Category: mythological names

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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What To Name Your Winter Baby


At Nameberry, plummeting temperatures mean just one thing: it’s time to revisit our annual survey of winter-related names.

Just a few years ago, it might have been fair to say that Winter was the season least friendly to names, while now it seems to offer the newest choices for the adventurous baby namer.   Why?  Two reasons:  Nicole Richie choosing Winter as one of the middle names for her high-profile little girl Harlow, and January Jones, beauteous star of the hit show Mad Men.

Winter is the season name that’s seen the least amount of use over the years, yet one that holds the most potential for boys as well as girls.  Variations include Winters, Wynter, and (please don’t) Wintr.  Translations of the seasonal name include the French Hiver (pronounced ee-vair), Italian Inverno, and in Spanish, Invierno.   In Dutch and German, it’s still Winter and and in Swedish, the comical-sounding (to the English speaker’s ear) Vinter.

In mythology, winter was said to be caused by Demeter in grief over the loss of her daughter Persephone, consigned forever to the underworld (but rising again as a baby name, with or without the pronunciation of the final long e).

December, still a highly unusual month name yet certainly a usable one, means ten.  Other versions you may want to consider: Decima, name of the Roman goddess of childbirth; Decembra, Decimus, or DecioDecember’s flower is the narcissus or holly, suggesting the names Narcissa (difficult at best) and Holly (already a bit worn at the edges).  December gem Turquoise can work as a name, as can Aqua or its Turkish equivalent Fairuza.   Red, however, seems more suitable as December’s color, which leads you to a whole spectrum of great names, from Scarlett to Crimson to Rufus and Rory.

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Baby namers have started to dig deep back into ancient history and myth in their search for fresh and interesting choices.  Roman names like Atticus are rising up the charts, and the whole pantheon of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses is up for rediscovery—already there have been such starbaby sightings as Atlas (Anne Heche), Mars (Erykah Badu) and Hermes (Kelly Rutherford).

Here, Nameberry’s Top Dozen picks in this category:

1. Clio is the name of the Greek muse of history; it’s lively and attractive but without  the heavy Cleopatra association that the Cleo spelling carries.

2. Echo was a mythological mountain nymph and her o-ending name carries pleasant reverberations.

3. Flora, the name of the Roman goddess of flowers and fertility, is symbolic of spring and apt for a baby born in that season.  Like cousin Florence, it is definitely having a rebirth among retro name-seekers.

4. Juno, the name of the patron goddess of ancient Rome, has become a hot modern option, especially since the release of the popular eponymous film. Coldplay’s Will Champion chose it for one of his twins.

5. Jupiter was the Roman king of the gods, and his rhythmic 3-syllable name is just beginning to be considered by cutting-edge namers.

6. Maia was a GrecoRoman goddess of the earth, and her name, especially with the Maya spelling, has become a trendy option, used for their daughter by Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke.

7. Mars was the Roman god of war, and could make for a striking and strong middle name.  Singer Erykah Badu used it as her son’s first.

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What To Name Your Autumn Baby


It’s the first day of  fall…the air is getting crisper, the days are getting shorter…the moment to think about the names of autumn.

Unlike spring, summer, and even winter, fall is not a season that immediately brings a bonanza of name possibilities to mind.  But when you think about it, there are almost as many autumn blooms as there are springtime ones, there are harvest deities, and a palette-full of fall colors, among other options.

So if you’re expecting a fall baby, and are looking for a name reflecting the season of their birth, there are lots of colorful choices to consider, beginning with:

The autumnal flowers and shrubs:

Trees known for their brilliantly colorful fall foliage:

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Most of us are familiar with the names of at least a few angels—after all, archangels Michael and Gabriel and to a lesser extent Raphael, have had widespread and long-lasting popularity over the years.

But there is a profusion of other angelic creatures whose names are not as well known.  Thought of as messengers of light, angels are seen as reflecting God’s radiance.  There are Biblical angels, seraphim and cherubs, and guardian angels who oversee various days, months, Zodiac signs, natural elements and virtues.  There are angels in Persian and other Eastern religions and mythologies, and angels in works of fiction.

Then of course there is the whole family of straightforward Angel names–Angela, Angelica, Angelo, et al, that mean ‘angel’ or ‘messenger’; Evangeline, whose meaning,  ‘good messenger’ relates to angel, and Seraphina, which is derived from the word seraphim.

Here, from various sources are 25 angel names worth considering:

  1. Abraxos – ancient name attributed to an angel
  2. Arael – angel of birds
  3. Cael –an angel ruling over the Zodiac sign of Cancer
  4. Calliel — a throne angel invoked to bring prompt help over adversity
  5. Charoum – angel of silence
  6. Dabria – one of five angels who transcribed the books that the Hebrew prophet Ezra dictated
  7. Dara – angel of rains and rivers in Persian mythology
  8. Dina – guardian angel of learning and wisdom
  9. Ezriel—an angel’s name discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  10. Hariel —  the archangel who rules over December, the dawn and Capricorn; also the angel of tame animals and ruler of science and the arts
  11. Irin – the name of twin angels who constitute the supreme judgment of the heavenly court
  12. Janiel – angel ruling Tuesday and the east wind
  13. Javan – the guardian angel of Greece
  14.  Kemuel – chief of the seraphim who stands at the window of heaven
  15. Laila, Lailah, Layla –the angel of conception who oversees and protects childbirth
  16. Nabu – a recording angel in heaven
  17. Nitika – Native American name meaning angel of precious stones
  18. Rabia – one of the ten angels accompanying the sun on its daily course
  19. Rachiel – angel who rules Venus and governs sexuality
  20. Raziel – an archangel who guards the secrets of the universe, the angel of mysteries
  21. Sarea – another of the five angels who transcribed the books the prophet Ezra dictated
  22. Tariel—the angel of summer
  23. Uriel – angel of the month of September, of those born under the signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn; an angel of creativity
  24. Yael/Jael – a cherub who attends the throne of God
  25. Zaniel – angel who rules Mondays and the sign of Libra

Do you have a favorite angel name of your own?

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