Category: Scottish baby names
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.
Looking through the birth announcements in the Scottish newspapers of the last few months-a site which also sometimes include the regions just below the Scottish border and the Isle of Man–a couple of prominent trends jump out.
First of all it’s the nickname names, which right now seem to be even more prevalent in Scotland than in England, for both girls and boys, with a plethora of Ellies and Evies, Alfies and Archies. Here is a list of recent ones, with some of the middle names attached to them (separated by slashes):
Max can stand on its own or may be a short form of the ancient Roman name Maximus, which means “greatest,” or of Maximilian or Maxwell. It’s one of the down-to-earth cigar-chomping grandpa names last popular a hundred years ago and enjoying a huge revival now. Like brothers Sam and Jake, Max is unpretentious and friendly but also sounds cool.
Celebrities led the way in launching the revival of the name, starting in the late 70s and early 80s. Stars who are the parents of now-grown kids named Max include Dustin Hoffman, Henry Winkler, Steven Spielberg, and Nora Ephron & Carl Bernstein.
The first time I visited Cornwall was at the tender age of one. Sadly, my dad’s abiding memory of that holiday was a grouching baby grizzling all through his long-awaited sailing trip (something he has yet to fully forgive me for to this day). A few years later my parents bravely returned again, one more child in tow, and fortunately much fun and sandcastle-building ensued.
It wasn’t until several years later when I returned to the region as a fifteen year-old that I was truly able to appreciate the breath-taking beauty of the Cornish coast and countryside. In the intervening years since my last visit I had developed an avid, border-line obsessive, passion for names and their meanings. What struck me was that many houses were named instead of numbered, and these place names, along with those adorning road signs, quickly caught my attention both due to the foreign sound to English ears, and the similarity to my greatest name-love: Welsh names.