Minty Names Freshen Up
If you have a keen eye and follow international baby name trends, you may have noticed that minty names are a bona fide mini trend. Mynte and Minttu are popular in Nordic countries, while Araminta is rising — although still quite rare — in the UK.
Mint itself is even gaining traction. Model Romee Strijd recently used it for her daughter, who was born in December 2020. It was written off as a new-fangled, crazy celebrity baby name, but Mint and other mint names have a longer history than many would think.
Ultimately, the name Mint has multiple origins — it can be considered a nickname derived from traditional sources, an English translation of fashionable international names, or a brand-new word name. If you use it, you can reference whichever origin resonates with you.
Let’s take a look back at how Mint became a baby name and see more minty names for girls and boys.
The Name That Started It All
Now largely forgotten, Aminta is a Greek name that was originally masculine in use. Italian poet Torquato Tasso wrote a play titled Aminta in the 16th century, about a shepherd of the same name who tries to win the affections of a nymph.
It is unclear exactly when Aminta switched over into feminine use, but poet John Dryden used Amynta, as a variation of the masculine Amyntas, on a female character in the 1680s. A few years later, Aminta spawned the more familiar version of the name, Araminta.
The Next Iteration
Playwright William Congreve is credited with the invention of Araminta — a combination of Arabella and Aminta — which he used for a character in his comedy The Old Bachelor in 1693. Sir John Vanbrugh followed suit in 1705 when he gave it to a character in his play The Confederacy.
The most notable real-life bearer of the name is Harriet Tubman, who was born Araminta Harriet Ross. Evidence suggests that Araminta was a familiar name among Americans back in her time, although there is no official data from the early 19th century. The earliest baby name data we have in the US is from 1880, by which point Araminta was no longer fashionable.
Currently, Araminta is the only mint name to make the charts in the US. It was given to 11 baby girls in 2019, the last year on record.
A streamlined evolution of Araminta which made the US Top 1000 from 1880 to 1897.
Sleek and to-the-point, Mint was historically a pet form of names such as Araminta, but only recently has been documented as a given name.
Minta started out as a derivation of Araminta but ended up outranking its mother name in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its highest-known ranking was at Number 317 in 1880, the first year for which we have records. Silent film actress Minta Durfee (born Araminta) was a notable bearer.
Both Mintie and Minty were common nicknames for Araminta and were occasionally used as independent names. Only the Mintie variation has ever been recorded as a given name in the US. It peaked in 1880 with 13 uses.
Mint-ernational Word Names
International names with minty meanings, starting with the two that are currently very stylish in Northern Europe:
The Finnish word for “mint” (pronounced MEENT-too) has ranked in Finland’s Top 50 for over a decade. Minttar, a dialectal variation, is used in the Varsinais-Suomi region of Finland.
Minttu’s Danish cognate is Mynte, which has fallen in and out of Denmark’s Top 50 since 2017. Pronunciation varies depending on region and country (Mynte is occasionally used in other Scandinavian countries, particularly Norway), but the Danish pronunciation is something like MIHNT-uh. You can hear an example here.
The following mint-ernational names are extremely rare, even within their cultures of origin:
An uncommon Armenian word name that means, simply, “mint.” The X ending adds to its cool factor as a baby name.
The Mandarin word for “mint,” as seen in the Chinese version of the manga series Tokyo Mew Mew, translated from the Japanese name Minto.
Hakka is the Japanese word for “peppermint,” although the name can be spelled with different combinations of kanji to give alternate meanings.
Menta is the word for “mint” in Italian and Hungarian. The variation Mentina has also been recorded as a name in Italy.
Pronounced MYEH-too, Mėta is occasionally seen as a name in Lithuania, where it is also the term for the mint plant.
The Latvian word for “mint,” also seen as a surname.
In Greek mythology, Minthe was a nymph and lover of Hades, god of the underworld. After witnessing Minthe trying to seduce her husband, an angry Persephone transformed her into garden mint. The myth is one of the reasons mint was associated with the afterlife in Ancient Greece.
There are many kanji combinations that can get you to Minto, one of which equates to the Japanese term for “mint.”
Mynta is the Swedish variation of Mynte, but despite this, the Danish Mynte is more common in Sweden. Perhaps to differentiate it from mynta, the Swedish word for “mint.”
In Hindi, Sindhi, and Bengali, pudina (sometimes spelled pudeena) translates to “mint” (as in any general garden mint), as well as “peppermint.” On rare occasions, they have been used as baby names.
The Thai term for “mint” and “peppermint,” used as a girl name. Saranae is also connected to a popular movie series in Thailand.
These names do not literally mean “mint,” but have other connections to the plant:
Corsican Mint is one of the more than 7500 varieties of the plant, named for the Mediterranean island, of course. The last time Corsica made the charts as a baby name was in 1995 when it was given to five baby girls.
Egyptian Mint is an ancient, wild mint thought to be the type that was mentioned in the Bible. Egypt is an up-and-coming name for both sexes and is currently ranked at Number 915 for girls in the US.
The mint plant is an herb, which may naturally lead you to Herb as a name. It is derived from the German name Herbert rather than the word, so it means “bright army.” Herb ranked in the US Top 1000 from 1935-1960, but neither it nor Herbert have shown any signs of revival.
Pennyroyal is a variety of mint most often used for its medicinal purposes. It’s not a baby name per se, but it certainly could be, especially as we’re folding more compound names into the mix. Even used separately, a first and middle name combination like Penny Royal would be sweet on a little girl.
Peppermint may be the most familiar variety of the plant and is a popular flavor for chewing gums, toothpaste, and candies. The name Pepper has a warmer, spicier feel — the opposite of the cool and refreshing associations with peppermint. However, if you’re looking for a minty baby name, this is a stylish, increasingly common option. Pepper currently ranks just outside the Top 1500.
The Wrigley Company began producing chewing gum in 1893, with its most iconic brands including Juicy Fruit and Doublemint. These days, Wrigley is given as a baby name in honor of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Wrigley pops up in the Illinois data every so often and was first used as a baby name in 2006. In 2017, the year following the Cubs World Series win, Wrigley showed up in neighboring Midwestern states Iowa, Indiana, and Tennessee.