Category: river names

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Nile: Yes, Like The River

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By Nile Cappello

My name is, without a doubt, one of my most defining characteristics. Yes, I am loud, outspoken, slightly (or more than slightly) obnoxious, extremely determined (read: stubborn), and quite a few other things — but with a name like Nile, I wouldn’t have to be any of these to stand out.

Most people tell me they have never met someone named Nile.  They also ask me if I was born in Egypt, conceived on the Nile River (ew), or am Egyptian. My co-worker said before my first day she was convinced I would be a tall, dark, Egyptian goddess. I am not. I am small, pale, blonde, and overwhelmingly white.

Although my name was clearly inspired by the river in Egypt, I’m actually named after my grandfather Neil. In a time when made-up names like Jazlyn and “creative” spellings like Madilyn and Joslyn litter the Top 1000 list, I’m thankful to have a bit of history and familial significance behind my name.

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April showers bring not only May flowers, but thoughts of water names, a category which more and more parents are finding refreshingly appealing. These include generic bodies of water appellations like Lake and Bay and Brook(e), the names of individual lakes and rivers and, finally, names whose meaning relate to water. Here are the Nameberry Picks for the 12 best water names.

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Not long ago, a couple I know—both serious swimmers—asked me if I could help them come up with a girl’s name that related to water.  They didn’t want any site-specific water names —no actual names of oceans or rivers or seas, no Hudsons or Niles for them– but something with the feel or sense or literal meaning of water.

I put together a relatively short list for them of water-related words and names whose meanings reference water.  Here’s a considerably expanded version of those water names, with some, of course,  more usable than others.  (By the way, my friends chose to name their daughter Tallulah, in large part because they loved its meaning—“leaping water”)

So if you’re a swimmer, a surfer, a snorkeler, a fisherperson, or just someone who likes to walk in the rain, here are some possible approaches.

1. FIND A WORD RELATED TO WATER:

  • Aqua
  • Aquarius
  • Arroyo
  • Bay
  • Bayou
  • Briny
  • Brook
  • Cascade
  • Delta
  • Eddy
  • Fen
  • Fjord
  • Glade
  • Gully
  • Harbor
  • Laguna
  • Lake
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    Some months back, we ran a blog about the names of rivers in Western Europe, and we promised to follow it up with one on English and Irish waterways.  Well here, at last, it is.

    The landscapes of the British Isles and Ireland are traversed by rivers, some as long as the Thames and the river Shannon, some flowing across national borders, from England to Scotland or Wales, while others are much smaller streams.

    Not surprisingly, most of these names are less lyrical than the French and Italian examples, more simple and straightforward.  A sizable number of them already exist as people names—Amber, Tamar, Perry, Douglas –while the rest are possible crossovers.  Of these, some sound decidedly masculine (Dart, Dewey), while others could conceivably be used for girls.

    ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND WALES

    AERON

    AFTON

    AIRE

    ALLUN

    ALYN

    AMBER

    ANNAN

    ANTON

    ARROW

    ARUN

    ASH

    AVERON

    AVON

    AYR

    BEAL

    BEAULY

    BOYD

    CALDER

    CARY

    CASSLEY

    CLYDE

    COLE

    CONNOR

    CONON

    CRANE

    DANE

    DART

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    We think and talk a lot about place names–countries like China, states like Georgia, cities like Dallas, even boroughs like Brooklyn.  And we also think and talk about nature names, of flowers and trees.  Well there’s one category that merges the two together, and that’s river names.

    I was planning to put together a list of interesting river names worldwide, but I came upon so many intriguing and unusual possibilities in Western Europe alone, that I decided to save our own country, England and Ireland and others farther afield for some time in the future.  Some of those listed here are major waterways like the Seine, others are much smaller streams; and some run through more than one country.  And I’m sure you’ll notice that there are those that sound decidedly masculine (Arno), while others could be possible girls’ names (Adaja).

    Not surprisingly, some of the most appealing  names come from the French countryside:

    AIRE

    ALZETTE

    ANDELLE

    ANOUX

    ARLY

    AUBETTE

    CALAVON

    CEROU

    CLAREE

    CREUSE

    DADOU

    EAULINE

    ESTERON

    LAITA

    LAQUETTE

    LOIRE

    MIDOU

    RAVILLOU

    RHONE

    VARENNE

    VIENNE

    And here are some Latinate choices from Italy, Spain, and Portugal:

    ADAJA

    ARAGON

    ARBIA

    ARNO

    BREGGIA

    CAIA

    EBRO

    ELVO

    ENZA

    JABALON

    JALON

    JARAMA

    MAIRA

    MARANO

    MINO

    NAVIA

    OLONA

    ORBA

    PO

    SELLA

    TAJO

    TIBER

    TURIA

    ULLA

    ZANCARA

    ZEZERE

    And finally a few found in Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium and Greece

    ARDOS

    AXIOS

    DANUBE (which is shown in the illustration)

    ELBE

    ISAR

    KRIOS

    LADON

    LEDA

    LYS

    MAURINE

    MOSELLE

    NEDA

    NETTE

    ORLA

    RABA

    REGEN

    SENNE

    THAYA

    TYRIA

    VLIET

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