Most of us, as kids, lived in a world colored by crayons, and for those of us fascinated by words and names, those assigned to the different hues in the big 64-crayon Crayola box were particularly evocative. I can still remember, as a little girl, being intrigued by such mysterious names as Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber.
These memories were reawakened by a communique from our inspired creative contributor Nephele, when she wrote:
“Perhaps one of the fondest childhood memories shared by many of us is that of opening up a fresh box of crayons. What a joy to the senses it was to experience that clean scent of wax and the beautiful sight of those colorful rows of pointed tips awaiting one’s creative process. Adding to the delight was the fact that one’s crayons bore wonderful individual names on their wrappers, such as “Periwinkle” and “Cadet Blue.” With such names, how could a child not help but personify her crayon friends?
‘Crayola’ was synonymous with ‘crayon’ in my childhood days, as it pretty much is today. The bonus for today’s children is that the Crayola company now includes, along with English, both French and Spanish language versions of their crayon names on the wrappers of each crayon–providing even more name choices for one’s crayon companions!”
Here is Nephele’s list of crayon names which might also make pleasing names, with a few additions by Nameberry:
ALMENDRA (Spanish, “Almond“)
Maybe there are certain kinds of names that you really like–flower or color names, say, or virtue names– but you’re reluctant to use one of the more obvious examples, the epidemically popular ones, attractive though they may be. Well, there’s no reason you have to limit yourself to those few; more and more parents are digging deeper into those appealing categories and coming up with newer sounding choices.
IRIS (not exotic, but long neglected)
Back in the Gay Nineties–the 1890s, that is–there was a major craze for flower names, with Rose, Daisy and Lillie high on the popularity lists. Concurrent with that, there was a mini-fad for jewel names, as in Ruby, Pearl and Opal. Today, history does seem to be repeating itself. Not only are we seeing a name garden blooming with Roses, Lilys and Daisys, but also more exotic blossom names like Jasmine, Violet, Lilac, Poppy, Azalea, Lotus, Aster, and Zinnia. And there are signs of a jewel name revival as well, more colorful than the dated Crystal and Diamond: Ruby is a hot hipster name, Pearl was picked by SNLer Maya Rudolph, and Opal is the name of kid characters in several recent movies.
In the jewelry case, there’s a wide variety of both common (Coral, Amber) and unusual names. First, there are the modern birthstone names (others were used in the past), which could be tied to the baby’s birth month:
GARNET for January
AMETHYST for February
AQUAMARINE for March
DIAMOND for April
EMERALD for May
PEARL for June
RUBY for July
PERIDOT for August
SAPPHIRE for September
OPAL for October
TOPAZ (yellow) or CITRINE for November
TOPAZ (blue) or TURQUOISE for December
And here are some others that might be up for consideration:
GEUDA (pronounced gay-oo-la)
HYACINTH ( a flower AND a gem name)
IRIDOT (an old name for opal)
AMBRA (Italian for amber)
BIJOU (French for jewel)
BIYU (Chinese for jasper)
EMERAUDE (French for emerald)
ESME (Persian for emerald)
ESMERALDA (Spanish for emerald)
FAIRUZ/FAIRUZA (Arabic for turquoise)
GEMMA (Italian for gem)
GIADA (Italian for jade)
GRETEL (German for pearl)
GRIET (Dutch for pearl)
JUMANA (Arabic for pearl)
MARIT (Scandinavian for pearl)
PENINA (Henrew for pearl)
PERLA (Spanish and Italian for pearl)
PERLE (French for pearl)
PHAILIN (Thai for sapphire)
RURI (Japanese for emerald
SAPPHIRA (Greek for sapphire–in Hebrew it’s spelled with one ‘p’)
SHINJI (Japanese for pearl)
ULA (Celtic for gem of the sea)
Family names was the subject of a recent nameberry poll, in which you voted overwhelmingly –70%–in favor of using family names for your baby. Where to look for great family names? In your own family records, of course, as well as in nameberry for ideas of historic names that sound appropriate for modern life. Another great idea: you can hunt for original family names through genealogy sources — and build a family tree for your baby in the process.
The largest number of people who took our poll–46%–were comfortable with taking lots of liberties with Grandpa Wilbur or Grandma Enid‘s name to make them more modern-baby friendly. We’re happy to help. The following are some possible updates for those fusty, musty family names.
Wilma –> WILLA
How have YOU modernized a family name for your child? Tell us here!
Which baby name trends do we see coming in for 2009 and which do we see heading out? Here, our predictions for the year ahead.
BIGGEST BIG-PICTURE TREND: DEPRESSION ERA NAMES
The hit TV show Mad Men, set in the early 60s, reintroduced names that were all the rage when the characters were born in the 1930s: Don , Betty, Joan, Peggy. They’re plain names fit for hard times, and we predict the hardscrabble months ahead will inspire more babies with these names: Dorothy, Helen, Ruth, and Frances for girls; Thomas, Edward, Frank, Raymond, and even Harold for boys. Plus the stylish new occupational names–Gardener, Ranger, Miller–are likely to gain in appeal for both boys and girls as actual jobs become more scarce.
MOST SURPRISING COMEBACK NAME
Leon, middle name choice for Brangelina twin Knox, had become a joke in the U.S. but was on the rise in Europe, where all lion-related names–Leo, Leonora, Lionel–are tres chic. Leon and Leonie are the number one names in Germany and for the first time in decades, have style potential here.
BEST NEW TREND INSPIRED BY A CELEBRITY BABY NAME
Jessica Alba’s infant Honor has ushered in a new appreciation for virtue names, on the rise through the name ranks–and hopefully also in spirit–with Faith, Hope, Patience, Mercy, Justice, True, and Pax.
HOTTEST GENDER-BENDING TREND
Boys names that end in a vowel sound and girls’ names that end in a consonant. Examples: Ezra, Eli, Milo, Noah, Hugo for boys, and for girls, Annabel instead of Annabella, for instance, or Eden instead of Emma.
TRENDIEST TREND-RELATED TREND
Names that are considered too trendy by stylish parents by virtue of their association with other, trendier names or with high-visibility celebrities. Examples: Ada, fresh yet too close to the megapopular Ava. Pearl, too much like groovy Ruby. Roman, son of Cate Blanchett and Debra Messing. And Matilda, toddler of Michelle Wiliams and Heath Ledger.
GIRL TREND READY TO JUMP THE SHARK
BOY TREND READY TO JUMP THE SHARK
COOLEST MIDDLE NAME TREND
Names that carry powerful meaning, launched when people adopted the middle name Hussein in solidarity with Obama. Less name than symbol, the new middle name may carry political meaning, convey ethnic background, stand in for a place, animal, character, or thing that has meaning for the parents.
NEW “IT” VOWEL
MOST FASHIONABLE CONSONANT
NAME TREND THAT’S BEST FOR THE EARTH
MOST SURPRISING CELEBRITY NAME INSPIRATION
Arianna Huffington, whose Huffington Post was the media star of the 2008 election, is an attractive and influential person but hardly the kind of tabloid hottie who usually inspires thousands of baby namesakes. But joining Ashton and Angelina, the name Arianna has ascended with Huffington’s renown, reaching number 70 in the last year counted and certain to zoom much higher.
TREND WE’D MOST LIKE TO SEE DIE