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A Spring Flowering of Greek Names

posted by: Dantea View all posts by this author
Greek names

by Angel Thomas, aka Dantea

Angel Thomas, best-known to the Nameberry community as Dantea, is an expert on Greek names.  Today she brings us an authoritative look at Greek names that relate to the spring season.

Spring is the time of year for gentle rains and soft winds, the greening of leaves and the growing of flowers. The animals are all awakening and the season of rebirth starts. It’s probably the most romanticized season. Historically, Spring has been known as the time for having babies, for birth and fertility and in recent studies, Spring and mid-Summer have statistically had more births. If you’re looking for a name that represents the springtime and all its lovely flowers and greenery, I have a list of generally underused Greek names just for you.

Goddesses of the Spring

PersephonePersephone is pronounced per-SEF-oh nee and she’s the queen of the underworld, wife of Hades and goddess of spring growth. While Persephone generally has a bad rep, it’s really a very lovely name. She’s the reason we have flowers and green things during the Spring and Summer. Though her name has been attributed to having a negative meaning, it’s really an unknown as the words for ‘dark blue’ and the word for ‘sound’ both appear in her name.

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May Names: Mabel, Mavis & Mae

mayday

Today being the first day of the merry month of May, why not consider a name that starts with that upbeat, springlike syllable for your baby born this month?  Here are the most likely May names suspects.

MABEL –When Bruce Willis, who, with then-wife Demi Moore, was one of the original creative baby namers with older daughters Rumer, Scout and Tallulah, recently named his baby girl Mabel Ray, he brought this vintage Victorian charmer further into the modern world orbit.  It had already been used by Chad Lowe, Nenah Cherry and Dermot Mulroney, as well as for the sitcom baby on Mad About You. Mabel—originally a short form of Amabel—could well join other ascending sassy showgirl names like Ruby and Sadie. Maybelle is rarely heard outside Nashville.

MACYMacy entered the popularity list in 1990—almost a decade after it had been noticed on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful—and has been well used ever since, a much more modern sounding replacement for the dated Tracy and Stacy, and more solid than the lacy Lacey.  Apart from the department store chain, the most noted bearer of the name, singer Macy Gray, was born Natalie McIntyre; Carmela Soprano/Nurse Jackie Edie Falco named her daughter Macy.

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springbabe

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.

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 MAYMay (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.

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The Mary Month of May

pam's may idea

For the arrival of May, official month of the Virgin Mary, we revisit her classic name and some of its many variations.

May, as any Catholic schoolchild can tell you, is the official month of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God.  Which might make Mary an appropriate name for a girl born this month, except after a four hundred year run, Mary is more than ready for semi-retirement.

The good news is that you can hold onto Mary’s symbolic value by choosing one of her fresh, appealing variations.  And there are literally dozens of them, formal and breezily nicknameish, ultrafemme and down-to-earth.  Some of the options:

MADONNA – There’s only one Madonna – and it’s not the plaster one in the blue alcove at church.  The pop star has all but taken over this formerly holy name and rebranded it with a modern in-your-face sexuality.  Do you dare use it for your child?  Do you want to?  Maybe not yet, but with names like Elvis and Scarlett gaining widespread popularity a generation or two after the fame of their original bearers, we all might end up having grandchildren named Madonna.

MAE and MAY – A mere handful of years ago, Mae was a quintessential old-lady name, barely baby-appropriate, but today it feels as sweetly simple as a warm day in the sun.  Can be a short form for any of the Mary variations and also makes a good middle name.

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New Column! Nameberry Style

xtrabunny

We all know Berries have great style, right? As an extension of the chic baby names on nameberry, today we’re excited to announce a new column on children’s style by Elisabeth Wilborn, the genius behind the name blog You Can’t Call It “It”! along with the new child style blog The Itsy Factor. Look for Elisabeth‘s new Nameberry Style column here every weekend.

Recently I wrote about names compatible with the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, from Calista to Frederick to Harley. Since then, rabbits have been multiplying at a furious pace. Whether it’s filling an Easter basket or looking to commemorate the Year of the Rabbit, the furry darlings have our undivided attention.  Here’s a roundup that has a little something for everyone.

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