By K. M. Sheard, Nook of Names
Do you like Gus as a short name, but are not so keen on Augustus and its related names August and Augustine?
Here are some alternatives!
Agastya — A name from Hindu mythology. Agastya is a name of Shiva, as well as the name of a legendary Hindu sage, believed to have received many of the earliest mantras which feature in the Rig Veda from Brahman. It is also the Indian name for Canopus. It comes from the Sanskrit, and is usually translated as ‘mountain-thrower’.
Angus — a classic and very old Gaelic name, from the Old Irish óen ‘one’ + gus ‘excellence’, ‘force’ and ‘courage’. The standard modern Gaelic form is Aonghas, but Aengus, Aonghus, Oenghus and Óengus are all known. In Irish myth Aengus is the God of love, youth and poetic inspiration.
by Pamela Redmond Satran
A friend of ours recently named his baby Jake. Not Jacob, just Jake.
Why name the kid Jacob, he and his wife reasoned, when they weren’t really crazy about it and intended to call the little boy Jake all the time anyway?
Nickname names have become increasingly popular and fashionable for children of both sexes over the past handful of years, in both the U.S. and the U.K. They’re evidence of a new informality along with a rebellion against putting a formal name on the birth certificate just because you’re supposed to.
Popular nicknames names for boys in the U.S. include the following, all in the Top 350:
Liam (6 — originated as a short form of William)
As the old saying goes, “I remember faces, not names.” The opposite has always been true for me. By the age of about seven, I could confidently recite my class list and give the names of almost all the students in my school. As I grew up, there seemed to be only one profession that would allow me to ponder over names to the same extent that I did as a child, and so I grew up to become a teacher. And it gets better than that; I moved from my native Britain
to become a teacher in the United States, where I had a whole new world of names to explore, and where I discovered that people often play the naming game in surprisingly different ways.
I love my job. Each September, I joyfully copy my second graders’ appellations onto name tags and into grade books – and then stand back to admire them. As I do so, I am often struck by the differences between parents’ choices here and in my own country. For their first homework assignment, I always ask my students to find out more about why their parents chose their name, and then to share this information with the class. As a name fanatic, I can’t help but devour these “name stories” and amaze at the naming differences on this side of the pond.
Thank you, Jimmy Fallon
, for naming your new daughter Winnie Rose
, and proving our point— which is that we’re into a whole new era of nickname names. These are worlds away from midcentury short forms like Cindy
, but go further back in time to faded Victorian favorites. It’s a trend that started in the UK, where 10% of the current Top 100 girls’ names fit this description, and several of the boys— Alfie
—rank high as well. Here are some of the vintage girls’ nickname names, with their uniquely charming combo of sentiment and sass, which illustrate the trend.