Category: energetic names
Let’s say you like the casual and peppy energetic feel of some nicknames, the short, relaxed sound of others, but you still want on your baby’s birth certificate a name that has roots and substance and meaning—one that will be accepted as a “real” name. There definitely is a category of names that allows you to have it both ways.
Let me modify that a little: Yes, quite a few of the names below did start historically as diminutives or pet forms of others—Nell emerged as a nickname for Eleanor or Helen and Cleo is, obviously, a short form of Cleopatra. And some suffer from guilt by association–the biblical Jesse sounds an awfu lot like Bessie and Tessie. But the point is that they have stood on their own for long enough to have their own substantive histories, not to be dismissed as ‘just a nickname.’
Here is a list of options that fill that bill—light in feel but strong on tradition.
When I was expecting my first child, I wanted a name with a lot of energy, for reasons that seem insane from the perspective of having raised three kids. But I didn’t anticipate that a high-energy toddler might run me ragged; I just knew I wanted my little boy or girl to be active, outgoing, not hobbled by the shyness and insecurities I felt had plagued my own childhood.
Well, I got my wish. Rory burst into the world, all 9 pounds, 5 ounces of her, with a shock of jet black hair and a voice that woke the whole maternity ward. At two weeks old, she was able to stand on my husband’s lap and sing along with him. As she grew, she starred in all the school plays and dominated on the lacrosse field.
The search for a high-energy name was part of the inspiration for our first name book. It was so difficult to sift through all the conventional name dictionaries on the market at the time and try to find names that sounded energetic (and Irish and that meant red, two of my other criteria). There should be a name book that put all the energetic-sounding names in one place, I thought, along with all the names that sounded smart and stylish, that were good for redheads or popular in the 1920s. That’s the thinking I brought to the first Beyond Jennifer & Jason (Linda, meanwhile, a friend and fellow writer, had conceived the same idea from a different direction), now grown up to Beyond Ava & Aiden.