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Category: mythological 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.

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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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A Spring Flowering of Greek Names

posted by: Dantea View all posts by this author
Greek names

by Angel Thomas, aka Dantea

Angel Thomas, best-known to the Nameberry community as Dantea, is an expert on Greek names.  Today she brings us an authoritative look at Greek names that relate to the spring season.

Spring is the time of year for gentle rains and soft winds, the greening of leaves and the growing of flowers. The animals are all awakening and the season of rebirth starts. It’s probably the most romanticized season. Historically, Spring has been known as the time for having babies, for birth and fertility and in recent studies, Spring and mid-Summer have statistically had more births. If you’re looking for a name that represents the springtime and all its lovely flowers and greenery, I have a list of generally underused Greek names just for you.

Goddesses of the Spring

PersephonePersephone is pronounced per-SEF-oh nee and she’s the queen of the underworld, wife of Hades and goddess of spring growth. While Persephone generally has a bad rep, it’s really a very lovely name. She’s the reason we have flowers and green things during the Spring and Summer. Though her name has been attributed to having a negative meaning, it’s really an unknown as the words for ‘dark blue’ and the word for ‘sound’ both appear in her name.

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Valentine Day Names: Heart-felt baby names

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A baby born around Valentine‘s Day automatically gets an extra measure of love, which can also be boosted by choosing an apropos name. Options include cutting straight to the heart of the matter with something like Valentine or Valentina, or picking a name that embodies love in its literal meaning, or looking back to the appellations of ancient mythological goddesses of love. Here are some such choices that could make a child feel especially loved.

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Mermaid Names: Beyond Madison and Ariel

mermaid names

Mermaid names have made it big in recent years.  There’s Madison, Darryl Hannah’s character from Splash.  Disney christened The Little Mermaid Ariel in 1989, and she and her princess friends are now found on little girls’ gear everywhere you look.

Beyond Madison and Ariel: Other Famous Mermaids 

CoraliaAn underwater realm in Flash Gordon, but also a name for a mermaid in a nineteeth-century ballet

Deema – From the new Nickelodeon series Bubble Guppies, about a group of preschoolers and their adventures with teacher Mr. Grouper

DianaFrom 2003 movie Mermaids, about a trio of fish-tailed sisters who set off to avenge the death of their merman father

JuneFrom 2003 movie Mermaids

LoreleiFrom German folktales, now better known as the given name of both Gilmore Girls – though mother and daughter spelled it Lorelai

MelodyAriel’s daughter in the extended Little Mermaid universe

MirandaIn a 1948 British comedy, a lonely fisherman catches the mermaid Miranda and the duo set off on a madcap tour of London

MollyAnother of the Bubble Guppies

Muirgen – An Irish story says that she was brought from the sea and baptized, and in some tellings, became a saint

NixieYet another name for a water-dwelling spirit

OndineA German water sprite who marries a mortal, but never gets her happily ever after.  In 2009, Colin Farrell played a fisherman who makes a surprising catch in the movie Ondine; Audrey Hepburn rose to fame playing Ondine on Broadway in 1954.

Oona – Another of the Bubble Guppies

SabrinaThe name of a water nymph in John Milton’s Comus, and an ancient Celtic river goddess, too

Thessalonike – Sister of Alexander the Great, said to have turned into a mermaid

UndineA variant of Ondine, but perhaps not as wearable

VenusFrom 2003 movie Mermaids, and known for posing on a shell in the Botticelli painting

Names That Would Fit a Mermaid

AvalonA medieval tale tells of three sisters growing up on the lost Isle of Avalon.  The eldest, Melusine, was cursed to spend one day a week as a mermaid.

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