Calendar Baby Names

January Jones, the attractive star of the hot TV show Mad Men has focused a lot of attention on her (real) name, but what’s the prognosis for the other calendar baby names?

JANUARY, named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and ends,  has a real history as a name, dating back to the Chaucer‘s Canterbury Tales  character in The Merchant’s Tale, a wealthy, elderly knight.  Flash forward to the 1970s for a complete image transformation via the Jacqueline Susann soap-operaish novel Once is Not Enough‘s heroine, “the luscious January Wayne.”  (The South Dakota-bred January Jones told Town & Country magazine that she was named for the Susann character.) Put it all together, and you have the sexiest month name, and one that has the best chance of catching on.

FEBRUARY.  The shortest month of the year has the least potential as a baby name, mostly because of its awkward pronunciation.  You could consider its birthstone, Amethyst, instead.

MARCH, named after Mars, the Roman god of war, is the most masculine of the group, and is beginning to be used for boys, particularly as a strong, brisk middle name.  It’s also a surname name, exemplified by the beloved March family in Little Women.

APRIL, from the Latin word meaning to open, as in the opening buds of spring, has been in name-style limbo for a a couple of decades, but might be due for an early comeback.  Its prominent role in Revolutionary Road, portrayed by Kate Winslet, could breathe new life into it.  It also has appealing musical references via songs like I’ll Remember April and April in Paris.  Singer Avril Lavigne has drawn attention to the French version.

MAY, which started as a pet form of both Mary and Margaret, was wildly popular at the turn of the 20th century, in both real life and fiction–writers like Henry James and Edith Wharton used it for their pure and innocent heroines.  The Mae spelling, as in Mae West, was much saucier.  Some modern parents have begun to use May as a sweet, old-fashioned middle name, but others–including actress Madeline Stowe,–have recognized its potential as a first.

JUNE was the midcentury goody-goody girl, exemplified by June Allyson in movies and quintessential TV Mom June (Leave it to Beaver) Cleaver.  Some parents might prefer the livelier Juno, but June–recently picked by actor/oil heir Balthazar Getty for his daughter–has the no-nonsense solidity many parents are seeking in these difficult times. A hipster favorite middle name.

JULY, named for Juilius Caesar, has been used infrequently, and then usually as a male name–there was a character named July Anderson in Lonesome Dove.  But it could conceivably be an offbeat namesake for an Aunt Julie or an Uncle Julius.

AUGUST, like the word with the accent on the second syllable, has a somewhat serious image,  associated with two heavyweight playwrights–Strindberg and Wilson.  It has some celebrity cred, having been chosen by Mariska Hargitay, Lena Olin and Jeanne Tripplehorn.  Garth Brooks turned August into a female option when he used it for his daughter.

SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER all have limited potential, the Latin Septimus and Octavius having more history as names.  On the other hand, hip writer Dave Eggers did name his daughter October….

TRIVIA TIDBIT: The novel and movie The Secret Life of Bees had characters named April, May, June and August.

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11 Responses to “Calendar Baby Names”

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Paige Says:

January 12th, 2009 at 7:23 pm

I actually like a few of these options: October particularly, and then January and May. December is nice as a middle name, and August is nice for a boy.

Janine Says:

January 12th, 2009 at 7:36 pm

I think that November would make a lovely name, particularly for a girl. It comes with a nice nickname in Nova too.

smitty Says:

January 12th, 2009 at 9:35 pm

March for a boy is kind of growing on me!

Annika Says:

January 14th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

August was the name of my grandfather, who was born in 1911. During his life it was a somewhat risdiculous name here in Germany because there was that fictive person being called “Stupid August”. Also, it still sounds like an old man’s name, but I begin to like it aa a middle name.

Kat Says:

October 21st, 2009 at 8:03 am

The months are good, but if I was a rock star I think I may do “Saturday”!

Amanda Says:

December 8th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Out of all of them I love November for a girl…More so November Rain all together. Kinda like the song. Ive always liked having my name in songs 🙂
I dont really like any of the calender names for boys though.

QuirkFlower Says:

May 5th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I love the calendar names!! I can totally see myself being like The Secret Life of Bees and giving everyone month names. May and June are my favorites. April isn’t far behind. I’ve always thought November nn Nova was kinda cool. July is starting to grow on me as well. I really don’t like August, though!

Oh! I like the day names, too. Sunday is my favorite. Tuesday is also kinda nice.

braveangel2 Says:

July 6th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Ember would be a great play on month names. Also love December as a middle name.

littlebrownpony Says:

November 7th, 2013 at 9:59 am

I am in love with August and wish I had gotten a chance to use it. But I don’t understand what you mean by “accent on the second syllable.” I wouldn’t pronounce it “au-GUST.” I would pronounce it “AU-gust.” Right?

iamktchristie Says:

January 12th, 2014 at 5:21 am

I love August for a boy and October (nn Toby) for a girl. I also like November for a girl with the nicknames Nova or Ember… But I doubt I’d ever use that one.

SadieJames Says:

January 12th, 2014 at 8:49 am

Janvier is “January” in French, and even if it is very rare, it has been given as a firstname to little boys. I like it. I doubt I’d use it, but I liek it and i wish more people would dare using it.

French months name also include Mai (spelled May) and Avril (for April). Both are girls names.

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