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Category: word names

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By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

We’re just days into the new year, and there’s so much to anticipate.

What will Zara Phillips Tindall, the least conventionally named of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren, name her first child?  When the 2013 data is released, will Jacob still be the most common name for boys born in the US, or will Mason unseat him?  Which fictional character names will take us by surprise?

But this week, I’m thinking about a very specific question: of all the unconventional word name possibilities, which will go from sounding wacky and way out there to mainstream in 2014?

Kids called Willow, River, Scarlett, Genesis, Serenity, and Cash are nothing new, but not so long ago those all sounded as outlandish as Apple or Bear.

Earlier this week The Tennessean reported that the majority of Americans are completely fine with kids called Messiah.  That’s pretty tolerant – if we can handle Messiah, surely Pilot is no big deal.

And yet, I wonder about the power of noun names to influence our choices.  Nancy recently shared a quote on nominative determinism – an elaborate way of saying that your name determines your future.

Will calling your child Forest make him outdoorsy?  Will Aria love to sing?  Can Cash expect to hit it big on Wall Street – or maybe Vegas?  Is Valor brave and Honor honorable?

Plenty of parents must be hoping this is true.  Or at least they’re untroubled by the possibility.  Because we’ve been borrowing from the dictionary with abandon as 2013 slipped into 2014.

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posted by: Nephele View all posts by this author
wordsnephe

by Nephele

Word names!  Some people love them, others hate them.  Word names probably started gaining in popularity due to hippie subculture, which especially latched on to appealing words taken from nature.  So I wondered:  “What are the most popular word names in common use today?”

To answer my own question and determine what these most popular word names are, I ran an Excel program to select names from the latest available U.S. Social Security Administration’s baby names lists (2012) that also matched with words in the official lexicon used for the multi-player word game “Words with Friends.”

Below I have listed the 100 top word names of 2012 for both girls and boys combined.  The accompanying definitions for these names may hold a few surprises!  These definitions are not, in every case, based on the actual etymology of the names, but rather on definitions given by the Merriam-Webster dictionary for the English-speaking world.  Some of these definitions are historical or obsolete or somewhat esoteric, but they are all actual definitions that make these names “legitimate words” for playing Words with Friends.

Be warned!  Some of these dictionary definitions may change your views on various names — either for better or worse!

Mason – “to build with stone or brick.” (18,856 boys; 80 girls)

Ava – “at all.” (15,418 girls; 19 boys)

Alexander – “a cocktail.” (15,105 boys; 28 girls)

Logan – “a stone balanced to permit easy movement.” (12,390 boys; 676 girls)

Benjamin – “benzoin.” (12,695 boys; 13 girls)

Abigail – “a lady’s maid.” (12,585 girls; 13 boys)

Joseph – “a woman’s long cloak.” (12,404 boys; 15 girls)

John – “a toilet.” (10,505 boys; 11 girls)

Carter – “one that carts.” (9,202 boys; 243 girls)

Jordan – “a type of container.” Historically, “a chamber pot.” (7,734 boys; 1,408 girls)

Angel – “to support financially.” (6,975 boys; 1,381 girls)

Hunter – “one that hunts.” (7,967 boys; 205 girls)

Henry – “a unit of inductance.” (8,006 boys; 9 girls)

Lily – “a flowering plant.” (7,889 girls; 10 boys)

Jack – “to raise with a type of lever.” (7,877 boys; 9 girls)

Riley – “angry.” (4,786 girls; 2,861 boys)

Harper – “a harpist.” (7,154 girls; 414 boys)

Charlotte – “a dessert.” (7,418 girls; 5 boys)

Grace – “to give beauty to.” (7,304 girls; 9 boys)

Amelia – “congenital absence of an arm or leg.” (7,191 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Victoria – “a light carriage.” (6,814 girls; 9 boys)

Parker – “one that parks.” (5,323 boys; 1,015 girls)

Chase – “to pursue.” (5,648 boys; 84 girls)

Anna – “a former coin of India and Pakistan.” (5,552 girls; 5 boys)

Cooper – “to make or mend barrels.” (5,156 boys; 102 girls)

Savannah – “a flat, treeless grassland.” (5,143 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Genesis – “an origin.” (4,280 girls; 75 boys)

Serenity – “the state of being serene.” (4,180 girls; 7 boys)

Stella – “a formerly used coin of the United States.” (3,964 girls; 6 boys)

Maya – “the power to produce illusions, in Hindu philosophy.” (3,926 girls; 7 boys)

Morgan – “a unit of distance between genes.” (3,377 girls; 433 boys)

Cole – “a plant of the cabbage family.” (3,752 boys; 12 girls)

Autumn – “a season of the year.” (3,745 girls; 8 boys)

Max – “to reach the upper limit.” (3,663 boys; 15 girls)

Bailey – “an outer castle wall.” (3,387 girls; 121 boys)

Faith – “to believe or trust.” (3,497 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Jasmine – “a climbing shrub.” (3,348 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Sawyer – “one that saws wood for a living.” (2,724 boys; 540 girls)

Violet – “a flowering plant.” (3,252 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Molly – “a tropical fish.” (3,232 girls; 8 boys)

Miles – “units of distance.” (3,229 boys; 10 girls)

Trinity – “a group of three.” (3,201 girls; 32 boys)

Aria – “an elaborate melody for a single voice.” (3,201 girls; 18 boys)

Maxwell – “a unit of magnetic flux.” (3,187 boys; 8 girls)

Timothy – “a European grass.” (3,071 boys; 5 girls)

Piper – “one that plays on a tubular musical instrument.” (3,038 girls; 16 boys)

Maria – “the dark areas on the surface of the moon or Mars.” (3,012 girls; 6 boys)

Colin – “the bobwhite.” (3,001 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Paisley – “a patterned wool fabric.” (2,903 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Ruby – “of a deep-red color.”  (2,875 girls; 7 boys)

Victor – “one who defeats an adversary.” (2,852 boys; 8 girls)

Jade – “to weary.” (2,714 girls; 56 boys)

Jesse – “to jess; to fasten straps around the legs of a hawk.” (2,670 boys; 78 girls)

Destiny – “the fate or fortune to which one is destined.” (2,688 girls; 12 boys)

Jake – “all right, fine.” (2,659 boys; 6 girls)

Roman – “a metrical narrative of medieval France.” (2,552 boys; 10 girls)

Charlie – “a fool.” (1,518 boys; 1,041 girls)

Axel – “a jump in figure skating.” (2,464 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Grant – “to bestow upon.” (2,455 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Alan – “a large hunting dog.” (2,273 boys; 11 girls)

Gage – “to pledge as security.” (2,246 boys; 8 girls)

Aliyah – “the immigration of Jews to Israel.” (2,240 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Tanner – “one that tans.” (2,164 boys; 57 girls)

Mark – “to make a visible impression on.” (2,186 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Tucker – “to weary.” (2,026 boys; 11 girls)

Ariel – “an African gazelle.” (1,720 girls; 292 boys)

Conner – “one that cons.” (1,894 boys; 10 girls)

Aurora – “the rising light of the morning.” (1,890 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Peter – “to diminish gradually.” (1,844 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Emery – “a granular corundum.” (1,474 girls; 361 boys)

Willow – “to clean textile fibers with a certain machine.” (1,806 girls; 14 boys)

Rowan – “a Eurasian tree.” (1,138 boys; 678 girls)

Daisy – “a flowering plant.” (1,774 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Melody – “an agreeable succession of musical sounds.” (1,770 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Hazel – “a shrub.” (1,768 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Summer – “the warmest season of the year.” (1,762 girls; 5 boys)

Graham – “whole-wheat flour.” (1,706 boys; 9 girls)

Ivy – “a climbing vine.” (1,677 girls; 14 boys)

Spencer – “a trysail; a type of sail.” (1,518 boys; 145 girls)

Griffin – “a mythological creature.” (1,639 boys; 17 girls)

Harmony – “agreement.” (1,603 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Drake – “a male duck.” (1,532 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Chance – “to risk.” (1,489 boys; 30 girls)

Amir – “a Muslim prince or governor.” (1,455 boys; 20 girls)

Drew – “past tense of draw.” (1,227 boys; 232 girls)

Zander – “a freshwater fish.” (1,446 boys; 7 girls)

Ana – “a collection of miscellaneous info on a subject.” (1,437 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

King – “a male monarch.” (1,423 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Hope – “to have a desire or expectation.” (1,410 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Luna – “an alchemical designation for silver.” (1,404 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Troy – “a system of weights.” (1,376 boys; 7 girls)

Dean – “the head of a faculty.” (1,369 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Jasper – “a variety of quartz.” (1,339 boys; 25 girls)

Dominick – “one of an American breed of chickens.” (1,348 boys; 6 girls)

Lyric – “a lyrical poem.” (1,075 girls; 262 boys)

Martin – “a small bird.” (1,333 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Hector – “to bully.” (1,319 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Sienna – “a brown pigment.” (1,317 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Cash – “ready money.” (1,302 boys; 6 girls)

Lane – “a narrow passageway.” (1,216 boys; 75 girls)

And now for some more name fun!  I had mentioned that word names were big in hippie subculture.  If you would like to discover your “hidden hippie name” through the art of anagramming, click on the following link:

http://nameberry.com/nametalk/threads/63018-Your-Hippie-Name-(Nephele-s-Anagrams)

Nephele is the alias of an obsessive anagrammatist who for more than a decade has provided unique name makeovers for people on numerous Internet forums. Despite the popularity of Nephele’s anagrams, she is not prepared to give up her day job in an undisclosed public library in New York.

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Word Names in the Top 1000

posted by: NameFreak! View all posts by this author
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By Kelli Brady at NameFreak!

Words have always been chosen as names for children. Some are virtues, some are occupations, some are pretty flowers or colors, and some are actions or structures. And no matter what reason parents have for choosing a word name, there should be consideration for the thing the word represents before placing the label on a baby.

So, what are the most popular word names? I have gone through the Top 1000 and found 63 girl and 58 boy word names in the 2012 list, and a few of those are for both genders. Varied spellings from the actual word are not included (i.e. Scarlet is a word, not Scarlett), but I’ve included words that may be various spellings of actual names (i.e. Conner for Conor).  Here is the list with their 2012 ranks:

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memorial

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Before you fire up the barbie or pack up the picnic basket, why not take a minute to think about what Memorial Day memorializes.

The holiday—originally called Decoration Day—was first commemorated on May 30, 1868, not long after the Civil War had ended, and was given that name because it was when flowers were placed on the graves of the Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In the course of this brutal war  that tore the country apart, over a thousand soldiers reached the rank of general, several of whom went on to reach high offices in government, including six presidents– Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Harris, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield and Chester A. Arthur.

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posted by: waltzingmorethanmatilda View all posts by this author
banjopaterson

By Anna Otto of Waltzing More Than Matilda

February 17th is the birthdate of Andrew Barton Paterson, affectionately known as “BanjoPaterson.  He was named Andrew after his Scottish-born father, and his middle name Barton was a family name from his mother’s side; he was related to Edmund Barton, who would later become Australia’s first prime minister. Because he and his dad had the same name, Paterson went by his middle name, and was always known as Barty to his friends and family.

Paterson lived with his grandmother while he was attending the prestigious Sydney Grammar School, and she encouraged in him a love of poetry. He was 21 when he first began submitting poems to The Bulletin, under the pseudonym of “The Banjo” (sometimes shortened to a simple “B”).  Full of fierce nationalism and a desire for a fairer society, he had some aspirations to write fiery polemic, and had even written a political pamphlet.  However, The Bulletin had other ideas.

In the late nineteenth century, there was a movement towards the British colonies of Australia becoming one country, a feeling that Australia should be a united nation, and Australians a united people. In the effort to provide Australia with a unifying mythology that would instill nationalistic pride, it seemed that the Australian bush and outback would be the symbol to draw everyone together.

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