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A Backwards Look at Names

In the history of baby naming, rarely has a new name taken off with the supersonic speed of Nevaeh.  Its surge was spurred by one singular event, the announcement by Christian rock star Sonny Sandoval of his baby’s name on MTV in 2000, when he explained that it was “Heaven spelled backwards.”  Sandoval didn’t invent the name–in the previous year there had been eight other baby girls called Nevaeh, but there can be no doubt that his public announcement was what triggered the explosion.By 2001, it had leaped up to #226 on the popularity list, and four years later it entered the Top 100.  On last year’s list, it reached #31, obviously striking a chord with the many parents who didn’t actually want to go all the way to Heaven.

Palindrome Names

There have always been a number of names that are palindromes — spelled the same backwards and forwards, such as Ada, Ava, Hannah, Otto, Eve, Anna, Aviva, et al–but that differs from the Nevaeh model.  This got us to thinking about which other names might  do a similar about face as a way of creating something new and truly original.  Already there is some use of the name Semaj (James spelled backwards) among Rastafarians, inspired by Leachim Semaj, a Jamaican activist, psychologist and radio host whose birth name was Michael James.

Exotic Reversals

Here are a few other exotic reversals, giving a nouveau twist to an old name.  You could probably come up with some more yourself–perhaps as a way of creating a namesake for someone you wish to honor:

ADAJ from JADA
ADIA from AIDA
AMABALA from ALABAMA
ARON from NORA
LEXA from AXEL
LEZAH from HAZEL
NAJ from JAN
NEELIA from AILEEN
NEVAH from HAVEN
REVILO from OLIVER
SIANA from ANAIS
SIRI from IRIS
SITO from OTIS
ZENI from INEZ
You might  also use this backwards principle for naming twins: AIDAN & NADIA, ALAN & NALA. IRA & ARI, MARA & ARAM.

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