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Category: mythological baby names

posted by: Prooffreader View all posts by this author
mythological baby names

By David Taylor, prooffreader.com

There is no doubt that mythological names from a variety of ancient cultures have become increasingly popular with baby namers. The graphics below will make this visually—and eminently—clear.

mytholgirls

mytholboys

 

As you can see, mythological boys’ names were pretty negligible until the mid-1990s, after which they’ve had quite an explosion, with boys named Phoenix, Odin and Ares leading the pack.

Girls were more often named after mythological figures in the past, but their use has increased as well, and the actual names have changed. In 1940, Minerva and Vesta were the most popular (a virgin Greek warrior goddess and a virgin Roman goddess of the hearth … I’ll let you draw any patterns from this). Now it’s Isis (certain to decrease in light of the news from Iraq these days), Thalia (which had quite a momentary spike in 1993) and Persephone. Also on the list is Eris, an unusual choice as she’s the Greek goddess of strife, who was pretty much responsible for the Trojan War.

Analyzing name categories like this is a unique challenge; the starting material is a simple list of names, with no indication as to what parents were thinking. Many names happen to be mythological, but exist as common names from other traditions (for example, Ora was a common girls’ name a century ago, and only coincidentally happens to be a Balto-Slavic goddess as well). To eliminate these cases, I limited the list to Greek, Roman, Norse and Egyptian names, since they were by far the most heavily represented in this American baby names database. (It’s too bad I had to eliminate the Celtic, but so many of those names are both mythological and common names, like Brigid and Dylan.)

The object of the exercise was to come up with a list of names that, all things being equal, prospective parents would probably have known were mythological, and that people their children meet might reasonably be expected to know are mythological. Therefore, names like Amon had to go; he’s an Egyptian god, but he’s also a Hebrew name. I made use of nameberry.com’s name origins database (with some confirmation rom others) to make judgment calls when a name’s mythological nature was unclear.

Of course, in a process like this, you can’t have an overall count, because the names are manually curated and the result would be extremely curator-dependent. Therefore, I charted the Top 10 names that were left after the culling, which of course is also curator-dependent, but far less so.

 

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freya

Mythological names from a range of cultures are one of the hottest and most surprising baby name trends of recent years.

From Freya (that’s her in the picture) to Finn, Juno to Orion, ancient god and goddess names have begun populating modern nurseries and playgrounds.

What do you think of this style in general?  Do the personas and powers of the mythological figure factor into your liking of the names?  And what’s your favorite mythological name or names?

To jog your memory, here are our lists of Mythological Baby Names for Girls and  Mythological Names for Boys, along with a separate somewhat different list of Goddess Baby Names.

Which do you like the best?

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god2

By Linda Rosenkrantz

In the mythologies of ancient Greece and Rome, most of the deities had shared lineages, dominions and attributes—but not appellations.  I thought it might be fun to pit the names of the two cultures against each other and let you see if your taste ran more to the Greek or Roman.  The one major exception to this rule is Apollo—recently chosen by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale—whose name stayed the same.

Here they are, with Greeks on the left, the Romans to the right.

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spring5

By Linda Rosenkrantz

In most places, Spring—to use an overused phrase—has sprung.  The snows of winter have finally melted, buds are budding, birds are chirping.  Which means it’s time to offer a seasonal menu of names—this time a multi-cultural mix whose meanings connote spring, plus names of ancient goddesses, and a few flowers and birthstones.

Amaryllis, the lovely spring-blooming bulb, is one of the more extreme flower names now beginning to be cultivated; others include Hyacinth and Daffodil.

Aviv and Aviva are male and female versions of a Hebrew name meaning ‘springtime’; another variation is Avivi, which means ‘springlike’ and is also the word for lilac.  (Tel Aviv , btw, means ‘hill of spring’.)  Aviva has long been popular in Israel and its two vibrant v’s could work well here as another path to vibrant nickname Vivi.

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posted by: Dantea View all posts by this author
summer

By Angel Thomas, aka Dantea

Well, summer’s here and with it I have a whole new list of sizzlin’ summer Greek names. In the summertime, there’s swimming, heat, and lots of outdoor fun. Plus, according to an article on livescience.com, summer is the time of year when the most babies are born, with August tending to be the busiest month. That being said, I hope all you expecting moms find a name you like for your little bundle of summer sunshine.  Here are some ideas from the ancient Greek pantheon.

Girls:

Theros — THEH-rohs– Theros is the Goddess of summer in Greek mythology and I think it has a very cool sound, reminiscent of names like Maris. With the long O sound at the end, it could conceivably be a new way to get to the nickname Rose.

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