlene Johanna, Darlene Margot

Saoirse (158 births - #1,450) Pronounced SEER-sha, this beautiful Irish Gaelic name means "Freedom". It has ranked as high as #18 in Ireland in recent years, and #88 in Northern Ireland. However, its pronunciation has been deemed too difficult for many Americans, that is, until the name finally gained usage in 1993. With such a large percentage of the population hailing from Irish ancestors, like myself, I'd love to see more pure Irish names being used. Saoirse has never been in the Top 1000, but she is definitely gaining usage year-over-year. The name's familiarity is growing thanks to actress Saoirse Ronan's fame.  Middle Name Ideas: Saoirse Caroline, Saoirse Margaret, Saoirse Aoibheann, Saoirse Emily, Saoirse Lily, Saoirse Niamh, Saoirse Maeve

Alba (157 births - #1,452) Alba is actually two different names with different origins. One Alba comes from the male name Albus, an Ancient Roman name meaning "white" or "bright" in Latin.  The Second Alba is Germanic and is derived from the element alf meaning "elf". Lastly, Alba is also a word meaning "sunrise" or "dawn" in Italian, Spanish and Catalan. These two different names and a word have been confused over time. Whichever Alba you prefer, it has been in use overall in the US since the 1880s. It briefly ranked in the Top 1000 at the beginning of the century through to 1923, but it has mostly been very rare ever since. Middle Name Ideas: Alba Carolina, Alba Gloriana, Alba Juliana, Alba Violet, Alba Magdalene, Alba Raquel, Alba Maren

Tallulah (157 births - #1,457) Tallulah is a Native American name that is typically said to mean "leaping waters" in the Choctaw language but some argue that it actually means "town" in the Creek language . Perhaps both of them are accurate. This name is pronounced tə-LOO-lə. There's also an Irish Talulla which is a different name with its own meaning. This name appeared on the US birth record back in 1917, but it was very seldom used over the years, including none at all between 1957 and 1978.  By 1995 though, Tallulah picked up steam and is inching toward the Top 1000. Will she make it? Middle Name Ideas: Tallulah Belle, Tallulah Jane, Tallulah Noelle, Tallulah Scarlett, Tallulah Vivienne, Tallulah Nayeli, Tallulah Itzel

Essence (156 births - #1,460) This name is relative to the word essence, which is derived from the Latin esse meaning "to be". It also refers to an odor or scent, or it could mean a "fundamental quality".  This word name is a guilty pleasure for me. I find it delightful as an unexpected middle name. It had not been used at all in the US, though, until 1973. It moved fast enough to earn a spot in the Top 1000 by 1991 and it continued climbing as high as #490 in 1995. It faded downward again after that, leaving the chart by 2009, but it is a name that I'd like to see used more often.  Middle Name Ideas:  Essence Aurora, Essence Briar, Essence Josephine, Essence Penelope, Essence Lavinia, Essence Juliet, Essence Kate

Winifred (156 births - #1,467) From the Welsh name Gwenfrewi, Winifred is derived from the elements gwen meaning "white, fair, blessed", and frewi meaning "reconciliation, peace". Winifred has been in use for American girls since the 1880s but it was also occasionally given to boys from the early 1900s through the 1970s. For girls, Winifred's biggest year was 1918 when 1,593 girls were named. It declined thereafter, leaving the Top 1000 in 1965. However, the last few years have shown an increase in usage of the name. Is it vintage enough to make a comeback though? Middle Name Ideas:  Winifred Margaret, Winifred Louise, Winifred Adele, Winifred Alice, Winifred Grace, Winifred Sophia, Winifred Esme

What do you think of these ten, barely-used names for girls? Which do you think stand the best chance of revival? Which should stay uncommon? Share your thoughts in the comments or on social media! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Barely Used Boy Names: Cordell, Tobin & Zephyr [Part Seven]

Ahhh! Part Seven! Here we are! The series just keeps chugging along with another 10 boy names to choose from! These barely-used names do not rank within 2015's Top 1000 chart.

Take a look at the names on this list, pick your favorite(s) and pair them with a great middle name in the comment section below!

Cordell (129 births - #1342) Cordell is an interesting surname name taken from Middle English usage referring to the maker or seller of cord. Cordell actually first appeared in 1903 for females, and 1904 for males. However, over the years, it gained more traction for boys, despite being given to a handful of girls here and there until 1937. For boys, Cordell has ranked on and off in the Top 1000, doing the best in the late 1990s.  Now it has fallen off the charts again but still earns a decent amount of births per year. Is this a name that you'd consider? Middle Name Ideas:  Cordell William, Cordell Elijah, Cordell Frost, Cordell Thomas, Cordell Ryan, Cordell Sebastian, Cordell Peregrine.

Jael (128 births - #1350)  Jael comes from the Hebrew name יָעֵל (Ya'el) which means "mountain goat". This was an Old Testament name used on a woman, the wife of Heber the Kenite. It's interesting that people have decided to use it for a boy. It was first used for girls back in 1957, and for boys in 1979. Over the years, it has actually been very evenly unisex with nearly the same amount of births for the year for each gender. In 2015, there were 150 girls named Jael and 128 boys. Middle Name Ideas: Jael Carter, Jael Matthew, Jael Benjamin, Jael Nathan, Jael Alexander, Jael Isaiah, Jael Tobias.

Creed (127 births - #1357)  Creed is an English word that refers to a set of religious beliefs, or any set of principals that must be followed.  It comes from the Latin credo meaning "I believe" or credere meaning "to believe". This name would most likely be used by parents who have strong spiritual beliefs, but it isn't off limits to those without faith. This has always been solely given to boys, dating back to 1880, but it wasn't regularly used yearly until the 1910s. It is more popular today than it has ever been, and yet it has not cracked into the Top 1000. Middle Name Ideas: Creed Jackson, Creed Oliver, Creed Michael, Creed Lucas, Creed Finnegan, Creed Anthony, Creed Gabriel.

Eleazar (127 births - #1359)  This comes from the Hebrew אֶלְעָזָר ('El'azar) which means "my God has helped" and was the name of one of the sons of Aaron in the Old Testament. Related names include Elazar, Lázár, Lazare, Lazzaro and Lázaro and of course, Lazarus.  Eleazar is a masculine name, (despite 7 female births appearing in 1993), and it has been in use in the US since 1919 on record. While it has never been popular or on the Top 1000 chart, it has had some solid usage over the years.  Could it ever catch on like other popular biblical names? Middle Name Ideas:  Eleazar Dean, Eleazar Lee, Eleazar Matteo, Eleazar Jude, Eleazar Beau, Eleazar Quinn

Tobin (127 births - #1362)  Tobin comes from an English surname that was derived from the male name Tobias. Tobias is the Greek form of Tobiah, a Hebrew form of Toviyyah meaning "YAHWEH is good". So, Tobin has been used in the US since 1941 for boys. It ranked as high as #720 in 1971, but fell out of the Top 1000 since then. Usage is on the rise now, but it hasn't quite caught on fully. Could Tobin gain enough popularity in the coming years to land on the Top 1000 chart? Middle Name Ideas: Tobin James, Tobin Andrew, Tobin Peter, Tobin Lysander, Tobin Clark, Tobin Leroy

Laith (126 births - #1369)  Laith is an interesting Arabic name meaning "lion". It is also sometimes used as a surname or romanized as Layth. This name dates way back to a notable Egyptian scholar who lived from 713-791. However, in the US, Laith has only been on record since 1969. It has slowly gained a handful more births year over year since then, but has never cracked the Top 1000. Laith has all the right sounds to potentially be popular, but will it ever get there? Middle Name Ideas: Laith Raphael, Laith Jasper, Laith Dominic, Laith Muhammad, Laith Cassim, Laith David

Zephyr (126 births - #1373) This is a fascinating Greek name from Zephyros meaning "the west wind" of which Zephyros was the god. Interestingly, Zephyr has a longer history as a female name. It was on record between 1905 and 1937 for females before going into name hibernation. It reappeared in 1975 for boys and 1981 for girls.  It was seldom used until most recently in the past decade.  Now it has far more usage on boys. It's rare that a name will turn from pink to blue in the US, but this one is trending that direction, even though it began as a male god name.  Middle Name Ideas: Zephyr Adrian, Zephyr Julian, Zephyr Noah, Zephyr Apollo, Zephyr Orion, Zephyr Leonidas, Zephyr Damian

Nestor (124 births - #1389) Nestor is a Greek name meaning "homecoming". There was a character in Homer's Iliad named Nestor who was known for his wisdom and longevity. The first usage of Nestor in the US was back in 1885. Always a masculine name, it failed to gain momentum until the 1910s, and it wasn't until the 1960s that it joined the Top 1000. It was most popular in 1991 at #587, but dipped back off the chart in 2008. Is this one too unusual for most people or could it gain popularity? Middle Name Ideas: Nestor Jack, Nestor Gabriel, Nestor Matthias, Nestor George, Nestor Timothy, Nestor Demetrius, Nestor Isaiah

Ollie (122 births - #1403) Ollie is a diminutive, or nickname, of the Oliver, Olivia and Olive branch of names. It is also used as a given name on its own. Ollie tends to be more commonly given to girls, especially back around the early 1900s. It ranked in the Top 1000 for girls until 1961. Ollie was used on boys simultaneously since 1880 but usually with fewer births per year. Only now is it trending upward for boys as a faster rate than for girls (122 male births vs 56 female in 2015). Will it break back into the Top 1000 soon? And if so, for which gender is it better suited?  Middle Name Ideas: Ollie Maxwell, Ollie Barnabas, Ollie Christopher, Ollie Marcus, Ollie Foster, Ollie Theodore, Ollie Laurence

Cillian (121 births - #1407) Finally, we have the Irish Cillian, pronounced kil-ee-an. This name was probably taken from the Gaelic ceall meaning "church" and combined with a diminutive suffix which likely makes it "little church". It was originally spelled Ó Cillín in Irish before being Anglicized into Killeen as well as Killian. It could also possibly be the diminutive of ceallach meaning "war, strife". There was a 7th century Irish saint by the name. Here in the US, Killian is more popular (#348 in 2015) because the spelling lends to the pronunciation. Cillian has only been in use since 1995 but it is climbing the charts. Middle Name Ideas: Cillian Ferdinand, Cillian Patrick, Cillian Fox, Cillian Henry, Cillian Archer, Cillian Pierce, Cillian Reid

What do you think of these ten names and what other middle names might pair well? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hidden Gems or Never-Agains?: Unusual Girl Names from the 1910s

We previously explored some of the most unusual boy names from the 1910s. Now it is time to take a look at some interesting names given to females from 1910-1919.

Now, there were so very many names to browse through and I'm sure there are dozens more that could be added to this list, but these are some of the top choices I could find. 

All of these had either 5, 6 or 7 births for the year within the decade of the 1910s. The names came straight from the US Social Security Administration's data.

Let's get started! While some aren't quite as unusual as others, browse slowly and try to imagine what it would be like to live with one of these names:




Albirdia
Allien
Almeter
Alphild
Amparo
Appie
Areather
Arloene
Bannie
Beedie
Bernetha
Binnie
Birchie
Bird
Birdella
Blandina
Bleeker
Blossie
Bonzie
Boots
Borgny
Brooxie
Brownie
Bular
California
Casilda
Cellie
Clatie
Clesta
Clevie
Cliffie
Clister
Clova
Cozy
Creasie
Cumi
Darthula
Delight
Delitha
Dester
Dicksie
Dimples
Domitila
Dotsie
Dymple
Earnie
Edmae
Eduvigen
Equilla
Ercie
Esteller
Eulogia
Euple
Exilda
Ezola
Fairie
Ferol
Fleeta
Folia
Freedom
Fritzi
Gurtha
Gypsy
Happy
Hellon
Henretter
Icel
Inus
Iota
Kansas
Lapriel
Lauretha
Leafie
Leather

Leler
Lockie
Loice
Lubie
Maclovia
Majel
Mayo
Mertice
Methyl
Mimmie
Missouria
Modest
Narcissus
Neppie
Nervie
Nieves
Ninfa
Nobia
Novice
Novis
Occie
Ogie
Okie
Ozite
Pairlee
Panagiota
Panzie
Parthena
Peaches
Peachie
Pebble
Pecolia
Persis
Piedad
Pinkey
Pleasant
Plina
Porfiria
Pricie
Providence
Quessie
Reathel
Rebel
Refugio
Rettie
Rilda
Senora
Shadie
Siller
Simmie
Sirkka
Sissie
Snoda
Spicie
Statia
Stellar
Sueno
Sunbeam
Swannie
Sweetie
Tassie
Tatsue
Tenner
Theckla
Thekla
Theopal
Thetis
Thurza
Thusnelda
Tishie
Toini
Toots
Topsy
Toy
Trannie
Treasie
Trieste
Trilby
Tinnie
Vandora
Vangie
Vanilla
Velvie
Verbal
Vermell
Verneal
Verniece
Verva
Vicy
Viletta
Virgin
Walburga
Wanna
Wavie
Wealthy
Weeda
Welcome
Westonia
Willola
Wilsie
Wincie
Wreatha
Yaeko
Yoshi
Zannie
Zeffie
Zetha
Zolar
Zorka
Zuella
Zylphia

What do you think of this list? Pick a few names that catch your eye and share your choices in the comments below! Do you know anyone with an unusual name?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Have You Heard of These Unusual Boy Names from the 1910s?

Today we are zooming in on the decade of the 1910s to discover some of the most unusual names given to boys at the time.

I analyzed the data from the Social Security Administration and looked at the names at the very bottom for each year from 1910-1919. I pulled interesting names that only had 5-7 births per year, and I did so for each of those years.

Take a look at this list and try to remember that these were once names given to baby boys. Some of the boy names that I found within the far-reaches of the data were straight up words.

Here are some of the most interesting ones:


Admiral
Battle
Bland
Boss
Boots
Carless
Castle
Champion
Chief
Choice
Colon
Coma
Commodore
Concetto
Converse
Doctor
Doll
Dunk
English
Fess
Flake
Fleet
Fort
Friend
Gentle
Glee
Happy
Hooker
Jolly
Math
Method
Normal
Orange
Other
Perfecto
Precious
President
Press
Seaborn
Shade
Smiley
Speed
Square
Swift
Tiny
Tip
Watt
Welcome
White
Worthy

Here are even more unusual names that I handpicked from several hundred options. It was hard to narrow it down and know which to include and which to ignore, but these ones made the cut:

  • Albino
  • Alcide
  • Anibal
  • Argyle
  • Ausby
  • Australia
  • Barksdale
  • Bilbo
  • Bolish
  • Boysie
  • Brack
  • Brainard
  • Broadus
  • Broughton
  • Broward
  • Brownie
  • Brownlow
  • Bubber
  • Bunion
  • Burdette
  • Capus
  • Cataldo
  • Cledith
  • Cleother
  • Clim
  • Cloid
  • Cooley
  • Curlee
  • Deloss
  • Delphis
  • Dolphus
  • Drexel
  • Elree
  • Emo
  • Erdman
  • Erling
  • Ettore
  • Eulis
  • Fermin
  • Flavil
  • Flory

  • Flournoy
  • Garwood
  • Gildo
  • Glade
  • Goldman
  • Irby
  • Haakon
  • Hargis
  • Harless
  • Harm
  • Hartsell
  • Hazen
  • Helge
  • Helmuth
  • Hezzie
  • Hipolito
  • Hjalmer
  • Holsey
  • Hyrum
  • Iwao
  • Kee
  • Kermith
  • Knowlton
  • Landrum
  • Lankford
  • Legrand
  • Ludie
  • Man
  • Mancil
  • Mayo
  • Miner
  • Mont
  • Moultrie
  • Nesbit
  • Oather
  • Offie
  • Ottaway
  • Oval
  • Ovid
  • Ozro
  • Quitman

  • Pervie
  • Pincus
  • Pinkney
  • Pledger
  • Plez
  • Pliny
  • Plummer
  • Printes
  • Procopio
  • Proctor
  • Prosper
  • Purvis 
  • Rice
  • Rolla
  • Sambo
  • Sarkis
  • Sears
  • Selso
  • Sewell
  • Sneed
  • Squire
  • Starling
  • Stelmo
  • Stonewall
  • Stoy
  • Swain
  • Telesphore
  • Temple
  • Thelmon
  • Thurl
  • Trygve
  • Tyrus
  • Vasco
  • Vernice
  • Vestal
  • Volney
  • Waclaw
  • Welch
  • Wick
  • Wingate
  • Zoltan
Would you ever consider any of the names listed above? Have you met someone with one of these names, or something equally unusual?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Molly

This featured name is pulled from the list of names that end with the letters "-ly". This list is one of the longest ones in this series so far. It was full of great options, but I decided to highlight Molly.



Not many people will realize that Molly comes from the name Mary. It developed as a diminutive based on Malle and Molle over time. Polly is in the same boat.

Now, Mary ultimately comes from the Greek Mariam and Maria, which were from the Hebrew Miryam. The meaning of Mary has never been absolutely certain, but meanings such as "sea of bitterness," "rebelliousness," and "wished for child" have been thrown about as possibilities. It's also likely that Mary was originally an Egyptian name derived from mry meaning "beloved". So by association, Molly and all of Mary's other forms, variants and translations, mean the same thing.

In the US, Molly has always fared well as a stand-alone name. Since 1880, it has consistently remained within the top half the Top 1000. Even with all the history, Molly's high-point for most usage in a year came rather recently in 1991 with 4,651 births and a rank of #74. Molly has spent a lot of time in the Top 100 in the past 30 years. However, she's slightly on the decline now as of 2015's data which listed her as the 144th most popular name in the country based on 2,235 births for the year.

This decline in usage could be a result of the drug "ecstasy" being nicknamed molly. Not as many parents are willing to commit to the name, but there's clearly many that still do, whether they are familiar with the association or not. Despite that, there have been many famous Mollys over time and the name is regularly heard throughout pop culture. One of the first associations came from James Joyce's 1920 novel "Ulysses" in which the wife of the main character was called Molly Bloom. 

There's also the American Titanic survivor Margaret Brown who was nicknamed Molly. Additionally, the Irish community have a folk heroine called Molly Malone; and there's a song titled "Good Golly, Miss Molly" by Little Richard. These are just a few references among dozens of other Mollys out there. Do you have a favorite Molly?

What do you think of this name? Is it on your list? If so, here are a few ideas for middle names and sibling names for Molly:

Sibling Name Ideas: 
Sisters: Amelia, Charlotte, Elise, Lucy, Olivia, Sadie, Tessa
Brothers: Arthur, Evan, Henry, Liam, Nathan, Raymond, Warren

Middle Name Ideas:
Molly Abigail
Molly Evelyn
Molly Caroline
Molly Harper
Molly Rae
Molly Vivienne

As a Middle Name:
Alexandra Molly
Christina Molly
Eleanor Molly
Julianne Molly
Sabrina Molly
Viola Molly

What would you pair with the name Molly? Share your thoughts below!

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