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posted by: Elea View all posts by this author
octobr

By Eleanor Nickerson of British Baby Names

As a new month of the year arrives, it can be easy to forget where the name of October comes from. Though we count it as the tenth month, its name actually derives from the Latin octo meaning “eight,” as it was once the eighth month of the Roman calendar. From the same route as October we also get several other names:

Octavius
Octavian
Octavio
Ottavio
Octavia
Ottavia

Hedra is the Cornish name for October and has actually had some usage as a feminine name in Britain.
October itself has sometimes been put on birth certificates.

The Anglo-Saxons called October Winterfylleþ “winter full moon” because they considered the beginning of winter marked by the first full moon in October.

Winter and Wynter, therefore, both make very appropriate October-themed names.

For symbols, October counts Opal as its birthstone and the Calendula (more commonly known as Marigold) as its birth flower.

Libra “the scales” is the astrological sign that runs roughly from September 24th to October 23rd. According to Greek mythology the scales belonged to Astraea (Virgo), the goddess of justice. Libra was used occasionally as a given name in Scotland in the 17th century, and in England in the 19th century.

For thousands of years, and in many different cultures, October was a time of the grape harvest.

The medieval wine trade was big business, but it was very much seasonal. The wine vintage usually took place in early October, and within a few weeks new wines were being widely exported, with annual wine fairs taking place in all of the major wine producing regions throughout October.  An Old English name for October was Win-mónaþ “wine month,” also reflected in the Germanic Weinmond.

Wine-inspired names are hard to come by but the importance of the vine is immortalised in a few names:

Oenone – a Greek nymph; her name comes from the Greek oinos “wine.”
Vinicius
Vinicio – from the Latin vinum “wine.”
Heilyn – a Welsh boys’ name meaning “wine bearer.”

Famous wine producing towns have also been known to be used as names. Here a few that either have, or potentially could, be used as given names:

Alella
Alicante
Asti
Bordeaux
Burgundy

Chianti
Elba
Graves
Jumilla
Lorraine
Madeira
Madiran
Margaux

Maury
Monti
Navarra
Ovada
Santenay
Tavira

As for the grape itself, the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese know it as Uva, while the Danes and Norwegian call it Drue.

Eleanor Nickerson, better known to nameberry message board visitors as Eleais a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the excellent, highly recommended blog British Baby Names.

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autmaple

It’s autumn. We know it by the delicious briskness in the air, and the flaming colors of the leaves and flowers of  fall around us—a number of which just happening to have wonderfully baby-appropriate names. So here are some of the lovely fall foliage-producing trees, along with some flowers that bloom in the fall, tra la.

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TV Names: Upstairs, Downstairs & Downton

upstairsdo

At last, at last, the third season of Downton Abbey has finally launched, a further opportunity for those of us who love vintage British names to spend time with the Crawley clan et al.  We’re now lucky enough to have had two recent TV period imports with great examples of character names, both for the aristos upstairs and the servants below.  The time frame of both Downton Abbey and the recently updated Upstairs, Downstairs is the early decades of the twentieth century: Downton now picks up in 1920; the second series of Upstairs in 1936, six years after the initial one ended.

And if there seems to be a preponderance of girls’ names, it’s because so many of the male characters, both upstairs and down, have such common names as Thomas, Robert, Matthew, William, Joseph and John.

Here are some of the most interesting names in both series; and it’s worthy of note that the British TV names that are being revived today come equally from both social strata, as in, for example, Isobel and Ivy, Edith and Elsie.

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abbymarigold

In this turned-around pre-holiday week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel offers her baby name wish list, as well as her picks of the newsiest Nameberry 9 names.

With the holidays in full swing, I thought it was time for a wish list.

I’d love to magically know how to pronounce every child’s name at first glance.

A crystal ball to find out which noun names will wear well, and which just plain won’t work.  Or, alternately, a detailed explanation as to why Pilot and Apple still seem outrageous while Chase and Genesis are mainstream.

A trip to the most fashionable of playgrounds in Paris and the ability to speak fluent French in order to grill expectant mamans about their favorite baby names.  Cosette probably isn’t one of them … but in Pittsburgh or Pensacola, I think she could be a smash.  Or wait, maybe I’ll visit Toronto, because their list is just different enough from the US to pique my curiosity.

A promise that there will be a bunch of fabulously named starbabies every week … never mind, Santa – we have Claire Danes!

The nine baby names that inspired my wish list are also this week’s nine most newsworthy appellations:

Calin – Television veteran Samaire Armstrong is a new mom.  She welcomed son Calin a few days ago.  But t riddle me this: does Calin sound like Caylen, Colin, or Calvin without the v?

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