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Category: Classic Baby Names

posted by: emilygc3 View all posts by this author
names from the Odyssey

By Emily Cardoza, Nothing like a name

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns, driven time and again off course…

The man referred to above is literary idol Odysseus, whose story is still taught in schools across the country and referenced in hundreds of books and films – including one of my favorites, O Brother Where Art Thou? Today we’ll be looking at just a few of the names of characters in his epic journey.

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posted by: ClareB View all posts by this author
Saxon Names from the Last Kingdom


By Clare Bristow

Viewers on both sides of the Atlantic have been enjoying the television show The Last Kingdom, based on novels by Bernard Cornwell. Set in the ninth century, it tells the story of the Danish invasion of what is now England, and the Saxon resistance.

A lot of the characters are real historical figures so we know their names are appropriate for their time and place (always a relief for name lovers). Many of the fictional characters also have names that were recorded around the same time.

Here are seven authentic Anglo-Saxon men’s names from the show, ranging from the familiar to the unheard-of. Characters’ names are spelled here are they are in the credits.

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Modern Takes on Ancient Greek Names

posted by: elizabethS View all posts by this author
Greek baby names

By Stephanie Bruce

Whether you’d like to honor Yiayia and Papou but are worried about pronunciation issues, or you’re looking for a fresh take on classic names with long histories, the nicknames and variations of traditional Greek names below will give you numerous options when finding a suitable moniker for your little one.

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Name Sage: Traditional Boy Names Needed

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts
Traditional boy name

Sarah writes:

My husband and I are expecting our third baby on February 7. We have decided that we won’t find out the gender. We’ve already used the two boy names we have always loved for our two sons: Henry Hiram (often called Hal) and Joseph Magnus. Both names carry personal and religious significance for us.

If this baby is a girl, we are considering Mary Grace. Whenever I tell people we’re thinking about the name Mary, they wince and seem to really not like it! They say it’s too common, even though my kids do not know one little girl with the name and very few people of any age with the name anymore. We also like Elizabeth and Lydia.

I have a gut instinct, however, that this next child will be another boy. My husband and I are so stuck! Nothing seems right.

I like Thomas, James, Patrick, John, or perhaps Charles. My husband doesn’t like any of these, and the name I love the most, Patrick, has been rejected because of the starfish on SpongeBob SquarePants. He has suggested Abraham called Bram, Sven, and Simon Peter – which seems very heavy to me. Ephraim is a possible middle name. We have ruled out Brigham, Phillip, Benjamin, Ezra, Judah, Caleb, and Theodore.

We tend to like more traditional first names with less conventional middles. All of a sudden, February 7th seems so close, and if this baby is a boy, he does not have a name at all!

The Name Sage replies:

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colonial children

By Linda Rosenkrantz

In the seventeenth century, for some of the most puritanical of the Puritans, even biblical and saints’ names were not pure enough to bestow on their children, and so they turned instead to words that embodied the Christian virtues.  These ranged from extreme phrases like Sorry-for-sin and Search-the-Scriptures (which, understandably, never came into general use) to simpler virtue names like Silence and Salvation.

The virtue names that have survived in this country were for the most part the unfussy, one-syllable girls’ names with positive meanings, such as Joy, Hope, Grace and Faith.  But then, in the late 1990s, a door was opened to more elaborate examples by the popularity of the TV show Felicity, and its appealing heroine.  Felicity (also the name of an American Girl Colonial doll) reached a high point on the girls’ list in 1999, a year after the show debuted, leading parents to consider others long forgotten relics.

Here are the Nameberry picks of the twelve best virtue names:

  1. Amitylike all the virtue names ending in ity, Amity has an attractive daintiness combined with an admirable meaning—in this case, friendship.  It could be a modernized (or antiquated, depending how you look at it) namesake for an Aunt Amy.
  2. Clarity—we like it much better than Charity or—oh no—Chastity.  And Clare makes a nice short form.
  3. ClemencyClemency, the name of a character in one of Charles Dicken’s lesser known Christmas novellas, The Battle of Life, can be seen as an offbeat alternative to Clementine.
  4. Constance was originally used in a religious context which has been lost over the years. There are many Constances found in history and literature: there was Constance of Brittany,  mother of young Prince Arthur who appears in Shakespeare’s King John, a daughter of William the Conqueror, and characters in Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer and Dumas’s The Three Musketeers. Constance hasn’t been much heard in the 21st century—probably because of the dated nickname Connie.  The Puritans also used Constant.

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