Category: water names
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:
June – June, 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.”
July – Julius 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.
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
Not long ago, a couple I know—both serious swimmers—asked me if I could help them come up with a girl’s name that related to water. They didn’t want any site-specific water names —no actual names of oceans or rivers or seas, no Hudsons or Niles for them– but something with the feel or sense or literal meaning of water.
I put together a relatively short list for them of water-related words and names whose meanings reference water. Here’s a considerably expanded version of those water names, with some, of course, more usable than others. (By the way, my friends chose to name their daughter Tallulah, in large part because they loved its meaning—“leaping water”)
So if you’re a swimmer, a surfer, a snorkeler, a fisherperson, or just someone who likes to walk in the rain, here are some possible approaches.
1. FIND A WORD RELATED TO WATER:
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 (and, from your baby’s point of view, into life!) Here, 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 after coming close to cracking the Top 100 in 1977; it’s been above number 200 for the past fifteen years. Autumn is more popular but Winter is cooler.
Summer also has three excellent months names that include several usable variations. These are:
JUNE – JUNE, the hip middle name du jour, 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 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.”
We think and talk a lot about place names–countries like China, states like Georgia, cities like Dallas, even boroughs like Brooklyn. And we also think and talk about nature names, of flowers and trees. Well there’s one category that merges the two together, and that’s river names.
I was planning to put together a list of interesting river names worldwide, but I came upon so many intriguing and unusual possibilities in Western Europe alone, that I decided to save our own country, England and Ireland and others farther afield for some time in the future. Some of those listed here are major waterways like the Seine, others are much smaller streams; and some run through more than one country. And I’m sure you’ll notice that there are those that sound decidedly masculine (Arno), while others could be possible girls’ names (Adaja).
Not surprisingly, some of the most appealing names come from the French countryside:
And here are some Latinate choices from Italy, Spain, and Portugal:
DANUBE (which is shown in the illustration)