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?