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Autumn Names: Fall Foliage and More

autumn names

In most places—unfortunately not where I happen to live—fall is in the air and trees are rehearsing for their dramatic color-change show, with its basket of red, gold and brown-toned name possibilities. If you’re seeking an autumn-themed name, there are also harvest goddesses to consider, and astrological and gem-of-the-month possibilities. Or you could just name her Autumn.
Featured photo by Georgia Brizuela at Documenting Delight.

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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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shakesp

Yes, today is the Ides of March (which really just means the mid-point of the month),  yet unless you’re Julius Caesar, there’s no reason to beware.  But Julius Caesar does bring to mind William Shakespeare, so this seems like a good time to look at Shakespeare names beyond Juliet and Jessica, Richard and Romeo, to some of the more underappreciated names used by the Bard in his comedies and tragedies.

Some of Shakespeare’s most distinctive, most villainous names will probably always be verboten, such as Iago, which on the surface would seem to have the makings of a perfect I-beginning, o-ending name.  Other baddies, though, such as Cassius and Edmund and Regan, have escaped having their reputations permanently ruined.

So here are the Nameberry Picks for the 12 best underused Shakespeare names.

Balthasar/BalthazarBalthasar was the name assumed by Portia when disguised as a boy in The Merchant of Venice, as well as being one of the three Wise Men of the Orient who brought gifts to the infant JesusBalthazar has been associated in modern times with the acting member of the Getty family, who has a son with the equally Shakespearean name of Cassius.

Cassio Cassio is a young and handsome Florentine solider who serves under Othello, Cassio  actually being his last name—his first being Michael–an implausible choice for an Italian.  Cassio just might conceivable slipstream along in the wake of the related, growing-in-popularity Cassius.

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Hot Baby Names: What’s news this week

upallnightpregtest

What names are attracting the most buzz right now?  Baby Name News columnist Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain keeps her ears open for this week’s hot baby names.

I’ll admit it.  I’m name-obsessed.  When I’m handed a business card, I have to stifle the impulse to ask about the middle initial.  (Is that D for David or Dennison – or Danger?)  My loved ones have long understood that they cannot call to report that so-and-so had the baby without also sharing the child’s given name.  I eavesdrop.  I ask.  Rarely is there a waking hour in which the topic does not cross my mind.

And yet, we name nerds mostly travel through the world in anonymity.  Sure, our closest friends know that we’ll have something to say about every choice, whether the newborn in question is Harper Seven Beckham or the little boy down the street.

But there’s never a good time to reveal that you’ve been quietly judging, and so being outed is always the tiniest bit awkward.  It happened to me earlier this week, with someone I’ve known for only a few months.  Her first question – well, what do you think of my kid’s name?

Never have I been so grateful that she had chosen the sparky, stylish Milo long before we’d met.

Here are my nine picks for the most newsworthy hot baby names this week:

Amy – The new Christina Applegate/Will Arnett/Maya Rudolph sitcom Up All Night, billed as a “modern take on parenting,” debuts in a few weeks.  Since all the stars are the parents of nicely-named youngsters themselves, I expected that the fictional daughter of Applegate and Arnett would have a great name.  Piper, maybe.  Or Adelaide.  I watched the previews, listening and listening, not believing what I was hearing.  Amy?  The name that was second only to Jennifer in the 1970s?  The name of Will’s real-life wife?  Others have pointed out that Amy isn’t so outlandish.  She’s a logical nickname for the popular vintage choice Amelia, and feels at home with favorites like Zoe and Mia.  She’s been falling since 1977.  Could the show reverse her fortunes?

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