Category: Meanings of Baby Names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
When you think of all the wonderful words that start with the syllable am—amiable, amorous, amity, amazing, amusing, ambitious—you can see that giving a child a name with this beginning element might give him or her a terrific head start. And if you’re up on your Latin, you’ll know that a lot of these girls’ baby names have love in their meaning.
AMABEL—The enchanting mother name of Mabel and predecessor of Anabel means ‘lovable’ and goes back several centuries—it was very popular in the Middle Ages– and would make a charming choice for anyone looking for a distinctive ‘bel’ name.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The first day of the new season is upon us! Happy Autumn!
For our annual Autumn blog we usually go with the more obvious choices—the colors of the turning leaves — the various autumnal hues of red, gold and brown–and the names of the trees themselves, plus Fall flower names, the ancient harvest goddesses and such. But this year we’re offering a potpourri of more subtle references to the starting season, including some interesting international ideas.
By Gay Cioffi
As the youngest in my family of five, I am the only one who was not named for a grandparent or beloved aunt or uncle. As it happened, I was named for a fondly remembered childhood acquaintance of my mother.
While not only was breaking from that family tradition the cause of a bit of a stir, and it wasn’t a saint’s name to boot (also an expected practice) nothing prepared my parents or me for the fallout to come as I grew up with the name “Gay” in the fifties and sixties.
I remember hearing my mother’s account of the reaction she got from family members regarding her disregard for how children in the family were traditionally named. I also recall that she wavered a bit between the names Gay and Joy, but again the real controversy began in my later teens when the word “gay”, came to represent more than a synonym for happy or carefree.
The name Fox has cracked into the UK’s 1000 most popular names, while Kate Winslet and Alicia Silverstone are both raising children named Bear. But if you’re not quite up for naming your baby directly after an animal, consider the many names that have some majestic and inspiring animals hiding in their origins.
A Pack of Canines
Caleb, 2015’s 37th most popular boy name, might literally mean “dog,” from the Hebrew keleb, with a sense of “devotion.”
I’m a name nerd.
True story: In college, I spent hours compiling data for a study on the attractiveness of male and female names. Amanda? Very attractive. Mildred? Not so much. Ken was more attractive than Keith, while Liam was about as attractive as Levi. By the end of the study, I had an Iliad-length research paper and a major caramel-macchiato addiction.
Believe it or not, even after all of that research, I still get excited to dream up the perfect names for the characters in my books. Finding just the right character name actually helps a story start to take shape in my mind. Since I have a tendency to get stuck on finding the perfect name (Maura or Mara? Lila or Lily?), I try to break the process down into just three steps.