Category: The Little Mermaid
Mermaid names have made it big in recent years. There’s Madison, Darryl Hannah’s character from Splash. Disney christened The Little Mermaid Ariel in 1989, and she and her princess friends are now found on little girls’ gear everywhere you look.
Deema – From the new Nickelodeon series Bubble Guppies, about a group of preschoolers and their adventures with teacher Mr. Grouper
Diana – From 2003 movie Mermaids, about a trio of fish-tailed sisters who set off to avenge the death of their merman father
June – From 2003 movie Mermaids
Molly – Another of the Bubble Guppies
Muirgen – An Irish story says that she was brought from the sea and baptized, and in some tellings, became a saint
Nixie – Yet another name for a water-dwelling spirit
Ondine – A German water sprite who marries a mortal, but never gets her happily ever after. In 2009, Colin Farrell played a fisherman who makes a surprising catch in the movie Ondine; Audrey Hepburn rose to fame playing Ondine on Broadway in 1954.
Oona – Another of the Bubble Guppies
Venus – From 2003 movie Mermaids, and known for posing on a shell in the Botticelli painting
Names That Would Fit a Mermaid
In early Disney cartoons, characters had silly, alliterative names like Horace Horsefeather, and Clarabelle Cow. The first character name to actually catch on with parents was Bambi–a male deer that became a popular namesake for girls. More recently, the real winners have been Princess names: The Little Mermaid’s Ariel reached #66 on the popularity lists two years after the movie’s release and Jasmine from Aladdin has gotten as high as #23. Other Disney heroine names, like Belle (Beauty and the Beast) have also been boosted by their Disney connections.
Adelaide—The dramatic Madame Adelaide Bonfamille is one of the few human characters in The Aristocats. When actress Rachel Griffiths picked the name for her daughter, she said she’d been inspired by the Australian city, Miss Adelaide in Guys & Dolls and, yes, the Disney character.
Aurora – Aurora was the name of the princess in the 1959 Sleeping Beauty, but is only now rising in popularity. In ancient mythology, Aurora was the lovely Roman goddess of the dawn, whose tears turned into the morning dew. In the Disney film, her alternate name was Briar Rose, a combination sometimes adopted by modern parents.
Bianca –Miss Bianca was an elegant mouse (voiced by Eva Gabor) in the 1977 The Rescuer. The Italian version of Blanche, this still somewhat exotic name was brought to prominence by the first Mrs. Mick Jagger, and features in two Shakespeare plays. Actress Tia Carrere chose it for her daughter.
Eudora – This name of Tiana’s mother in Princess and the Frog, who was voiced by Oprah Winfrey, is one Old Lady Name that hasn’t yet been revived, but certainly could, along with others like others like Amelia and Adeline. It was long associated with Southern writer Eudora Welty.
Flynn Rider is the dashing bandit who eventually marries Rapunzel in Tangled. At one point it is revealed that his real name Eugene—not the coolest of names. But Flynn (think Errol) is a charming Irish surname name with a lot of the appeal of the popular Finn.
Gideon—Though Gideon may be a crafty villain in Pinocchio, his name has quite the opposite image. In the Old Testament Gideon was both a judge and military leader of the Israelites, and his name is one of those rising on the Biblical popularity list.
While A, E, I and O-starting names abound, increasing in popularity all the time, poor little step-sibling vowel U tends to get neglected. Of course there are many fewer names starting with that letter, and even fewer that would appeal to the modern baby namer, but there are definitely a few that are at least worth a look, most of them with a touch of the exotic.
ULLA, ULA — Seen in several cultures, this stong name (it actually means strong-willed in Norse), is sometimes used as a pet form of Ursula or ULRICA/ULRIKA. Most recently associated with the leggy Swedish secretary character in The Producers.
UMA — Thanks to Ms. Thurman almost a one-person name, this throaty, exotic appellation is a name of the Hindu goddess Parvati–which surely inspired her father, a renowned expert on Eastern religion, to bestow it on her.
UMBER — A highly unusual color name, dark and mysterious, which could be used for either gender.
UMBRIA — Richly evocative, shadowy Italian place name–a neighbor of Tuscany known for its wines, olive oil and truffles. Could be a possible replacement for the rapidly becoming overused Siena/Sienna.
UNA — An ancient Irish name, also Anglicized as Oonagh or Oona, used by Edmund Spenser for the heroine of his classic The Faerie Queene; she’s the daughter of a legendary king and the quintessence of truth and beauty (it was for her that St. George slayed the dragon).
UNIQUE — Not any more.
UNITY — One of the newly appealing, lesser used Puritan virtue names, with an admirable meaning.
URANIA — One of the nine Greek Muses, whose special area was astronomy. This one is not recommended, for obvious reasons.
URBANA — An unusual possibility for a city girl.
URSULA — Kids today will probably associate this martyred saint’s name with the campy, corpulent octopus sea witch in The Little Mermaid, while others might tie it to a character in Shakespeare‘s Much Ado, Ursula Brangwen in D. H. Lawrence‘s The Rainbow, novelist Le Guin, 60’s Bond Girl sex goddess Andress, or the character on Friends. Novelist/style icon Plum Sykes chose it for her daughter, which puts it on trend alert.
The poor Simpson-Wentzes caught a lot of flak last week for their baby name choices–not only for first name Bronx, but for Disneyesque middle name Mowgli as well, to the point where Pete Wentz felt called upon to defend the choice on the people.com website. In a story headlined PETE WENTZ: WHY WE NAMED OUR SON MOWGLI, his explanation was “The Jungle Book was something me and Ashlee bonded over. It’s a cool name.” Well, whether or not we agree, we shouldn’t dismiss the whole genre of Disney names–there are a few treasures buried in that vault.
In the beginning, the Disney folks were big on silly, often alliterative names for their cartoon creatures–Horace Horsefeather, Clarabelle Cow, and of course Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald and Daisy Duck. When they moved on to feature films in the 1930s, they began to draw on already created and named characters from fairy tales and children’s books, from Snow White to Peter Pan. Curiously enough, the one early character name that caught on with parents was Bambi–a male deer in the movie that became a popular namesake for girl babies.
The real winners, though, have been the Princess names from more recent Disney films–The Little Mermaid’s Ariel reached #66 two years after its release date and Jasmine from Aladdin has been as high as #23. Other Disney heroine names like Belle (Beauty and the Beast) and Violet (The Incredibles) have also been boosted by their Disney connection. Here are some other good Disneyfied options:
AURORA Sleeping Beauty
BIANCA The Rescuers
BRIAR ROSE Sleeping Beauty
CELIA Monsters, Inc
ESMERALDA The Hunchback of Notre Dame
CLAUDE The Hunchback of Notre Dame
PHOEBUS The Hunchback of Notre Dame
REX Monsters, Inc