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Neglected Baby Names: The K girls

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By Kara Blakley

K, more than most other letters, has been misunderstood. Check the Nameberry forums and you’ll find plenty of comments like, “I’m not a fan of K names. Most give me the trendy vibe.” “I am not a fan of K names. I think this has to do with the trend of replacing Cs with Ks,” “Most K names look off,” “I usually interpret the K names as being younger or less traditional than the Cs,” “Cs are classier than Ks.” You get the idea. And yet, K is a pretty popular letter in the wider world. A few numbers demonstrate the disparity of love for K: the Top 250 on Nameberry includes seven K names (including Khaleesi and Katniss) for girls, and six for boys. However, there are sixteen K names for girls and twelve for boys in the US Top 250.

Perhaps K has an image problem: an overexposed TV family might have something to do with that. What if namers might be inclined towards a K name, but they’re not sure how to choose one that will retain its appeal long after certain reality stars fade from the spotlight?

Here are my nominations for K names worth a second look. Not only do none of these names exude the “kree8tiv” vibe that Berries typically stay away from, but many actually have a use and sound that transcend languages and cultures.

Kalindi. Meaning “sun,” Kalindi refers to a sacred Hindu river. With nature and spiritual vibes, Kalindi is a K name with considerable depth. The Yoruba Kehinde has a similar sound and works for either gender.

Kalliope. This Greek gem is the original spelling of the more familiar Calliope—proof that not all K names are revisions of C names. Kalliope is the muse of epic poetry, which should appeal to namers that love art and literary connections. Nickname Kalli makes the name sound fresh and modern. Kallista also fits into the elegant and ancient category.

Kamilah. While it may look like a “kree8tiv” version of Camilla, Kamilah is actually an Arabic import meaning “perfect.” With more names from the Middle East gaining attention (from Aaliyah to Zayn), Kamilah is a great fit-in / stand-out name.

Karina. While this one actually is a respelling of a C name, Karina has been used everywhere from Scandinavia to Latin America. Karina’s ability to cross languages and cultures makes her worthy of consideration. She fits in with other longer names that are in vogue (Isabella, Olivia) without the excess frill and currently ranks at Number 429 and was chosen by TV actress Melina Kanakaredes for her daughter..

Kateri. Ask Berries which K names they’ll approve, and Kate and Katherine are bound to be on the list. Kateri is the Mohawk version, and bearer Kateri Teckakwitha (shown) is the first Native American saint. Its ties to a classic name, its religious connection, and its Mohawk origin should appeal to a wide array of namers.

Keziah, Many K names exude modernity, but Keziah is from the Old Testament, as a daughter of Job. Meaning “cassia tree,” she also has connections to the natural world. Potential nickname Kizzy pays homage to the book and TV show Roots. With Old Testament names making a comeback, Keturah is another choice that is both unusual and meaningful.

Kirrily. Spunky and spritely, there’s no reason why the distinctly Australian Kirrily shouldn’t find success elsewhere. It has a similar sound as many overused K names (Karly, Kylie, Kayla) but is virtually unused in the US.

Klara. Pronounced in German as KLAH-rah, Klara has an Old World charm all her own. With Clara zooming up the charts, the K version (also used in Russia, Poland, Sweden, and beyond) should be reconsidered in her own right. Klara is a Top 15 name in Sweden.

What are your favorite K names?

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About the author

Kara B

Kara Blakley is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Melbourne. Her interest in names began when she received her first Cabbage Patch doll. Today, Kara’s name obsession is enhanced by her love of nature, history, music, art, and traveling.
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11 Responses to “Neglected Baby Names: The K girls”

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lesliemarion Says:

April 12th, 2016 at 10:58 pm

Keziah is great and I love Kitty. Kyra is OK. Karen is so so.

But all the other K names for girls I loathe and detest.

Just how it is for me.

It is a harsh looking and sounding letter, and so many of the “K” names are meant to be spelled with a C.

superllama Says:

April 13th, 2016 at 12:51 am

I have no problem whatsoever with K names. My middle name begins with K, so does my sister. Her middle name traditionally stars with K (it’s Kyle). Mine, however, is most commonly a surname (Kaylor). I like Keziah and Kalliope. Other K girl names I like are Kinley, Kathleen, Keira, Kristen, Klee, Kezzie, and Kyoko, just to name a few.

headintheclouds Says:

April 13th, 2016 at 1:39 am

K names as a bunch are lovely! Some more that weren’t mentioned here: Khadija(h), Kerens(z)a, Keiko, Katya/Katia/Katinka, Karenina. To me, the negative image on K names can be mostly attributed to the Kardashians and their propensity to force K-initials where they don’t belong. Kimberly and Kendall are all right, meh kind of names. But Kourtney, Khloe= why?? Why not just Courtney and Chloe?? It’s matchy-matchy at best, trashy at worst.

Along those lines, the only names mentioned in this post that I like are Kalindi, Karina, Keziah and Keturah. While some names on this list like Klara and Kalliope are legitimate variants, they still do seem kreativ and Kardashiany for me- I might feel differently if they were culturally familiar to me, as Katherine is (which I absolutely love).

ElsaAnne Says:

April 13th, 2016 at 8:46 am

Also there is Kalila – meaning ‘beloved’ in Arabic.

vito208 Says:

April 13th, 2016 at 9:32 am

Love Karina – it feels fresh and hot !

Haids1987 Says:

April 13th, 2016 at 9:54 am

I have never heard Kirrily and I think I’m in love. <3

katinka Says:

April 13th, 2016 at 1:28 pm

One of my favourites is… Katinka 😉

I also really love Kateri, Keiko, Kit, Kitty, Kiki (as a nickname) and Katja/Katia.

I know a Kaci (pronounced like “CATCH-ee”), which I’ve always found really pretty too.

athenamay24 Says:

April 13th, 2016 at 4:41 pm

I’ve never understood the hatred of K names. Unless it’s just their over abundance in the late 90s. Growing up almost every one of my friends’ names started with K, including my own. I’m Kaitlin (which I guess is technically a kreativ spelling) but seriously, why were/are we judged just because of the letter our first name starts with? I love K names, because I associate them with my friends!

Sorry for the rant.

I agree with katinka about Katia, it’s gorgeous! I like most of the names in this blog. Some might be a little out there for me, though.

EvaThyssen Says:

April 15th, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Karina is actually a variation of Katherine, like Kathleen, Karen, Karin, Katia, Katerina, Catalina…
Carina, with a C, has a different root and meaning.


Neglected Baby Names: Special K Names for Boys – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

April 21st, 2016 at 10:44 pm

[…] than on Nameberry, so choosing a K name might be a way to find the perfect fit-in stand-out name. We’ve looked at the girls, now here are my nominations for K names for boys that deserve a second […]

elifsu Says:

April 22nd, 2016 at 7:41 am

I like Kamile better than Kamilah :/ And how about Kenize? my favorite K name 🙂

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