Category: Baby Names
A cartoon in a recent New Yorker features a little girl and her mother surveying Halloween costumes in a shop window. “I want to be whichever Disney princess is the most badass,” the girl says.
Badass princess is an image that not only appeals to contemporary little girls but to their parents when choosing a name.
Like the hipster cowboy names we wrote about recently, badass princess names are appealing not so much because of their sound or their style but because of the complicated image they convey. These are girl names that are both decidedly feminine and rooted in tradition, but are not at all conventional or conservative. They’re creative and edgy, but not invented or unorthodox like Blue or Bellamy.
The badass princess names are classy and sassy, cosmopolitan yet earthy, chic but never trying too hard. It’s an image that many an urbane parent can embrace for her daughter, and that a little girl can have fun living up to, in Halloween costume and beyond.
By E. Wittig, aka “Frankie“
We’ve just entered the period of the sign of Sagittarius, the archer. Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, is the ninth sign of the zodiac and is represented by a centaur drawing a bow. Traits said to be shared by people born under the archer are generosity, honesty, and compassion as well as foolishness, pride, and frankness. They are ethical but impulsive, and have a love of excitement and adventure. Though the turquoise is their main gemstone, a handful of others represent them as well.
Other elements associated with this sign are the color purple, the narcissus, and the dandelion. The archer is one of three fire signs along with Leo and Aries. Here are some astrological names for a baby born between now and December 21st which reflect these attributes:
Adara - Hebrew, fire
Aine - Irish, fire
Ascella - a star in the Sagittarius constellation
Calida - Latin, fiery
Camilla - an Italian fire goddess
Celosia - Greek, burning
Eldrid - Norse, beautiful fire
Eleanor - Greek; shining one, compassion
Fiametta - Latin, little fiery one
Gwenaëlle - Welsh, generous and noble
Ione - the name of a nymph; it means violet, a shade of purple
Mercy - English, compassion
Seraphina - Hebrew, ardent, fiery
Sholeh - Persian, flame
Theodosia - a Greek name combining the elements “generous” and “god”
Verity – Latin, truth
Aidan - Irish, little fire
Apollo - Greek archery god
Ash - usually a short form of other names, but also an English word referring to the powdery residue of a fire
Atar - Iranian fire god
Bowman - English surname for an archer
Brande - English, firebrand
Chiron - a centaur in Greek mythology
Idris - Hindu, fire; also Welsh, ardent lord
Jupiter - the ruling planet of Sagittarius
Karim - Arabic, generous and noble
Kaus - three stars in the constellation, and a word meaning bow
Makrim - Arabic, generous and noble
Nunki - one of the stars in the constellation
Theodosius - a Greek name combining the elements “giving, generous” and “god”
Toxotes - (like Socrates) the Greek name for Sagittarius
Artemis - Greek goddess of archery
Nuri - an Arabic and Hebrew name meaning “my fire”
Phoenix - a mythical bird reborn in its own ashes
If these none of these names appeal, but you’d still like a connection to the stars, here are the names of a few modern and historical Sagittarians:
E. Wittig is a stay-at-home mom to two well-named girls and is a big fan of unconventional names. She also writes novels.
Names like Katniss and Rainbow grab headlines. Will anyone really name their daughter after the Hunger Games heroine? Will Holly Madison’s little girl grow up loving her colorful name, or will she legally change it to Rachel when she turns eighteen?
This week’s baby name news was all about sweet spot names. They can’t be dismissed as trendy. The names would have been familiar one hundred years ago. Odds are strong that they’ll still be in use in another century or two.
And even though they feature in high profile birth announcements or pop culture references, there’s no reason these names wouldn’t wear perfectly well on a child.
This week’s baby names in the news are:
Caspian is a character in C.S. Lewis’s fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia. As a young boy in Prince Caspian, he had to fight for his throne against his usurping uncle to become king of Narnia, and as a youth in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader he led a daring expedition to the end of the world. In The Silver Chair, we meet him as a very old man, having reigned wisely and well, but also suffering personal tragedy. Because of his great sea voyage, he is known as Caspian the Seafarer. Perhaps because of this connection, Lewis named his character after the Caspian Sea, the world’s largest inland body of water; Caspian is a romantic geographic name which sounds rather like Casper with a Latin -ian ending. Actress Neve Campbell used it for her son.
Dexter Morgan is the protagonist of the Dexter series of psychological thrillers by Jeff Lindsay. Dexter works for the police as a forensic blood spatter analyst, but is a serial killer in his spare time–though only killing murderers, rapists, and other criminals. Dexter is an English occupational surname for someone who dyed cloth, literally “dyer” in Anglo-Saxon. The word was originally feminine, but Dexter has overwhelmingly been used as a male name. Dexter also happens to coincide with the Latin for “right handed,” with connotations of being skilful. The books have inspired a popular television series, with Michael C. Hall in the title role, and since Dexter began airing in 2006, the name (which was about to slip off the Top 1000) has gone steadily up in popularity in the US; it is currently #362. It may seem strange that a serial killer could save the name, but Dexter Morgan is an oddly sympathetic murderer and (perhaps slightly worryingly) female viewers find the character very attractive. Dexter fits in the surnames-for-boys trend, and has a cool X sound in it.
Dorian Gray is the protagonist of Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. An extremely handsome young man who wishes his portrait could age while his own beauty remains changeless, his narcissistic wish is granted, and he spends his life in debauchery while retaining a youthful appearance, as his hidden portrait bears the mark of his every corruption. It is usually assumed that Wilde took the name Dorian from the Dorian people of ancient Greece–the Greeks did have names from this source, such as Dorieus and Doris. However, Dorian is also an Irish surname from O’Deoradhain, meaning “son of Deorain.” Use of the name predates the novel’s publication, and in Eastern Europe it may be a pet form of Teodor. Dorian is sometimes used for girls. Despite Dorian Gray being an evil character, the name has remained in use, and is #558 in the US, and #549 and rising in the UK.
Heathcliff is the male lead character in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, the foster-brother and love of Catherine Earnshaw. The novel explores the deep and obsessive love that Cathy and Heathcliff have for each other, and how the thwarting of that love turned Heathcliff into a tortured monster, though many think of Heathcliff as the Byronic hero and romantic lover whose passion lived beyond the grave. In film, he has been portrayed most memorably by Laurence Olivier. Heathcliff is an uncommon English surname meaning “heath on the cliff”; it doesn’t seem to have been used as a personal name before Wuthering Heights, and only rarely since. Actor Heath Ledger was named after Heathcliff (and his sister after Catherine!), and as Heath is a fashionable name at present, Heathcliff doesn’t seem too bizarre as a long form, although admittedly a bold choice.
Huckleberry “Huck” Finn is the protagonist of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and the best friend of the hero in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The son of the town drunk, a neglected vagabond who lives a carefree existence until he is adopted and “civilised,” he runs away with an escaped slave named Jim, and the two travel down the Mississippi River by raft in search of freedom. Huck has been portrayed on film by Mickey Rooney, Ron Howard, Elijah Wood and others. Huckleberry is North American dialect for the bilberry, although in practice applied to several wild berries. The word has long been part of American slang, usually to suggest something small and insignificant – the perfect name for Huck Finn, a child of little consequence in his town. Later it came to mean “companion, sidekick”. Huckleberry was in occasional use as a personal name prior to the publication of Twain’s novels. This would make a sweet, offbeat name, while Huck is a hip short form.
Rhett Butler is the love interest of Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. A black sheep, he becomes entranced with the spirited Scarlett, and admires her will to survive. Although viewed as a cad by polite Southern society, Rhett is tall, dark, handsome, charming, intelligent, and has a very good understanding of human psychology – especially female. He is the only person who can stand up to Scarlett, and beat her in a battle of wits. In the 1939 movie, the biggest box office smash in history when adjusted for inflation, Rhett is played by Clark Gable. Rhett is a surname which comes from the Dutch de Raedt, meaning “counsel, advice”. Mitchell seems to have chosen the name as an allusion to her first husband, “Red” Upshaw, on whom the character of Rhett Butler is based (with a dash of Rudolf Valentino). Rhett is a sexy bad boy name; in the U.S. it is #508 and rising.
This is an adaptation of a blog on Anna Otto’s site Waltzingmorethanmatilda.com. You can see the full, expanded version here. Anna blogs about a wide variety of Australian names, and Aussie name trends, at Waltzing More Than Matilda.