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Category: baby name Rufus

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

The holiday we’re celebrating—originally called Decoration Day—was first commemorated in 1868, not long after the end of the Civil  War, the bitter, bloody battle between the North and the South that ripped the country apart.

Over the course of the war, more than a thousand soldiers reached the rank of general, six of whom, including Ulysses (born Hiram) S. Grant, went on to become U. S. presidents. And for our purposes, they provide us with a fascinating range of period names.

In addition to the expected profusion of Johns, Jameses, Williams and Thomases, we find many Latinate appellations such as Augustus, CassiusMarcellus, Gustavus and Theopholus; word names like Strong and Pleasant, and surnames Sullivan, Johnson and Jones.

From this cornucopia of intriguing choices, we pick 15 of the best:

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Blonde, Brunette and Redhead Baby Names:

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Ever wonder how our names actually originated? A lot of them derived from the Latin or Greek word for the physical characteristic of a single individual—for example Cicero means ‘chick pea’ because of a wart on the nose of the first Cicero, and Claude’s meaning of ‘lame’ ditto. Several more are related to the bearer’s hair color or quality, such as the ones here. I’ll spare you poor Brendan, which means ‘stinking hair’ and the biblical Esau, meaning ‘hairy’.

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Baby Names That Mean Red

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by Pamela Redmond Satran

When I was having my first child, we had a boys’ name (Henry) picked out from the very beginning.  But when it began to occur to us eight months into the pregnancy that this baby might be a girl, we were stumped for a name.

My husband and I had very different ideas about stye in girls’ names.  Family names seem to create more problems than they solved, and so when we found a way to focus our search that we could both agree on, we were delighted.

Our mission: To find a name that meant red.  I loved the color red, my hair is reddish, and my last name is Redmond, so red incorporated a lot of potent symbols for me and helped balance the fact that our child would carry my husband’s surname.

We ended up naming our daughter Rory, but there are a lot of other wonderful names that mean red for both girls and boys.  If red is a meaning that catches fire with you, consider these scarlet-hued options:

Adam — Adam stands out on this list as a true classic boys’ name — Adam‘s meaning is “son of the red earth.”  Though a bit overused in recent years, Adam is still and forever a solid choice that remains in the Top 100.

Clancy — This Irish surname name meaning “red-haired warrior” can work for both boys and girls, but it’s got a masculine ring to us, perhaps thanks to the musical Clancy Brothers and author Tom.  Clancy is an unusual baby name for either gender, used for only 17 boys and five girls in the US in 2012.

Crimson — Love Scarlett but want a more distinctive alternative?  Then crisp and luscious Crimson might be the choice for you.  The word comes from the Old Spanish kermes, an insect whose shell created deep red dye.

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This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel considers the impact of baby name popularity–does it sway our choices more than it should?

Lately I’m wondering: is all this talk about baby names changing the names we use?

A century ago, parents could draw inspiration from the newspaper, the Bible, literature, music, and anything on the family tree.  There was room for creativity, but actual data gathering would have been difficult.

Today a few keystrokes will tell you how many girls were named Isabella last year, or whether hundreds of random strangers think that Ethan Alexander is a good name for your son.  No wonder an expectant mom actually grimaced when I asked her if they’d chosen a name yet.

With all of this information, could it be that trends will accelerate?  Will we talk ourselves out of using great names?  I’ve heard of dozens of parents deciding against their top choice for fear that Stella is the next Ava. Or maybe they’re desperately searching for a name just like Logan, but much less popular, without actually being too unusual.

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Boys’ Names: The Happy Ending

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Maybe contemplating the name Rufus sparked my revelation.  Or it might have hit me when I encountered an Otis.  Whatever the inspiration, I suddenly realized that my most-loved boys’ names end in the letter s.  Yep, almost all of them.

Amias?  One of my all-time underappreciated favorites.

Amadeus and MilesMusic to my ears.

Augustus, Octavius, Cassius, and Aurelius? Love, love, love, and love.

What is it about s-ending names that hold such appeal?

It’s true, I prefer their soft, sybillant ending to the harder –er ending that’s so popular right now for boys’ names.  Besides being more gentle, it feels a bit more surprising, intrinsically distinctive.

Many of my favorite classic boys’ names end in s: Thomas, James, Louis, Charles, and Nicholas.  And trendier choices of decades past, from Chris and Curtis to Dennis and Douglas to Ross and Russ to Jess and Wes, helped whet the overall appetite for s-ending names.

Some of the names that end in s are fairly fashionable today.  These include:

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