Category: green names
Not long ago, a couple I know—both serious swimmers—asked me if I could help them come up with a girl’s name that related to water. They didn’t want any site-specific water names —no actual names of oceans or rivers or seas, no Hudsons or Niles for them– but something with the feel or sense or literal meaning of water.
I put together a relatively short list for them of water-related words and names whose meanings reference water. Here’s a considerably expanded version of those water names, with some, of course, more usable than others. (By the way, my friends chose to name their daughter Tallulah, in large part because they loved its meaning—“leaping water”)
So if you’re a swimmer, a surfer, a snorkeler, a fisherperson, or just someone who likes to walk in the rain, here are some possible approaches.
1. FIND A WORD RELATED TO WATER:
It’s the first day of fall…the air is getting crisper, the days are getting shorter…the moment to think about the names of autumn.
Unlike spring, summer, and even winter, fall is not a season that immediately brings a bonanza of name possibilities to mind. But when you think about it, there are almost as many autumn blooms as there are springtime ones, there are harvest deities, and a palette-full of fall colors, among other options.
So if you’re expecting a fall baby, and are looking for a name reflecting the season of their birth, there are lots of colorful choices to consider, beginning with:
The autumnal flowers and shrubs:
- Adonis (blue)
- Belle of the Night
- Susan (black-eyed)
Trees known for their brilliantly colorful fall foliage:
Summer is one of the nicest times of year to have a baby, the warm weather and slow pace making it that much easier to relax into new motherhood (and, from your baby’s point of view, into life!) Here, our annual round-up of names that summon the season:
SUMMER — As a seasonal name, Summer may not be your top choice. It’s feeling a tad shopworn after coming close to cracking the Top 100 in 1977; it’s been above number 200 for the past fifteen years. Autumn is more popular but Winter is cooler.
Summer also has three excellent months names that include several usable variations. These are:
JUNE – JUNE, the hip middle name du jour, was out of favor for many years but now is back in a big way. The name, and the month, are derived from JUNO, the Roman goddess of marriage and finances (great role model!) whose name got a big boost from the teenage heroine of the eponymous film. The related and obscure JUNIA is a New Testament name. Male versions include the Spanish JUNOT, popularized by Pulitzer winning writer Junot Diaz, and JUNIUS, Latin for “born in June.”
JULY – Julius Caesar gave his name to this month, which has spawned many attractive first name variation. JULIUS itself is being dusted off by a new generation of parents. JULIO is the attractive Spanish variation. For girls, JULIA is one of the most enduring and appealing classics, fashionable now. The French JULIETTE or English JULIET has a tremendous amount of style and grace, along with JULIANA. Sixties-style JULIE is the only variation on the wane.
AUGUST – All variations of summer’s last month, named for the emperor AUGUSTUS, are also stylish now: AUGUST (for girls as well as boys), AUGUSTINE and AUGUSTEN for boys, even the somewhat grandmotherly AUGUSTA for girls. And GUS is the new MAX.
But covering all of them is too much for the scope of one blog, so we’ll focus on names connected with the sea. The full list is here but some of the most intriguing examples are:
DENIZ, Turkish boys’ name that means sea.
DYLAN, Welsh god’s name that works for both genders, means “son of the sea.”
HALI, Greek name used for both boys and girls, though in English speaking country, its closeness in sound to Hallie et al may disqualify it for boys.
KAI, Trendy Hawaiian name that works for both genders.
MARIN, MARINE, MARINA
MARIS, MARISA, MARISSA, MARISOL
MORRISEY, Irish name that means, oddly, “sea taboo” and has rocker associations
MORWENNA, Ancient Cornish name meaning “waves of the sea,” newly popular in Wales
MURPHY, Irish surname that means “hound of the sea” and works as well for girls as for boys.
NERIDA, Greek name that means mermaid.
NERISSA, Shakespearean name with Greek pedigree
OCEANE, Popular French choice for girls.
PELAGIA, Another obscure Greek beauty, name of several early saints.
SEATON, English surname meaning town by the sea
THALASSA, Greek sea goddess
Or you might want to go with one of these other names related to the sea:
Nameberry guest blogger Andrea, whom many of you may know for her intelligent and thoughtful advice on our message boards, and who most recently blogged for us on royal baby names, now focuses her attention closer to home, with this report on naming trends in the midwest.
On a recent Saturday somewhere in North Dakota, an athletic field was filled with fledgling 4-year-old soccer players, learning how to kick the ball and congratulate teammates when they did (or didn’t) make a goal. Behind them were their proud parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and volunteer coaches, all hollering at once:
“Maddox, where’s your soccer ball?” “Yay, Logan. Yay, Logan!” “Hustle, Camden, hustle!” “Chloe, take a time out.” “Go, Ethan!” After awhile the hard “C’s” and “an” ending names started to blend together. I could imagine next year’s preschool or kindergarten teacher mixing some of them up the way their soccer coach occasionally did.
The names of the kids on my nephew’s soccer team are a good example of some of the naming trends in North Dakota and elsewhere in the Midwest, which tend towards newer-sounding surnames, names with a western feel, and names that sound a lot like other names that are already popular. The differences seem more distinctive with boys than they do with names for girls. Many of the names are also common everywhere in the United States, but it seems like some of them are adopted here before they hit the southern or eastern U.S. William, at the top of the charts in much of the South, is far less common in North Dakota, where 60 little Ethans were born last year compared with 26 little Williams. Ryan, popular in the eastern U.S., was most popular in North Dakota well over a decade ago and has now lost steam. Likewise, Jayden and variants have been popular here for over a decade and some of the North Dakota Jaydens have started college. Now, even as the name hits the top of the charts in New York City, North Dakota parents seem bored with Jayden and have moved on to Brayden, ranked at No. 7; Aiden, ranked at No. 9, Caden, which probably doesn’t rank higher mainly because there are so many spelling variants, all listed separately on the popularity chart, and Hayden. Jayden itself is No. 51. All are used for girls occasionally as well as boys. Then there are the sound-alikes like Zayden, Tayden, Trayden, Grayden and others.
There are also distinctive trends that sometimes don’t show up on the top 100 charts. There are more Swedish or Norwegian names here, thanks to the Scandinavian-Americans who settled in the Midwest a century ago. Greta appears on the top 100 list for Minnesota in 2009 and is not as often used anywhere else in the country. Over the years I’ve interviewed young boys named Ole, Nels, Jens, Odin, Thor, Kjell, Christ, Haakon and Soren and young girls named Solveig, Signe, Dagny, Siri, Marit, Ingrid and Kaari. Some traditional Sioux, Chippewa or Three Affiliated Tribes parents give children native language names, like Spotted Eagle or Chaske or Mato or Chenoa.
Western-sounding names for boys like Brody and Wyatt also seem more popular in the Midwest than in some other parts of the country. I’ve seen more than one birth announcement for a little Rowdy or Maverick or Colt. It’s fun sometimes to see how often the roster of bull riders or barrel racers at a summer rodeo actually sound like they belong on a ranch roping cattle. The child sometimes grows up to fit the name. I know that when one of my former colleagues named his son Cooper two years ago, he commented that it’s the kind of name he could imagine being called out by a basketball announcer 15 years from now when his son runs into a gym in front of a cheering crowd. “Go, COOPER! COO-PER! COO-PER!” was echoing in his ears. Cooper, which is also coincidentally my newest nephew’s name, ranked at No. 27 in North Dakota last year. Nationally it was ranked No. 84. In a state where nearly every small town kid plays multiple sports, there are probably a lot of parents dreaming of cheering crowds!
Nameberry commemorates Earth Day with this guest blog contributed by Elisabeth Wilborn, creator of one of our absolute favorite blogs, You Can’t Call It “It” . Elisabeth, a writer, artist, and mom, lives in Brooklyn, New York
April 22 has rolled around, and we remind ourselves yet again to care for the Earth– lest it forget to care for us. If you’d like your child to be ever mindful of the planet, consider sourcing his or her name from Earth gods and goddesses, from the Earth’s bounty itself, or from one of the great conservationists (with conveniently attractive surnames, no?).
Happy day! Be good, and enjoy it.
EMBLEMS OF THE EARTH
Avani- Sanskrit, “earth”
Demeter- Greek, “earth mother”, Greek goddess of agriculture
Francis- Italian saint reknowned for his connection to animals
Gaia- Greek, “earth”, and the goddess of the earth
Kun- Chinese, “earth”
Perpetua- Latin, “continuous”
Terra- Latin, “earth”
Vita- Latin for “life”
Zoe- Greek, “life”