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Category: international baby names

posted by: waltzingmorethanmatilda View all posts by this author

by Anna Otto of Waltzing More Than Matilda

Since I started a name blog a couple of years ago, I have learned of many new names. Here is a small selection of some that I never knew existed until recently, and have seen on real people (mostly babies).  Most of them are rarely found on baby name sites. I’ve only included vocabulary names when I didn’t know the word existed before seeing it used as a personal name.


Athanasia: A Greek name meaning “immortal, deathless”. Saint Athanasia was an 8th century saint, and according to tradition, a star settled over her heart as a sign of her enlightenment.

Elif (eh-LEEF): A Turkish name based on Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. Because the letter is just a thin stroke of the pen, the name has connotations of slenderness and is sometimes translated that way. Due to folk etymology, it can also be understood as “demure, coy”.

Jinty: A Scottish pet form of Janet.

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posted by: IsadoraVega View all posts by this author

by Isadora Vega of  Bewitching Baby Names

I have found a catalogue of old birth certificates of Romani (Gypsy) children with their parent’s names. My understanding is that all of these records are from England with births throughout the 1800′s and early 1900′s. So many of the names are what I would expect from that place and time: Kate, Henry, Oliver, Matthew, Eliza, Sarah, James, Benjamin, Annie, Mary, Charlotte, Robert, Thomas…you get the idea.  But here, I’m paying special attention to the glittery bits. There are some here that I can genuinely say that you’ve probably never seen before.

Keep in mind that these are from England only. There are many more unusual names from Gypsies in Spain, Turkey, Italy, Hungary, Germany, etc.

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In this week’s Nameberry 9, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s choices run from the royal Amalia to the unique Catchen, showing the anything-goes spirit of baby naming today.

The only rule of baby naming in 2013?

Anything goes.

From reliable classics to nouveau inventions to family heirlooms, the range of possibilities is truly infinite.

So it is no surprise that the baby name news ran the gamut this week.  On the one side are Dutch royals and a supermodel’s three sons with regal names.  On the other?  We have a few nouveau inventions and discoveries that could work nicely for a twenty-first century child.

All of this leads to my favorite piece of baby naming advice from the blogosphere this week: don’t whittle down your short list, discarding names for one reason or another.  Narrow your list UP, until you find the one that you truly adore.

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In honor of Passover, we invited Israel-based Hannah Katsman to guest blog on Jewish baby names appropriate to this meaningful holiday, many of which are popular in Israel today.

Passover, which falls this year on March 25th to April 2nd, commemorates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Passover is also the holiday of spring, and so provides parents with a wide variety of themes for naming babies.

Passover names fall into two groups—traditional names, including Biblical figures from the Passover story, and more modern names reflecting seasonal themes.

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Secret Baby Names Connections


Usually, when baby names are related, the resemblance is pretty obvious.  For example, Christopher’s foreign versions include Christophe and Christos and his short form is Chris; Patricia is otherwise known as Patrizia or Patrice, Pat or Patty.

But this isn’t always the case.  Alexander might be Alistair to his Scottish cousins, Sasha to his friends.

This can come in handy if you’re looking for an invisible (to non-nerds) or at least indirect route to honoring a namesake.  Ways you can do this include finding an interesting but accessible international variation, or an unexpected nickname that can be used on its own, or a mythological, biblical, or other name switch, or dual identity.

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