When Matthew McConaughey chose the name Levi for his son, he was, in a subtle way, naming the baby after himself. How so? Because in the New Testament, Matthew and Levi are two names for the same person.
There are many other such pairs of names with close connections that aren’t immediately evident, whether they be different ethnic versions of the same name, double identities for the same person, having historic or literary ties, or as sharers of linguistic elements. Being aware of this can be a useful tool for baby namers seeking not-too-obviously linked twin or sibling names or, like McConaughey, another less egoey version of your or your spouse’s name.
And of course it could also come in handy when looking for a more modern substitute namesake for a fustily-named family member. As much as you may have adored your Grandpa Roland, for example, you still might prefer the more dashing Orlando for your baby boy.
Here are a few examples, though of course there are countless other ethnic-switching possibilities out there:
Back in the Gay Nineties–the 1890s, that is–there was a major craze for flower names, with Rose, Daisy and Lillie high on the popularity lists. Concurrent with that, there was a mini-fad for jewel names, as in Ruby, Pearl and Opal. Today, history does seem to be repeating itself. Not only are we seeing a name garden blooming with Roses, Lilys and Daisys, but also more exotic blossom names like Jasmine, Violet, Lilac, Poppy, Azalea, Lotus, Aster, and Zinnia. And there are signs of a jewel name revival as well, more colorful than the dated Crystal and Diamond: Ruby is a hot hipster name, Pearl was picked by SNLer Maya Rudolph, and Opal is the name of kid characters in several recent movies.
In the jewelry case, there’s a wide variety of both common (Coral, Amber) and unusual names. First, there are the modern birthstone names (others were used in the past), which could be tied to the baby’s birth month: