Recently I featured a list of “cheesy” names at Baby Name Pondering. No, not names that are bad puns – names that are derived from types of cheese. It started out as just a bit of fun, as generally food names are not very highly regarded. But I was genuinely surprised by what a nice list it made! Such variety, and many that wouldn’t necessarily scream “cheese”.
Which got me to thinking that maybe it’s not such a silly idea after all. It could be a subtle way to recognise a family that were cheesemakers or dairy farmers. Perhaps the area you grew up in was famous for its cheese. Or maybe your first date with your partner involved a picnic with wine and cheese. There are plenty of reasons why you might be considering a cheese related name. So here are some of my top picks from that list – hopefully you don’t think they’re too “cheesy”!
Ameribella –I’m surprised this pretty smoosh name hasn’t already been discovered. This cheese was previously called Arabella, but the name was changed to honor the cheesemaker’s great grandmother, America Arabella. Like the cheese, it’s a good way to honor American and Italian origins, and Ameribella could be interpreted as meaning “beautiful America.”
Banon– Recently I’ve taken a liking to two-syllable boys ‘names ending in “non”. It’s interesting though that my first impression is that this is a boys name, as I’ve seen some sources claiming that it is a Welsh girls name meaning ‘queen’. Others say Banon is an Irish unisex name meaning ‘white’. The cheese itself is named for the French region in which it is made, originally known as Banonum.
Brie—The Bree spelling is far more popular, although variant Brie has been slowly gaining ground in the U.S since the 70’s. This is another cheese that is named for a region in France, and could be a nod to your French heritage. Brie is short and sweet, gentle yet spunky, and fits the bill of known and recognised but not over exposed.
Colby— On a boy it has cowboy swagger. On a girl it’s perky and cute – not to mention rare. Colby is hands down my favorite on this list, even if it is one of the least subtle. It’s an Old Norse name that means ‘swarthy person’s settlement’, or in other words ‘coal town’.
Kiri– New Zealand opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has brought Kiri the most attention, but this is quite the international name. In New Zealand it is a Maori name meaning ‘skin of a tree of fruit’; in Hindi it means ‘amaranth flower’; in Japanese it is the name of the paulownia tree; and in Finnish it means ‘the final sprint’ and is used to cheer on athletes. Beware though – while it sounds cute and has several nice and harmless meanings, in Iran it is a common Farsi word for the male appendage.
Penbryn –Another smoosh name, and one that could work well for either gender. With elements of Penn and Bryn, this combination is refreshing simply because it doesn’t feel as elaborate as many other smoosh names seem to be. It’s a frills-free option that would be at home in a historical romance or an apocalyptic sci-fi tale. Penbryn is a Welsh house name meaning ‘hilltop’. It’s also the name of a coastal village in Wales.
Rodoric– It looks like an ancient form of Roderick, and indeed references can be found to men bearing this name in Scotland in the 1500’s. It’s of Old German origin and means ‘famous ruler’. Roderick has been declining in popularity in recent years but Rodoric feels fresh and romantic, reminiscent of currently climbing name Alaric.
Stilton– Stilton is a British cheese, but funnily enough currently isn’t allowed to be produced in the town of Stilton due to strict regulations on the origin of the cheese. It’s hotly debated whether the cheese was originally made in Stilton, or was simply first promoted there. Either way, this does make Stilton a very British sounding name. It feels quite stately and surname-y, and means ‘village at a steep ascent’.
Tala— This sleek little name is another with quite the international flavour. In Tagalog Tala means ‘bright star’; in Arabian it’s ‘palm tree’ and in Persian it means ‘gold’. It’s also thought to be a Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic version of Adalheidis, although Tale is more common now; and used as a diminutive for Natalia in Italy and Poland. Some sources even say it is possibly a Native American name meaning ‘wolf’. Tala has been stealthily climbing the U.S charts, but still has quite a way to go to crack the top 1000.
Winnimere Want a name that lends itself to the nickname Winnie but not keen on Winifred? Then consider Winnimere. This romantic sounding sweet beauty feels like she belongs on the pages of an Austen or Bronte novel. And indeed I have read a couple of very romantic reviews for this cheese. The cheese itself was named for a corner of Caspian Lake in Greensboro, Vermont, where the cheesemaker’s grandfather used to go ice-fishing.