Category: season names
Today is the official start of summer—though for many of us the weather announced its arrival weeks ago. Summer is one of the nicest times of year to have a baby, the warm weather and slow pace making it that much easier to relax into new motherhood. Here is our annual round-up of names that summon the season:
June – June, a hip middle name du jour (Amanda Peet used it, for one), was out of favor for many years but now is back in a big way. The name, and the month, are derived from Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage and finances (great role model!) whose name got a big boost from the teenage heroine of the eponymous 2007 film. The related and obscure Junia is a New Testament name. Male versions include the Spanish Junot, popularized by Pulitzer winning writer Junot Diaz, and Junius, Latin for “born in June.”
July – Julius Caesar gave his name to this month, which has spawned many attractive first name variation. Julius itself is being dusted off by a new generation of parents. Julio is the attractive Spanish variation. For girls, Julia is one of the most enduring and appealing classics, fashionable now. The French Juliette or English Juliet has a tremendous amount of style and grace, along with Juliana. Sixties-style Julie is the only variation on the wane.
What does it mean when the days are getting longer and the first springtime flowers are beginning to bud? It means that it’s time for nameberry’s annual round-up of spring-related names.
If poets and songwriters can draw inspiration from springtime, why not baby namers? The fresh, green, uplifting season offers plenty of ideas. There are the names of the season itself and its months, for starters:
SPRING – The mid-century actress Spring Byington, who played the grandma on a television show of my youth, was one of my early influences in the world of baby naming. I’d never heard of anybody named Spring, but the whole idea was intriguing. If you could name a baby Spring, why not….well, just about anything else? Still an unusual, sprightly choice, and a lot more acceptable now than it was in the 1960s.
MARCH, APRIL, and MAY – May (or Mae, or Mai for that matter) is definitely the most fashionable of these choices, lovely as a first name or a middle. March is the only one of the three that might work for boys, and makes an adventurous first for girls. April (or Avril or Abril) feels a bit tired.
Original names from around the world that mean spring:
BAHAAR – Hindi, for girls
CAROUN – Armenian, for girls
CERELIA – of Latin origin, for girls
GEN – Japanese girls’ choice
HARUKI – Japanese for boys; Haruki Murakami is a wonderful novelist
JAREK – Slavic boys name that can stand alone or be a diminutive for any name that starts with Jar-
KELDA – Girls’ name with Norse origins
PRIMAVERA – Italian, for girls
RABIAH – Arabic girls’ name
VASANT – Sanskrit boys’ name
VERNA — another Latin girls’ choice.
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.
In what is fast becoming a nameberry tradition, we turn our attention to names of the new season. If you’re expecting a fall baby, these choices might inspire you.
AUTUMN — Autumn is ironically the hottest season name, the only one in the Top 100 where it’s maintained its status for over a decade now. The name Autumn first entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 1969, inspired by the hippie nature names and word names. While it’s still attractive, however, it’s hardly fresh.
Names from other cultures that provide a newer route to Autumn include the Japanese girls’ names Aki and Akiko, the Turkish girls’ name Hazan, the Vietnamese Thu, and, in Chinese, Qiu for either girls or boys.
Fall month names are not quite as usable as those of the other seasons.
SEPTEMBER – Why are March, May, August and even January hot while September (along with October, November, and December) is not? Maybe there’s something chilly about that “ber” ending. Still, this has an attractive sound and is certainly unusual. The Latin Septimus, which means “seventh son,” sounds a bit Harry Potter and is perhaps too redolent of things septic. But Seven (lets forget that September is the ninth month, since we still have November to deal with) has potential.
OCTOBER – An equally unusual month name that gets an extra helping of cool from hipster writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, who chose it for their daughter. Perhaps more attractive are the Latin pair Octavius and especially Octavia, both of which mean (as does October) “eighth.” Other Octavius and Octavia variations you might consider: Octavian, Octaviana, Octavienne, the Italian Ottavio or Ottavia, or the nicknames Tavy or Tavia.
Nature names that summon up an image of fall include tree names, particularly:
Summer is one of the nicest times of year to have a baby, the warm weather and slow pace making it that much easier to relax into new motherhood (and, from your baby’s point of view, into life!) Here, some names that summon the season:
SUMMER — As a seasonal name, Summer may not be your top choice. It’s feeling a tad shopworn after coming close to cracking the Top 100 in 1977; it’s been above number 200 for the past fifteen years. Autumn is more popular but Winter is cooler.
Summer also has three excellent months names that include several usable variations. These are: