PERfect Girls’ Names: juniPER, harPER and PERsephone


By Brooke Cussans at Baby Name Pondering

Just starting your name search or stuck in a rut? Not sure where to start, or just need some fresh inspiration? Then how about one for every day of the week! Here are seven names containing the PER sound – one “per” day of the week. You may be surprised just how versatile this syllable is. So versatile that I couldn’t put them all in one list–the boys will be following. Here are the girls.

Persephone – The Mythological Beauty

If you were considering Penelope but are despairing over her entry into the top 100 in 2013, Persephone (pronounced per-SEH-fa-nee) is a worthy alternative outside the top 1000. In Greek mythology she was the Goddess of the Underworld, springtime, vegetation and maidenhood. The well known myth of her kidnapping by Hades, King of the Underworld, is said to represent her personification of vegetation, akin to the way plants go dormant (or “disappear”) after harvest only to flourish again in the Spring. This actually makes her an uplifting symbol of rebirth, despite her connections to the Underworld.

Juniper – The Refreshing Natural

Oh how I wish Juniper wasn’t rising up through the charts, but I can understand why. She has an almost romantic, vintage feel; yet is also a modern and grounded nature name. And she comes with nickname options galore – Nipper, Junie or Junebug when she’s young, Juno as a teenager and June as an adult. You may prefer it for a boy as it is technically a unisex name, but to date Juniper is definitely leaning feminine.

Peridot – The Exotic Gem

Pronounced PER-i-doh, Peridot is a great choice for parents looking for a gemstone name that is rare (it’s never charted in the U.S) and pretty. Peridot comes in shades of olive green and is the birthstone for August, so could be a great name to honor an Olive or someone born in August. Due to their color they are traditionally linked to Spring, nature and youthfulness, and in Christian folklore they represent purity. They are also thought to bring peace and good luck. Or for other gem related picks, try Perlezenn or Perla, both international versions of Pearl.

Temperance – The Virtuous

Temperance is commonly known to be a virtue name, but people may have trouble telling you just what that virtue is. Temperance is moderation or self-control. Granted, it’s not incredibly uplifting, but nonetheless it’s a virtue to aspire to. She’s a lovely one – demure yet intriguing, the “temper” hinting at a hidden spark. Other virtue “PER” names are Esperanza, meaning ‘hope’ and Perpetua, meaning ‘everlasting’.

Pepper – The Word with Pep

Pepper‘s just so perky and sassy! Just saying the word makes people smile, so it’s no surprise that this word has made the transition to name. Lingering outside the top 1000, plenty of fictional characters answer to the name Pepper – and they’re mostly smart and spunky. This helps make Pepper feel wearable on adults for those worried it sounds too cutesy to be taken seriously.

Vespertine – The Whimsical Romantic

Vesper, Vespera– why not go all out with the elaborate and poetical Vespertine? She feels like a Shakespearean heroine and Bond girl rolled into one, lovely and beautiful yet edgy with her V and spunky “vesper”. She has nature connections too – it’s a botany term for flowers that open or expand in the evening. Singer Bjork used it to name her 2001 album, but this is one name you will not see on the charts.

Harper – The High Performer

Admittedly many of the names on this list lean towards the rare and underused, but the same cannot be said of Harper. Harper‘s rise in recent years has been meteoric. She entered the top 1000 in the U.S in 2004 and by 2013 was a top 20 name. But why? Harper is an almost perfect confluence of a number of trends. She’s an occupational surname and ends with “er”. She’s also a literary name, and one related to ‘To Kill A Mockingbird‘ at that – a novel that has become a goldmine for namers in recent years. It makes her a gentle yet solid name, a little bit different but darling. And the upside of popularity means that a name is well liked by many. Harper not quite your style? Similar but different Piper is another popular option.

About the Author

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Brooke Cussans – better known on the Nameberry forums as bluejuniper – is based in Melbourne, Australia and is the author of name blog Baby Name Pondering. She especially loves rare and unusual names.

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