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Arctic Baby Names: Icy cold but cool

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By Alzora

I have this fascination with the Arctic Circle. I think it stems from my love of Christmas movies, as most of them feature scenes set in the magical North Pole.  Rudolph, Elf¸ The Santa Clause, The Polar Express…they all show snippets of what I believe to be real-life documentary footage from the Northernmost regions of our globe, complete with the striped peppermint stick that is the North Pole. What a haven of whimsy and charm that polar region is.

In all seriousness, the real Arctic Circle that I have visited on Google Earth is, of course, nothing like the sparkling, colorful Santa Land featured in those films, but it has a breathtaking beauty and splendor all its own. It may not feature singing snowmen or dancing elves, but it is magical in its own right. Its bleakness is eerie and mystifying. Its simplicity is elegant. Crisp, clean, untouched. I have never been there in person, though I would love to visit someday (any Alaskan Berries have a guest bedroom??), but I have had a lifelong fascination with the frozen North. I have seen the Northern Lights twice from my hometown in Pennsylvania, and no scene on earth compares to that sublime light show that hails from the skies above the North Pole. For us name enthusiasts, things like that inspire us in the area we love best: naming.

I’ve put a good deal of thought into names that could elicit the imagery and feelings of the arctic region. Admittedly, my creativity extended down into the subarctic region, encompassing that area just below the Arctic Circle treeline that is still pretty chilly. Put on some thermal socks, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy this list of artsy and eccentric arctic-inspired names. Perhaps one of them will suit your own little snow baby.

GIRLS

Alaska

Aurora (Aurora Borealis, Latin term for Northern Lights)

Canada

Glacia (“GLEY-shuh,” a futuristic sound that elicits imagery of glacial ice)

Goldie (a shout-out to the Alaskan Gold Rush, this spunky, vintage nickname-name happens to be of the type that is currently in vogue in the UK)

Icy (this chilly little gem of a name was listed among the top 1,000 girls’ names in the United States until 1907)

Ivory (the material of walrus tusks)

Mossie (moss is one of the sparse varieties of arctic flora, and this name too is a vintage –ie nickname-name– that would fit right in next to Millie and Essie)

Orca (a whale found in the Arctic Ocean, also known as the killer whale…cool sound, but maybe you shouldn’t)

Neva (“NAY-vuh,” a Spanish name meaning “snow”)

Neve (“NEY-vey,” the Italian word for “snow”)

Poppy (arctic poppies are among the few flowers found in the frozen region)

StellaMaris (this Latin term refers to the North Star and is literally translated “sea-star;” does anyone else see a charming double-barrel name here?)

Swan (Tundra Swans breed in the arctic and subarctic tundra)

Taiga (“TAHY-guh” is a term for subarctic forests found just below the Arctic Circle)

Tundra (an arctic treeless zone with permanently-frozen soil; also, a very cool sound)

Ursa (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor are dominant constellations in the extreme Northern sky)

 BOYS

Aquilo (“AK-wuh-loh” is the ancient Roman personification of the north wind)

Bear (one of the few species that call the Arctic Circle home)

Fox (one of the bears’ few neighbors)

Heath (a name descriptive of much of the arctic and subarctic tundra)

Hudson (as in Hudson Bay, which is in the subarctic region)

Moss (if Ross can be accepted as a name, why not this arctic vegetation name?)

North

Orion (something about the Arctic Circle brings to mind the night sky and its constellations that are so vividly clear in the absence of light pollution)

Spruce (spruce trees are found in the subarctic forests and offer a name that is similar to, but catchier than, Bruce)

Wolf (wolves are among the hardy animals that thrive in the arctic region)

Yukon (it worked for Yukon Cornelius in Rudolph, so why can’t it work for a real boy?)

UNISEX

Bering (a sea in the arctic region that sounds like “baring”…making it, well, daring)

Berry (one of the few types of edible vegetation to thrive in the frozen region)

Borealis (the Northern Lights’ Latin surname)

Boreas (“BAWR-ee-uhs” or “BOHR-ee-uhs” is the ancient Greek personification of the north wind)

Brooks (arctic mountain range in Alaska)

Eider (“AHY-der,” waterfowl found in the Arctic Circle)

Evergreen (obviously no trees are found above the Arctic Circle, but evergreens are all over the subarctic region…and let’s face it, it’s what we all think of when we picture the North Pole)

Glacier

Grey (type of arctic wolf)

Peary (Robert Peary, American explorer who led the first expedition to the geographic North Pole)

Pine (subarctic tree)

Klondike (a region and river in northwest Canada; hmm…some heavy teasing potential, but the ice cream bar association sweetens the deal a bit, no? …No.)

Kodiak (an Alaskan community and a type of Alaskan grizzly bear, not quite in the Arctic Circle but with an oh-so-cute name!)

Lynx (these felines are creeping around the arctic tundra at this very moment…with a very cool name)

Polaris (“poh-LAIR-is,” the North Star’s proper name)

Ptarmigan (“TAHR-mi-guhn,” state bird of Alaska…if you can get past its similarity to pterodactyl, it actually has a really cute sound, a la Madigan or Finnegan)

Seal (sleek, cute, and arctic…one-syllable names are all the rage for boys right now anyway)

Silver (the color that comes to mind when most of us picture the arctic region)

Snow

Timber (Timber Wolves are a breed that are found in the arctic region)

Winter

Would you ever dare to give your baby an arctic-inspired name? What words or names make you think of the glittering, silvery polar regions?

Alzora has been a name addict since her adolescence, and has been a Nameberry fan since discovering it last year. She and her husband are currently trying to conceive their first child, whose name changes daily.

 

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About the author

alzora

Alzora has been a name addict since her adolescence, and has been a Nameberry fan since discovering it last year. She and her husband are currently trying to conceive their first child, whose name changes daily.
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30 Responses to “Arctic Baby Names: Icy cold but cool”

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sarahmezz Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 2:21 am

I love wintery names! My favourites for girls: Aurora, Glacia, Neva, Snow Ursa and Winter; and for boys: Bear, Fox, Grey, North and Wolf.

SerenRuby Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 2:47 am

How about Denali ? It’s not any more out there than some of the names on this list. I quite like how it sounds. (I heard it on a dog once, but shhhh)

calypsotheoneandonly Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 7:04 am

I really like the idea of Alaska as a place name, although Canada isn’t really my style. Glacia is inspired, LOL. Icy sounds more like a name for a pet (Fluffy, Lucky), but it’s cute…maybe as a nickname. Any ideas for full names?
Orca sounds close enough to Orla or Olga to work, but I agree, naming a kid after a killer whale is probably a bad idea.
Neva is intersting. It’s kind of a funny thing about Neve really; at first glance it looks like it’s pronounced Neev, like the Irish name Niamh, but then you realize it’s really pronounced more like Nevaeh.
I had no idea the name Poppy could refer to the Arctic, that’s interesting. And I can definitely see Tundra catching on!
The only names I like from the boys list, unfortunately, are Orion and North. My favorites from the unisex list are – Borealis, Brooks, Glacier, Pine, Lynx, Polaris, and Silver.
Sorry it was so long, I tend to ramble when it comes to these things, haha.

Pam Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 7:29 am

I like Alaska too, and was inspired to add it to the database! Turns out 39 girls were given the name last year so it’s certainly not unheard of. Thanks for our newest name and for the great post, Donna!

AnuthriumInvidia Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 7:59 am

I’m enchanted by Stella-Maris

punkprincessphd Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 11:20 am

Some great ideas, but the post on the whole is a little US-centric. What about Russian, Finnish, Aleut, or Inuktitut names and winter-related words in these languages?

As a Canadian, I have to play semantics here and argue against my country’s name as an “Arctic” one – the word itself is most likely Huron or Iroquois, from the very non-Arctic Ontario/Quebec region. For geographic names, what about Baffin (island), Hudson (bay), Bering (strait)? If you are willing to consider Alaska, why not Siberia?

Finally, a slight caveat to Alaska: the Simpson’s parody of Hannah Montanta, “Alaska Nebraska”.

tori101 Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Found this so interesting!

I love the idea of Alaska it’s really cool and automatically makes me think of the John Green novel ‘looking for Alaska’ the character is very troubled and yet enchanting. Her name makes her me think of elegance and feels so whimsical.

Aurora is also gorgeous. Neva/Neve is pretty but in all honestly I prefer Niamh which is pronounced the same as Neve but just feels more put together.

Stella-Maris even though I’m not a fan of Stella I love Maris. Very enchanting!

For the boys I love North, Wolf, Heath, and Fox as a middle name for example James Fox

From the unisex names I love Berry, Brooks, Evergreen as a middle name for Alicia Evergreen, Grey, Silver and Snow.

Kibby Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I laughed at Canada being on the list, maybe it’s just because I live there, but I could never picture it on a child. Also, the meaning of Canada is derived from the Native word Kanata, meaning village, land, or settlement.
Love tons of these other suggestions though, I love the icy feel behind arctic names! Especially Winter, North and Frost!

rosamonte Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Neva isn’t a word in Spanish. The noun for snow is nieve and the verb is nevar, but it is stem-changing so “it snows” is “nieva.” The name Nieves is a given name in Spanish for girls, though, traditionally as María de las Nieves ( Mary of the Snows).
Alaska is the stage name of a famous 1980s pop singer from Spain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_(singer).

xylo Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Aurora is my favourite, if only for the charming nickname it comes with (Rory). Also, what about Lumi? It’s Finnish for snow and absolutely adorable.

octobertales Says:

June 16th, 2013 at 11:15 am

I really like Glacia! That was the name of the territory Karla ruled in the Shadow Realm in Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels trilogy.

Erinm Says:

October 2nd, 2013 at 7:58 am

I have loved Aurora since I used to listen to Sleeping Beauty on storybook cassette tape!

OceaneBreeze Says:

October 20th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

These are all great names! They have a whimsical yet graceful sound and being a winter baby myself, I am enchanted by the northern sounds. My favorite is Neve, but I pronounce it nevh.

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