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July Baby Names: Julian, Julia and Zeno

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by Linda Rosenkrantz

July has arrived, the month of beaches and barbecues, kids off at camp—and lots of relevant baby name possibilities—including ancient names dating back to Julius Caesar, saints’ names, and July flower and month names.  If you want to look further afield for inspiration, July also contains Video Games Day (the 8th), Moon Day (the 20th), Amelia Earhart Day (the 24th), Aunt and Uncle Day (the 26th) and, last but not least, Father-in-Law Day (the 30th).

But the following are more directly related.

JulyThough the other warm weather months May, June and August have been used long and often for babies, July has rarely been found.  But it could make a cute middle name for either gender.  As the fifth month, it was originally called Quintilis, but when Caesar, whose birth month it was, reformed the Roman calendar in 46 BC—becoming the Julian calendar—it was renamed for him.

JuliusThe distinguished name of the powerful Roman clan that Caius Julius Caesar belonged to, long neglected, in the US,  is beginning to show some signs of revival, though it still has a bit of a fusty image clinging to it.  New Zealand actress Lucy (‘Zena) Lawless used it for one of her kids. Julio is the fully integrated Spanish version.

JulianA handsome sweet- spot of a name, Julian has been on the rise since the turn of the current century, now at Number 53 and in the Top 20 of several European countries.  It’s been picked for their sons by several celebs, including Jerry Seinfeld.

Jules, the urbane French form of Julius, has always been quite common in France and saw considerable early use in the US—until it fell off the list in 1961.  Nowadays it’s more likely to be heard as a nickname for Julia, though it’s currently a red hot Top 10 name in its native France.  Notable namesakes: French writer Verne, cartoonist Feiffer, composer Massenet.

JuliaJulia is the feminine form of Julius, found in the New Testament and also as the name of  numerous early saints.  She’s a lovely, evergreen classic, both sweet and strong, currently at Number 65 in the US—and is the top name in Poland, and Number 3 in Sweden and the Netherlands.  Nowadays, some parents—with or without Italian roots—are also considering Giulia.

JulietThe quintessential romantic Shakespearean name is now, at Number 253, at its highest point ever in the US.  Actress Emily Watson has a Juliet; the elaborated French Juliette form is also used.

Julie—An all-American girl-next-door name from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, Julie reached a high of Number 10 in 1971, when there were more than 15,000 baby Julies born.  Which explains why there are a lot of moms—and grandmoms– named Julie today.

Juliana/JuliannaThe feminine form of Julian has been a Top 200 name since the Millenium.  The Good Wife actress Julianna Margulies spells her name with two ‘n’s.

JulianneThe smoosh of Julie and Anne is currently represented by actress Julianne Moore (born Julie Anne) and dancer Julianne Hough.

JulittaAn Italian and English early saint’s name that was chosen by Marcia Gay Hardin for one of her twins.

And speaking of saints, the month of July includes a number of interesting saints’ feast day names, in particular:

GIRLS

Donica

Edana

Edith

Eugenia

Hyacinth

Thea

Theodosia

Valentina

Zoe

BOYS

Ambrose

Aurelean and Aurelius

Benedict

Etto

Felix

Julian

Kilian

Leo

Otto

Plato

Silas

Theodore

Zeno

And also, Ruby is the birthstone of the month of July, presenting a vintage name as vivid and colorful as the gem itself.  There are two birth flowers for this month, providing further inspiration. The Larkspur, the subject of many myths and legends, and whose meaning in the Victorian language of flowers is ‘an open heart and ardent attachment,’ suggests Lark as a meaningful middle name.  Another name for Larkspur is Delphinium.  The second July flower is the Water Lily, opening up a veritable garden full of Lily-related names.

photo by Georgia Brizuela

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