Category: Baby Names
By Lauren Apfel
As both a classicist and a lover of names, I find myself in a unique position. On the one hand, I have been exposed, from a relatively young age, to a swathe of wonderful monikers that wouldn’t otherwise be on my radar: Achilles, Antigone, Andromache (to mention a few off the top of my head that all happen to start with A). On the other hand, I have spent many years studying and internalizing the tales of woe that accompany these names. Achilles, for instance, is not just an interesting three-syllable option to me with the benefit of a double letter. He is an angry man, with a delicate ego, who spent a long time sulking in his tent before embarking on a brutal killing spree. Not exactly the connotation I was looking for, you can imagine, when it came to naming my sons.
Okay, to be fair, I was never really tempted to call any of my sons Achilles. But there are some ancient Greek names that make me swoon, names I might even have considered using for my own modern offspring had their backstories not been so utterly problematic. Here are five:
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was a respected and versatile 19th century author, critic and journalist who wrote dozens of ghost and horror stories, gathered together in an anthology called Can Such Things Be? The all-but-forgotten name Ambrose has a pleasant rosy, ambrosial feel. Popular in Bierce’s time, it’s still well liked on Nameberry, ranking at Number 267.
Or they might favor a place-name or word name or family name whose meaning is more personal than literal: London as a nod to their honeymoon city or Leonie for its fierce animal reference or Lowell after grandma’s maiden name.
If the ancient meaning of a name has less, well, meaning than it used to, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter at all. (Sounds like a tongue twister, doesn’t it?)
In fact, knowing the meaning of the name you choose or even choosing a name for its meaning may be a way to add depth and dimension to your baby name choice. The name you pick may be fashionable or feminine or flow well with your last name, but it also resonates for you (and eventually will for your child) because of the power of its meaning.
Today we’re looking at names that mean strong. That may convey a quality you wish to confer on your baby for the future or even the present. And what child, female or male, strapping or struggling, couldn’t use an extra measure of strength, whether physical or spiritual?
The wide range of baby names that mean strong (or strength or power or powerful) include:
There’s less and less difference between pet names and baby names.
The most popular puppy names of 2013, according to the website Vetstreet, include a lot of names trendy for babies: Bella, Daisy, and Sadie for females; Max, Cooper, and Jack for males. Kitten names are also trending increasingly toward the human: Chloe and Nala, Oliver and Charlie.
All kinds of pets from hamsters to goldfish are more likely to be called by baby names these days than by a moniker like Fluffy or Fido.
My middle name is Joyce. I absolutely love it, not only because it is after my beloved grandmother, but also because it is lovely, versatile, and has a delightful meaning. And while I think it is perfectly splendid as a first name, as many parents in the 1930s and 1940s did, I personally love it in the middle spot. It is short, sweet and lends itself to be even shorter for nicknames… Sammy Jo, Sarah Joy, D.J., etc.