Category: distinctive names
In my relatively short lifetime of 23 years, reactions to my name, both my own and those of others, have taken quite a journey. In the beginning, it was one that promised little more than mispronunciation. For the first year of my life, even my own grandpa called me “Shanty.” Before I traveled to the Netherlands, Japan, France, India, and many other places, I spent my childhood in a Midwestern town of 8,000, nestled between cornfields and tucked into the toe of Indiana’s boot.
I read an article recently about the power of our names, which said that name sounds, popularity and meaning can influence the paths we take in life. Shanti is a name that has attached me to a culture (it’s a vernacular and prayer word that means “peace” in Sanskrit and Hindi) with which, partly because of the name itself, I feel a comfortable connection despite my own very different ethnic heritage of Irish, English and French bloodlines.
While the country’s attention will be focused on football this Super Bowl Sunday, some of us may be more interested in another aspect of the action: The crazy names of the players, of course! Nameberry’s new intern Robert Harclerode breaks down the most interesting names on both teams:
The Super Bowl has displayed a vast amount of talent and drama, but it has also showcased some of the most unique names on one of the biggest stages in all of professional sports.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers both boast their own separate historic franchises, as well as their own fascinating names within the Super Bowl’s past. In Super Bowl I & II, which both ended in Green Bay victories, Bart Starr was named the Most Valuable Player. Other great Packers in those first Super Bowls include Forrest Gregg, Boyd Dowler, Elijah Pitts, Max McGee, Lionel Aldridge, and Zeke Bratkowski.
Here are some distinctive names to listen for in this year’s Super Bowl showdown:
When we parse the annual Social Security list, we usually focus on the top names–what’s the new Number One, which names have made it into the Top 25, even the Top 100. But there are many names on the Popularity List that actually aren’t all that popular– certainly not commonly enough used to deter parents who are looking for a distinctive name.
In the lower depths of the list, there are a number of neglected names that were given to fewer than 350 babies across the country last year, real hidden gems sprinkled among the more unusually configured Cloes, Alyvias and Jovanys. These are appealing names that are recognizable to all, with real history and meaning, but which would still stand out in a crowd (or in a pre-school).
Among them are:
DIXIE — One of the most engaging of the saucy showgirl nickname names, with an added dash of Southern spice.
JUNE — Springtime month name starting to come back into bloom.
JUSTINE –An elegant name with deep Latin roots and a righteous meaning.
MARIN — A shimmering water name, distinctive and sophisticated.
TAMARA –With both Russian and Hebrew roots, has a dramatic, creative image.
TESS — Has a lot more substance, strength and style than most single-syllable names; a good middle name choice too.
CONRAD –A solid, serious name with literary cred.
DARWIN –Perfect for the son of scientists, but also appealing to any parent looking for a name with a stylish sound and historic significance.
FLETCHER –An occupational (arrow-maker) name with an abundance of quirky charm.
KILLIAN — Dynamic Irish saint’s name; only possible drawback is tie to the trendy brew.
REX — One of the few trendy x-ending boys’ names with a real–even regal–meaning.
My family and I love nothing more than to visit as many National Parks as we can. We’ve been to twenty-six of them, from Acadia in Maine to the Everglades in Florida to Haleakala and Hawaiian Volcanoes. It’s amazing that we didn’t name our children after one–we were only thinking of classic names then (we did name our son Peter, which comes from the Greek Petros, meaning stone, as in Yellowstone)–because they are such a treasure trove of possibilities. Not only the parks themselves but the waterfalls, mountains and beaches within them have distinctive names. The passion I feel for National Parks is captured so perfectly by the artful names given to these places. Who, for example, can say Shenandoah without crossing into the past, into less complicated times?
So here is a list of National Park-related names:
ALBERTA (falls–Rocky Mountain)
ANSEL (park photographer Ansel Adams)
ARCHER, ARCHIE (Arches)
ASH (mountain–Sequoia and Kings Canyon)
CARMEN (mountain range–Big Bend)
CRUZ (bay–Virgin Islands)
ELENA (canyon–Big Bend)
ELIAS (Wrangell-St. Elias)
EMERALD (ridge–Mt. Rainier)
ISIS (temple–Grand Canyon)
JASPER (forest–Petrified Forest)
JOSHUA (Joshua Tree)
JUNIPER (canyon–Big Bend)
KENAI (Kenai Fjords)
KING (Kings Canyon)
KOBUK (Kobuk Valley)
LASSEN (Lassen Volcanic)
MESA (Mesa Verde)
MUIR (naturalist John Muir who helped save Yosemite)
QUINCY (mountain–Gates of the Arctic)
ROYALE (Isle Royale)
SHASTA (mountain near Lassen Volcanic)
SMOKY (Great Smoky Mountains)
VERDE (Mesa Verde)
TIRZAH (peak–Mt. Rainier)
SUSAN CHESNEY, a graduate of Art Center College of Design, was the president of a graphics company for twelve years. She lives near Pasadena, California with her husband Kent, daughter Laura (son Peter lives nearby), dog Roxanne Louise and cat Moses Malone.