Category: Name Image
By Linda Rosenkrantz
I never cease to be intrigued by the fact that no only do names go in and out of style, but letters do too. And especially vowels. And especially vowels at the start of names.
We’ve had a long period of names, particularly girls’ names, beginning with the letter A, which was followed by E-names for both girls and boys, and lately parents have been showing their love for names started with O.
But the letter I has had a pretty paltry presence on the SSA list. There are only 16 I-initialed girls name out of the 1000 total, and of those, four are Isabel-related, and just Iris, Ivy and Isla in the Top 150, and Ingrid and Iliana just hanging in in the Top 900s.
But there are still a number of I candidates for success—or there for the taking for those avoiding popular examples. Here are some recommended off-list possibilities:
Their new daughter will need surgery shortly after birth. Time to find a strong name with the right meaning to encourage their little fighter!
We recently found out we were having our third girl and we were absolutely thrilled. Of course, I immediately dug up the master list we used for the last two, Daphne Evangeline and Adele Emmanuelle. We knew we wanted Elizabeth for a middle, but other than that we were at a total loss.
My husband jokingly calls our naming style “Old British Ladies”, but it seems we’re not the only ones with that taste. The remaining names on our list that we loved three years ago have either shot up the popularity charts (Hazel, Isla) or sound too similar to our daughters’ names (Elodie, Mabel).
But then we got some news that put name confusion on the back burner. Turns out our little lady has a hole in her heart. We’ve met with specialists and they’re optimistic, so we are too. In the meantime, we are back to hunting for the perfect name. Our search has definitely acquired some new parameters now. We’d like to give her a name that is inspiring, encouraging, the perfect name for a little fighter. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know that our daughter is already strong. But every name we’ve found with a meaning we like doesn’t seem to work. I love the idea of “strong protection,” but Walburga isn’t really doing it for us.
We’re hoping that the fresh eyes of naming expert can give us a few options.
The Name Sage replies:
What actually makes a name female or male? Most names seem to have been assigned a strict gender based on previous usage, but recently more and more we are seeing boy’s names used for girls and girl’s names used for boys. You could say this is the age of the gender reshuffle.
We make assumptions about the gender of unusual and unfamiliar names based on similarities between them and other names that are maybe more familiar to us, so many of us may take one glance at names such as the Nigerian Ajani, and add them to our girls list (due to the long ‘a’ sound in the middle and the -ee sound ending that also appear in typically ‘girly’ names such as Lana and Emily), when, if we researched a little more, we’d find out that they are typically used for boys in their native cultures. This is how ‘namenapping’ between genders starts – with names that most people are unfamiliar with. If I met a little girl named Ajani, I probably wouldn’t even give it a second thought since I’d have no strong gender assignment in my mind, but this gender swapping opens a gateway to more familiar names being used on different genders.
June is Pride Month, an occasion to celebrate sexual and gender diversity and champion LGBTQ rights. It’s also an occasion for us to highlight an array—a rainbow, if you will—of LGBTQ heroes whose names make for some inspirational choices for your baby boy or girl.
Memorably describing herself as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde challenged us to address the intersections of our different identities in her art and activism. Born Audrey, she dropped the Y from her given name as a child, attracted to the way it balanced out the E of Lorde. This indeed distinguishes Audre from Audrey, a Top 200 name for most of the 20th century (#46 in 2017) and borne by both early saints and Shakespeare characters. Aptly, it means “noble strength” in Old English.
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.