Surprising Names: This week’s Nameberry 9

This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel comes up with some eye-opening surprises–from Aaya to Lumi to Zarpessa.

There will always be new names.

It doesn’t seem possible, does it? With kids called Shiloh and Pilot and Boheme and Egypt, it would be easy to say that we can go no farther. Surely we’ve exhausted all the possibilities.

And yet, week after week, there are always names that surprise. I met a toddler called Zinnia yesterday, just in time for the bloom to appear on Nameberry’s list of best new flower names. Even those of us who spend our free time obsessively pouring over lists of names and offering up ideas on the Nameberry forums are probably taken by surprise by some of the things we hear – and not just once in a blue moon, but every week.

This week’s list is all about names that took me by surprise. They were brand new – at least to my ears.

Southern – After Nameberry predicted direction names, especially West, were headed up in 2012, I found myself wondering about South. South doesn’t feel wearable, but this descriptive spin on the direction has some appeal. It makes me think of railroads and the Allman Brothers and, okay, the liqueur, too. Still, this one is great in the middle spot. Sarah at For Real Baby Names found him in this combination: Cade Southern. Giddy-up!

Judson – While we’re below the MasonDixon Line, are you watching Hart of Dixie? The series is one part medical drama, one part city slicker in a small town. And the writers? I would love to know what they’ve named their kids! Characters answer to Brick, Lemon, Lavon, Wade, Didi, Magnolia, Emmeline, Polly, Laurette, and this one – Judson. He’s fresher than Jackson, and Judd seems like the kind of nickname that would be right at home with all those little cowboys.

TruittEver been Chik-fil-A? The Georgia–based fast food chicken chain was founded by a fellow called Truett Cathy. I’ve always found his name fascinating. Eponymia recently mentioned Truitt, noting that he fits in with Wyatt and other Western-inspired, and offers a completely masculine way to get to True.

Aaya – Syfy is set to debut a Peter Pan prequel called Neverland. It looks like Wendy is missing from the action, but a girl called Aaya does figure into some of their adventures. If one A is stylish, is three unstoppable? Names like Aaya have been heard before. There’s Ayla and Anya and Aaliyah, but this one is even more vowel-intensive.

Idalina – If you love Isabella and Annalisa, this one might be for you. Nomes e mais nomes mentioned Idalina, noting that it is most likely an elaboration of Ida. Filipa blogs in Portuguese, so maybe Idalina is old hat in Lisbon. In the English-speaking world, Idalina would be new – and staggeringly pretty.

Loreleia – Would you name your daughter after a mushroom? With Lorelei and Lorelai popping up everywhere, adding an –a doesn’t seem like much of a stretch. But Kay from Nook of Names found this one on a list of types of mushrooms, named in honor of biologist Lorelei Norvell.

Lumi – Are you following Elea’s advent calendar at British Baby Names? It’s great seasonal fun, and she’s uncovered some great names, too. Lumi is a Finnish name meaning snow, but to English speakers she probably conjures up images of light, thanks to her similarity to illuminate and luminous.

Pieta – Another For Real find, the Pietà is one of Michaelangelo’s masterpieces, and also the Italian word for pity. A pieta is any depiction of Mary holding the body of a crucified Jesus. The concept is sad, but the sound of Pieta is quite attractive. Perhaps the parents were searching for a feminine form of Peter, and liked the romantic sound of Pieta? The actual Italian is Pietra – a little different.

Zarpessa – Thanks to Charlotte for spotting this one. Model-turned-television-mogul Tyra Banks can now add another superlative to her resume. Ms. Banks is a New York Times bestselling author, thanks to the first installment in her series, Modelland. Zarpessa is one of the aspiring catwalk-walkers. She’s nouveau, but she’s strangely appealing, maybe because of her resemblance to Marpessa, a rarity from Greek myth. An oil tanker by that name went down off the coast of Africa in 1969, and sunk the name with it. Today that association has paled, and Marpessa feels possible again. Zarpessa feels almost impossibly extravagant.

Did you spot any interesting names this week?

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17 Responses to “Surprising Names: This week’s Nameberry 9”

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shellezbellez Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 3:48 am

I grew up with a Truett. I always loved that name!

Maple10 Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 7:54 am

I know someone who recentley had a baby and named him South. She said it was a family name.

i.heart.nerds Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 9:43 am

My favorite is still North. I think it is handsome and strong.
I met siblings named Zaila, Damaris and Alcide.

skizzo Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 10:33 am

Those boys names are way too buch sounding for my tastes. I prefer softer boys names.

nikkiolle Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I like Lumi.. I think it could be unisex.. reminds me of Lumiere from Beuty and the Beast, so it could be boyish, but I kinda like it for a girl. Dexter (the series) had a main character Lumen (a woman) last year.. bet you could use Lumi as short for Lumen.

mariahsweet Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Loving this list, best speculative list I’ve seen on here in a long time.

CKA Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Southern sounds quite cool in my opinion, as a middle name anyway.

Did you spot any interesting names this week? Actually I did at the airport just a short while ago. A woman whose first name is Wiser.

tikicatt Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I live in the South and went to high school with a Judson DeWayne. He did not like Judson – from grandfather – and went by DeWayne. Couldn’t figure that out even back then!

Gotta say know someone name all of the names listed with Judson including a Hart and loads of Dixies!

linzybindi Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I went to college with a guy named Juddson…he mostly went by Judd.

I did hear some interesting names this weekend…

Alektris – around 6 years old – girl
Ayla – around 8 years old
Seren – around 10 years old – girl

Names4real Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

It totally surprises me too that every time I look at birth announcements (granted I do look a lot), I always see names I’ve never seen before.

Some recent ones that are new to me are girls named Rouge, Devree, Haibe, and for boys Dutch, Trikyn, and Hemlock.

And guess what? Today, I found my first official Katniss. 🙂

Have a good week and thanks for the mention.

appellationmountain Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Trikyn and Rouge? Wow!

I want to like Alektris … I do love Seren!

Wiser? Wild! It is a lot to live up to …

Lumen/Lumi is great – and yes, it is potentially unisex.

Alcide! Love it. 🙂

And @mariahsweet, why thank you!

Elea Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Lumi actually ranked #48 for girls in Finland in 2010 🙂

encore Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

I love Hart of Dixie and all the names in it!

rollo Says:

December 5th, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Lumi is nice much nicer than Luna.

Most of the others mentioned are too OTT for me.

jgirl525 Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 11:02 am

I’ve met three Judsons in the past two months–the youngest is in his 50s. Like the name, but with the nn all I think is “Poor Judd is dead.”

Robomantic Says:

January 3rd, 2012 at 9:59 pm

I’m a bit of a Finnophile so I’ve loved Lumi for years! I actually have a white guinea pig named Lumi. My Finnish answer to the usual Snowball. 🙂 Still I think it would be even better on a human.

Sophie253 Says:

January 25th, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I don’t like Southern, that does not sound like a name. But I like Easton and Weston.

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