Golden Names: 24-karat names

Golden Names: 24-karat names

Of course, we all hope our kids will be good as gold, follow the Golden Rule, find the Golden Mean in life, win lots of gold medals and gold stars, and all that other good golden stuff.  So why not give them a leg up by bestowing on them one of these golden names?

The most obvious are those with the word front and center.  Goldie is an old showgirl name legitimized by and long associated with Goldie Hawn, who was named after a great aunt.  The fact that the name Goldie was recently chosen for her baby by Ione Sky sends out signals that it could make a return à la Sadie and MabelGolda is one step removed, not heard much since the demise of American-raised Israeli Premier Golda Meir, who was in fact born GoldieGilda is sleeker and slimmer, linked forever to the sexy image of Rita Hayworth in the eponymous film classic, then lightened by beloved original SNL cast member Gilda Radner.

A lot more appealing today are the names that stem from the Latin Aurelius, meaning gold, and a distinguished name in itself.  The female version is Aurelia, a lovely name with bookended ‘A’s,’ the variants Auralia and Auriel, and the pretty French version Aurélie. For boys, there is the engaging Italian and Spanish Aurelio.

Even closer to the Latin oro is a whole group beginning with ‘O’—the very usable Irish Orla, the poetic Oriana, and others including Ora, Orah, Oralie, Oralia, Orelia and Oriel. There’s even some avian crossover with Oriole, and for the boys, there is the funky Orville, meaning city of gold.

Marigold, one of the flower names that is coming back into bloom, combines the color gold with a reference to the Virgin Mary. Similarly, Crisanta is a Spanish name meaning golden flower.

Paz is a unisex Hebrew name meaning ‘golden,’ and from it comes the attractive, strictly female Pazia.

CressidaThis is a name based on the Greek word for gold, which was borne by a Trojan princess in medieval legend retold by Chaucer and Shakespeare. But though she may not have had the greatest reputation–she was faithless to Troilus and broke his heart–the name Cressida today sounds fresh, crystaline and creative.

FlaviaAn ancient Roman clan name meaning golden haired, has been heard more in literature (e.g. Princess Flavia in The Prisoner of Zenda) than in real life.  If you’re looking for an unusual Italian name that’s easy to pronounce, this might be a flavorful possibility.

XanthePronounced zanthe, this Greek name meaning yellow/gold was borne by several figures in classical mythology, including one who was a daughter of Oceanus, and another Xanthe who was an Amazon.  Xanthe could make an intriguingly unusual choice.

There is also an exotic group of Z-starting names that relate to gold.  Zahava is one such  Hebrew girls’ name with variations including Zehava, Zahavi and Zehevya, while Zehavi is used for boys; another zippy Hebrew name is Zariza.  Zaheb and Zerrin are Turkish for gold; Zarinaoften heard in India—is Persian for golden vessel; and Zorina, which has a pretty ballerina-like quality, is a Slavic name meaning golden dawn, boasting such variants and nicknames as Zora, Zorah, Zorana, Zori and Zory; and Zahabu is African for ‘the golden one’.

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About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.