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Category: day names

Day Names: Which would you pick?

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If you had to pick a day name — for a child, for yourself, for a favorite — which would it be?

We skipped our usual seasonal names blog this summer because we had so much else going on, but we did meet a baby named August, and another named Julia.  We’ve been having fun watching the Showtime series Episodes, which features a character named Morning.  And on another of our favorite shows, Louie, there was a (not very nice) little boy named Never.

Day names are an ancient tradition in many cultures, most notably African ones where many names are often drawn from the time of day, day of the week, or season that a child is born.  Early African-American slave roles contain many Anglicizations of such names, from Monday to Friday, Early to Afternoon, Christmas to Easter.

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New Column! Nameberry Style

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We all know Berries have great style, right? As an extension of the chic baby names on nameberry, today we’re excited to announce a new column on children’s style by Elisabeth Wilborn, the genius behind the name blog You Can’t Call It “It”! along with the new child style blog The Itsy Factor. Look for Elisabeth‘s new Nameberry Style column here every weekend.

Recently I wrote about names compatible with the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, from Calista to Frederick to Harley. Since then, rabbits have been multiplying at a furious pace. Whether it’s filling an Easter basket or looking to commemorate the Year of the Rabbit, the furry darlings have our undivided attention.  Here’s a roundup that has a little something for everyone.

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Winter Baby Names

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Just a few years ago, it might have been fair to say that Winter was the season least friendly to names, while now it seems to offer the newest choices for the adventurous baby namer.   Why?  Two reasons:  Nicole Richie choosing Winter as one of the middle names for her high-profile little girl Harlow, and January Jones, beauteous star of noteworthy new show Mad Men.

WINTER is the season name that’s seen the least amount of use over the years, yet one that holds the most potential for boys as well as girls.  Variations include WINTERS, WYNTER, and (please don’t) WINTR.  Translations of the seasonal name include the French Hiver (pronounced ee-vair), Italian INVERNO, and in Spanish, INVIERNO.   In Dutch and German, it’s still Winter and and in Swedish, the comical-sounding (to the English speaker’s ear) VINTER.

In mythology, winter was said to be caused by DEMETER in grief over the loss of her daughter PERSEPHONE, consigned forever to the underworld (but rising again as a baby name, with or without the pronunciation of the final long e).

DECEMBER, still a highly unusual month name yet certainly a usable one, means ten.  Other versions you may want to consider: DECIMA, name of the Roman goddess of childbirth; DECEMBRA, DECIMUS, or DECIODecember’s flower is the narcissus or holly, suggesting the names NARCISSA (difficult at best) and HOLLY (already a bit worn at the edges).  December gem TURQUOISE can work as a name, as can AQUA or its Turkish equivalent FAIRUZA.   Red, however, seems more suitable as December’s color, which leads you to a whole spectrum of great names, from SCARLETT to CRIMSON to RUFUS and RORY.

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Here is another excerpt from our latest book, Beyond Ava & Aiden: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby

In Colonial times, as many as twenty percent of the slaves in the Carolinas bore African names, most notably day names, which relate to the day of the week on which the person was born. The West African day names, often translated to English cognates such as Judy for Juba or Joe for Cudjoe, are:

SUNDAY – QUASHEBA (female); QUASHEE (male)
MONDAYJUBA; CUDJOE
TUESDAY –BENEBA; CUBBENAH
WEDNESDAYCUBA; QUACO
THURSDAY – ABBA; QUAO
FRIDAY — PHEBE/PHIBBI; CUFF/CUFFEE
SATURDAY — MIMBA; QUAME/KWAME

Names were also chosen that signified months of the year, seasons and holidays. Some of these that have survived on the roles include: MONDAY, FRIDAY, CHRISTMAS, EASTER, MARCH and JULY.

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Autumn Baby Names

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In what is fast becoming a nameberry tradition, we turn our attention to names of the new season.  If you’re expecting a fall baby, these choices might inspire you.

AUTUMNAutumn is ironically the hottest season name, the only one in the Top 100 where it’s maintained its status for over a decade now.  The name Autumn first entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 1969, inspired by the hippie nature names and word names.  While it’s still attractive, however, it’s hardly fresh.

Names from other cultures that provide a newer route to Autumn include the Japanese girls’ names Aki and Akiko, the Turkish girls’ name Hazan, the Vietnamese Thu, and, in Chinese, Qiu for either girls or boys.

Fall month names are not quite as usable as those of the other seasons.

SEPTEMBER – Why are March, May, August and even January hot while September (along with October, November, and December) is not?  Maybe there’s something chilly about that “ber” ending.  Still, this has an attractive sound and is certainly unusual.  The Latin Septimus, which means “seventh son,” sounds a bit Harry Potter and is perhaps too redolent of things septic.  But Seven (lets forget that September is the ninth month, since we still have November to deal with) has potential.

OCTOBER – An equally unusual month name that gets an extra helping of cool from hipster writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, who chose it for their daughter.  Perhaps more attractive are the Latin pair Octavius and especially Octavia, both of which mean (as does October) “eighth.”  Other Octavius and Octavia variations you might consider: Octavian, Octaviana, Octavienne, the Italian Ottavio or Ottavia, or the nicknames Tavy or Tavia.

NOVEMBER – Certainly as usable as September and October, which is to say, not very unless you’re extremely adventurous.

Nature names that summon up an image of fall include tree names, particularly:

ASH (any of the Ash names – Asher, Ashley – relate)

BIRCH

BRANCH

CEDAR

FORREST

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