Category: Unusual Baby Names
Everyone loves a freshly hatched word name or a fledgling celebrity baby name, and many of us appreciate names that stem from flowers, trees, and animals. But for the true biophile, the bug-sketching natural philosopher or the biochemistry disciple who chops thale cress in the lab? Here are some worthy tribute names for the lovers of the life sciences.
Rosalind (Rosalind Elsie Franklin): Rosalind Franklin was an X-ray crystallographer and unsung hero of molecular biology, and her diffraction patterns gave competitor-colleagues James Watson and Francis Crick crucial insight on the three-dimensional structure of DNA. Her death at age 37 disqualified her for the 1962 Nobel Prize for Medicine. The meaning of Rosalind is as prepossessing as Dr. Franklin’s acclaimed x-ray photographs—“pretty rose”.
Jane (Valerie Jane Morris Goodall): Jane is a true classic, not only in the English-speaking world of names but also in conservation biology. Goodall’s observations on chimpanzee behavior have done much to promote empathy toward animals. The name of the childhood toy chimpanzee that inspired her enthusiasm for animals was Jubilee, and later, one of her favorite female chimps she dubbed Gremlin. Gremlin may not be the next great classic for a baby girl, but other renowned conservationists with classic names will inspire: Helen Beatrix Potter and Rachel Carson.
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.
We’re always adding new names to the Nameberry database, whether new discoveries or expansions of older listings.
Our latest collection includes word names and nicknames, international imports and mythological revivals. We bring you these new entries not as our latest recommendations but as fresh additions to the lexicon.
Here, our 16 newest names:
Alcina is best-known as the name of the beautiful sorceress of the eponymous Handel opera drawn from the Orlando poems. Alcina and her sister Morgana live on an island where Alcina seduces every passing sailor but once their novelty wears off, changes them into plants, rocks, or animals. Alcina comes with modern-sounding short forms Alcie or Alsie, which feel more baby-ready now that names such as Elsie, Elsa, and Isla are becoming popular again.
Bruin is the Old English term for bear, taken from the Dutch word meaning brown. Bruin might be a sports fan’s choice or an animal name in hiding. As a kind of hybrid of Roone and Bruno, it’s definitely got some cool.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Last week we looked at some neglected girls’ namesake names, now it’s the boys’ turn as we seek some equally distinctive names from American history and culture, names that could provide unique-ish options with interesting back-stories. What’s especially evident here is how many of the unusual boys’ names are mothers’ maiden names that started out in the middle but were switched by their sons into first place.
Adlai Stevenson—There were three noted generational bearers of this name– their combined accomplishments: one vice president, two senators, one governor, a two-time presidential nominee, and an ambassador to the UN.
Alpheus Hyatt was the founder of the Marine Biological Lab at Woods Hole; his namesake Alpheus Hyatt Verrill invented the autochrome natural color photography process, and there have been two Alpheuses in the U.S. Senate.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
If you scan the annals of distinguished women in American history, culture and science, you’ll find that a surprising number of them had distinctive names as well, names that could provide unique-ish choices with interesting back-stories. Several of them have a funky, fusty period flavor that may or may not appeal. What do you think?
Abba Goold Woolson– a turn-of-the-last century teacher-author, remembered for her liberating efforts against ‘the physical discomfort and disease caused by corsets and other constricting forms of dress.’
Albion Fellows Bacon (named for her father)— a housing reformer who pushed laws to regulate housing sanitation of tenements.
Alta Weiss was a double threat—a pitcher with a men’s semi-pro baseball team who went on to become a doctor.