Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Barely Used Boy Names: Idris, Wiley & Boaz [Part Six]

unusual uncommon unique weird odd unpopular name for males at The Art of Naming

Welcome to Part Six of our Barely Used Boy Names series!! This list has some interesting and unsual options for you.

Idris (138 births - #1286)  Idris possibly means "interpreter" in Arabic and it is the name of an ancient prophet in the Qur'an, typically equated with the biblical Enoch. Idris is also a Welsh name meaning "ardent lord". This name ranked at #280 in England and Wales recently, as well as #447 in France. It gained usage in the US for males in 1971 and has slowly been gaining births per year but it has yet to reach the Top 1000.

Sheldon (137 births - #1294) There are several locations in England called Sheldon. It generally means "valley with steep sides" and was both a place name and a surname before it was ever a given name. In the US, Sheldon has been given to boys on record since 1881. It has also been used infrequently for girls from 1931 to 2002. For boys, it gained entry to the Top 1000 in the early 1900s, earning as many births per year as 608 in 1992. It dipped back down below the Top 1000 again in 2009, 2011 and has stayed below since 2013. Could it rise again?

Lucius (136 births - #1299) Lucius comes from the Latin lux meaning "light" and was a Roman praenomen. The name belonged to several important Romans and three popes. It wasn't regularly used by Christians until after the Renaissance. Here in the US, people have given their son the name since records began in 1880. It even ranked in the Top 1000 until 1960. It's dipped down to double-digit births per year but is back on the rise again. Could it rejoin the Top 1000?

Pierson (134 births - #1310) Pierson seems to be related to Piers which is a medieval form of Peter taken from the Old French Pierre. Pierson (along with Pearson and Peirson) were typically used as surnames. As a given name, Pierson is rare. It first popped up in the US with a handful of births in 1912 but it didn't catch on until it finally gained regular yearly usage in the 1980s. It remains nowhere near the Top 1000 but its climbing!

Atreyu  (133 births - #1314) Atreyu is a literary name created by German author Michael Ende and originally spelled Atréju.  It was the name of the hero in his 1979 fantasy novel "Die unendliche Geschichte" which is "The Neverending Story" in English.  It's said to mean "son of all" in the book's fictional language since the orphaned character was raised by a village. In the US, the name popped up in the mid-1980s but despite gaining usage over the years, it has never been in the Top 1000. Will it ever get there or is the name too unusual?

Jarvis (133 births - #1318)  Jarvis comes from a surname that was taken from the male French name Gervais, which came from the German Gervasius partially meaning "spear". If you look for the Marvel comic book meaning, you'll find that Tony Stark's AI computer J.A.R.V.I.S stands for "Just A Rather Very Intelligent System". The name Jarvis has been in use in the US since 1882 and even ranked in the Top 1000 between the 1950s and 2006. It's declined in popularity now, but could it make a comeback?

Wiley (133 births - #1321) Wiley comes from a surname derived from am Old English place name meaning "temple clearing". It can also be used in reference to the word "wily" and given originally as a nickname to a person who was, well, wily. This name has actually been given to boys since 1880 in the US, ranking within the Top 1000 until 1974. Could it come back on the charts again soon? It's also been given to a handful of girls in recent years.

Boaz (132 births - #1325) Boaz is a Biblical Hebrew name meaning "swiftness".  It was never a popular one, though. Boaz first popped up on the US charts in 1965 but it's never been near the Top 1000. In 2015, it received the most births it has ever had in a single year. Will it catch on soon?

Forest (132 births - #1326)  Forest is the less-popular spelling of Forrest. Both names come from an English surname that refers to an actual forest. Both of the spellings have been in use in the US since 1880. Forest ranked in and out of the Top 1000 through the 1960s and 1980s, and it ranked again in the early 1990s, but since then it's declined. However, its starting to trend upward again. Would you use Forest or Forrest?

Francesco (131 births - #1338) Francesco is the Italian form of the Late Latin Franciscus which means "Frenchman." While Francisco has always been well-used, the spelling Francesco is rarely used. It only gained usage in 1906, but it managed to rank in the Top 1000 from 1967-200, save a few years. Now it has fallen off the charts. Is Francisco just a superior spelling?

What do you think of this list? Would you use any of these names?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Unusual But Real Names from Colonial America

Ah yes, the Puritans. They were around when America was just gaining an origin story. People tend to have Colonial America on their mind around Thanksgiving time. They like to discuss the Puritans and the Pilgrims, so why not take another look at some of the interesting names they used to use.

The Art of Naming has covered Colonial Names several times. Not only the virtuous names like Hope, Grace and Faith, but also the more uncommon choices like Charity, Prudence, Prosper and Resolved. We also looked at names drawn from the bible like Lydia and Levi since these were common then and now.

Today, we're going to look at a list of names that most people would agree are unusual and rather unpractical for use today.  There's no need to explain these since they're quite straight forward, but yes, these were actually given to people as names back in the day.  Are there any that strike you as a guilty pleasure?

If-Christ-had-not-died-for- thee-thou-hadst-been-damned
Jesus-Christ-came- into-the-world- to-save

What a list! Thoughts?

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Taken from our article about names ending with the letters "-hy", we found the name Dorothy.

Girl name Dorothy or Theodora - meaning of Dorothy

Dorothy is a form of Dorothea which comes from the Late Greek name Δωροθεος (Dorotheos) meaning "gift of God".  Dorotheos is pulled from the Greek words δωρον (doron) meaning "gift" and θεος (theos) meaning "god".

Interestingly, the names Theodora and Theodore (and their variants) also come from theos and doron, but their direct Greek origin name (Theodoros) is a little different: Θεοδωρος. However, all of these names do share a meaning.

Perhaps the most well-known Dorothy comes from literature and film. In 1900, an author by the name of L. Frank Baum published a little fantasy novel called "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" featuring a young girl named Dorothy as the main character. Portrayed by actress Judy Garland in the 1939 film, Dorothy has become a classic and iconic character in pop culture.

You don't meet all that many "young Dorothys" these days. However, that could be changing in the next decade or two since this name is starting to trend upward. That would make this name a vintage choice that would fit in with the 100 year rule.

Dorothy was huge in the 1920s. She climbed the charts quickly back then, joining the Top 100 in 1890, the Top 10 in 1904 and ranking at #2 from 1920-1927. Just as quickly, though, she left the Top 10 by 1940 and the Top 100 by 1962. She didn't rank within the Top 1000 for most of the 2000s, but the tide is turning in her favor now. She's back on the charts at #714 as of 2015 with 395 births.

Since it has almost been 100 years since her first heyday, do you think Dorothy will regain popularity as a "fresh-sounding" name again through the 2020s-2030s?

Use it now and you'll be ahead of the trend! If this is a name you're considering for a daughter, here are some ideas for middle names and sibling names:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Abigail, Beverly, Ellen, Marjorie, Nancy, Ruth, Sylvia, Violet
Brothers: Arnold, Franklin, Henry, Howard, Leonard, Russell, Warren

Middle Name Ideas:
Dorothy Arlene
Dorothy Christine
Dorothy Hazel
Dorothy Mavis
Dorothy Valentina

As a Middle Name:
Amelia Dorothy
Faye Dorothy
Miriam Dorothy
Susannah Dorothy
Tessa Dorothy

I kept the styles similar to Dorothy, but there are plenty of more modern names that could also work. What would you pair with Dorothy?  Do you know anyone with this name? If so, how old are they?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Names Ending with the Letters "-hy"

The Art of Naming - boy and girl names ending with hy, thy, shy, phy

This series takes a closer look at a very limited set of names. If you're searching for a particular sound or spelling at the end of the name, this series may be for you. We've already considered names ending with -ay, -by, -cy, -dy, -ey, -fy, and -gy. All of these posts can be found here.  

The only names that I could find ending with "-iy" are Andriy, Arkadiy, Arseniy, Bryliy, Dmitriy and Yuriy. I didn't find them common enough or appealing enough to earn their own post. We'll skip ahead to "-hy" names since there's a few more options available.





Would you ever use one of these? Which is your favorite?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Barely Used Girl Names: Harriet, Guinevere & Persephone [Part Five]

If you're reading this, you've made it to part five in this series featuring barely-used girl names. We are well below the #1300s now, which makes these names rather uncommonly used in the US.

The Art of Naming - uncommon unique unusual unpopular baby name for females

Harriet (179 births - #1314) Harriet is the feminine form of Harry, and a sister name to Henriette. These all come from Henry which, of course, comes from the German Heimirich and Heinrich meaning "home ruler". Harriet has been in use in the US since 1880 on record. It was in the Top 1000 until 1971. While it declined for a while, it is inching back up the chart.

Clover (178 births - #1319) This quirky name comes from the wild flower. It is derived from the Old English clafre. While unusual, this name dates back to 1897 in the US for women. It has never been close to ranking in the Top 1000, but it is inching upward now. Would you consider it?

Roxanne (178 births - #1324) Roxanne is the French and English form of the Greek Ρωξανη (Roxane) which was taken from the Persian or Bactrian name روشنک (Roshanak) meaning "bright" or "dawn". Roxanne first popped up at 1906 and was most popular in 1954. It left the Top 1000 in 2001, except for 2013. Could it gain more popularity?

Linnea (177 births - #1330) This comes from the name of a flower known as the twinflower. It is a Swedish name that honors Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus. He named the flower after himself. The name first landed on the charts in the US in 1894. It was popular enough to enter the Top 1000 from 1942-1955, but it hasn't had a top spot since then.

Guinevere (176 births - #1336) Guinevere comes from the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar. It comes from the elements gwen meaning "fair, white" and sebara meaning "magical being". The Cornish form of this name is Jennifer. Guinevere first charted in 1912 but it has never been in the Top 1000. It is more popular now than it has ever been.

Luella (176 births - #1337) Luella is a varient of Louella which is just a combination of Lou and Ella. Lou comes from Louis, a form of Ludovicus and Ludwig ultimately meaning "famous battle". Ella comes from the Germanic Alia and alja meaning "other".  Luella has been around since 1880 but left the Top 1000 in the 1950s. It is back on the rise now, though.

Persephone (175 births - #1350) The only thing that may be keeping this name down is its potential meaning. It comes from the Greek pertho meaning "to destroy" and phone meaning "murder". A very dark name for the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. The name popped up in the US in 1962. In the past decade, Persephone has started gaining some attention and is slowly inching toward the Top 1000.

Flora (173 births - #1362) Flora comes from the Latin flos meaning "flower" and was the name of the Roman goddess of flowers and spring. Flora is rather vintage. It was most popular in 1920. While it hasn't quite caught on again now, it is starting to slowly gain attention.

Octavia (173 births - #1364) This name is the feminine form of Octavius meaning "eighth". In ancient Rome, she was the sister of emperor Augustus and the wife of Mark Antony. As a name, Octavia has been in the US since 1880, but it didn't join the Top 1000 until 1971 with its best year being 1987. It left the charts again by 1999 but looks like it could regain some greater usage soon.

Arlene (170 births - #1376) Arlene comes from Arline whose meaning and origin is mostly unknown. It's possible that Arline was invented for a character in the 1843 opera "The Bohemian Girl" by Michael William Balfe. Both names did well in the 1920s through the 1940s or so, but Arlene was much more used than Arline. Arlene left the Top 1000 in 2006 but Arline faded away back in the 1950s.

Which of these names do you like most? Which do you think might reenter the Top 1000 first?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Barely Used Boy Names: Murphy, Noble & Caius [Part Five]

For our fifth article in this series, we will take a look at 10 interesting boy names that are currently not ranking within the Top 1000 chart. This chart maps out the most popular names according to Social Security data every year. The year we're focusing on is 2015.

The Art of Naming - uncommon unique unusual unpopular baby name for males

As you know, the more articles there are, the further down on the charts we explore. We've hit the 1,200s now. These names are getting more and more rare as we go! So let's get started!

Murphy (148 births - #1225) - Murphy comes from an Irish surname, Ó Murchadha, meaning "descendant of Murchadh".  Murchadh comes from the Gaelic elements muir meaning "sea" and cadh meaning "warrior". In the US, Murphy has been around since the 1880s. It has never had more than 100 births per year until recently. Since 2010, the name has started inching upward for boys. Since 1987, it has been given to girls too.

Brighton (147 births - #1228) - Brighton is said to be an English surname literally meaning "bright town" or "fair town". This name has only been on record in the US since 1983 for boys and 1986 for girls. It climbed a bit faster for males, earning 147 births in 2015. There were 102 females. Which gender do you prefer it on?

Alton (146 births - #1232) - Alton comes from an Old English surname. It was taken from a place name that means "town at the source of the river." For boys, Alton has been used in the US since 1880 on record, and since 1904 for girls. It ranked well for boys until 1999 when it left the Top 1000. For girls, it was never consistently used and died out by 1989.

Cael (145 births - #1240) - Cáel, with the accent, is an Irish name. It comes from the Gaelic caol meaning "slender". This name popped up for boys in 1989 in the US and it ranked in the Top 1000 from 2002 until 2012. Could it return to the charts soon?

Clifford (145 births - #1241) - This name is very straight forward. Clifford means "ford by a cliff" in Old English. It comes from a surname which came from a place name.  This name ranked in the Top 100 from 1886 to 1946. It left the Top 1000 in 2006.

Noble (144 births - #1250) - Noble is a word I'm sure you're familiar with. Noble could refer to an aristocrat, or a person having fine personal qualities or high moral principles. Noble comes from an English surname. This name has been used in the US for boys since 1880. It was in the Top 1000 until 1954, but it has yet to come back even though its births per year are starting to climb.

Amarion (141 births - #1265) - Amarion is possibly a long form of Amari. Both names are relatively unknown in their origins and meanings but they tend to be used by African Americans and Western Africans most frequently. Amari has been around since 1974 for boys and 1980 for girls. Amarion, though, arrived in the US for boys in 1998. It ranked from 2002-2005 and again in 2007. It's only been used a handful of times for girls from 2002-2004.

Monroe (141 births - #1270) - There is a river in Ireland named the Roe. The name Monroe comes from a Scottish surname meaning "from the mouth of the Roe". This name started out as a boy's name, dating back to 1880 but left the Top 1000 in 1972. For girls, it appeared on the charts in 1996 and entered the Top 1000 in 2012.  Much of this may be inspired by late Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe.

Eamon (140 births - #1276) -  Eamon is a variant of the Irish name Éamonn which is a form of Edmund. Edmund comes from the Old English elements ead meaning "wealth" and mund meaning "protection". In the US, this name popped up around 1920 and 1940, but it wasn't until the late 1950s that it gained consistent usage. However, it has never been in the Top 1000.

Caius (138 births - #1283) - Caius is the Roman variant of the name Gaius. It's exact meaning is uncertain but it is possibly derived from the Latin gaudere meaning "to rejoice". Gaius was a common Roman praenomen belonging to both Gaius Julius Caesar and Gaius Octavius. In the US, Caius has only been used since 1994. While it has never been in the Top 1000, it is gaining more births per year every year.

Which of these barely-used names do you like most? Which have the most potential to actually climb the charts soon?

Saturday, September 17, 2016


This interesting name comes from our list of names ending with the letters "-gy". There are not many -gy names. In fact, there were only two decent options for boys, Iggy and Ziggy. I chose to learn a bit more about Ziggy.

Names meaning peace - victorious baby names - ziggy marley

Have you ever heard of this name before? Perhaps in the pop culture world, you've heard of the late Bob Marley's musician son named Ziggy. Where does the name come from? For Ziggy Marley, it's a nickname. His real name is David Nesta Marley. According to Bob Marley, Ziggy is just a nickname he gave his son meaning "little spliff".  He may have been inspired by David Bowie's album "Ziggy Stardust".

Ziggy Stardust, of course, was David Bowie's alter ego. Bowie was quoted in Rolling Stone Magazine as saying that Ziggy was "one of the few Christian names I could find beginning with the letter Z". Later, he also said he was inspired by a tailor shop called Ziggy's.

It is possible that Ziggy doesn't mean anything. It is also possible that it's a short form of the name Zigfried, a form of the German Siegfried. Siegfried comes from the elements sigu meaning "victory" and frid meaning "peace".  The meaning "peaceful victory" is appealing, but how common is this name?

It first popped up in the US with 5 male births in 1988; another 5 appeared in 1995. By 2000, this name gained some consistent usage. The most births it has ever had in a single year was 44 male births which occurred in both 2014 and 2015. It is an unusual name but it has a cool vibe with pop culture associations. Could Ziggy ever catch on?

If this is a name that peaks your interest, here's a few ideas for sibling names and middle names:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Blaire, Effie, Jacey, Maisie, Marlowe, Piper, Tamsin, Zoey
Brothers: Bowie, Bugsy, Flynn, Murphy, Rocky, Tad, Wiley, Wilder

Middle Name Ideas:
Ziggy Cole
Ziggy Daniels
Ziggy Finnegan
Ziggy John
Ziggy Sawyer
Ziggy Sebastian
Ziggy Tavish

As a Middle Name:
Evan Ziggy
Julian Ziggy
Kendall Ziggy
Milo Ziggy
Nolan Ziggy
Theodore Ziggy
Wyatt Ziggy

What would you pair with Ziggy? What do you think of it?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Today's featured name comes from our list of names that end with the letters "-fy". There weren't a ton of choices, but I picked out one of the most interesting names on that list.

The Art of Naming - diminutive of Elizabeth - Hebrew names- unusual weird odd unique names

Buffy is one of many diminutives of the name Elizabeth. From the Hebrew name Elisheva, Elizabeth (and therefore Buffy) means "my God is an oath" or "my God is abundance".

Elizabeth is known for its abundance of nicknames, short forms and diminutive options, which makes it very versatile if used in full. It has been extremely popular over the years, consistently being used as both a first name and a middle name for girls.

However, Buffy is definitely one of the more obscure options as a nickname for Elizabeth. As a stand-alone full given name, Buffy is almost non-existent. It first appeared on record in the US in 1951. Nearly overnight between 1965 and 1966, Buffy caught on for a brief stint. It popped onto the Top 1000 chart at #793 in 1967, and climbed as high as #530 in 1972 which accounted for 319 births.

By 1978, though, Buffy was already on its way out the popularity door. By 1991, it wasn't being used at all except for a handful of births from 2002-2005, and a few in 2013.

However, you do need to take into consideration its biggest association: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, of course, was a television show that ran from 1997-2003.

If you are taken by short, spunky nicknames as given names, Buffy is an interesting, obscure name that could be the one for you! If that's the case, here are some ideas for siblings and middle names so you can start planning your family in full:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Bella, Darby, Elsie, Maisie, Mindy, Sadie, Winnie
Brothers: Brody, Eddie, Johnny, Kirby, Milo, Tobin, Wyatt

Middle Name Ideas:
Buffy Amelia
Buffy Charlotte
Buffy Michaela
Buffy Olivia
Buffy Veronica

As a Middle Name:
Alexandra Buffy
Catherine Buffy
Emilia Buffy
Juliana Buffy
Violet Buffy

What do you think of Buffy? What names would you pair with it?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Names Ending with the Letters "-fy" and -"gy"

This categorization of names is admittedly limited and unusual but it may strike a chord for certain parents seeking a specific sound.  Continuing our series that has already featured -ay, -by, -cy, -dy and -ey names, I present the interesting short list of -fy and -gy names. Since the list is so short, I combined the two and included -fie and -gie names as well.

Many of these might actually be considered nicknames more so than given names. Most Americans are not big fans of this style of names, however in England and Wales, names like Effie and Alfie are considered full, stand-alone names and rank fairly well on the popularity charts.

Girl names ending with -fy and -fie:

The Art of Naming - unusual weird unique odd baby name for boys and girls


Boy names ending with -fie:



Girl names ending with -gy and -gie:



Boy names ending with -gy and -gie:



Would you ever use any of these names as a full given name on the birth certificate? If so, which one?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Names of Scottish Royalty Through History

The record of Kings and Queens of Scotland dates back to the year 843. Over the centuries,  there were many different houses that ruled including the House of Alpin, the House of Dunkeld, the Canmores, the Balliols, the Bruces, and the Stewart/Stuarts. There were also points in history that Scotland, Great Britain and Ireland all fell under the same rule rather than running their countries separately. This happened in the time of the Hanovers followed by the currently reigning Windsor house.

Kings and Queens of Scotland name and house  - great britain ireland - The Art of Naming

Let's take a look back in history at the names of the rulers of Scotland in specific. I chose Scotland and this time period because of the variety of interesting names of their rulers. Now, this isn't going to be a history lesson. I won't pretend to be well versed in European History. This is strictly about the interesting names.

House of Alpin:

843-858 Kenneth MacAlpin (Cináed)
858-862 Donald I
862-877 Constantine I
877-878 Aedh
878-889 Eochaid
889-900 Donald II
900-943 Constantine II
943-954 Malcolm I
954-962 Indulf
962-966 Dubh
966-971 Culen
971-995 Kenneth II
995-997 Constantine III
997-1005 Kenneth III
1005-1034 Malcolm II

House of Dunkeld:

1034-1040 Duncan I
1040-1057 Macbeth
1057-1058 Lulach (The Fool)

House of Canmore:

1058-1093 Malcolm III Canmore
1093-1094 Donald III (Donald Bane)
1094-1094 Duncan II
1094-1097 Donald III (Donald Bane)
1097-1107 Edgar
1107-1124 Alexander I
1124-1153 David I
1153-1165 Malcolm IV
1165-1214 William I
1214-1249 Alexander II
1249-1286 Alexander III
1286-1290 Margaret ('Maid of Norway')

House of Balliol:

1292-1296 John Balliol
1332-1346  Edward Balliol

House of Bruce:

1306-1329 Robert I (The Bruce)
1329-1371 David II

House of Stewart:

1371-1390 Robert II
1390-1406 Robert III
1406-1437 James I
1437-1460 James II
1460-1488 James III
1488-1513 James IV
1513-1542 James V
1542-1567 Mary, Queen of Scots

House of Stuart: 

1567-1625  James VI (James I of England 1603-1625)

After this, Scotland fell under England's rule. For more names of rulers after this time period, take a look at our post about the names of Male Rulers of England, and our list of Female Royalty Names too.

Here are the most usable names from above and a little more information about each of them:


Kenneth - This king's name was Anglicized from the Gaelic Cináed meaning "born of fire". Kenneth also comes from the Gaelic name Coinneach, derived from caoin meaning "handsome".  In the US, Kenneth had the most births within the mid-1950s. It was a Top 100 name from 1898-2001. In 2015 it ranked at #199.

Donald - From the Gaelic name Domhnall, Donald means "ruler of the world". It comes from the old Celtic elements dumno meaning "world" and val meaning "rule". This name has been very popular in Scotland. In the US, it was most popular from the 1930s-1950s. In 2015, there were 690 boys given the name for a rank of #441.

Constantine - This name comes from the Latin name Constantinus, which comes from Constans meaning "constant, steadfast". Constantine has been around since the early 1900s in the US, but it has never been popular. There were 91 boys given the name in 2015.

Malcolm - Malcolm comes from the Scottish Máel Coluim meaning "disciple of Saint Columba". This king killed Macbeth who had usurped the throne and murdered his father. Shakespeare's characters in "Macbeth" (1606) are based on these kings. Malcolm has always ranked in the Top 1000, and its best year was 1992 at #206. In 2015, it was #420.

Duncan - This name is derived from the Gaelic name Donnchadh which means "brown warrior". There were two kings of Scotland with this name and one of them was also featured in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. Duncan has always ranked in the Top 1000 but it's never ranked all that popular. It ranked best in 1997 at #378. It was at #793 in 2015.

Edgar - Edgar comes from the Old English elements ead meaning "wealth, fortune" and gar meaning "spear". Edgar ranked well back in 1918 but declined a bit after that until the mid-1980s. Currently, Edgar ranked at #317 in 2015.

Alexander - Alexander comes from the elements alexo meaning "to defend" and aner meaning "man". This is a common name that was used for Scottish kings as well as those from Poland, Yugoslavia, Russia and others. Alexander has always been used in the US, but it really peaked in 1993 with over 20k births. It's been a top 10 name since 2008, currently ranking at #8.

David - David comes from the Hebrew dwd which means "beloved". Beside the king of Israel, there were two Scottish kings named David along with many other important men through history. David has always been a Top 50 name. It even ranked at #1 in 1960. In 2015, it is down to #18.

William - William comes from wil meaning "will, desire" and helm meaning "helmet, protection", both Germanic elements composing the name Willahelm. William has been used well by the Normans, the English, the Scots and others. William was a Top 10 name from 1880 to 1975, including many years at #2. It dipped to the teens and twenties but it is currently ranked back up at #5.

John - John comes from the Hebrew Yochanan meaning "YAHWEH is gracious". It is possibly the most popular name for boys in history, having been given to a fifth of all English boys in the Middle Ages. In the US, it has always been well used. It was #1 from 1880-1923 and remained in the Top 10 until 1986. In 2015, it is down to #26.

Edward - Edward comes from the Old English elements ead meaning "wealth" and weard meaning "guard". Edward has been used throughout Europe in various spellings. It ranked in the Top 100 in the US from 1880-1997.  It's slowly inching downward now and it ranked at #158 in 2015.

Robert - Robert comes from the Germanic name Hrodebert which contains the elements hrod meaning "fame" and beraht meaning "bright".  Three kings of Scotland had this name, including the pictured Robert the Bruce. In the US, Robert was the #1 name from 1924 to 1939. It was in the Top 10 all those years until 1989. It remains in the Top 100, ranking at #63 in 2015 which is the lowest it has ever ranked.

James - James comes from the Latin Iacomus which comes from the Greek Iakobos, which comes from the Hebrew Ya'aqov. It is said to mean "supplanter". King James ruled Scotland before becoming James I of England in the House of Stuart. As a name, James ranked in the Top 5 for 100 years (1880-1980), it dipped to the teens, but James was back up to #7 in 2015.


Margaret - Margaret comes from the Latin margarita, derived from the Greek margarites meaning "pearl". There were Queen Margarets in Scotland and Denmark, and a princess in Hungary. Margaret has always ranked well in the US. It's biggest year was 1921, but it was in the Top 10 until 1939. It left the Top 100 in the 1970s and 1980s, falling to 2015's rank of #154.

Mary - Mary ultimately comes from the Hebrew Miryam. It's meaning isn't certain but theories include  "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". It's also possible that Mary comes from the Egyptian name mry meaning "beloved". There have been two Queen Marys of England and one of Scotland. In the US, Mary has been extremely popular, it was #1 or #2 from 1880-1965. Mary left the Top 100 in 2009, but still ranks at #124 in 2015.

Which of these royal names do you love the most?


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

From Augusto to Augustina: The Many August Names

As we reach the end of the month of August, let's take a moment to look at the related Aug-/Ag- names that could be used on a person today. Generally, these names all come from the Latin augere meaning "to increase", but other meanings came to include "great" and "venerable". Augustus was a title that Octavian, the first Roman emperor, was given. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar.

There are many options available for both boys and girls. Some are more popular than others, but these are mostly rather uncommon here in the US.  Are there any that you would use?

Augustus, Agustin, Augusta, Austin, Gus - popular and uncommon baby names for boys and girls
By Unknown Till Niermann (Own work)
 [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0  or CC BY-SA 2.5],
via Wikimedia Commons
Agostina  (Italian form of Augustinus - feminine - zero births on record for 2015 in US)

Agostino  (Italian form of Augustinus - masculine - 5 births on record for 2015)

Ágúst (Icelandic form of Augustus - masculine - zero births in 2015)

Agust (Swedish form of August - masculine - zero births in 2015)

Agustin (Spanish form of Augustinus - masculine - 223 births in 2015)

Augustina (Ancient Roman form of Augustinus - feminine - 14 births in 2015)

Augie/Auggie (English diminutive of August - unisex - 7 male births for Augie and 6 for Auggie in 2015. Zero female births on record for either name.)

August (German, Polish, Scandinavian and Catalan form of Augustus - unisex - 2,059 male births in 2015 for a rank of #195. 242 female births for a rank of #1072.)

Augusta (Feminine form of Augustus - 48 births in 2015.)

Auguste (French masculine form of Augustus, and the German feminine form of Augusta - 20 male births in 2015, zero female.)

Augusten (Alternate spelling of Augustin - masculine - 16 births in 2015)

Augustin (French, Czech, Romanian and Croatian form of Augustinus - masculine - 75 births in 2015)

Augustina (Feminine form of Augustinus - 14 births in 2015)

Augustine (Masculine English form of Augustus, and the feminine French form of Augustinus. - 26 female births in 2015, and 273 male births for a rank of #820)

Augusto (Spanish, Italian and Portuguese form of Augustus - masculine - 29 births in 2015)

Augustus (Ancient Roman / Latin - masculine - 643 births in 2015 for a rank of #467)

Augustijn (Dutch form of Augustinus- masculine - zero births on record in US)

Augustyna (Polish of Augustina- feminine - zero births on record in US)

Avgust  (Russian, Slovene, Ukrainian form of August - masculine - zero births on record in US)

Aukusti (Finnish form of Augustus - masculine - zero births on record in US)

Guus (Dutch diminutive of Augustus - masculine - zero births on record in US)

Gus (Short form of Augustus - masculine - 163 male births in 2015)

Then there's Austin, a Medieval contraction of Augustine. Austin is by far the most popular name on the list. It ranked as high as #9 in 1996 and 1997 for boys. Currently it earned 5,767 births for a rank of #69 in 2015. There were also 151 female births.

Austin has some variants such as:

Austen (unisex - 119 male births and 61 female births in 2015)

Austyn (unisex - had more male use in late 1990s to early 2000s, now has more female use. 103 male births and 242 female births in 2015.

Awstin (Welsh form of Austin - zero births on record in the US for either gender in 2015.)


Now that you've browsed through this list, can you think of any that I may have missed? Otherwise, which is your favorite form? Would you use it?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Barely Used Girl Names: Geneva, Coral & Bellamy [Part Four]

Rare unusual unique uncommon unpopular baby name - names for females

This is the fourth installment of our "barely used names for girls" series. I have compiled ten interesting names that do not receive enough births per year to rank within the US Top 1000 chart, as defined by the Social Security Administration. If you are looking for a name that you don't hear every day, this list could offer inspiration. (And don't forget to also check out the other three articles that came before this. There will be more to follow, as well.)

Which name on this list do you like the most? Which do you think could be the first to rank higher?

Winnie (211 births - #1189) -Winnie can easily stand on its own as a name, but it is sometimes considered a diminutive of Winifred. Winnie the Pooh was named after a real bear at the London Zoo named Winnipeg. Winnie was a hot name back in 1919, it's best year yet. It had 541 births for a rank of #275. It hasn't done that well since then, leaving the Top 1000 in the mid-1950s. However, it has done a little better in the past three years. Could it rejoin the top soon?

Geneva (202 births - #1220) Geneva may be a short form of the name Genevieve which comes from Genovefa meaning "tribe woman". Geneva also has a connection to Juniper through the French name genièvre, a name for juniper, and the traditional gin drink jenever.  Geneva is also the name of a city in Switzerland. Geneva was most popular in 1924, but it left the Top 1000 by 1996. Could it make a comeback?

Coral (199 births - #1230) Coral is derived from the Greek word korallion and is also an English word referring to the marine invertebrates found in underwater reefs. As a name, Coral has been around on record since 1881 in the US. It has always almost ranked below the Top 1000, but compared to the past, it has had more births per year in the past 2 decades. Could it finally make a splash soon?

Yara (199 births - #1232) Yara seems to have multiple meanings and origins. Yarah in Arabic means "precious ruby"; in Greek, Yara means "the loved one"; in Brazil, Yara means "forest girl"; and in some Yoruba dialects, it means "intelligent". The male Hebrew name Ya'rah is a variant of Jarah meaning "honeycomb". So Yara's quite diverse. It has been given to girls as a given name since 1969 but it has never reached the Top 1000.

Anneliese (195 births - #1345) Anneliese is, of course, a combination of Anna and Liese. Anna comes from the Hebrew Channah meaning "grace", and Liese is a German and Dutch diminutive of Elizabeth which means "my God is an oath" from the Hebrew Elisheva. Anneliese has been used since 1926 in the US, and it ranked one time in 2005 at #914. Perhaps it could be given a second chance soon.

Eisley (194 births - #1351) Eisley is an interesting name. It seems to be purely inspired by pop culture. There is a town called Mos Eisley on the fictional planet Tatooine in the Star Wars universe. It was this town that inspired the name of an American Indie band called Eisley. The name might even translate to "ice island" in German and other similar languages. So if you're a Star Wars fan, this may be a less-obvious way to honor your fandom than using, say, Luke or Leia. Eisley popped up for girls in 2003 and has gained a lot of usage since then, despite still falling below the Top 1000.

Emerald (193 births - #1357) The emerald is a precious green stone, the birthstone for the month of May. Supposedly, the emerald is meant to impart love to whomever wears it. The word comes from the Greek smaragdos. As a name, Emerald was first used in 1904. It was very rare until it gained a bit of traction in the 1970s. It's best decade so far was the 1990s when it ranked at the bottom of the charts. It dipped back down in 2003 but it has the potential to be better-used in the future since other Em- names have been so hot.

Brisa (192 births - #1361)  Brisa is actually the Spanish word for "breeze" and was originally more of a nickname for the name Briseida. In 1999, Brisa popped up as the name of a character in the Mexican telenovela "Por Tu Amor".  The name Briseida is a Spanish form of Briseis which is a Greek name of unknown meaning, and also a figure in Greek mythology. Brisa has been used in the US since 1974, and it ranked within the Top 1000 from the year 2000 until 2012. Has it peaked or could it return?

Bellamy (183 births - #1398)  As a surname, Bellamy is said to come from the Norman French words bel ami meaning "beautiful friend". There is a French novel published in 1885 called Bel Ami, which has inpsired many film adaptations over the years, including a recent one in 2012. Bellamy hit the popularity chart in 1993 and 1996, but it wasn't regularly used until 2003. It has been climbing upward and could make its debut in the Top 1000 in the coming years.

Yesenia (180 births - #1413) There is a tree from South America that belongs to the genus Jessenia. It is probable that the Spanish name Yesenia was derived from that. It was first used in a telenovela of the same name in 1970. The name was first used in the US in 1966 on record and it ranked in the Top 1000 from 1971 to 2012. It fell off the chart recently. Is it too soon for it to rise again?

The names on this list are all very different from one another. Are there any that caught your eye?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Barely Used Boy Names: Keller, Ledger & Smith [Part Four]

Welcome to Part Four of our series that features names that are barely used in America today. These names all rank beyond the Social Security Administration's Top 1,000 chart. You could even say they are "unranked" since that chart is the official list of the most popular names and it ends at 1,000 on their site unless you download the full set of data.

The Art of Naming - Unusual uncommon unique unpopular baby name

So are you looking for an unranked name? If so, you are following the right series! I combed through the data and found interesting options that aren't similar to any other names that do rank. These are one of a kind and very wearable for a modern boy. More than half of them are originally surnames, which is part of a trend these days: surname names for given names.  Let's get started:

Broderick (158 births - #1166 in 2015) This is a surname derived from both the Irish and Welsh languages. It is Anglicised from the Irish Ó Bruadair, meaning "descendant of Bruadar". In Welsh, it is Anglicised from ap Rhydderch meaning "son of Rhydderch", which means "reddish brown". It gained usage as a given name in 1950, ranking at the bottom of the chart for many years.  

Ansel (157 births - #1171 in 2015) Ansel is also a surname and it was derived from the given name Anselm. Anselm is composed of Germanic elements ans meaning "god" and helm meaning "helmet, protection". This name has been around since 1882 but it has never been common enough to rank in the Top 1000. However, it is getting close.

Keller (157 births - #1176 in 2015) Keller is an Irish name that has been Anglicised from the Old Gaelic surname Ó Céilechair meaning "descendant of Céilechair", which means "companionable". In German, Keller refers to a cellar, taken from the Latin Cellarius. This name has infrequent usage over the years, starting in 1911 for boys and 1961 for girls. It steadied by the 1980s but it has never been common for either gender.

Ledger (157 births - #1177 in 2015) - As a word, ledger comes from the Dutch liggen or leggen meaning "to lie or lay", or the German liegen or legen. When taken from the Dutch legger it refers to a book laying in one place. It came to be used as a term for a book of financial accounts. As a name, it may have come from the Norman Leodegar or the Old French Legier. Whatever the meaning and origin, this surname is a bold and interesting choice for a male given name, and would honor the late actor Heath Ledger. It has only been in use in the US since 2002 and never within the Top 1,000.

Brogan (155 births - #1185 in 2015) - This is an occupational name taken from the Irish word bróg meaning "shoe". Google defines brogan as a coarse, stout leather shoe reaching to the ankle. This is definitely an interesting choice for a name, but it is made up of stylish sounds that would work well on a boy today. In the US, this name has been used since 1983 on record.  It even ranked in the Top 1,000 from 2008-2012. Could it have another chance to climb the charts soon?

Smith (154 births - #1194 in 2015) - The #1 most common surname in the US is Smith. Even though it is used on more than 2 million people as a last name, it would actually make for an unexpected first name. People have thought so since 1880 but it has never been common and still ranks below the Top 1,000 as a first name. Of course, it is an occupational name that refers to a metal worker or a "blacksmith".  It comes from the Old English word smiþ which is related to smitan meaning "to smite, to hit".

Adler (153 births - #1196 in 2015) - Adler is a surname name that comes from the German word adler meaning "eagle".  This name feels like one that could have been used 100 years ago, but it never made it on record until 1985 for boys and 2005 for girls. It is gradually increasing in usage for boys, although it ranks below the Top 1000 for both genders.

Wallace (153 births - #1201 in 2015) - From the Norman French word waleis, Wallace means "foreigner, stranger". It is sometimes used to denote native Welsh and Bretons. Another spelling is Wallis. For boys, Wallace peaked in 1923 with 2,803 births for a rank of #69. It hasn't been nearly as popular since then.

Cornelius (152 births - #1204 in 2015) -  This is a Roman family name that comes from the Latin element cornu meaning "horn". This was also the name of a few early saints and a pope. In the US, Cornelius has been used since 1880 on record, and it ranked within the Top 1000 every year until 2009. Will it ever make a comeback?

Milton (152 births - #1205 in 2015) Lastly, we have an English surname that is derived from a place name meaning "mill town". Somehow, this name has only decreased in popularity since it peaked in the early 1920s. Once a Top 100 name, it left the Top 1000 in 2009. Could it ever be seen as fashionable again?

Which of these names do you like the most? Would you ever use one? If so, share your thoughts in the comments below!

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Today's featured name comes from our list of names that end with the letters "-ey". There were many to choose from but Harley was the winner.

The Art of Naming - Old English place name meaning hare clearing, meadow

Harley comes from a surname which was derived from an Old English place name meaning "hare clearing", taken from hara meaning "hare" and leah meaning "clearing, meadow". If you name your child Harley, you could definitely get away with rabbit decor. 

This is a unisex name. In the US, it ranks higher for females. In England and Wales, it ranks highly for males. In Australia and New Zealand, it is only male. 

If we look closer at the popularity statistics in the US, we'll find that Harley has been on record for boys since records began in 1880. It has consistently kept up as the population grew, still ranking within the Top 1000 all these years. In 2015, there were 386 boys named Harley which ranks the name as the 663rd most popular name in the country.

Girls, on the other hand, have only been named Harley consistently since 1968. There were a handful of births between 1916 and 1953, but they were minimal. In 1991, this name debuted on the charts at #678 and kept rising thereafter. As of 2015, the name ranks at a high of #281 for girls with 1,123 births for the year.

So which gender is this name better on? Which do you prefer? I have always thought of it as a male name, which is why the photo above is blue. However, it is more commonly given to girls in America.

If you are considering naming your child Harley, here are some ideas for middle names and sibling names:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Addison, Kennedy, Madison, Payton, Piper, Scarlett, Taylor
Brothers: Ashton, Carson, Colton, Fletcher, Jagger, Quentin, Tyler

Middle Name Ideas (boy):
Harley Alexander
Harley Elliott
Harley James
Harley Lincoln
Harley Theron
Harley Wyatt

As A Middle Name (boy):
Adam Harley
Donovan Harley
Logan Harley
Maxwell Harley
Owen Harley
William Harley

Middle Name Ideas (girl):
Harley Annabelle
Harley Grace
Harley Kate
Harley Olivia
Harley Rose
Harley Vivian

As A Middle Name (girl):
Amelia Harley
Caroline Harley
Elizabeth Harley
Juliana Harley
Madeline Harley
Victoria Harley

What would you pair with the name Harley?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Names Ending with the Letters "-ey"

We've explored letters A-D so far in this "ends with -y" series. Today's list is perhaps one of the most plentiful. It was difficult to narrow it down to only the best options that end with the letters "-ey".

The names below all have their endings in common, but they differ greatly in terms of style and popularity. Let's play a little game with these names. Let's suppose that you are having triplets and you have your heart set on cutesy rhyming names for them. Choose three that you like most, and give them their own middle names. You can choose either the gender combinations.  Have fun!


The Art of Naming - boy and girl names with the ee sound



Can you think of any "-ey" names that I missed? Share them below (along with the names you chose for your fictional triplets) and I'll add them to the list!

Here's the triplets that I would name: Ramsey Oliver, Audrey Juliet & Zoey Claire.  You?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sweet Tooth Baby Names: Inspired by Chocolate Bars

sweet names of candy and chocolate companies at The Art of Naming

This list is surely limited since there are definitely way more chocolate bars out there, but this one covers a decent amount of possibilities if you are looking for a sweet, chocolatey name. Can you think of any other chocolate bars made around the world that has a name suitable for a human person? If so, share in the comments below! Let's get started...

Aero - Originally made by Rowntree, this chocolate bar has been manufactured by Nestlé since 1988. As a name, Aero has been in use in the US since 2005 for boys and 2013 for girls. It is a bold and interesting choice that fits well with other trendy names ending with -o. The same-sounding Arrow has also been climbing the charts.

Almond Joy -  Almond in French is Amande. If this happens to be your favorite candy bar, the name Amandine Joie would work in lieu of "Almond Joy" itself. Although, Joy is always a great virtue name. Joy was most popular in 1957 and 1974. Comparatively, it ranks lower today at only #436.

Baby Ruth - You may not write "Baby" on the birth certificate, but you could have your very own baby named Ruth in honor of your favorite chocolate, caramel nougat treat. This Nestlé-owned candy is said to have been named after President Grover Cleveland's daughter Ruth, so history buffs might also appreciate this name.

Caramello -  There's Carmelo and Carmella, why not Caramello? However, it has never had any usage on record, so feel free to start this trend, especially if you're a fan of caramel and milk chocolate.

Charleston Chew - For a boy, Charleston has been used in the US since 1914. It has never been in the Top 1000 and received 87 births in 2015. For girls, however, the name first gained usage in 1997 and currently had 253 births for the year. It could approach the Top 1000 soon! Which gender do you prefer? And do you enjoy this chocolatey nougat?

Clark Bar - I've featured this super name before, but here's the latest stats. The name Clark has been in use since the before 1880s in the US and peaked impressively in 1961. However, today's popularity high is nearly on par with that one. There were 858 boys named Clark in 2015, for a rank of #373. There were also 15 female births.

Heath Bar - This name peaked in 1974 at #181. These days, Heath is down at #832. It would be interesting to find out how the late Mr. Ledger affected this name's popularity, if at all. The name has also been used on a handful of females back in the 1970s-1980s. What do you think of Heath?

Hershey's - This male name was featured in the previous article as well, but since it's a big company with chocolate bars with the same name, it's worth mentioning again. As a name, Hershey has only been used at the bare minimum levels to be recorded, and only between the years 1914 and 1954, plus 5 births in 1982. A rare name! Alternatively, there's the similar-sounding Hershel that is more common.

Holly Bar - Holly is a name that is starting to fade from popularity recently. It was biggest in the 1970s and 1980s but has now dropped to #490 in 2015. It will most likely continue downward, but it is still a lovely choice. It is reminiscent of both a plant, and the chewy French nougat bar that's covered in chocolate.

Kit Kat - Kit is a diminutive of both Christopher and Katherine, while Kat also comes from Katherine and related names. This playful name works well for the crispy chocolatey wafer bars. As far as popularity goes, Kat is rarely used alone, but Kit had 28 female births and 40 male births in 2015.

Lindor -  The Lindor chocolate truffles from Lindt are a fancy treat. However, there have not been any births on record for the name Lindor in the US. Doesn't it sound like it could be a cool masculine form of Linda? Perhaps one of you chocolate-lovers could use it for your son to honor an aunt Linda.

Milo Bar - This caramel brownie treat is covered in chocolate and produced by Nestlé in Australia. And what a great name it has! Milo is one of those up-and-coming trendy choices for a boy. It is currently up to #288 in 2015. It was down at #724 just 10 years before that, and it ranked beyond the Top 1000 if you look back another 10 years in 1995. Sister-name Mila is also up.

Oh Henry! - This candy bar contains peanuts, caramel and fudge covered in chocolate, and has been produced since 1920. The name Henry ranked best around 1918, and still fared well through the 1940s. It took a dip in the 1970s-1980s but it is back on the rise, ranking as high as #29 in 2015.

Orion - In the Czech Republic, the Orion brand chocolate bar has been hugely popular. It originated in Prague in 1896 and was acquired by Nestlé in 1991. There's also a company in South Korea called Orion Confectionery which makes cookies, pies, chocolate, candy and more, including its famous Choco Pie. Orion is not only a celestial name, it is also very chocolatey.  And it has gained popularity in the past two decades, currently ranking at #368.

Prince Polo - This Polish chocolate bar is also known as Prins Póló and sells well in Eurasian countries. You may be surprised to know that the name Prince has been consistently common since 1880. It ranked at #387 in 2015. Will it rise or fall in 2016 due to the passing of the music icon Prince?  Polo has also been used as a name here and there over the years with 8 births in 2015.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups -These chocolate and peanut butter cups are best-sellers and well-known. The name Reese is rather popular too. It has been in use for boys since the 1880s, but only ranks at #701 in 2015. For girls, it gained consistent usage in 1992 and skyrocketed up the charts to its current #173. Do you like Reese more for a boy or a girl?

Rocky Road - This is not just a great flavor of ice cream, Rocky Road is also a candy bar made of fluffy marshmallow and topped with cashews and milk chocolate. It is made by the Annabelle Candy Company. The name Rocky has been given to boys since 1913, and has also been used by a few girls over the years. There were 229 male births in 2015 for a rank of #927, and there were 6 female births.

Rolo - The bite-sized ROLO pieces have a caramel center and are covered in milk chocolate. There are no births on record for the name Rolo, but if you add an L, Rollo was used well between 1881 and 1962. It started dying out after that, but suddenly gained 10 male births in 2015 after a nearly 30 year hiatus.

Sky Bar - The milk chocolate-covered Sky Bar has been produced by Necco since 1938 in America. It is known for having four different sections with a different filling in each: caramel, vanilla, peanut, and fudge. As a name, Sky was given to 81 boys and 365 girls in 2015. The similar Skye has 58 male births and 845 female. Which spelling do you prefer and for which gender?

Violet Crumble - This Australian chocolate bar has a crumbly honeycomb toffee center. It is made by Nestlé and it is also common in Hawaii. As a name, Violet seems to be a favorite lately. It has surpassed its previous high rank of #74 in 1919, by currently ranking at #50 in 2015.

York Peppermint Patty - This cool, refreshing treat is filled with mint and covered in dark chocolate. The name York has a very unsteady popularity pattern. It's been around since 1880 in the US, but there are many years when it only scores 5 or fewer births for the year. Its ultimate peak came in 1971 with a record-high of 21 births for the year. 2015 was graced by 7 births.

Would you ever name a child after your favorite chocolate bar? If not, that's understandable. But if your sweet tooth is beckoned, the above names are some of the best options around. Whether you would use it or not, which name do you like the most?


Friday, August 5, 2016

Sweet Tooth Baby Names: Inspired by Candy Makers

Candy companies with boy girl names

While there are quite possibly hundreds of other companies around the world that produce candy, these are some of the ones whose names could work on a human as well. If you're looking for a sweet name for your little one, perhaps you'd draw inspiration from one of these brands. The following list is comprised of companies that manufacture candy and chocolate.

Adams & Brooks - Adam is a classic, but Brooks is an up-and-coming surname name that ends with the trendy letter "-s" and ranks up at #232 in 2015. Either name would be a non-obvious nod to the makers of the "whirly pop".

Albert's Candy -  If you're a fan of fruit chews and splash pops, you may like this name. The company was started by Robert Lawrence Albert in 1916, which checks out since the name Albert ranked the best back around 1920. There are still plenty of little Alberts being born today. Nearly 700 in 2015, to be exact.

Allan Candy - Well known across Canada for their gummy candy, this company is now a part of Hershey. As a name, this spelling of Allan is less common than Alan and Allen, but it still ranks within the Top 1000 in the US.

Annabelle's Candy -  Sweet Annabelle is a great name for a girl who loves her taffy and s'mores. As a name, Annabelle really ranked well in 2014, hitting a high of #57. It's back down to #92 now but still an excellent choice if you want a more popular name.

Asher's Candy - This is the company responsible for Jelly Belly jelly beans, as well as an assortment of fancy boxed chocolate. That right there is enough of a reason to opt for the name Asher! Most parents probably chose it for other reasons though, since it is at a high of #83 in 2015.

Brach's Candy - There's Brock and Barack, why not Brach? As a name, Brach appeared on record a handful of times between 1976 and 2003. This company makes a big assortment of hard candies, gummies, mints, jelly beans, candy corn and chews.

Brown & Haley - Brown might not be used as a name, but there's Bruno, or perhaps Hazel which would go nicely with Haley as matchy twin names. Haley was most popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Bruno had two popularity peaks, 1916 and 2014, a great example of the 100-year rule on the boy side. Hazel is on that same track, ranking best in 1918 and currently climbing the charts.

Dante Confections - This company makes chocolate confections and truffles in fancy boxes using stevia and dark chocolate. The name Dante means "enduring" and has been used in the US since 1908. It was most popular in 1998 but still ranks at #322 in 2015.

Dorval Candy  - This name is not in use in the US, but doesn't it sound like it should be? It has that stylish V in the middle to go along with other names like Evan or Donovan. And it is even better if you like sour candy straws and sour popping candy!

Dryden & Palmer Candy - While Dryden has only been around since 1992 and has never been close to the Top 1000, Palmer is on record way back in 1880. What do you think of this duo?

Farley's & Sathers -  Farley has been used as a name from 1913-1991 in the US. It has a cool sound, and if you enjoy "now & laters" and "super bubble", you may feel compelled to go for it. However, Sathers probably wouldn't sound that great on a baby.

Gilliam Candy - This company is known for their variety of striped stick candy. Gilliam is related to the name William by way of the French Guillaume. The name hasn't been used since the 1950s in the US, though.

Hershey's - If you love the various candy and chocolate made by this famous company, the name Hershey is nice and uncommon. It hasn't really been used since the 1940s. If you'd like a similar sound, the name Hershel is a cool alternative.

Judson-Atkinson Candy - They produce a variety of fruity and nutty candy. The name Judson has been in use since 1880 in the US, and ranked until 1986. It dropped out for a bit and then returned in 2014. Could it be the new Hudson? Atkinson has never been used as a given name in the US, but no doubt it is a common last name.

Kenny's Super Twists - As the name implies, the company focuses on licorice and rope candy. The name Kenny has been used since 1908 and peaked in 1960 as a stand alone name, but it can also be short for Kenneth or Kendrick. Would you use Kenny by itself?

Kimmie Candy - This company has a variety of candies from "chocorocks" to "sunbursts". The name Kimmie is usually short for Kimberly but can be used alone. This spelling has been used in the US since 1952, but only a small handful of babies per year receive the name.

Kit's Taffy - Kit's taffy comes in a handful of classic flavors. As a name, Kit is a diminutive of both Christopher and Katherine. It has been used for both genders since the early 1900s as a stand alone name.

Koppers Candy - This company specializes in chocolate covered candy, fruit, nuts, and coffee beans. The spelling of Kopper hasn't been used on record in the US, but Copper has been used since 2001. And there's also the similar Cooper or Kooper if you'd prefer.

Liberty Orchards - They are best known for their "Aplets & Cotlets" confection made of apples and apricots. The name Liberty comes from a Latin word meaning "free" and it has had three popularity peaks in 1918, 1976 and 2004. The nickname Libby makes it feel wearable today!

Lowney's Chocolates - This company lasted from the early 1880s until its factory closed in 2010. In honor of this maker of chocolate bonbons, the name Lowney could make for an interesting middle name. However, it has never been used as a first name on record in the US.

Madelaine Chocolate - Established in 1949, this chocolate company focuses on holiday and themed chocolates as well as treats for everyday. The name Madelaine has been in use since the early 1900s. It isn't as popular as sister names Madeline or Madeleine and has never ranked in the Top 1000. Which do you like best?

Marich Candy - This company was opened in 1983 by the creator of the Jelly Belly who had worked for other companies until then. They produce a wide range of chocolate covered fruit and nuts in California. Marich has a cool surname vibe but if you aren't keen on the spelling, try the similar Marek or Merrick instead. Marich has never been on record in the US.

Pearson's Candy - Pearson's Candy has made quality confections since 1909, including "bit-o-honey", mint patties and nut goodies. If you're a fan, the name Pearson has been around since 1898 but has never been popular enough to hit the Top 1000. You could help change that.

Peter Paul Candy Manufacturing Company - As a company, much of their product line has been purchased by Hershey, including their Almond Joy. Both Peter and Paul are classic biblical names that work well together and separately. Which do you like more?

Primrose Candy Company - This is one of the lesser known rose names that reappeared on record in 2012, presumably because of the character in The Hunger Games. The company has been around since 1928 and makes hard candy, chewy candy, caramel, taffy and popcorn confections.

Thompson Chocolate - Since 1879, this company has been making chocolate decorated as gold coins and silver stars. The name Thompson is usually thought of as a surname but it has also been a given name since 1882 in the US. It has never been popular, though, receiving a high of 56 births in a year in 2015.

Toms International - If Thompson is too long, maybe you'd prefer just Tom. On its own, the name Tom has actually ranked within the Top 1000 from 1880-1995. It has fallen below the chart now, but still had 67 births for 2015. This European company makes chocolate, liquorice and sugar confectionery.

Tootsie Candy - Believe it or not, Tootsie has been given to 58 girls on record between 1920-1959. This isn't necessarily recommended as a full given name, but Tootsie could be a cute pet name or nickname. And who doesn't love a good Tootsie Roll or Blow Pop, now and then?

Whittaker's Chocolate - Since 1896, Whittaker's Chocolate has been a favorite in New Zealand. They make a variety of delicious things, from creamy milk chocolate bars to those with peanuts or cranberries. As a given name in the US, Whittaker first appeared in 2002. While it remains obscure with only 13 births in 2015, it would be an interesting choice!

Wrigley Candy - Wrigley doesn't just make gum, they are also responsible for Life Savers, Altoids, Skittles and Starburst. However, those who receive the name Wrigley are more likely to be born to Chicago Cubs fans. Interestingly, the name has only been on record in the US since 2003 and is given nearly equally to both genders.

Would you ever name a child after the makers of your favorite sweet treat? Perhaps not, but this list is rather delicious anyway. Which name is your favorite? (And what is your favorite candy?)

Source 1 |  Source 2

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Barely Used Girl Names: Opal, Florence & Cecily [Part Three]

The Art of Naming - unique unusual uncommon unpopular baby names for girls

This is part three of our series that highlights names that rank below the Top 1000 in the US in 2015. That list is put together by the Social Security Administration every year based on the number of registered births throughout the country.

Since the names on this list don't rank, they are all great options for parents who don't want a super popular name. These would be unique enough to sound refreshing and might even guarantee that the child would be the only one with her name in her class. If you're tired of meeting dozens of Emmas and Sophias, check out the following:

1. Maren (229 births in 2015 - #1114) Maren is the Danish form of Marina which comes from the Latin Marinus meaning "of the sea". In the US, Maren popped up on the record in 1916. This name was most popular in 1979 with 226 births and a rank of #733. It hit the #900s again in the mid 2000s, but currently ranks below the Top 1000 chart. Could this name ever catch on?

2. Opal (229 births in 2015 - #1115) An opal, of course, is an iridescent gemstone. It is the birthstone for the month of October. Originally, it comes from a Sanskrit word, upala, meaning "jewel". Opal peaked in popularity in 1918 then fell just as quickly back down the charts. It ranked in the Top 100 from 1905-1919, and then left the Top 1000 by 1961. This decade, Opal is inching upward. Could it make a comeback?

3. Fallon (225 births in 2015 - #1125) Fallon is an Anglicization of the Irish surname Ó Fallamhain meaning "descendant of Fallamhan", with Fallamhan meaning "leader". It's interesting to note that it was poorly used for boys and started out strong in 1981 for girls with 232 births for the year. The name was taken straight from pop-culture. It was the name of a popular female character on the soap opera Dynasty which started in 1981. It left the Top 1000 in 1996. Could it return or does Jimmy Fallon make it too masculine and/or surnamey?

4. Sally (221 births in 2015 - #1139) Sweet Sally is considered a diminutive of Sarah. Sarah is a Hebrew name that refers to a lady, princess or noblewoman. It is usually claimed as meaning "princess". As a standalone name, Sally does date back to 1880 when records began. It ranked the best from the 1930s to the 1960s, but it peaked in 1947 with 5,266 births for the year. It left the Top 1000 in the early 2003. Sadie is doing very well, another diminutive of Sarah. Could Sally climb the charts too?

5. Whitley (221 births in 2015- #1142) The meaning of Whitley isn't certain, but if you take a look at two other Old English names, Whitney and Wesley, you could surmise that Whitley means "white meadow". Whitley has been used minimally for boys over the years since 1914, but the females have received more usage even though it wasn't on record for them until 1984. Whitley did appear in the Top 1000 for girls from 1988-1993, ranking as high as #446 in 1988.

6. Marlowe (220 births in 2015 - #1146) Marlowe is a surname that is derived from the Old English place name meaning "remnants of a lake". Marlowe is a unisex name, having popped up for boys first in 1912. For girls it arrived in 1918 but it wasn't used as consistently. It gained more usage by 1967 and is now climbing the charts in the past decade. Both Marley and Harlow are in the Top 500 right now. Will Marlowe breach the Top 1000 soon?

7. Elodie (215 births in 2015 - #1167) The French Élodie comes from the name Alodia which is possibly derived from the Germanic elements alja meaning "foreign" and aud meaning "wealth". The fact that Elodie ranks down below the Top 1000 is somewhat surprising. It is one of those names often discussed around the baby naming community as suggestions. Perhaps parents aren't actually following that advice though. The name has almost always been used in the US but there were periods of time, like the 1970s-1980s, where the name was unheard of. This decade, it is gaining steam. Births per year more than doubled from 2007 to 2011, and nearly doubled again by 2015. Will she be popular soon?

8. Katrina (215 births in 2015 - 1168) Katrina is a variant of the Gaelic name Catriona which is a form of Katherine. That is said to come from the Greek Aikaterine, and it is said to mean "pure" but its origins aren't entirely clear. I detailed that in the past here.  In the US, Katrina has been used since 1895. Its best year was 1980 with 3,397 births for the year. Despite being a beautiful name, Katrina may always be associated with the disastrous hurricane that hit the US in 2005. The number of births per year declined between 2005 and 2006, and the name left the Top 1000 by 2011.

9. Florence (214 births in 2015- 1173) Florence comes from the Latin feminine name Florentia, which came from the male Florentius and florens which means "flourishing". Florence is a city in Italy, and it was the name of a British nurse who founded modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. In the US, Florence ranked very well up until it began declining in usage in the 1960s. It was within the Top 10 and Top 100 for a very long time but it received the most births per year between 1915 and 1922.  It left the Top 1000 in 1982. In just the last 4 years, Florence has gained some momentum. Will she be a Top 1000 name again soon?

10. Cecily (212 births in 2015 - #1182) While Cecily comes from the name Cecilia, Cecily was more common during the Middle Ages. Cecilia comes from the Roman family name Caecilius, which comes from the Latin caecus meaning "blind". Cecily was first used on record in 1911. It has remained below the Top 1000 the majority of the time except for once in 1974, and from 1988-1991. It's best year by far was 1989 when it hit #497 with 473 births for the year. It has fallen since then but could it rise again in the future?

Which of these 10 names would you most like to see being commonly used on modern girls?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Barely Used Boy Names: Hollis, Dashiell & Shepherd [Part Three]

The Art of Naming - unusual uncommon unique unpopular baby name for boys

Are you looking for a name that is not currently popular, but also isn't strange? You've come to the right place! Today we explore part three of our series that uncovers names barely being used for boys today. This list breaks into the #1100s, which indicates these names are way down below the Top 1000 most popular names in the country for 2015.

Hollis (176 births - #1094) Since Hollis was derived from the Middle English word holis which refers to "holly trees", it was originally used as a surname by people who lived near such trees. Hollis had the most number of births in the year 1921 but left the Top 1000 in the 1970s. It is currently gaining a bit of popularity for both genders but it still ranks below the Top 1000 with 176 births for boys in 2015 and 106 for girls.

Cormac (175 births - #1099) This Irish name may have been derived from the Irish Gaelic word corb meaning "raven" and mac meaning "son". There was even a King of Ireland in the 3rd century named Cormac. The Scottish equivalent is Cormag. This name wasn't used in the US until the late 1950s. It wasn't until the 1980s that it gained consistent usage year-over-year. It is climbing the charts now but still remains below the Top 1000.

Dashiell (173 births - #1102) Dashiell's origins and meaning are relatively unknown. However, it is said to be an Anglicization of the French surname de Chiel. Dashiell popped up in the US in 1979 with 8 births on record. The name has never been in the Top 1000 but it is inching closer every year.

Shepherd (173 births - #1108) As indicted, Shepherd is an Anglo-Saxon occupational name that refers to a "sheep herdsman". This name has been used on and off in the US records since about 1912. It wasn't consistent year-over-year until 1994. Its usage has begun increasing recently but not enough to score a spot in the Top 1000...yet.

Brenton (169 births - #1120) Brenton comes from a surname taken from an English place name meaning "Bryni's town". In Old English, Bryni means "fire". This hot name is hardly being used in the US. It first appeared in 1912 and joined the Top 1000 from 1966-2013, aside from dipping below in 2010. Brenton ranked highest in 1984. Is this name on its way out or could it gain more usage again?

Mordechai (167 births - #1133) Mordechai is the Hebrew spelling of the Persian Mordecai which means "servant of Marduk". The spelling Mordecai was the first to be used in the US, popping up in 1912, whereas Mordechai wasn't used until 1950. By the 1970s, Mordechai quickly became the more popular spelling. It even made it into the Top 1000 twice, once in 2003 and again in 2012. Could it ever have a long-term spot?

Finnian (164 births - #1142) Finnian comes from finn meaning "white" in Old Irish. It was also the name of several Irish saints. The names Finn and Finnegan both rank in the Top 500, but their quirkier brother Finnian has yet to accomplish such feats. In the US, Finnian has only been used since 1993 on record. It is currently at a high point, but that still falls short of the charts. Could it be the next big thing?

Lathan (164 births - #1144) Lathan is an unusual one. There doesn't seem to be a concrete origin for it. Many sites list it as a rhyming variant of Nathan, or maybe a form of Latham which is even rarer. In the US, it has been used on and off since 1912. Only in the last decade has it gained a bit of usage, even ranking in the Top 1000 from 2010-2011. It is down a bit since then. Will it ever gain traction?

Kennedy (163 births - #1151) Kennedy is an Anglicization of an Irish surname. It comes from Ó Cinnéidigh which means "descendant of Cennétig". The name Cennétig means "armoured or misshapen head" and was the name of an Irish King. Kennedy is often given in honor of our late American President John F. Kennedy. It's also very popular for girls, ranking at #57 in 2015, even though it wasn't used for girls until the 1980s. For boys though, it was first used back in 1912, but it was never more popular than it was in 1964 when it ranked #516. It briefly ranked again from 1994-2005 at the bottom of the charts. Will this ever be popular for boys or is it too feminine now?

Linus (161 births - #1156) The name Linus comes from the Greek name linos meaning "flax". In the legends, he was the son of the god Apollo. Linus was also the name of the 2nd pope. In the US, it dates back to 1882 but wasn't used regularly until 1909. Interestingly, it was never popular in the past. It is receiving more births per year now than ever before. Could it catch on for the first time ever?

So which of these names do you like the most? Could you see any being catapulted to the top half of the charts in the near future? Or should these stay right where they are? Which would you use?

Thanks for reading!


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