Category: international baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
It’s always so interesting to see not only the variety of wonderful names picked by Berries each month, but to read their inspiration stories.
In July there was a great deal of family history honored, and also a helpful nurse, a shared vocation, beloved book and movie characters, an esteemed artist and—my personal favorite—the island on which an immigrant great-grandfather father first set foot on US soil. Not to mention Syrian, German, Spanish, French, Swiss, Armenian and Israeli roots!
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Why would you choose a baby name from another culture? There are several good reasons. First of all, there is the sheer beauty of so many of them. Then there is the honor factor. Say you have a beloved grandmother named Barbara you want to pay tribute to, but you can’t quite see yourself as a parent of a baby Barbara. Then how about the more vibrant Russian version, Varvara?
Or maybe there’s a name you love but find too common or popular or plain? There are countless lovely foreign variations of Elizabeth and Margaret and Katherine that are still substantive but more distinctive.
So here’s a start on the almost endless possibilities for romancing a name.
Since May, name enthusiasts around the world have been poring over the Social Security Administration’s list of the most popular names for 2015. Though the high-ranking boy’s names from last year are mostly classic, timeless choices; still a few new trends have emerged. In recent years we’ve seen cool names ending in –s, like Silas and Elias, rise for the guys. We’ve also seen an upswing in lively –o ending names like Milo and Leo. I’ve also taken notice of another trend: names that end in –i increasingly being used for boys. From Eli to Kenji, there’s a lot of variety in –i ending names to explore!
The Most Popular:
Levi is the most popular boys name right now ending in the letter –i. Currently ranked at Number 42, Levi is up over 100 spots in the last ten years. Levi is a Biblical name with a cool cowboy edge, in part due to the Levi Strauss jeans association. Sheryl Crow and Matthew McConaughey both used this cool name for their sons.
Eli comes in next, ranking at Number 53 in popularity. Eli is a Hebrew name meaning ascended. While popular on its own, Eli is also commonly used as a nickname for Elijah and Elias, both of which are also in the Top 100. A few other cool names leading to the nickname Eli include Elia, Elio, Elian, Eleazer, and Elisha.
Giovanni is theclassic Italian form of John, meaning God is gracious. Giovanni comes in at Number 130, making it a usable and familiar, but not overly heard name in the US. Giovanni easily pairs with the Italian names for girls like Isabella, which is still topping the charts. Fashion designer Gianni Versace’s full given name was Giovanni.
Kai is definitely a name to watch, having climbed 60 spots in the last five years. Currently ranked at 145 for boys, Kai is also Number 895 for girls. In addition to its cool sound, one of the things that I love about Kai is that it’s used in several different cultures and therefore has many meanings. The Hawaiian meaning is sea.
Malachi is a Hebrew name meaning my messenger. Malachi re-entered the Top 1,000 in 1987 at Number 992 and currently ranks at Number 162. There are numerous Malachi’s in film and literature, including the evil Malachi Boardman in Children of the Corn. (And not to be confused with the Irish Malachy.)
The Quickly Rising:
Omari is currently Number 510 – up 198 spots from 2014 to 2015
Jabari is currently Number 945 – up 194 spots from 2014 to 2015
Bodhi first entered the charts in 2010 and quickly rose in popularity. Bodhi is currently the most popular it has ever been at Number 499. Bodhi is a tree name and a Sanskrit name meaning awakening and enlightenment and has become a celebrity fave, used by Oliver Hudson, Amy Brenneman, and Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green (whose Bodhi is illustrated), among others..
A few more great names i-ending names:
Dimitri is a Russian form of the Greek name Demetrius, meaning follower of Demeter. Dimitri has never been too popular in the US, peaking in 1992 when it reached Number 502. Today Dimitri ranks at 905 for boys, having made an appearance in the Twilight saga. It is also spelled Dmitri and Dhimitri.
Kenji is a Japanese name meaning second son. Kenji is a name I think more people would use if they knew about it. Kenji Kishimoto is one of the lead characters in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me book series.
Nikolai peaked last year at Number 478, the most popular it has ever ranked. Nikolai is one of the many attractive forms of the name Nicholas, meaning people of victory. It has been borne by important Russian cultural figures such as writer Gogol and composer Rimsky-Korsakov.
What are your favorite names for boys that end in the letter –i?
By Sophie Kihm
I hate to break it to you, but Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe aren’t Armenian names. However, that’s about the breadth of most Americans’ knowledge of the subject. Let’s change that, shall we? I’ve got 20 great Armenian names to talk about today–all of them would be equally striking on an Armenian-American (or any!) baby.