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Nile: Yes, Like The River

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ILLUSTRATION-Nile RIVER ANCIENT Egypt

By Nile Cappello

My name is, without a doubt, one of my most defining characteristics. Yes, I am loud, outspoken, slightly (or more than slightly) obnoxious, extremely determined (read: stubborn), and quite a few other things — but with a name like Nile, I wouldn’t have to be any of these to stand out.

Most people tell me they have never met someone named Nile.  They also ask me if I was born in Egypt, conceived on the Nile River (ew), or am Egyptian. My co-worker said before my first day she was convinced I would be a tall, dark, Egyptian goddess. I am not. I am small, pale, blonde, and overwhelmingly white.

Although my name was clearly inspired by the river in Egypt, I’m actually named after my grandfather Neil. In a time when made-up names like Jazlyn and “creative” spellings like Madilyn and Joslyn litter the Top 1000 list, I’m thankful to have a bit of history and familial significance behind my name.

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nature names

Nature names can mean a lot of different things, as our all-inclusive nature baby names list demonstrates.

There are flower names, long used for girls but newly in style now.  These include familiar choices like Rose and Lily along with fashionable exotic blooms such as Dahlia and Magnolia.

Then on the botanical side, there are newer tree names, spice names, and fruit names, from Oak to Sage to Banana.

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lake

There’s probably no word in the English language that sounds quite so calm, cool, clear and refreshing than the word ‘lake’—even more than other water names like River and Bay and Brook.

Lake as a name came to the fore via the film and television actress Lake Bell, and could make an especially cool middle name.  But what about the names of individual lakes?  Looking through the atlas, we found plenty of inspiration there, and these are our Namebery Picks of the twelve best.

1.     Annecy—Lake Annecy is the second largest—and cleanest—lake in France, surrounded by mountains and quaint villages.  Annecy could make for a completely unique and charmingly dainty Ann or Annie namesake.

2.     Caspian—Considered a large lake, a sea, and even in ancient times an ocean, Caspian became a human name via the Prince in the fourth book of C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series.  Strong and appealing, it’s become a recent Nameberry fave.

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cute-baby

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:

Summer — As a seasonal name, Summer may not be your top choice.  It’s feeling a tad shopworn as it’s been above number 200 for the past eighteen years.  Autumn is more popular but Winter is cooler.

Summer also has three excellent months’ names that include several usable variations.  These are:

JuneJune, 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.”

JulyJulius 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.

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Mermaid Names: Beyond Madison and Ariel

mermaid names

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.

Beyond Madison and Ariel: Other Famous Mermaids 

CoraliaAn underwater realm in Flash Gordon, but also a name for a mermaid in a nineteeth-century ballet

Deema – From the new Nickelodeon series Bubble Guppies, about a group of preschoolers and their adventures with teacher Mr. Grouper

DianaFrom 2003 movie Mermaids, about a trio of fish-tailed sisters who set off to avenge the death of their merman father

JuneFrom 2003 movie Mermaids

LoreleiFrom German folktales, now better known as the given name of both Gilmore Girls – though mother and daughter spelled it Lorelai

MelodyAriel’s daughter in the extended Little Mermaid universe

MirandaIn a 1948 British comedy, a lonely fisherman catches the mermaid Miranda and the duo set off on a madcap tour of London

MollyAnother 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

NixieYet another name for a water-dwelling spirit

OndineA 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

SabrinaThe name of a water nymph in John Milton’s Comus, and an ancient Celtic river goddess, too

Thessalonike – Sister of Alexander the Great, said to have turned into a mermaid

UndineA variant of Ondine, but perhaps not as wearable

VenusFrom 2003 movie Mermaids, and known for posing on a shell in the Botticelli painting

Names That Would Fit a Mermaid

AvalonA medieval tale tells of three sisters growing up on the lost Isle of Avalon.  The eldest, Melusine, was cursed to spend one day a week as a mermaid.

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