Category: green names
If poets and songwriters can draw inspiration from springtime, why not baby namers? The fresh, green, uplifting season offers plenty of ideas for spring names. So here, once again, is the Nameberry spring names blog–our annual tribute to the names of the season itself and its months.
SPRING – The mid-century actress Spring Byington, who played the grandma on a television show of my youth, was one of my early influences in the world of baby naming. I’d never heard of anybody named Spring, but the whole idea was intriguing. If you could name a baby Spring, why not….well, just about anything else? Still an unusual, sprightly choice, and a lot more acceptable now than it was in the 1960s.
MARCH, APRIL, and MAY – May (or Mae, or Mai for that matter) is definitely the most fashionable of these choices, lovely as a first name or a middle. March is the only one of the three that might work for boys, and makes an adventurous first or middle for girls. April (or Avril or Abril) feels a bit tired.
In the build-up to the Beckham baby name announcement, one of the wilder suppositions thrown out was that Posh might go for a Spice Girls-related name. Well, we all know that didn’t happen, but guest blogger Kitty Holman used that premise as a take-off point for looking at some of the many possibilities lurking on the spice shelf and in the herb garden, from the common to the rare.
More and more, parents are searching for nature-related names for their babies. Many will turn to the florals for baby girls, and there are plenty of gorgeous names to be had there; for boys, there’s the option to turn to trees which have a sense of strength and masculinity, with names like Oak, Ash, Aspen, Cypress and Teak.
But trees and flowers certainly aren’t the only possibilities for those seeking earthy baby names—there are those representing stones, seasons, the elements, birds (Wren, Dove, Lark) and other animals. Or, you could look to your own spice cupboard or herb garden for inspiration. Here are some examples of both common and unusual spice names:
- Ajowan- a seed and a spice used in Indian cooking; can also be spelled Ajwain. As an alternate, you could drop the opening “A” and go with “Jowan.”
- Aleppo- as in Aleppo Chili Pepper, which is found in Northern Syria, near the town of Aleppo– it’s used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.
- Anise- a spice with a flavor resembling licorice, fennel and tarragon.
- Basil – this aromatic herb name has been a common male appellation for centuries, long associated in this country with Sherlock Holmes-portrayer Basil Rathbone .
In the never-ending search for fresh green nature names, prospective parents have dug all around the flower garden, looked up at tree names and swum through a sea of water names.
One area of nature names that hasn’t been explored as much is –don’t laugh—fruit names. Maybe this was because there was so much (perhaps unfair) snickering when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their baby girl Apple, even though there were some who liked the fresh-faced, wholesome image it projected.
We’re not suggesting that you call your baby Banana (the pen name of a noted Japanese novelist) or Prune (which happens to be really popular in France these days), but if you look beyond the common fruit names to some of their specific varieties and international variations, you might be surprised to find some interesting—and unusual– nature name choices.
ANJOU—The Anjou is a type of sweet and juicy pear, which originated in Belgium but takes its name from a wine-growing province in the Loire valley with a rich history that includes such characters as Geoffrey the Handsome. As a name, Anjou has a charming Bijou-like feel, and might be seen as a cousin to Anjelica and Angelina.
BERRY—Berry has long been used as a unisex first name reaching a high of Number 435 in 1909 and staying in the Top 100 till 1971. It has one male and one female well-known namesake—Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr, and the late actress-photographer Berry Berenson (born Berinthia).
Elisabeth Wilborn, creator of one of our absolute favorite blogs, You Can’t Call It “It,” imparts ideas on how to tie your child’s name to the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. You can also find Elisabeth at The Itsy Factor, or at home with her family in Brooklyn.
How happy I am to usher in the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. It’s not a rat, a tiger, a snake or something equally frightful sounding. It’s not a pragmatic pig nor an ox, as my own children claim, but a lovable cute bunny rabbit (we like to refer to the pig year as “the year of the golden boar” by the way– so much nicer).
Even if you’re not Chinese, don’t you suspect that after thousands of years maybe they’re onto something? Not only does the rabbit sound sweet and cuddly, but it also happens to have some of the most pleasant characteristics associated with it. Considered a most auspicious sign, your 2011 bon vivant will have good taste, good fortune, and live forever. Or something like that. Those born in a rabbit year have an appreciation of beauty and make great artists and curators, favor peace over conflict, are demure, well-liked, and well-mannered. A downfall may be that their taste for luxury borders on over indulgence, but being lucky with money, this likely won’t result in dire straits. Above all, they have a tendency to be happy.
When the Chinese look at the moon, they see the hare standing underneath the cassia tree, grasping the elixir of immortality. During the autumn harvest festival, Chinese children carry paper lanterns shaped like rabbits and climb up the hills to observe the lovely moon hare, which symbolizes the start of day and the yin of heaven.
Today’s Question of the Week is another two-parter: How do you feel about nature names in general and what are your particular favorites?
This subject obviously covers a broad field, encompassing botanical and zoological names, water and weather, earth and sky. Is there one that particularly conjures up for you a special beachy or prairie landscape, a favorite flower or bird?
Many names provided by Mother Nature have become so widespread and accepted as people names that they’ve moved a step away from their direct association with their origins–Lily, say, or Laurel or Willow, so that perhaps most flower names might be exempt from the discussion. Unless maybe there’s a line to be drawn between Rose and Primrose, Daffodil and Daisy?
Then there are those green names that still retain the groovy-hazy-Hippie-Flower-Child aura of the sixties (eg Sunshine, Rainbow), which they’ve never quite managed to shake off and which might make them offputting to some.
What is you favorite nature name?
Would/did you use one for your child?