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Animal Names in Disguise

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Animal names are hot these days: We mean flat-out animal names such as Bear, Fox, and Wren used for children.

But there is also a – well, can we say herd? pack? – of names that are much more subtle about their animal connections.

These names have animal meanings but you’d only know that if you read a name dictionary.  Discovering their secret animal connection is likely to prove delightful for a child given one of these attractive names.

While the list of names with animal meanings is longer than this – here’s a full list of animal names for boys and one of animal names for girls – we’ve picked some of our favorites.

Arthur – bear

This classic Celtic name has, after hitting a low in 2010, turned upward and may be heading back to the Top 20 status it enjoyed a century ago.  Cited as a possibility for the upcoming royal baby, Arthur is a kingly choice with the bonus creative nickname Art.

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March Names: From Lion to Lamb

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March is here and, depending on where you live, it has probably come in like a lion.  But hopefully will go out like a lamb.

So, if you’re expecting a March baby, how about considering a leonine or ovine choice.

There are dozens of lion-related names, including these that are the most obvious:

Leo—the most lionesque of all, rising in popularity since Leonardo Di Caprio’s nickname became universally used.

Leon—the top name in Germany, and slowly making a return here; a Brangelina offspring middle name

Leonahas recently been rejuvinated via singer Leona Lewis.

 Leonard—still stuck in Grandparental mode

Leonardo—one of the hottest of the romantic Latin names, with cultural references from DaVinci to Di Caprio; chosen by megastar couple Penelope Cruz & Javier Barden

Léonie—sleek Gallic female version, recently picked by Monica Bellucci & Vincent Cassel

Leonora—mellifluous Italianate name that appears as a major character in not one but three opera.  Lenore is a streamlined version.

Leontyne—even more operatic than Leonora, via association with diva Leontyne Price.

Some other lion-related girls’ names:

Ariel—meaning “lion of God, with ties to both Shakespeare and Disney; also Arielle and Ariella

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L Names to Love

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The J names had their day: Jennifer, Jason, Jessica.  Then K was up, and we had lots of Kevins and Kaylas, Kaitlyns and Kyles.

What’s next?  It just might be L’s turn.

Linda wrote about the delicious La-La names, from Lola to Lila to Lily, that are newly popular.  And certainly, the most visible of the L names right now are these Double L names.

(A side note here: DELILAH and TALLULAH may not have an L in first place but are part of this same Double L trend.)

But there are lots of other L names coming up, or already arrived, in other categories.  For instance:

THE LOU NAMES

A pan-European trend that seems finally to be reaching the U.S., the Lou names are hugely popular in Great Britain and the Continent for girls as well as boys.  Examples:

LOU and LILOUBoth huge in France, Lou is one of the daughters of the iconic Jane Birkin and Lilou is the Occitan (a dialect of Provence) version of Lily.

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