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WELSH NAMES: Beyond Gwyneth and Griffin

welsh_doll

 Because of its relatively small population, Wales has sent fewer immigrants to the US than Ireland and Scotland have–a mere 100,000 between 1820 and 1976–so that  Welsh names are not as well known here as the other Celts. Which is a shame, because  it’s a lilting, rhythmic language, offering lots of fresh and beguiling choices.

Like the Irish, the Welsh have only rediscovered some of the rich resources of their own language and culture in the past century. Ater the Welsh language was suppressed for hundreds of years, baby namers are now digging back into their native history and myth, traditional literature and legends for inspirational namesakes of ancient heroes, princes and other royalty, for example increasing the popularity of names like the mythological Rhiannon.

Unlike the Irish names, Welsh choices present far fewer pronunciation challenges–their spelling is much closer to phonetic. Also note that the yn ending is usually masculine (even though, for example, Gwyn might sound feminine to us), and the en ending, as in Gwen, is for the most part feminine.

Here, a selection of some rich Welsh possibilities:

GIRLS

ADWYN
AELWEN
AERON/AERONA
ALYS
ANWEN
AURON (AYR-on)
BEDELIA
BETHAN
BRANWEN
BRIALLEN
BRONWEN
BRYN (unisex)
CERYS
DELYTH/DILYS
EIRA (AY-ra)
ELERI (el-AYR-ee)
ELEN/ELIN
ENID
FFION, FFIONA
FFLUR (FLEER)–Welsh word for flower)
GLADYS
GLENYS
GWENDOLEN
GWENNO (a nickname-name for Gwen names)
GWYN/GWYNETH
IOLA (YO-la)
KENDALL (unisex)
LLIO (LHEE-oh)
LOWRI
MAIR
MARGED
MEGAN
MELERI (mel-AYR-ee)
MYFANWY
NERYS
NIA

NESTA
OLWEN
RHIANNON (ree-AHN-un)
RHONWEN
SIAN (SHAN)–Welsh form of Jane
TEGAN
TELERI (the-AYR-ee)
WINIFRED

BOYS

ALUN
ALWYN
ANEIRIN (an-EYE-rin)
ARVEL
BEVAN/BEVIN
BRYN
CADWELLEN
DAFYDD (DAY-veth)
DEWI
DRYSTAN
DYLAN
ELIAN
ELLIS
SMYR
EVAN
GARETH
GRIFFIN
GRIFFITH
GWILYM (GWIL-um)
GWYN
HUW/HEW/HUGH
IAON (ee-oo-an)
IOLO (YOH-lo)
JEVAN
KYNAN
LLEU
LLEWELLYN
LLOYD
MADDOX
MARCH
MORGAN
NYE
PADRIG (PAHD-rig)
PARRY
RHYS
SIAM (SHAM)–Welsh form of James
SIARL (SHARL)–Welsh form of Charles
SIOR (SHOR)–Welsh form of George
SULIEN (SIL-yen)
TALIESIN (tahl-YES-in)
TEILO (TAY-lo)
TUDOR
VAUGHAN

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Boys to Girls–Baby Name Gender Switches

Let’s say you have a two-year-old son named Connor.  Then suddenly you wake up one morning and see that Scarlett Superstar has just named her new baby daughter Connor.  And the thought runs through your mind–omg!!–are thousands of other parents now going to follow her lead and name their little girls Connor?  Is this the end of Connor as a boy’s name?

To the horror of many parents of boys, it can and sometimes does happen.  Think about Addison and Avery and Jordan and Morgan and all the other gender blurring  we’ve seen in recent years–and sometimes it is a single starbaby who has, if not incited the trend, at least accelerated it. A few once strictly-male names that fit this profile:

BAILEY–somewhat used for girls since the 80s, but really popped after several celebs chose it.

DYLAN–never heard as a girl’s name until Mia Farrow used it for her daughter in 1985, with the Sean Penns following suit in 1991–it’s now fully accepted as a female option.

EMERSONTeri Hatcher’s daughter was born in 1997, but the name didn’t really take off until all the publicity surrounding the mega-success of Mom’s show Desperate Housewives.

FINLEY –used by Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn in 2003, hopped onto the girls’ popularity list in 2005.

ROWAN–the Irish surname chosen by Brooke Shields in 2003 that led to hundreds of baby girl Rowans born last year.

To a lesser degree, this can happen with a celebrity’s own name too.  Although Glenn Close and Daryl Hannah didn’t do much to alter the gender images of their names, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Reese Witherspoon certainly did–there were over 2,300 girls named Reese last year.

So, which celebrity-endorsed boy-to-girl names have had or will have a lasting impact?

STARBABIES WHO HAVE ALREADY HAD AN EFFECT:

AVERY

BAILEY

EMERSON

FINLEY

HARPER

RILEY

ROWAN

RYAN

SAM

Those that could:

EASTON

ELLIOT/ELIOT

KAI

LUCA

MASON

SAWYER

SPENCER

Those that probebly won’t (though you never know):

ATHERTON

DEXTER

FINN

HUDSON

JAGGER

JUDAH

NOAH

OWEN

RIPLEY

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