By Linda Rosenkrantz
We’ve just celebrated the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, signaling the start of summer, with its more leisurely rhythm of sun, surf and sandy beaches. Are you expecting a summertime daughter and still seeking her name? Maybe one that reflects the season of her birth, but doesn’t shout it out? Here we’ve compiled a list of over two dozen more subtle choices, potential baby names that you may not have considered.
AINE—Pronounced AWN-ya, this is one of the most popular girls’ names in Ireland and comes onto this list via its role as an early Celtic goddess of summer—as well as queen of the fairies. And if we can learn to pronounce Saoirse, Aine should be a piece of Irish potato cake. It’s in the Top 100 in Ireland and the Top 1000 on Nameberry.
APOLLONIA—Now that Greek sun god Apollo’s name is beginning to trend for boys, how about considering the female version? Apollonia became popular in the Middle Ages via a third century saint and resurfaced as Prince’s love interest in the film Purple Rain.
AUGUSTA—For an August baby girl, this is a not too subtle yet not yet rediscovered vintage charmer. With lots of literary cred, Augusta boasts two cute nicknames—Aggie and Gussie. Off the popularity list since the 1940s, Augusta has made it to #789 on NB.
KALINDA, SAVITA—Kalinda is a pretty Hindi name meaning “sun”; it became familiar to Westerners via the efficient lawyer character Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife. Savita is another attractive and popular Hindi name that shares the meaning of “sun.”
KYRA—This popular multi-cultural name with several spellings is of Greek origin stemming from the Persisan and Egyptian for “like Ra, the sun.” Associations include actress Kyra Sedgwick and characters on Castle and Reba. Current ranking: 590, 370 on NB.
LEONIE, LEONORA—Many summer babies are born under the sign of Leo, opening the door to several leonine choices for both girls and boys. Among my special favorites are the chic French Leonie (12th in Germany, 452 on Nameberry) and the romantic, operatic Leonora (508 for Berries).
MARIGOLD—There are so many gorgeous summer-bloom names to pick from–from Iris to Daisy to Zinnia, but a particular favorite is the sunny Marigold, which has moved from children’s books to children’s nurseries, and was seen as a character on Downton Abbey. It’s now 418 on NB and rapidly rising.
MARIN—More subtle and sophisticated than Marina, the seafaring Marin featured in Joan Didion’s A Book of Common Prayer and was heard on Pretty Little Liars. It can also be spelled Maren. Though not on the national list, Marin is 415 on Nameberry.
MARISOL—Even if the actual meaning of Marisol is “Mary of Solitude, ” the sea syllable of mar combined with the sun syllable sol make it the perfect summertime name. Currently a character on Orange is the New Black, Marisol comes in at #552 on the NB list.
MORWENNA—Meaning both “maiden” and “waves of the sea,” this Cornish saint’s name is a newly revived Welsh favorite, heard on the British series Doc Martin and Poldark, and could certainly make a charming import.
OCEANE—The sophisticated French Oceane has long been riding a wave in its native pays—it was as high as #14 in 2000—and is just beginning to be appreciated here. Other options: Oceana or the unisex Ocean.
PERIDOT, RUBY—Two summer month gems, one rare, the other not so much. Peridot is the vibrant green jewel of the month of August and would make a strikingly distinctive choice. Sassy, sultry Ruby has been a Top 100 name for the past several years, and is also a Top 50 hit in England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.
PLUM—Summer is the season for luscious soft fruits and Plum is no doubt among the coolest names for a warm-weather babe, and would make a delicious middle name as well. Plum Kettle is the key character in the novel and TV series Dietland.
SOLANA, SOLANGE, SOLEIL—Three summery names starting with the sun-drenched sol. Solana has been heard in a few video games; Solange is a saint’s name associated with Beyoncé’s singing sister; Soleil, the lovely French word for sun, is starting to attract attention here, up at #387 on Nameberry.
THALASSA—This lovely Greek name meaning ‘the sea’ and considered the primeval spirit of the sea in Greek myth makes a pretty, delicate, unusual choice– a congenial companion to other currently popular Th-names Theodore, Theodora, Theo and Thea.