Category: Meanings of Baby Names

posted by: Nephele View all posts by this author

by Nephele

Word names!  Some people love them, others hate them.  Word names probably started gaining in popularity due to hippie subculture, which especially latched on to appealing words taken from nature.  So I wondered:  “What are the most popular word names in common use today?”

To answer my own question and determine what these most popular word names are, I ran an Excel program to select names from the latest available U.S. Social Security Administration’s baby names lists (2012) that also matched with words in the official lexicon used for the multi-player word game “Words with Friends.”

Below I have listed the 100 top word names of 2012 for both girls and boys combined.  The accompanying definitions for these names may hold a few surprises!  These definitions are not, in every case, based on the actual etymology of the names, but rather on definitions given by the Merriam-Webster dictionary for the English-speaking world.  Some of these definitions are historical or obsolete or somewhat esoteric, but they are all actual definitions that make these names “legitimate words” for playing Words with Friends.

Be warned!  Some of these dictionary definitions may change your views on various names — either for better or worse!

Mason – “to build with stone or brick.” (18,856 boys; 80 girls)

Ava – “at all.” (15,418 girls; 19 boys)

Alexander – “a cocktail.” (15,105 boys; 28 girls)

Logan – “a stone balanced to permit easy movement.” (12,390 boys; 676 girls)

Benjamin – “benzoin.” (12,695 boys; 13 girls)

Abigail – “a lady’s maid.” (12,585 girls; 13 boys)

Joseph – “a woman’s long cloak.” (12,404 boys; 15 girls)

John – “a toilet.” (10,505 boys; 11 girls)

Carter – “one that carts.” (9,202 boys; 243 girls)

Jordan – “a type of container.” Historically, “a chamber pot.” (7,734 boys; 1,408 girls)

Angel – “to support financially.” (6,975 boys; 1,381 girls)

Hunter – “one that hunts.” (7,967 boys; 205 girls)

Henry – “a unit of inductance.” (8,006 boys; 9 girls)

Lily – “a flowering plant.” (7,889 girls; 10 boys)

Jack – “to raise with a type of lever.” (7,877 boys; 9 girls)

Riley – “angry.” (4,786 girls; 2,861 boys)

Harper – “a harpist.” (7,154 girls; 414 boys)

Charlotte – “a dessert.” (7,418 girls; 5 boys)

Grace – “to give beauty to.” (7,304 girls; 9 boys)

Amelia – “congenital absence of an arm or leg.” (7,191 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Victoria – “a light carriage.” (6,814 girls; 9 boys)

Parker – “one that parks.” (5,323 boys; 1,015 girls)

Chase – “to pursue.” (5,648 boys; 84 girls)

Anna – “a former coin of India and Pakistan.” (5,552 girls; 5 boys)

Cooper – “to make or mend barrels.” (5,156 boys; 102 girls)

Savannah – “a flat, treeless grassland.” (5,143 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Genesis – “an origin.” (4,280 girls; 75 boys)

Serenity – “the state of being serene.” (4,180 girls; 7 boys)

Stella – “a formerly used coin of the United States.” (3,964 girls; 6 boys)

Maya – “the power to produce illusions, in Hindu philosophy.” (3,926 girls; 7 boys)

Morgan – “a unit of distance between genes.” (3,377 girls; 433 boys)

Cole – “a plant of the cabbage family.” (3,752 boys; 12 girls)

Autumn – “a season of the year.” (3,745 girls; 8 boys)

Max – “to reach the upper limit.” (3,663 boys; 15 girls)

Bailey – “an outer castle wall.” (3,387 girls; 121 boys)

Faith – “to believe or trust.” (3,497 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Jasmine – “a climbing shrub.” (3,348 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Sawyer – “one that saws wood for a living.” (2,724 boys; 540 girls)

Violet – “a flowering plant.” (3,252 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Molly – “a tropical fish.” (3,232 girls; 8 boys)

Miles – “units of distance.” (3,229 boys; 10 girls)

Trinity – “a group of three.” (3,201 girls; 32 boys)

Aria – “an elaborate melody for a single voice.” (3,201 girls; 18 boys)

Maxwell – “a unit of magnetic flux.” (3,187 boys; 8 girls)

Timothy – “a European grass.” (3,071 boys; 5 girls)

Piper – “one that plays on a tubular musical instrument.” (3,038 girls; 16 boys)

Maria – “the dark areas on the surface of the moon or Mars.” (3,012 girls; 6 boys)

Colin – “the bobwhite.” (3,001 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Paisley – “a patterned wool fabric.” (2,903 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Ruby – “of a deep-red color.”  (2,875 girls; 7 boys)

Victor – “one who defeats an adversary.” (2,852 boys; 8 girls)

Jade – “to weary.” (2,714 girls; 56 boys)

Jesse – “to jess; to fasten straps around the legs of a hawk.” (2,670 boys; 78 girls)

Destiny – “the fate or fortune to which one is destined.” (2,688 girls; 12 boys)

Jake – “all right, fine.” (2,659 boys; 6 girls)

Roman – “a metrical narrative of medieval France.” (2,552 boys; 10 girls)

Charlie – “a fool.” (1,518 boys; 1,041 girls)

Axel – “a jump in figure skating.” (2,464 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Grant – “to bestow upon.” (2,455 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Alan – “a large hunting dog.” (2,273 boys; 11 girls)

Gage – “to pledge as security.” (2,246 boys; 8 girls)

Aliyah – “the immigration of Jews to Israel.” (2,240 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Tanner – “one that tans.” (2,164 boys; 57 girls)

Mark – “to make a visible impression on.” (2,186 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Tucker – “to weary.” (2,026 boys; 11 girls)

Ariel – “an African gazelle.” (1,720 girls; 292 boys)

Conner – “one that cons.” (1,894 boys; 10 girls)

Aurora – “the rising light of the morning.” (1,890 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Peter – “to diminish gradually.” (1,844 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Emery – “a granular corundum.” (1,474 girls; 361 boys)

Willow – “to clean textile fibers with a certain machine.” (1,806 girls; 14 boys)

Rowan – “a Eurasian tree.” (1,138 boys; 678 girls)

Daisy – “a flowering plant.” (1,774 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Melody – “an agreeable succession of musical sounds.” (1,770 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Hazel – “a shrub.” (1,768 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Summer – “the warmest season of the year.” (1,762 girls; 5 boys)

Graham – “whole-wheat flour.” (1,706 boys; 9 girls)

Ivy – “a climbing vine.” (1,677 girls; 14 boys)

Spencer – “a trysail; a type of sail.” (1,518 boys; 145 girls)

Griffin – “a mythological creature.” (1,639 boys; 17 girls)

Harmony – “agreement.” (1,603 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Drake – “a male duck.” (1,532 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Chance – “to risk.” (1,489 boys; 30 girls)

Amir – “a Muslim prince or governor.” (1,455 boys; 20 girls)

Drew – “past tense of draw.” (1,227 boys; 232 girls)

Zander – “a freshwater fish.” (1,446 boys; 7 girls)

Ana – “a collection of miscellaneous info on a subject.” (1,437 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

King – “a male monarch.” (1,423 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Hope – “to have a desire or expectation.” (1,410 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Luna – “an alchemical designation for silver.” (1,404 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Troy – “a system of weights.” (1,376 boys; 7 girls)

Dean – “the head of a faculty.” (1,369 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Jasper – “a variety of quartz.” (1,339 boys; 25 girls)

Dominick – “one of an American breed of chickens.” (1,348 boys; 6 girls)

Lyric – “a lyrical poem.” (1,075 girls; 262 boys)

Martin – “a small bird.” (1,333 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Hector – “to bully.” (1,319 boys; 0 or less than 5 girls)

Sienna – “a brown pigment.” (1,317 girls; 0 or less than 5 boys)

Cash – “ready money.” (1,302 boys; 6 girls)

Lane – “a narrow passageway.” (1,216 boys; 75 girls)

And now for some more name fun!  I had mentioned that word names were big in hippie subculture.  If you would like to discover your “hidden hippie name” through the art of anagramming, click on the following link:

Nephele is the alias of an obsessive anagrammatist who for more than a decade has provided unique name makeovers for people on numerous Internet forums. Despite the popularity of Nephele’s anagrams, she is not prepared to give up her day job in an undisclosed public library in New York.

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Meanings of Names: Ever hear of Homophony?

posted by: Nook of Names View all posts by this author

 By K. M. Sheard, of NookofNames

There’s an old method of naming first recorded in use in the Old Testament.

It’s called homophony, and basically is the principal of choosing a name because it sounds like something which the bestower wants to commemorate. Or, putting it another way, the choice of name was inspired by something, which, in most cases is entirely unrelated to the name.

It works in all languages; amongst the biblical Hebrews, for instance, there was a period when names which had become long-established were chosen because of their resemblance to a word or words which suggested themselves during pregnancy or labor.

This is partly why the meaning of so many biblical names have gotten so muddled. It’s common in the OT for the mother to make some explanation as to why she’s naming a newborn such-and-such, and this explanation was often interpreted in the past as being the meaning of the name, when, in many cases, it’s actually homophony going on.

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lucky baby names

Triskaidekaphobic?  Then you’ll probably be hiding under the covers on this Friday the 13th – but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your laptop there with you and check out our list of baby names that signify luck, most of it good.  And to infuse the day with an extra measure of good fortune, we’ve paired the lucky names with classic symbols of luck, from rainbows to clovers to benevolent goddesses.

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animal baby names

Animal baby names are a new group in the lexicon.

There’s Alicia Silverstone’s little boy Bear Blu.

Singer Erykah Badu has a daughter named Puma, and Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen named their now-grown son Wolf long before animal names were fashionable.

Bird names Lark, Hawk, and Wren are rising, and actresses Busy Phillips and Maura West both have small daughters named Birdie.

And then there are those animal baby names that don’t sound like animal names: Arthur (which means bear), Destry (war horse), and Paloma (dove).

Would you use an animal name for your child?  Why or why not?

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Good Names with Bad, Bad Meanings

A visitor to our forums posed this question to the Berries: Would you give your child a name, a wonderful name that you truly love, if it had a negative meaning? How meaningful is the root meaning of a name, anyway?

The name in question was Kennedy, a name that has so much going for it: illustrious relatives, a stylish surname feel, a rhythmic sound, and growing popularity.

Some websites will try to tell you that Kennedy means “royal” or “loving” but it doesn’t.  It means “misshapen head.”  And that is the problem.

Or it’s the problem when, in fourth grade, the teacher decides to have the class do oral reports on their names: Where they came from, what they mean.  And poor “misshapen head” is forced to announce her name’s unfortunate meaning in front of the whole class.

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