Category: baby name meanings
Do too many rules make naming a baby impossible, or is a solid list of must-haves the key to finding a great name for daughter number three?
We are counting down the days until our fifth child and third daughter arrives at the end of June. We cannot wait to meet her, but I’m growing anxious she will arrive nameless.
My husband and I are picky, and I especially have a lot of naming rules. What do we need to let go of to find something we love?
Meaning – This is more important to me than my husband, though it still matters to him. Our daughters have names that mean precious things to me – Clara Sophia (light and wisdom) and Eve Marian (our mother in nature and our mother in grace). If I love a name and find out it has a negative meaning, it is out!
No repeats – We have a large circle of family and friends who are excellent baby namers. Because we see these loved ones often, we can’t use Isabel(la), Genevieve, Evangeline, Lucia, Abigail, Anna, Rose, Sarah, Celine, Gemma, or Miriam.
Popularity – We aren’t extreme about this, but definitely no Top Ten.
We have recently talked about Juniper, but don’t know about a middle, and my husband is unsure. He really likes Elizabeth but I am underwhelmed. We both sort of like Thea, but both want to more than ‘sort of’ like the name.
Any advice is so greatly appreciated!
The Name Sage replies:
We’re always spotlighting baby names that have appealing meanings: nature and intelligence, peace and love.
But the fact is that many ancient names have meanings that relate to fighting and war and victory, undoubtedly desirable qualities to parents who feared that their babies might be kidnapped by Huns or eaten by wolves.
In the modern world, parents tend to choose one of these battle-related name despite rather than because of a meaning like “renowned warrior” or “elf spear”. And those who want a fierce-sounding name may opt for something more explicit like Wilder or Gunner, Hunter or Blade.
But a user-created list we recently spotlighted by @nidorina reminded us just how many fighting, war, soldier, protector, and guardian names there are from deep in the traditional naming lexicon. And there are many more than listed there. An overview:
Some parents want their babies to be beautiful, some put an upbeat disposition first, while others wish most for an intelligent child.
If you’re interested in a name that means or conveys intelligence and wisdom, here are a range of choices for boys. (Of course there are wonderful choices in this vein for girls too, including the popular Sophia, name of the goddess of wisdom. But today is the boys’ turn.)
Aakil — This Hindi name means intelligent or smart.
Alden – This English surname, quietly but historically used as a first, means “old wise friend”.
Alfred – After nearly touching the bottom in 2013, Alfred — which means “wise counselor” — has regained nearly 200 places on the US popularity list. The name is Number 19 in Sweden and was discussed as an option for one of Britain‘s royal babies, so its profile is rising. Alfred was a Top 50 names until the early 1930s.
Boman – This unusual-but-accessible Persian name has a stylish sound and means “great mind”.
By Kara Blakley
We recently ran Kara‘s suggestions for subtly connecting girl siblings’ names. Now it’s the boys’ turn.
Matthew/Levi. Matthew is an American staple, spending decades in the Top 20, reaching as high as Number 2 in the 90s. But if, at Number 16, Matthew is still too popular for you, or if you want to honor a friend without directly repeating the name, consider Levi. Levi was the biblical Matthew‘s given name before becoming an apostle, hence the connection. Matthew McConaughey named his firstborn Levi for this reason in 2008.
Peter/Simon. Like Matthew and Levi, Peter and Simon share a biblical connection: the first pope was born Simon before Jesus nicknamed him Peter, meaning ‘rock’. Simon, perennially popular in Europe, has never been as common as Peter here, which makes it prime for Americn usage. Simone and Petra are attractive feminizations that also deserve wider use.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
One subtle way to celebrate Father’s Day is to give a future Daddy’s girl or boy a name with ‘father’ in its meaning, especially if the baby is due around this time of year. These baby names stretch across many cultures, some of them with religious significance and, as you will notice, the majority starting with the letter ‘A’..
Abba—a masculine name derived from the ancient Aramaic meaning “father,” Abba has been in use since the first century. Abba Eban (born Aubrey) was a noted Israeli diplomat and scholar, onetime ambassador to the US and to the UN. The name of the 70s Swedish pop group ABBA is an acronym of the members’ names–Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid.