Nameberry Picks: 15 enchanted island names
A few blogs back, we talked about lake names, and what an evocative word that is. Another, similarly appealing word is island, calling up images of calm, peaceful, isolated places surrounded by the sea. We’re not suggesting you name your baby Island (though Isla comes close), but here are the Nameberry Picks of 15 favorite island names.
Aran—the Aran Isles are a group of three islands off the Irish coast, at the mouth of Galway Bay, known for uniquely-patterned sweaters and the iconic 1934 documentary, Man of Aran. Aran would make a nice Irish-accented name, but would it be confused with Aaron? ‘Fraid so.
Catalina—Santa Catalina is one of the California Channel Islands and is a popular tourist destination for Angelinos and others. A Spanish version of Catherine that is more delicate and feminine than the English one, Catalina has been rising in popularity since the late eighties.
Cayman—the Caymans consist of three islands in the western Caribbean south of Cuba. Peaceful and beautiful, they are also a major offshore banking hub. The name Cayman would fit right in with Cayden & Co.
Corsica, famed as the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, is a mountainous Mediterranean island, part of France but closer to Tuscany than the French coast. The name could be thought of as a Cora-elaboration with a feminissima ‘ica’ ending.
Elba—Another island with Napoleonic ties—it was to this Italian Mediterranean isle that the French emperor was exiled. Elba could be a possibility for parents who want to move beyond Ella and Elsa into less chartered seas.
Guernsey—a charming but civilized component of the Channel Islands, sitting between England and France (closer to France) in the English Channel. Sometimes heard as a surname, even more rarely as a first, Guernsey has a quirky appeal—although yes, there could be some cow jokes.
Jamaica—part of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean, Jamaica is an eminently usable place name. Writer Jamaica Kincaid was born not in Jamaica but on another Caribbean island, Antigua, and her birth name was the more prosaic Elaine Cynthia.
Lucia—St. Lucia (pronounced LOO-sha) is a lovely member of the Caribbean Virgin Islands. An increasingly popular name, this Italian and Spanish version of Lucy has been steadily climbing up the list, reaching Number 265 in 2010.
Majorca— one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, Majorca (my-OR-ca) is a long-time tourist destination (it now has about 2,400 restaurants); the capital city PALMA is another name possibility.
Malta—actually an archipelago near the center of the Mediterranean, the name derives from the Greek word for honey. Malta has been heard as a girl’s name in the past, but it has a somewhat dated-bohemian feel now.
Martinique is a Caribbean island with a decidedly French accent, first sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1502. Could make an exotic female namesake for an ancestral Martin, à la the more common Dominique.
Sanibel—An island off the Gulf coast of Florida, a tourist destination noted for its colorful history and variety of birds and seashells. Another possible addition to the bel family of names.
Skye—The Isle of Skye is the largest island in the rocky Inner Hebrides of Scotland, and has a strong folk music tradition. Skye is currently the 490th most popular girls’ name in the US, while the slightly more hippie-ish Sky lags far behind.
Trinidad—Trinidad, an island off Venezuela in the southern Caribbean, is Spanish for ‘trinity’ and is a common unisex name in Latin America—and was also as high as Number 451 in the U.S. in 1922. Performers Trini Lopez (male) and Trini Alvarado (female) were both born Trinidad.