At Nameberry, plummeting temperatures mean just one thing: it’s time to revisit our annual survey of winter-related names.
Just a few years ago, it might have been fair to say that Winter was the season least friendly to names, while now it seems to offer the newest choices for the adventurous baby namer. Why? Two reasons: Nicole Richie choosing Winter as one of the middle names for her high-profile little girl Harlow, and January Jones, beauteous star of the hit show Mad Men.
Winter is the season name that’s seen the least amount of use over the years, yet one that holds the most potential for boys as well as girls. Variations include Winters, Wynter, and (please don’t) Wintr. Translations of the seasonal name include the French Hiver (pronounced ee-vair), Italian Inverno, and in Spanish, Invierno. In Dutch and German, it’s still Winter and and in Swedish, the comical-sounding (to the English speaker’s ear) Vinter.
In mythology, winter was said to be caused by Demeter in grief over the loss of her daughter Persephone, consigned forever to the underworld (but rising again as a baby name, with or without the pronunciation of the final long e).
December, still a highly unusual month name yet certainly a usable one, means ten. Other versions you may want to consider: Decima, name of the Roman goddess of childbirth; Decembra, Decimus, or Decio. December’s flower is the narcissus or holly, suggesting the names Narcissa (difficult at best) and Holly (already a bit worn at the edges). December gem Turquoise can work as a name, as can Aqua or its Turkish equivalent Fairuza. Red, however, seems more suitable as December’s color, which leads you to a whole spectrum of great names, from Scarlett to Crimson to Rufus and Rory.
January is named after Janus, god of beginnings. January Wayne was the lead character of Jacqueline Susann’s Once Is Not Enough, the inspiration for January Jones’ parents. The Saxons called January the Wolf Month. A few other names that mean Wolf: Conan, Lowell, Lupe, Phelan, Rudy, Tala. In Finland, it’s called Month of the Oak. Names with meanings related to Oak: Adair, Darragh, Ilana, Oakley, Ogden, Quennel. Garnet is the month’s gem and in Japan, the flower is the name-worthy Camellia.
February is from a Latin word meaning purification, unlikely to inspire many baby-namers. It’s also called the Mud month and the Kale month. More promising: Finns call it Month of the Pearl. Viola and Primrose are February’s flowers; its stone is Amethyst and so Violet – or Iolanthe or Yolanda — would be another appropriate choice.
Jack and Frost are both good winter baby names; we’ve even heard of a chic little Parisian Frostine. Snow is lovely, and can be turned into Neve or Neva, Nevada, or Yuki. Crystal fits the theme, though at this point is not so sparkly. And what is snow but white? Nameberry highlights a long list of names that mean white. Some of our favorites –
Several seasonal holidays might inspire a name for your winter baby. We’ll be saying a lot more about Christmas names later this month, so we won’t cover those here. But you might want to consider:
Soyala – Hopi for the Winter Solstice
Sadeh or Sada – Iranian holiday to defeat the darkness
And then of course there’s Hanukkah, suggesting the eternal winter celebration of light. There are dozens of wonderful names meaning light. A few great ideas: