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posted by: Elea View all posts by this author
octobr

By Eleanor Nickerson of British Baby Names

As a new month of the year arrives, it can be easy to forget where the name of October comes from. Though we count it as the tenth month, its name actually derives from the Latin octo meaning “eight,” as it was once the eighth month of the Roman calendar. From the same route as October we also get several other names:

Octavius
Octavian
Octavio
Ottavio
Octavia
Ottavia

Hedra is the Cornish name for October and has actually had some usage as a feminine name in Britain.
October itself has sometimes been put on birth certificates.

The Anglo-Saxons called October Winterfylleþ ”winter full moon” because they considered the beginning of winter marked by the first full moon in October.

Winter and Wynter, therefore, both make very appropriate October-themed names.

For symbols, October counts Opal as its birthstone and the Calendula (more commonly known as Marigold) as its birth flower.

Libra “the scales” is the astrological sign that runs roughly from September 24th to October 23rd. According to Greek mythology the scales belonged to Astraea (Virgo), the goddess of justice. Libra was used occasionally as a given name in Scotland in the 17th century, and in England in the 19th century.

For thousands of years, and in many different cultures, October was a time of the grape harvest.

The medieval wine trade was big business, but it was very much seasonal. The wine vintage usually took place in early October, and within a few weeks new wines were being widely exported, with annual wine fairs taking place in all of the major wine producing regions throughout October.  An Old English name for October was Win-mónaþ “wine month,” also reflected in the Germanic Weinmond.

Wine-inspired names are hard to come by but the importance of the vine is immortalised in a few names:

Oenone – a Greek nymph; her name comes from the Greek oinos ”wine.”
Vinicius
Vinicio – from the Latin vinum ”wine.”
Heilyn – a Welsh boys’ name meaning “wine bearer.”

Famous wine producing towns have also been known to be used as names. Here a few that either have, or potentially could, be used as given names:

Alella
Alicante
Asti
Bordeaux
Burgundy

Chianti
Elba
Graves
Jumilla
Lorraine
Madeira
Madiran
Margaux

Maury
Monti
Navarra
Ovada
Santenay
Tavira

As for the grape itself, the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese know it as Uva, while the Danes and Norwegian call it Drue.

Eleanor Nickerson, better known to nameberry message board visitors as Eleais a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the excellent, highly recommended blog British Baby Names.

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june2013

Yes, June is busting out all over—the summer solstice month of long days, of bridal parties and Father’s Day tributes.  If you’re anticipating a June baby, why not consider one of the names that relate directly or slightly indirectly to the month of its birth?  Here, an update of our annual rundown of June names to ponder.

June—Too obvious for a June baby?  Perhaps.  Until recently, June was considered the quintessential fifties goody-goody girl name, as in June Cleaver– apronned mom of Beaver– and twinkly actress June Allyson (born Ella).  But as those images have faded to sepia, June is sounding less saccharine and more modern.  Balthazar Getty used it for his daughter in 2008, and Amanda Peet realized its middle-name potential when she named her daughter Molly June.

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Merry Month of May Baby Names

maymason

Are you looking for a name for your May baby?  How about the idea of  choosing one that incorporates the pretty sound of the month into her –or his– name?  One way would be to take the vintage smoosh route, with something like Annamae or Ellamae or Maybeth, but we think an unembellished choice would be better.

May and MaeYes, they sound identical, and share a sweet faded yet fresh flowery feel, but there are some slight—almost indefinable—differences in tone aMay started as one of the innumerable pet forms of Mary and Margaret, as well as a springtime month name along with April and June.   She’s represented in literature by May Bartram in Henry James’s The Beast in the Jungle and May Welland in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.  Actresses Emily Morton and Madeline Stowe named their daughters May, and Eric Clapton and Jodie Sweetin used it in middle place for theirs.

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autumn

Since the Fall season is officially upon us, it’s time once again for an update of our annual round-up of crisp Autumn names–those appellations which refer to the season directly and those that are more subtle references.

Autumn — Autumn is ironically the hottest season name once again this year, the only one in the Top 100 where it’s maintained its status for over a decade now.  The name Autumn first entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 1969, inspired by the hippie nature names and word names.  While it’s still attractive, however, it’s hardly fresh. (Note: Winter is also in the air—though it hasn’t yet made the list, we’re seeing more and more interest in it as a name.)

Names from other cultures that provide a newer route to Autumn include the Japanese girls’ names Aki and Akiko, the Turkish girls’ name Hazan, the Vietnamese Thu, and, in Chinese, Qiu for either girls or boys.

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Day Names: Which would you pick?

clock

If you had to pick a day name — for a child, for yourself, for a favorite — which would it be?

We skipped our usual seasonal names blog this summer because we had so much else going on, but we did meet a baby named August, and another named Julia.  We’ve been having fun watching the Showtime series Episodes, which features a character named Morning.  And on another of our favorite shows, Louie, there was a (not very nice) little boy named Never.

Day names are an ancient tradition in many cultures, most notably African ones where many names are often drawn from the time of day, day of the week, or season that a child is born.  Early African-American slave roles contain many Anglicizations of such names, from Monday to Friday, Early to Afternoon, Christmas to Easter.

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