Color Names: Parents are partial to the color purple

The most stylish palette for clothes this season may be orange, lemon, lime and other neon-bright colors, but baby namers are showing a real passion for purple, loving names from pale Lavender and Violet to deeper purpley shades. Purple itself has many associations– with royalty and nobility—as well as haze, rain, overwritten prose, an Alice Walker novel and screen version, as well as purple people eaters.


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Shrinking no more, Violet is one of the prettiest and most delicate of the color and flowers names. A Top 100 name in the first quarter of the 20th century, Violet, the choice of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck for their first daughter and of several other celebs , is poised to take that position again. Violet has starred in such vehicles as The Incredibles, and been instrumental in launching the V-name trend.

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33 Responses to “Color Names: Parents are partial to the color purple”

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Zuzu19 Says:

May 31st, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I love Lavender, but I would be more inclined to spell it as Lavendar (the spelling used for the character Miss Lavendar Lewis in the Anne of Green Gables series).

Poppy528 Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 1:49 am

The name Porfirio relates to the color purple. I like its sound but not really the image. Viola instead of Violette and Lilac are the faves. I want so badly to understand how Prune is chic in Paris!

Alexandra.Iseult Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 2:54 am

I absolutely love Lilac, Plum, and Ianthe (though I can’t stand Iolanthe as pronounced yolantha).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Ianthe was Shelley’s daughter’s middle name and that she was Elizabeth or Eliza Ianthe Shelley.

I agree with poppy528, I prefer Viola, and likewise. Prune? I can sorta see that it could maybe be nice…

ellieberry Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 2:58 am

Aubergine or Wisteria could also be used as “Purple Names”. Ube is a type of purple yam. Iris feels like a purple name even though I know that flower comes in many shades. I wonder if the prevalence of purple baby names has anything to do with the pseudoscientific term “indigo child”?

starophie Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 6:16 am

Love this list!!! Purple is my favorite color :3

I love pretty much all the names, but one thing about Magenta: it’s also the name of the boy dog on Blue’s Clues. Not that it would be a bad thing, but that’s definitely a common association.

Also, I’ve wondered this for a while: if prune is the word for plum in French, then what is the name for prunes?

Scrambledmegs Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 8:20 am

I am fairly certain that Magenta on Blue’s Clues is a girl dog.

Mego0801 Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 8:22 am

Great list, I just added ‘Lilac’ and ‘Indigo’ to my girl’s list 🙂 I never thought of those before, Lilac is one of my mom’s favorite plants, purple is one of my, her, and my sister’s favorite colors, and I love that Indigo could have ‘Indi’ as a nickname, I’m a racing fan 😉

Scrambledmegs Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 8:28 am

My nieces are named Violet and Scarlet (my SIL’s an artist) so I think it might be over the top for me to continue the color trend. Just further proof of how popular purple hues have become!

I love Lavender. It’s my favorite of the names listed. I’d be a bit apprehensive of future nicknames, but I think parents who’d use the name are less weary of that. I’d probably reserve if for the middle… I’ve always liked Hadley Lavender.

I also would’ve included Aubergine, Wisteria, and Iris. Maybe even Heather. They all bring violet to my mind.

nat108 Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 8:58 am

I prefer Violetta over Violet. I love Orchid, I’m partial to Lilac, and Plum is growing on me

I want to like Lavender but I think masculine. I’m a Psych and L&O: SVU fan. Lavender Goomes is one of Gus’s aliases and on SVU there was a pimp/strip club owner named Lavander “It’s la-Van-der, do I look like a flower to you?”

rachel27 Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 9:56 am

I really love Lavender . It’s one of my top names, and I love how soft and pretty it is. I’d also love to use Plum someday, probably as a middle name, but maybe even a first. We’ll see.
I also like Violet, though its popularity puts me off it. I think Lilac is such a lovely name, too- such a great alternative to Lila/Lily/Lillian.

Mischa Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 10:11 am

What gorgeous purple names – Violet, Lilac, Lavender, Amethyst, Magenta and Indigo are my favourites on this list. Cerise is a name that sounds pretty too!

Villette Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 10:44 am

I love everything purple, so obviously I love this blog! DH would never go for many of these (like Lavender) but I think they are great. I’m honored that you included a link to my post on Orchids!

sabrinafair Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I have Violet, Amethyst, Indigo, Lavender, Lilac, and Orchid on my list. Lavender is my fave

ellieberry Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Phlox is a purple woodland wildflower that grows wild where I live. I could see Phlox working as a spunky purple nature name for the right family. It seems like a spin on the Lex, Fox, Lux, Max trend.

mytimehascome2 Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Wow! My favorite color is also purple. I must say Lavender ( In the movie “Matilda” which I own… Lol) has always been a adorable name. Plum & Orchid are also beauties. I have a cousin that has a rich and beautiful color name her name is “Burgundy” and we call her bergie.

Flick Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I love Indigo and Lavender. I think Wisteria is beautiful, too. If I could have purple twins, I would call them Indogo and Wisteria.

Flick Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I love Indigo and Lavender. I think Wisteria is beautiful, too. If I could have purple twins, I would call them Indigo and Wisteria.

ksheja Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I like Violet, Lavender, Lilac and Ianthe, and maybe Amethyst (as a middle name) but the rest are nms. I love the color purple!

Aurora Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 4:27 pm

The word ‘orchid’ comes from the Greek word ‘orchis,’ meaning ‘testicle.’ I wouldn’t use it as a given name.

leslieanne Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Magenta is also a name from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. =)

miloowen Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Malva is actually the Latin name for the mallow, which comes in a variety of colours.

When we lived in Canada, our grammar school principal was asked to help a new mother from Hong Kong choose “English” names for her three daughters enrolling in our school. Our principal was against this, saying that many of our Asian students retained their original names and had no issues with them. The mother insisted, however, and asked for a translation of her children’s Chinese names into English from the translator. “Purple,” said the translator, and so, despite suggestions of Lilac, Lavender, Violet, and Aubergine, the girls became Purple Wong 1, Purple Wong 2, and Purple Wong 3….

lexikj Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I love Violet, so gorgeous. Indigo and Magenta are very cool as well, you could always use the nn Maggie for Magenta.

One thing to remember about Orchid, I’m surprised they didn’t say this, but it comes from the Greek word for testicle! very pretty flowers otherwise though.

ErinLW Says:

June 1st, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I am so in love with the name Violet.

thetxbelle Says:

June 2nd, 2012 at 1:31 am

@starophie a prune is “un pruneau” in French

marinadancel17 Says:

June 2nd, 2012 at 10:00 am

Mt fav color is purple so I love almost all of the names!My fav is Violet and Im starting to like Lilac…not sure how usuable it is though.

UniqueNameLover Says:

June 2nd, 2012 at 11:09 am

Violet, Amethyst and Indigo (for a boy) have been on my list for a while. I also like Lavender and think it is usable.

Ianthe and Iolanthe is definitely interesting, and I kind of like Lilac.

jame1881 Says:

June 2nd, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Violet has been a favorite ever since I read The Boxcar Children, and of course Downton Abbey gives it an even better connotation 🙂
I don’t mind Lilac, but “ac” doesn’t sound very appealing.
Amethyst sounds rather nice. It’s a way to get Amy without sounding nickname-y.

LyndsayJenness Says:

June 3rd, 2012 at 12:58 am

Magenta on Blue’s Clues is a boy. Blue is a girl. Magenta is also a character in Rocky Horror 🙂

Violet is one of my favorites ever, if I didn’t have a Dash it would definitely be in my top 3. I like a lot of purple names in theory more than in practice. Lilac is lovely but something about that -lac sound isn’t so great. Magenta, Lavender, Amethyst, Orchid… all cool but a bit over the top.

LyndsayJenness Says:

June 3rd, 2012 at 1:03 am

@jame1881 I’ve loved Violet since the Boxcar Children, too! She’s one of the color kids from Rainbow Brite, too, “Shy Violet”. I think those associations have helped Violet’s rise. I know The Boxcar Children have been around forever but still, lots of 80s kids probably read it, and combined with Rainbow Brite I think it just got into our consciousness and now we’re the ones having kids!

Scrambledmegs Says:

June 3rd, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Both dogs on Blue’s Clues, Magenta and Blue, are girls. I couldn’t find a credible source that states otherwise.

senseandsensibility Says:

August 25th, 2014 at 9:05 am

I love Lavender! Probably wouldn’t be so brave to use it in the first spot, but whatever – first or middle – it’s a fab name!

Chloe14 Says:

April 14th, 2015 at 10:28 am

I think Indigo and Magenta make stunning, very girly names!

Theodora_Phoenix Says:

May 15th, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Plum sounds like a ridiculous name to me. I can’t understand the love for if. But I like Lavender, Lilac, Magenta, Indigo, and Amethyst.

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