Category: Scottish baby names
The other day we offered eight fresh choices for boys, and now it’s the girls’ turn—girls’ names ranging from a rare botanical specimen to a nostalgic nickname to an undercrowded place name.
1–Acacia—This a a pretty and delicate botanical name that has hardly been heard in this country, though it ranked as high as Number 273 among girls’ names in Australia, where the Acacia is a common flowering shrub, in 2008. Acacia has a heritage that dates back to ancient Egyptian mythology, in which it was considered the tree of life due to the belief that the first gods were born under a sacred Acacia tree. There is also an eponymous fantasy novel, Acacia. Caveat: just don’t think about the other name of the Acacia tree—the Golden Wattle.
2–Amabel—Not to be confused with Annabel (though it well might be), the lovely Amabel has been around since medieval times, and has appeared in a number of British novels, including Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death, and heard as well as among the English aristocracy. Amabel gave birth to the shortened form Mabel, which has a much brasher image, and we think a name that means lovable, deserves more love than it’s gotten.
We’ve been keeping a pretty close watch on English and Irish birth announcements, but it’s been a while since we’ve checked out the Scottish.
Traditional Scottish names still prevail—for boys lots of Calums and Callums, Finlays, Camerons, Lewises and Murrays, along with Jacks, Gabriels, Charlies and Aarons. For girls, Charlotte, Chloe, Eva, Leah and Lily seem to be particular favorites, as are increasing numbers of little Maisies and Daisys. And nickname names continue to flourish for both boys and girls.
So here, from across the country—Arbroath to Berwick to Perth to the Isle of Lewis, are some of the more interesting names and combinations that have been announced in Scottish newspapers over the past two months, together with some of their sibs.
Feeling that geographical names have become kind of ho-hum? It’s true that many people have tired of Paris and some of the over-visited names from the American West like Cheyenne, Sierra, Dakota and Dallas. But that’s no reason to write off the whole category—we can renew our passports and look a bit farther afield for some fresher, more interesting and exotic choices from the global atlas.
ELANORA –This name of an Australian suburb is used as a girls’ name in that country
IBIZA (ih-BEETH-a)—Another interesting island name, though a little bit lispy
ISCHIA (IS-key-a)—An Isla-like Italian island name
LILLE – (LEELE) –We’ve seen the growing popularity of double-L names, now here’s a French city with three of them
LIXA –An old Portuguese city with a modern-sounding name
LULEÅ — A city on the northern coast of Sweden; birthplace of the founder of the Nordstrom department store chain
LUZA – A Russian town on the Luza river—but too much like loser?
The Scottish Registry General’s Office has released the country’s most popular names for 2009, showing very little change at the top. Jack and Sophie remained in first place, and the girls’ list wasn’t so dissimilar to ours, with Olivia, Ava, Emily, Chloe and Emma all in the top ten, along with Lucy, Katie, Amy and Erin. For the boys, there were long-term Scottish favorites heading the list: Lewis, James, Liam, Logan, Ryan, Cameron and Callum (which would have been higher if merged with the Calum spelling) coming up behind Jack, plus the biblical Daniel and Aaron.
It gets more interesting as you look at some of the names that are rising choices for Scots parents. One of the biggest leaps was taken by Miley (tailed by Mylea, Mylee, Mylie and Myley), which jumped 190 places, showing Hannah Montana‘s tremendous international clout. The biggest climber for the boys was Owen, which is also moving up in the US.
Some of the other noteworthy names on the rise in Scotland–showing a persistent preference for nickname 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 noteworthy new 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 DECIO. December’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.