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Nile: Yes, Like The River

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ILLUSTRATION-Nile RIVER ANCIENT Egypt

By Nile Cappello

My name is, without a doubt, one of my most defining characteristics. Yes, I am loud, outspoken, slightly (or more than slightly) obnoxious, extremely determined (read: stubborn), and quite a few other things — but with a name like Nile, I wouldn’t have to be any of these to stand out.

Most people tell me they have never met someone named Nile.  They also ask me if I was born in Egypt, conceived on the Nile River (ew), or am Egyptian. My co-worker said before my first day she was convinced I would be a tall, dark, Egyptian goddess. I am not. I am small, pale, blonde, and overwhelmingly white.

Although my name was clearly inspired by the river in Egypt, I’m actually named after my grandfather Neil. In a time when made-up names like Jazlyn and “creative” spellings like Madilyn and Joslyn litter the Top 1000 list, I’m thankful to have a bit of history and familial significance behind my name.

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waterblg

April showers bring not only May flowers, but thoughts of water names, a category which more and more parents are finding refreshingly appealing. These include generic bodies of water appellations like Lake and Bay and Brook(e), the names of individual lakes and rivers and, finally, names whose meaning relate to water. Here are the Nameberry Picks for the 12 best water names.

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water3

Not long ago, a couple I know—both serious swimmers—asked me if I could help them come up with a girl’s name that related to water.  They didn’t want any site-specific water names —no actual names of oceans or rivers or seas, no Hudsons or Niles for them– but something with the feel or sense or literal meaning of water.

I put together a relatively short list for them of water-related words and names whose meanings reference water.  Here’s a considerably expanded version of those water names, with some, of course,  more usable than others.  (By the way, my friends chose to name their daughter Tallulah, in large part because they loved its meaning—“leaping water”)

So if you’re a swimmer, a surfer, a snorkeler, a fisherperson, or just someone who likes to walk in the rain, here are some possible approaches.

1. FIND A WORD RELATED TO WATER:

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river2

Some months back, we ran a blog about the names of rivers in Western Europe, and we promised to follow it up with one on English and Irish waterways.  Well here, at last, it is.

The landscapes of the British Isles and Ireland are traversed by rivers, some as long as the Thames and the river Shannon, some flowing across national borders, from England to Scotland or Wales, while others are much smaller streams.

Not surprisingly, most of these names are less lyrical than the French and Italian examples, more simple and straightforward.  A sizable number of them already exist as people names—Amber, Tamar, Perry, Douglas –while the rest are possible crossovers.  Of these, some sound decidedly masculine (Dart, Dewey), while others could conceivably be used for girls.

ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND WALES

AERON

AFTON

AIRE

ALLUN

ALYN

AMBER

ANNAN

ANTON

ARROW

ARUN

ASH

AVERON

AVON

AYR

BEAL

BEAULY

BOYD

CALDER

CARY

CASSLEY

CLYDE

COLE

CONNOR

CONON

CRANE

DANE

DART

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danube-river

We think and talk a lot about place names–countries like China, states like Georgia, cities like Dallas, even boroughs like Brooklyn.  And we also think and talk about nature names, of flowers and trees.  Well there’s one category that merges the two together, and that’s river names.

I was planning to put together a list of interesting river names worldwide, but I came upon so many intriguing and unusual possibilities in Western Europe alone, that I decided to save our own country, England and Ireland and others farther afield for some time in the future.  Some of those listed here are major waterways like the Seine, others are much smaller streams; and some run through more than one country.  And I’m sure you’ll notice that there are those that sound decidedly masculine (Arno), while others could be possible girls’ names (Adaja).

Not surprisingly, some of the most appealing  names come from the French countryside:

AIRE

ALZETTE

ANDELLE

ANOUX

ARLY

AUBETTE

CALAVON

CEROU

CLAREE

CREUSE

DADOU

EAULINE

ESTERON

LAITA

LAQUETTE

LOIRE

MIDOU

RAVILLOU

RHONE

VARENNE

VIENNE

And here are some Latinate choices from Italy, Spain, and Portugal:

ADAJA

ARAGON

ARBIA

ARNO

BREGGIA

CAIA

EBRO

ELVO

ENZA

JABALON

JALON

JARAMA

MAIRA

MARANO

MINO

NAVIA

OLONA

ORBA

PO

SELLA

TAJO

TIBER

TURIA

ULLA

ZANCARA

ZEZERE

And finally a few found in Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium and Greece

ARDOS

AXIOS

DANUBE (which is shown in the illustration)

ELBE

ISAR

KRIOS

LADON

LEDA

LYS

MAURINE

MOSELLE

NEDA

NETTE

ORLA

RABA

REGEN

SENNE

THAYA

TYRIA

VLIET

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