Category: word names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
In the seventeenth century, for some of the most puritanical of the Puritans, even biblical and saints’ names were not pure enough to bestow on their children, and so they turned instead to words that embodied the Christian virtues. These ranged from extreme phrases like Sorry-for-sin and Search-the-Scriptures (which, understandably, never came into general use) to simpler virtue names like Silence and Salvation.
The virtue names that have survived in this country were for the most part the unfussy, one-syllable girls’ names with positive meanings, such as Joy, Hope, Grace and Faith. But then, in the late 1990s, a door was opened to more elaborate examples by the popularity of the TV show Felicity, and its appealing heroine. Felicity (also the name of an American Girl Colonial doll) reached a high point on the girls’ list in 1999, a year after the show debuted, leading parents to consider others long forgotten relics.
Here are the Nameberry picks of the twelve best virtue names:
- Amity—like all the virtue names ending in ity, Amity has an attractive daintiness combined with an admirable meaning—in this case, friendship. It could be a modernized (or antiquated, depending how you look at it) namesake for an Aunt Amy.
- Clarity—we like it much better than Charity or—oh no—Chastity. And Clare makes a nice short form.
- Clemency—Clemency, the name of a character in one of Charles Dicken’s lesser known Christmas novellas, The Battle of Life, can be seen as an offbeat alternative to Clementine.
- Constance was originally used in a religious context which has been lost over the years. There are many Constances found in history and literature: there was Constance of Brittany, mother of young Prince Arthur who appears in Shakespeare’s King John, a daughter of William the Conqueror, and characters in Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer and Dumas’s The Three Musketeers. Constance hasn’t been much heard in the 21st century—probably because of the dated nickname Connie. The Puritans also used Constant.
Nature has always been a spring (pun intended) that people have used for inspiration when coming up with names for their children. Many of them are heard time and time again, and the search for fresh alternatives never ceases. I know even in my own case, I’ve scoured the Internet for unusual scientific names for trees, flowers, and more for potential names. But what about nature names in other languages? This is an untapped source for new ideas. Here are some to get you started!
Word Names for Writers
I’ve noticed that several baby name enthusiasts have a passion for writing. Many writers enter the world of baby names while researching potential character names. I thought it would be fun to look at some wonderful word names related to the art of writing.
By Abby Sandel
It was a good week for girls’ names.
Sure, there were some great birth announcements for boys, too. The late Christopher Reeve is now a grandfather. Daughter Alexandra Reeve and husband Garren Givens named their son Christopher Russel, after both grandfathers. Actors Tiffani Thiessen and Brady Smith welcomed Holt Fisher, a little brother for Harper Renn.
But it was word names that made headlines last week – some of them were surprising, and most of them were for girls.
I enjoy fun and unusual ways to come up with names. I’ve recently been loving the idea of turning initials into names a la Edie (E.D.), Vienne (V.N.), Essie (S.E.), and Cece (C.C.). I could see it totally working to name a little girl Ivy after Grandpa Isaac Victor (I.V.).
And anagram names! By which I mean the mixing up of the letters of one name to get a different name. Examples include Jason and Sonja, Aaron and Anora, Byron and Robyn, Neil and Elin. I personally love this idea, and think it can sometimes be just the right way to figure out an honor name. Revealingly, the number of hits one gets when googling “anagram names” — both examples and anagram generators — is pretty remarkable (this list is amazing).
But in my experience, one technique for coming up with new names seems to get overlooked, and regarding one particular example of it, obliterated with criticism: backwards naming, specifically the name Nevaeh.