Category: seasonal baby names
I love the autumn season. I MISS the autumn season. Living in Thailand for the past couple of years, I have not experienced fall in all its glory and I miss it. This time of year brings thoughts of the colorful season, and those thoughts inevitably turn to names (of course). What’s the history with the seasons as given names? How have Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn fared over the years?
It’s probably no surprise that Autumn has been the most widely used season name since 1880. But here are some things that you may not know…
As a new month of the year arrives, it can be easy to forget where the name of October comes from. Though we count it as the tenth month, its name actually derives from the Latin octo meaning “eight,” as it was once the eighth month of the Roman calendar. From the same route as October we also get several other names:
Libra “the scales” is the astrological sign that runs roughly from September 24th to October 23rd. According to Greek mythology the scales belonged to Astraea (Virgo), the goddess of justice. Libra was used occasionally as a given name in Scotland in the 17th century, and in England in the 19th century.
For thousands of years, and in many different cultures, October was a time of the grape harvest.
The medieval wine trade was big business, but it was very much seasonal. The wine vintage usually took place in early October, and within a few weeks new wines were being widely exported, with annual wine fairs taking place in all of the major wine producing regions throughout October. An Old English name for October was Win-mónaþ “wine month,” also reflected in the Germanic Weinmond.
Wine-inspired names are hard to come by but the importance of the vine is immortalised in a few names:
Oenone – a Greek nymph; her name comes from the Greek oinos “wine.”
Vinicio – from the Latin vinum “wine.”
Heilyn – a Welsh boys’ name meaning “wine bearer.”
Famous wine producing towns have also been known to be used as names. Here a few that either have, or potentially could, be used as given names:
As for the grape itself, the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese know it as Uva, while the Danes and Norwegian call it Drue.
Eleanor Nickerson, better known to nameberry message board visitors as Elea, is a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the excellent, highly recommended blog British Baby Names.
Since the Fall season is officially upon us, it’s time once again for an update of our annual round-up of crisp Autumn names–those appellations which refer to the season directly and those that are more subtle references.
Autumn — Autumn is ironically the hottest season name once again this year, 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. (Note: Winter is also in the air—though it hasn’t yet made the list, we’re seeing more and more interest in it as a name.)
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.
If poets and songwriters can draw inspiration from springtime, why not baby namers? The fresh, green, uplifting season offers plenty of ideas for spring names. So here, once again, is the Nameberry spring names blog–our annual tribute to the names of the season itself and its months.
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 or middle for girls. April (or Avril or Abril) feels a bit tired.