Category: Nature, Place and Word Names
In 1970, the novel Love Story captured America‘s imagination with the tale of a wealthy Harvard jock who meets a girl from the other side of the tracks. It was soon followed by a movie of the same name — a tear-jerker that became the top box-office draw of the year. The American Film Institute has named Love Story one of the ten most romantic movies of all time, but its biggest legacy may be solidifying Jennifer‘s status as the top girl’s name of the 1970s and early-’80s.
The heroine of the book and movie (played by Ali McGraw) was named Jennifer “Jenny” Cavalleri. And in addition to being a wisecracking beauty, she had terminal leukemia. (I’m not spoiling anything here. The very first line of the movie is: “What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?”) .
Apparently America‘s response to watching a tragic girl fall in love and die was, “Hey, cool name.” Jennifer supplanted Lisa as the most popular name in the United States in 1970 and didn’t relinquish its grip until 1985.
People often talk about choosing a name with “meaning,” and I feel that nature names have meaning for everyone. They can help to give us a spiritual connection to the world around us, a respect for the power and beauty that surrounds us.
I was watching a show recently about what would happen to the planet if humans just disappeared from Earth tomorrow. The thing that struck me the most was that even with the massive amounts of pollution humans have already generated, and even though the nuclear power plants would meltdown and throw tons of radiation into the atmosphere, given just decades the trees and oceans would clean the atmosphere and plant and animal life would continue. The power of nature is awe-inspiring sometimes.
Animal and bird names seem a lot less strange as given names than they once did. But what if you want an animal inspired name that is a little less literal? Maybe something a little more traditional. Or maybe something a little more light hearted and whimsical. So here’s a look at a select group of daring names that reference animals and are full of quirky charm – all with the benefit of a cute, inbuilt animal nickname, but carrying less of an aggressive edge.
This variant of the Old French/German name Bernard has the bear reference but is still a legitimate name with history. It means ‘strong, brave bear’, which is hard to go past if you’re looking for names related to fierce animals. Bearnard has never charted in the U.S. but Bernard was a top 100 for many years and only dropped out of the top 1000 in recent years.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
In most places, Spring—to use an overused phrase—has sprung. The snows of winter have finally melted, buds are budding, birds are chirping. Which means it’s time to offer a seasonal menu of names—this time a multi-cultural mix whose meanings connote spring, plus names of ancient goddesses, and a few flowers and birthstones.
Aviv and Aviva are male and female versions of a Hebrew name meaning ‘springtime’; another variation is Avivi, which means ‘springlike’ and is also the word for lilac. (Tel Aviv , btw, means ‘hill of spring’.) Aviva has long been popular in Israel and its two vibrant v’s could work well here as another path to vibrant nickname Vivi.