Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cool, Slightly Unusual, Somewhat Exotic but Definitely Interesting Boy Names [Part Two]

If you are searching for a less-than-common name for a boy, this list has plenty of interesting and wearable options. We previously explored similar names from A-M.  The list below continues with the letters N-Z.

If you're willing, choose 5 names from this list and pair them with a middle name of your choice to create an interesting sibling set! Post the results in the comment section below.


Nash
The Art of Naming - noble ozias pavel quill revere stark thayer upton valor wolfe xerxes york zenith
Nemo
Nero
Nico
Niles
Noam
Noble
Nova
Nye
Oberon
Odin
Olivander
Orion
Oslo
Otto
Ozias
Pace
Pasqual
Pavel
Pearce
Penn
Peregrine
Philo
Pippin
Ptolemy
Quade
Quarry
Quest
Quill
Quimby
Quixley
Rafael
Ragnar
Rasmus
Remi
Revere
Rocco
Rockwell
Rolf
Rune
Sanders
Sayer
Severin
Skandar
Slater
Soren
Stark
Stellan
Sutton
Tate
Tavish
Teague
Thanos
Thayer
Theoden
Thorsten
Tobias
Tomas
Tyrion
Ulrich
Ulysses
Upton
Urban
Usher
Uziah
Valentin
Valor
Vance
Viggo
Vulcan
Ward
Weston
Whittier
Wilder
Wim
Wolfe
Wray
Xanthus
Xerxes
Yale
Yannick
Yardley
York
Zaid
Zaffre
Zebulon
Zen
Zenith
Zeppelin
Zoltan

Which of these names stands out to you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And don't forget to check out Part One by clicking to the previous page.

unusual interesting cool boy names from the art of naming

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cool, Slightly Unusual, Somewhat Exotic but Definitely Interesting Boy Names [Part One]

If you're looking for a name for a boy but you want something more unusual than most, try these for inspiration. Here you'll find 90 interesting names that are a bit outside the typical set of popular choices you hear everywhere today.
The Art of Naming - adler bram cyril dorian elian fox gunnar henning ivo jem kasimir leif merrill

Adler
Alvar
Andre
Aramis
Arlo
Armin
Arno
Auden
Augustin
Axel
Basil
Bastian
Benedict
Benno
Bram
Brom
Bruno
Calix
Casper
Caspian
Cato
Conrad
Constantine
Corin
Cosimo
Cyan
Cyril
Dante
Dashiell
Diederick
Dominic
Dorian
Eamon
Edwin
Elian
Emery
Emmerich
Evander
Fabian
Felix
Fergus
Fletcher
Fox
Fritz
Gael
Gregor
Gunnar
Guthrie
Havel
Hawthorn
Henning
Hugo
Indigo
Isidor
Ivo
Iwan
Jarlath
Jasper
Jaziel
Jem
Jericho
Johan
Jupiter
Justice
Kai
Kasimir
Keane
Kennon
Kit
Knute
Kylo
Laird
Larkin
Leif
Lemuel
Leopold
Levin
Loic
Luca
Ludwig
Lysander
Marco
Marius
Matteo
Maxim
Mccoy
Merrill
Milan
Murray

Which of these names catch your eye? Choose five and give them interesting middle names of your choice. Click below for the names N-Z!

Friday, May 19, 2017

A History of "Sound" in the Naming Process

The Art of Naming explores the top popular names of 2016 and compares them to 1920 to analyze their sounds and letters
The very first thing that all name-searching parents do when they find a name is say it. Whether it is in their mind or out loud, pronouncing the name always comes first. How does the name sound when you say it? Do you like the sound of the name? Does it easily roll off the tongue or are there pronunciation issues that could cause the child problems in life? 

Many of these questions are answered subconsciously as we say and hear the name. And of course, this is going to vary greatly per person. What sounds like a lovely name to one person may not be attractive at all to another. But the question is, are there specific sounds in a name that are more mass-appealing than others? Do we, as a country, tend to gravitate toward certain sounds within a name? 

Take for instance the top 5 girl names of 2016. They all end in the letter A: Emma, Olivia, Ava, Sophia, and Isabella.  These are all very vowel-heavy names that easily roll off the tongue. Today’s parents are flocking to these feminine, vintage-sounding names for girls even though none of them, besides Emma, has ever had major popularity in the past. If you look at the popularity of these five names, you will see that they have all been in regular usage since the US began to keep records in the 1880s, but none of them have ever had this much success until now. So in a way, they are more modern than vintage. 

How do their sounds compare to their contemporaries of the past? 

The types of names that were most popular around the 1920s have a very different sound to them than the modern names we see today.  The top 5 girl names of 1920 were Mary, Dorothy, Helen, Margaret and Ruth. None of these end with the feminine letter A like today's popular names do. Comparatively when you pronounce them out loud, they feel "heavier" than the names of 2016.  

Let’s look beyond the top five. In 2016, twenty-one out of the top fifty girl names end with the A-sound, whereas in 1920, only nine out of fifty do. Those nine names are Virginia, Anna, Martha, Edna, Thelma, Clara, Emma, Barbara and Sarah.  Out of these, Anna (#51 in 2016) and Sarah (#57 in 2016) are very classic and timeless names. Emma has been one of the most popular names of the past couple decades, ranking at #1 in 2008 and again from 2014-2016. Clara (#99 in 2016) falls in line with the vintage names that work well today and are currently gaining popularity.  The other names, Virginia, Martha, Edna, Thelma and Barbara are still being used but they don’t have the same fresh and modern vibe that parents seek today. Why is that?

It is probably because they contain "heavier" and "more out-dated" consonants such as D, N, B, G and -Th, plus other factors like over-use within a particular generation which newer generations avoid. But, if you take a look at the consonants of the most popular names in 2016, you will see that they mostly include L, M, R, S and V. In fact, the letter L seems to be the most popular consonant. It appears in thirty of the top fifty names in 2016, but only seventeen of them in 1920. But on that note, the names Martha and Thelma should technically fit in with the modern names since they end with an A and contain some of the more popular consonants, right?

Unfortunately, no. The Th- sound is not currently deemed stylish. Thelma only had 32 births in 2016, and Martha had 389 for a ranking of #727. There are only two names in the girl’s top 50 of 2016 that contain a Th and neither of them starts with it: Elizabeth and Samantha. While there are indeed many names that contain the Th sound within the name for both boys and girls, there are only two female names in the Top 1000 that start with it: Thea, which is rising quickly (#290), and Thalia which ranks down at #809. On the boy’s side, there are only Thomas, Theodore, Thiago, Theo, Thaddeus and Thatcher.

In 1920, there was Thelma, Theresa, Theda, Theodora, Therese, Theo, Thomas, Theola, and Thora for the girls; Thomas, Theodore, Thurman, Thaddeus, Theron, Theo, Theadore, Thornton, and Thurston for the boys within the Top 1000 names.  This indicates that names that begin with Th- are a thing of the past. These names went out of style because the Th- sound became unfashionable over time, except for the timeless survivors such as Thomas and Theodore that are still in use today.

Some may argue that it has more to do with the style of these names since others with a similar “old” feel like Mildred and Doris, Bernard and Donald all went down with them. Style plays into it, definitely, but I think it has to do more with the individual sounds that make these names feel “old” to begin with. For instance, the letter D was rather popular in the past. Names of 1920 included Dorothy, Mildred, Doris, Gladys, Edna, Edith, and Gertrude within the top 50.  Today, Dorothy is at #652, and Edith at #488 but none of the others rank in the Top 1000.  In 2016, the only female names that have the letter D in the Top 50 are Madison, Addison and Audrey.

For the boys, the D’s tended to be on the end of popular names in 1920 such as Edward, Richard, Harold, Raymond, Donald, Howard, David, Fred, Leonard, Alfred and Bernard within the Top 50. Out of these, only Fred and Bernard have fallen out of regular usage while the rest are within the Top 1000 today. This goes to show that the sounds that work for boys might not always work for girls and vice versa. For example, naming your son David today is a great idea but naming his twin sister Doris might not be. 

Many of the sounds that seem "out-dated" today have a great chance at once again sounding fresh in the coming decades. This doesn't apply for all names across the board, but once some of these names have had enough time to cycle back around, they will regain usage again. This is often referred to as the 100-Year-Rule or the Great-Grandparents Rule which states that the new young generation of parents will find that names from roughly 3 generations back are appealing, whereas names from their parents' and grandparents' era are still too associated with that time and not quite fashionable yet.

There are exceptions, of course, and plenty of classic names that stand the test of time by appearing strongly throughout all generations. What do you think? What other observations have you made about the history of sound in the naming process? How much is dictated by these sounds and how much is due to trends and preference? Share your thoughts below!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Jeremy

We took a look at all the names ending with the letters -my in the previous post. Today we'll pull one of those from the list and get to know it better. I chose Jeremy,  which may feel a bit dated to many of you but it still deserves usage today.

The Art of Naming - English form of Jeremiah - Hebrew name meaning Yahweh has uplifted


Jeremy comes from the name Jeremiah, it is the Medieval English version of it. Jeremiah comes from the Hebrew name יִרְמְיָהוּ (Yirmiyahu) meaning "YAHWEH has uplifted". Jeremy was occasionally the form used in England in place of Jeremiah since the 13th century. It wasn't until the Protestant Reformation that Jeremiah gained more common usage.

Interesting related diminutives include Jez, Jezza, Jem, Jemmy, Jere and Jerry.  Other languages and cultures offer interesting choices such as the Finnish Jorma, Jarkko, and Jarmo; or the Biblical Greek Ieremias, the Biblical Hebrew Yirmiyahu, and the Biblical Latin Hieremias.  The French favor Jérémie and the Spanish use Jeremías.

Jeremy itself works internationally without being "translated". It has ranked at #445 in France recently, #390 in the Netherlands, and #497 in England and Wales. Canada, Australia, Belgium and Switzerland also have the occasional love for Jeremy.

In the US, Jeremy didn't gain usage until 1923, but was nearly always in the Top 1000 after that, starting in the 1940s. It peaked in 1977 in the US, which may make Jeremy feel most associated with the 1970s and 1980s. That's a valid feeling because it was suddenly very popular for only that short amount of time. It only had 641 births in 1968 but received a high of 21,012 by 1977 which labeled it as the 15th most popular name in the country.

Today, it is still finding itself ranked at a respectable #174 as of 2015, which means 2,380 boys were named Jeremy in that year. It is a solid, "alternative classic" name. It is biblical-based and very versatile over multiple languages which means Jeremy will always be around, even though it isn't as popular as it once was.

What do you think of this name? Do you know any children named Jeremy? If you're considering it, here are some sibling name ideas and middle name ideas:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Amanda, Bethany, Danielle, Lydia, Nicole, Sabrina, Tabitha
Brothers: Aaron, Gerard, Joshua, Mitchell, Ryan, Samuel, Zachary

Middle Name Ideas:
Jeremy Brian
Jeremy Daniel
Jeremy Noah
Jeremy Oliver
Jeremy Tobias
Jeremy Zachariah

As a Middle Name:
Andrew Jeremy
David Jeremy
Ian Jeremy
Matthew Jeremy
Seth Jeremy
William Jeremy

Which  names would you pair with Jeremy? Share your thoughts below!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Happy Name Nerd-oween! The 2016 Baby Name Stats Are Here!

As you may know, the Social Security Administration has released the list of 2016's most popular baby names. It covers the Top 1000 in the site, but more names beyond that are also available for download.

Emma has ranked at #1 four times now. The first time was in 2008, and now she's been ruling the chart for 3 years straight (2014-2016). Will Emma continue her reign again next year? If not, which name will steal the crown? I think Olivia will rise to the top in the next year or three.



As for the boys, Noah replaced the long-running Jacob in 2013. This is Noah's 4th year in a row being #1. How much longer will it remain at the top? If it dips next year, which name would replace it? My bet is on Liam.



What do you think of the top 2? Here's the rest of the Top 20 as well:

Source
Names on the rise include:

One notable thing is that Elijah joined the Top 10 for the first time ever. Other names to watch include Oliver, Charlotte, Amelia and Evelyn.
  • Oliver is up 7 ranks, It didn't join the top 100 until 2009 and now it is on the verge of breaking into the Top 10. It ranked at #12 in 2016, so I would guess that it will land at either #9 or #10 next year. (With sister name Olivia taking #1 for the girls). What do you think?
  • Charlotte which is up by 2 ranks over 2015 and is definitely on the rise. Charlotte could be a contender for the Top 3 in the next few years.  
  • Amelia has been steadily rising since joining the Top 100 in 2004, hitting #11 now in 2016. 
  • Evelyn once ranked at #10, but that was way back in 1915. At #12 in 2016, she could make a run for the Top 10 soon.
Names on the decline include:

Boys:
Aiden (down 3 ranks)
Jacob (down 3 ranks)
Alexander (down 3 ranks)

Girls: 
Madison (down 4 ranks)

Beyond the Top 20:

Every year, there are names that suddenly have major popularity boosts from one year to the next. These are fascinating to look at, but they don't always result in becoming "the next big name". However, if you want to avoid following the trends, it's good to know which names are being most-used by the masses. Here are the Top 10 names that climbed the most ranks:

Source
And going the opposite direction, there are also names that lose favor in mass. Here are the Top 10 names that declined the most from 2015 to 2016:

Source

Clearly America has grown tired of the Caitlin/Katelynn crowd. What do you think of those?

What other interesting stats did you see? Share any information that stood out to you the most! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Names Ending with the Letters "-my"

These names end with the letters my.
We're halfway through our collection of names ending with the letter -y. We've seen plenty of common and rare names along the way as we've cruised through the alphabet.

Next we will explore the few but interesting names ending with the letters -my.

This series doesn't always feature a plethora of name options since these endings are more on the unusual side, but that's the beauty of it. How often have you stopped to think about names ending with these specific letters? Perhaps never.

However, if someone is looking for that exact sound or letter combination with a sentimental purpose behind it, this list is sure to help.

Take a look at the list below and share your thoughts in the comments. Can you think of any names that could be added?

Girls:
Aemy
Alchemy
Amy
Bellamy
Cammy
Emmy
Emy
Jemmy
Jessamy
Jessemy
Keimy
Kimmy
Kymmy
My
Naomy
Nomy
Remy
Romy
Stormy
Tammy

Boys:
Barthelemy
Bellamy
Jeramy
Jeremy
Jeromy
Jimmy
Ptolemy
Ramy
Remy
Sammy
Timmy
Tommy

Be sure to check out the rest of this series, too! You never know when you may need a specific name with a specific sound.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Penelope

This name is a fast-rising modern Greek name for girls. It was featured in this week's list of gorgeous Greek names and we will learn more about it here.

Penelope is a Greek Name for Girls that is very popular in the US today.


The usage of the name Penelope dates back to Homers Odyssey. In the story, she was the wife of Odysseus who had to stand strong against suitors while he was in Troy.

As far as the origin and meaning go, it was possibly derived from the Greek  πηνελοψ (penelops) which refers to a kind of duck. However, it is also possible that Penelope is taken from  πηνη (pene) which means "threads" and  ωψ (ops) which means "face" or "eye". With those combined, Penelope is sometimes listed as meaning "weaver".

As a name in America, Penelope has been in use since records began in 1880 but it wasn't steadily used until 1909. It ranked well from 1935-1975, but left the Top 1000 until 2001. It was majorly trending upward from then on, hitting the Top 100 in 2013. As of 2015, it ranks as the 34th most popular name in the country.

If this is a name you are considering, here are some middle name ideas and some sibling name ideas for Penelope:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Amelia, Camilla, Delphine, Lydia, Olivia, Theresa, Veronica
Brothers: Anthony, Damian, Evander, Lucas, Orion, Reuben, Theodore

Middle Name Ideas: 
Penelope Catherine
Penelope Hazel
Penelope Kate
Penelope Joy
Penelope Sybil

As a Middle Name:
Anna Penelope
Diana Penelope
Iris Penelope
Thea Penelope
Zoe Penelope

What middle name would you pair with Penelope? Share your thoughts on this name in the comments below.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Gorgeous Greek Names for Girls

Last week we took a look at boy names that are either diminutives of ancient Greek names, or have had their spellings more Latinized or modernized over the years.  Now it's time to look at the feminine name choices. Many of these have been in use for a long time whether or not the wearers realize their Greek origins. Greek names tend to be very versatile. They easily cross bridges into several cultures and languages, allowing nearly anyone to use them in one form or another.

Here are some of the best Greek names I could find that would work beautifully on modern girls. Which of these do you like best?
Little girl with flower

Althea
Anastasia
Ariadne
Calista
Calliope
Cassandra
Catherine
Chloe
Cleo
Daphne
Delphina
Diana
Dorothy
Elaina
Ellen
Esmeralda
Eugenia
Eulalia
Evadne
Helen
Helena
Hermione
Iris
Isadora
Kyra
Lydia
Lysandra
Melanie
Melissa
Oceana
Odessa
Olympia
Ophelia
Penelope
Persephone
Phaedra
Philippa
Phoebe
Selene
Sophia
Sybil
Thalia
Thea
Theodora
Theresa
Veronica
Xanthe
Xenia
Zandra
Zoe

Can you think of any other names that would fit this category? Share your favorites!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Damian

One of my favorite Greek names is Damian, which comes from the Greek name Δαμιανος (Damianos).  This name was listed on the Great Greek Names for Modern Boys list posted earlier this week.

Greek name for boys - male name for babies


Damian is ultimately derived from the  Greek δαμαζω (damazo) meaning "to tame".  There was a saint by this name from the 4th century who was martyred with his twin brother Cosmo in Syria. There was also an 11th-century saint named Peter Damian who was a cardinal and theologian from Italy.

In the US, Damian was first used on boys in 1912. It also gained a minimal amount of use for girls in 1968. For boys, this name gained momentum in the 1970s, peaking in 1977 before dipping a bit again. By the 1990s, it began an upward trajectory of usage. It actually cracked the Top 100 in 2012-2013 at #98 both years. Even though it has dropped again to #116 in 2015, Damian is a solid name with great usage.

There's also a few spelling variations associated with different languages and cultures. The French Damien is also doing well in the US at #254 in 2015. Other spellings include Damon (#427), Damion, Damiaan, Damiano, Damianus, Damyan, Damijan and Damjan.

If you are thinking about using this name, here are some middle name ideas and some sibling name ideas that work well with the name Damian:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Alyssa, Diana, Helena, Juliet, Lucia, Sophia, Veronica
Brothers: Andrew, Dominic, Elias, Lucas, Raphael, Theodore, Xander

Middle Name Ideas:
Damian Benedict
Damian Christopher
Damian Lysander
Damian Phillip
Damian Timothy

As a Middle Name:
Atlas Damian
Evander Damian
George Damian
Nicholas Damian
Silas Damian

What do you think of this name? Which middle names would you pair with it?

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]

Damaris Azul Gretchen Ida Darlene Saoirse Tallulah Alba Essence Winifred - barely used name in the US for female - little girl with flower
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]

The Art of Naming shares interesting names like these less popular boy names.
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

Old fashioned grandma names from a century ago that are too strange for use today - pink bassinet
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.

Old fashioned grandpa name - strange names from a century ago - blue bassinet
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