Friday, May 22, 2015

Ignatius

The list of The Very Best I Names for Boys and Girls offered plenty of interesting choices.  This week is the boys turn for a featured name and the options were hard to choose from. In the end, Ignatius was the victor.


The name Ignatius comes from the Roman family name Egnatius. Originally, Egnatius had an unknown meaning from the ancient Etruscan origin. As time went on, the spelling was altered so it would be similar to the Latin word ignis which means "fire". Because of this, the Etruscan Egnatius became the Latin Ignatius and inherited itself a meaning.

There were several saints named Ignatius. The most well-known St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) was the founder of the Jesuits. Interestingly, his birth name was Íñigo which is sometimes regarded as a form of Ignatius, but it is probably just because of its association with this saint.  (Inigo was also one of our featured I names that I nearly chose. It is Spanish but comes from the name Eneko which is derived from Basque elements. It doesn't seem to actually relate to Ignatius.) Inigo is a great alternative, though, if you like Ignatius but think it is a bit too big of a name for your tastes.

Now that Ignatius means fire, it is certainly a red-hot choice for bold namers. It has several variants in other languages including the Spanish Ignacio, the Italian Ignazio, the German Ignatz, the Portuguese Inácio, the Dutch Ignaas, the Russian Ignatiy and more.  Iggy, Nate or Natius (nay-shus) seem to be popular nicknames for Ignatius while the Spanish Ignacios can sometimes be called Nacio or Nacho for short.  There's also Ignacia for a girl who could potentially go by Nancy.

How does this international name rank in the US? Ignatius has been steadily in use since 1885.  It had the most usage in terms of births per year in 1920 when the name was given to 97 boys. It declined in usage after that, not even ranking in 1980 at all.

However, Ignatius is slowly climbing back up the charts, possibly receiving a tiny revival along with other more popular Latin -us names like Atticus or Maximus. Ignatius was given to 40 boys in 2014 for a ranking of #2896. So it isn't in the Top 1000 names but it is being used. It would be a unique choice for a modern boy!

What do you think of this name? Do you like Ignatius or one of the variants better?  If you're considering this name, here are some ideas for siblings and middle names:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Aurelia, Clementina, Juliana, Olympia, Serena, Sybil, Valentina
Brothers: Augustus, Casimir, Dominic, Florian, Octavian, Roman, Virgil

Middle Name Ideas:
Ignatius Benedict
Ignatius Joseph
Ignatius Matthew
Ignatius Vincent

As a Middle Name:
Arlo Ignatius
Henry Ignatius
Jonathan Ignatius
Robert Ignatius

This name is a bit difficult to pair up but it seems to work best as a middle name with a 2 syllable more-traditional first name. Henry Ignatius and Robert Ignatius are my favorites. However I couldn't resist going with Ignatius Benedict despite how very saint/pope it is. What would you pair Ignatius with?  Share your thoughts below!
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