Category: historic names

Newsy Names: Charmian, Colin & Gene

newsy names

By John Kelly

This past September, we paid our respects to some of Hollywood’s greatest stars and marveled at a visionary’s dreams of the stars. Let’s have a look back at some of the big names in the news – and a look into what the origins of their names can illuminate about them.


Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a Catholic saint this month. St. Teresa was born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxihu. Anjezë is the Albanian form of Agnes, anticipated her spiritual calling: It’s Greek for “holy” or “pure.” St. Teresa chose her religious name after the 19th-century French nun Thérèse de Lisieux.

Some think Teresa comes from the Greek for “harvest” or “huntress.” Others think it is from the Greek Thera, the name of some volcanic islands in the Mediterranean. The story goes that the wife of St. Paulinus of Nola (354-431 AD) was born on one of those islands and so took her name from them. The origin is unclear, but Teresa is a well-traveled name – fitting for St. Teresa, who made her impact far and wide.


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has made headlines by protesting the pre-game National Anthem over racial inequality. Many athletes have followed suit, which some consider a victory for Colin’s cause. Victory indeed: Colin is a French pet name for Nicholas, a Greek name that literally means “victory-people.” The Greek word for – and goddess of – “victory” is nike, which lives on in the athletic brand.


Acting legend Gene Wilder sadly passed away this month. Born Jerome Silberman, Wilder took Gene, a short for Eugene, after Eugene Gant, a character in a Thomas Wolfe novel, and Wilder after writer Thornton Wilder. Eugene is from the Greek Eugenios, “well-born” or “noble.” Jerome, meanwhile, is from the Greek Hieornymos, “holy name.” Gene Wilder came from a humble background, but as many remembrances made clear, he was a class-act as an artist and person. And his name will surely be long “worshiped” by his many fans.

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notable namesakes

By Meagan Burke

In September we celebrate Labor Day, Grandparents Day, and the transition from summer to fall. Let’s look back to past Septembers and pull names from activists, explorers, and athletes. With names ranging from Hudson to Narcissa, we’ve got a list of notable namesake names to inspire you.

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Best Veep Names in US History

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By Nick Turner

It’s no surprise that U.S. vice presidents don’t get a lot of respect in history books. The job doesn’t confer much actual power (unless the commander-in-chief comes to an untimely end), relegating most VPs to the footnotes of American statesmanship.

But when it comes to baby-name inspiration, VPs may actually be No. 1. The men who served as second-in-command have had some truly extraordinary monikers — both first and last names — and several of them could work nicely on a 2016 newborn.

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10 Great Namesakes for your August Babe

August Notables: Annie Oakley

By Meagan Burke

August is a month full of warm summer days, ripe fruit, and back-to-school preparations. There are many great names tied to notable August birthdays and events. This month we’ll pull inspiration from performers, athletes, and a delightful chef.

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Vintage Baby Names: Lost Boys of 1916


By Abby Sandel

In April, we looked at the vintage girl names of 1916, rarities still lingering in the attic. Now it’s time for vintage boy names from 1916! These choices weren’t chart-toppers one hundred years ago, but they were in the Top 1000, and in steady, regular use. Today, they feel surprisingly fresh, even modern. If you’re looking for a rare name with a history of use, these names could be the perfect pick for a son.

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