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Baby Names Trends: Cassia, Caspian and Cash

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Here in our baby name bubble, in case you haven’t noticed, we tend to parse every element of every name for hints of incipient baby name trends.  This would include first syllables, middle letters (like the current x), and endings like en and er for boys.

Just recently we’ve been noticing some suddenly increased attention focused on a group of Latinate names starting with the syllable Cas, which seem to be marching ahead  in tandem. They all have a soft a sound, eliminating such oldies as Casey– and the Cas element is often pronounced Cash.

Here are the main contenders in this latest of baby name trends:

CassiaThis lovely, elegant name carries the scent of cinnamon, which is what its meaning is in Greek.

Cassius and
Cassian
Has the stylish Roman feel of names like Atticus; associated (not in the best way) with Julius Caesar, and also with abolitionist Cassius Clay, who inspired the birth name of Muhammad Ali. Variation Cassian is an ancient saints’ name primed to burst onto the modern scene ala Asher.

CaspianHas a romantic image owing largely to The Chronicles of Narnia’s Prince Caspian, and is also a water/nature name via the salty Caspian Sea.

CashelA neglected Irish classic that could provide an uncommon route to the nickname Cash, similar in sound to the ascending DashiellCashel was picked for their son by Rebecca Miller and Daniel Day Lewis.

CastorOne of the mythological twins that make up the constellation Gemini, Castor is on the cutting edge of fashion. Metallica’s James Hetfield was ahead of the curve when he chose it for his son in 2000.

Casper—Though not Latin-based, Casper—the Dutch form of the hip Jasper—does seem to fit into this group.  Having pretty much shed its old ghostly image, it’s beginning to be seen as a stylish, formerly funky choice, after being stashed in the attic since 1933. Claudia Schiffer and Jenny Frost have sons named Casper, while name-contrarian Jason Lee picked it for his little girl.

Cassiopeia—The intriguing if somewhat bulky five-syllable name of a Greek mythological queen, the inspiration for a northern constellation appellation. Cassiopeia Black is a pure-blood witch in the Harry Potter novels, and the name has appeared in several video games and pop and rock songs.

Casimir—A Cas-name brought over by immigrants from Poland, where it is a saint’s and royal name, and has a peaceful vibe via Casimir the Pacific, a renowned eleventh-century monarch.  New Jerseyites will recognize the connection to Casimir Pulaski, the Polish general who fought in the American Revolution, after whom the Pulaski Skyway was named.

SHORT FORMS

CassOnce a popular unisex nickname name—it even made the Top 1000 a century ago—Cass can be remembered as the stage name of Mama Cass Elliot (born Ellen) and the eponymous hero of the Sinclair Lewis novel Cass Timberlane.  Maybe with the new interest in Cas-names and preference for short boys’ names, Cass could make a comeback.

CassieOne of the relaxed and friendly retro nicknames with a country feel that was revived in the 1980s (when it hit Number 137),  Cassie now looks like it could be headed for a second restoration.  A onetime soap opera staple, it was later seen on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Skins. After the long-running spate of Kates, Cassie can make a fresher nickname for Catherine.

CashCash is king, when it comes to the names on this list.  It popped onto the registry in 2003 at #966, and seven years later it’s at 261, picked by several celebs and seeming to get hotter every year, in inverse proportion to the credit crisis. Actor Cash Warren is dad to Jessica Alba’s daughters Honor and Haven.

NOT SO NEW

Cassandra—The lovely Cassandra, with its Greek mythical overtones, had its moment of glory as a Top 70 name throughout the 1990s.  Less popular now, but still appealing.

CassidyThis Irish-Western surname ambled onto the boys’ and girls’ lists at just about the same time—in the early 80s—but it wasn’t long before it was completely lassoed by the girls—quite probably at least partly due to Kathie Lee Gifford’s dropping her daughter’s name almost daily when there was still a Regis & Kathie Lee. Cassidy is still hanging in on the girls’ list at Number 248, but has all but hopped-along for the cowboys.

SOME WORD NAME POSSIBILITIES

CascadeA waterfall name with an energetic flow that can fit right in with the trend for aquatic names, and is also the name of a range of mountains.  Downside: a brand of dishwasher detergent as well.

CashmereEvocative of the soft and elegant goat’s wool.  When spelled Kashmir, it turns geographic.

Castle—Has a nice fairy tale/King Arthurian feel; a word name that still has access to the nickname Cass.

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