February baby names relate to a wide range of inspiring namesakes. The second and shortest month of the calendar year, February gets its name from the Latin term februum, meaning purification. February is often associated with love and there are a plethora of names to love with ties to this month. Let’s look at this list of February namesakes which includes names ranging from a state, to artists, to several visionaries.
Bestselling novelist Amy Tan was born on February 19, 1952. Tan is best known for writing The Joy Luck Club, which was adapted into a popular film. Tan’s novels examine mother-daughter relationships and Chinese American life. Amy comes from an old French name meaning beloved and peaked in the 1970’s when it was a Top 10 name. Today, Amy ranks at Number 174, though we may be hearing it more often as a nickname for Amelia, which is now a Top 10 hit, and still on the rise. Several actors share the name , a few of whom are Amy Adams, Amy Brenneman, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer and Amy Smart.
On February 14, 1912 Arizona became the 48th state to be admitted to the Union, the sixth largest state and the last contiguous state to enter the Union. Arizona is a Papago Indian name meaning little springs. It briefly entered the Top 1000 in the early 1900’s, peaking in 1903, when it reached Number 640 in popularity. Only 111 little girls were given the first name Arizona in 2017; it may remind you of Jessica Capshaw’s character, Dr. Arizona Robbins on the popular TV show Grey’s Anatomy.
Iconic performer Carmen Miranda was born Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha on February 9, 1909. A popular dancer, singer, and movie actress famed for her distinctive fruit-laden headdresses, she became the first Latin American star to imprint her hands and feet in the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre courtyard in 1941. Carmen is a Spanish variation of Carmel and currently ranks at Number 405. Carmen is a famous Bizet opera and is the main character in the Carmen Sandiego TV and video game series. Alec and Hilaria Baldwin chose the name Carmen Gabriela for their daughter in 2013.
Director John Ford was born on February 1, 1894. Ford is renowned for his western films such as Stagecoach as well as classics like The Grapes of Wrath. Ford also served in World War II as chief of the Photographic Unit of the OSS. Ford is an old English surname meaning dweller at the ford. At Number 711 in popularity, Ford is on the rise, up over 100 spots since its reemergence into the Top 1000 in 2014. Armie Hammer recently named his son Ford, which could also work as a nickname for Clifford, Fordham, or Redford.
On February 20, 1960 guitarist Jimi Hendrix made his stage debut. Only 17 years old at the time, he was fired between sets for “showing off,” but would go on to become a rock legend. Hendrix is derived from the Dutch name Hendrik meaning estate ruler. Hendrix has been rapidly rising in polarity, peaking last year at Number 349, a cooler alternative to the more popular Henry and also has the trending ‘x’ ending.
Hiram Rhodes Revels was sworn in as the first African American member of Congress on February 25, 1870. Revels was a minister who, prior to being elected to Congress, served in the Civil War by organizing two black regiments for the Union Army. In the Old Testament Hiram was the king of Tyre. A Hebrew name meaning exalted brother, Hiram makes for a great underused biblical name choice: only 111 baby boys were given the name in 2017.
Businessman Levi Strauss was born as Löb Straub on February 26, 1829. He founded Levi Strauss & Co., the first company to manufacture blue jeans. Strauss’s jeans were originally designed for Forty-Niners and cowboys but, as we all know, later became a staple of American fashion. Levi is a Hebrew name meaning attached or joined. More popular now than ever, Levi ranks at Number 37. In the Old Testament Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah and the ancestor from whom the priestly tribe of Levites descended. Several celebrities including Matthew McConaughey, Sara Gilbert, and Sheryl Crow have sons named Levi.
On February 5, 1931 Maxine Dunlap became the first American woman to earn a glider pilot license. This pioneer in women’s aviation was only 18 years old when she received her license. Maxine is a feminine form of the name Max meaning greatest. Though other ‘Max’ names like Maxwell, Maximilian, and Maximus are on the rise Maxine exited the Top 1,000 in the mid-1990s, recently returning in 2016. Maxine was once a Top 100 name from 1915-1930. In 2017 only 309 girls were named Maxine. Musician Nick Hexum named his daughter Maxine Vita.
Artist and illustrator Norman Rockwell was born on February 3, 1894. Rockwell is well known for depicting scenes of American life for the covers of the Saturday Evening Post. Two of his most recognized works are Rosie the Riveter and The Four Freedoms. Rockwell is an English surname meaning rock spring. Another notable namesake is fellow artist Rockwell Kent. A rare choice, only 110 boys were named Rockwell last year. Lucy Liu chose the name Rockwell Lloyd for her son in 2015.
Activist, philosopher, and writer Simone Weil was born on February 3, 1909. Weil taught and wrote extensively about political movements as well as spiritual mysticism. Simone is a French feminine form of Simon, meaning harkening. Simone is now also associated with Simone Biles and Simone Manuel, two gold medal winners in the 2016 Olympics. Dwayne Johnson has a daughter named Simone, while several other celebrities including Chris Rock, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, and Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates used Simone as a middle name for their daughters.