Category: summer names
Cordelia– Meaning “heart; daughter of the sea,” Cordelia’s origin is Latin and Celtic. In Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear, Cordelia was the King’s youngest and favorite daughter. Though a bit grown up sounding, it also yields the fresh nicknames Cora, Delia, Del, Lia, and Cory.
Today is the official start of summer—though for many of us the weather announced its arrival weeks ago. Summer is one of the nicest times of year to have a baby, the warm weather and slow pace making it that much easier to relax into new motherhood. Here is our annual round-up of names that summon the season:
June – June, a hip middle name du jour (Amanda Peet used it, for one), was out of favor for many years but now is back in a big way. The name, and the month, are derived from Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage and finances (great role model!) whose name got a big boost from the teenage heroine of the eponymous 2007 film. The related and obscure Junia is a New Testament name. Male versions include the Spanish Junot, popularized by Pulitzer winning writer Junot Diaz, and Junius, Latin for “born in June.”
July – Julius Caesar gave his name to this month, which has spawned many attractive first name variation. Julius itself is being dusted off by a new generation of parents. Julio is the attractive Spanish variation. For girls, Julia is one of the most enduring and appealing classics, fashionable now. The French Juliette or English Juliet has a tremendous amount of style and grace, along with Juliana. Sixties-style Julie is the only variation on the wane.
When I think of summer baby names, here’s what sticks in my mind: a poster of Kelly Slater spotted in an Ocean City surf shop. I was there to stock up on sunscreen, but found myself wondering about those fearless athletes who travel the globe in search of the endless summer.
Baby names inspired by surfing stars make for a surprisingly eclectic group, but the common thread is an edgy kind of energy. While many summer baby names are laid back and relaxed, this list is daring.
Here are my picks for the most vibrant, interesting appellations to ever hang ten.
Gidget – Sally Field’s bubbly television character from the 1960s was based on a series of novels by Frederick Kohner. Kohner’s daughter Kathy surfed with the boys and earned the nickname Gidget, just like the fictional version.
Considering July-inspired names?
Try Julian and Julia, the two endlessly popular offshoots of the classic Julius. Though more soft-spoken than the original, both retain an appealing measure of power and nobility that might explain why Hollywood A-listers like Jerry Seinfeld, Robert De Niro, and Lisa Kudrow chose Julian for their sons.
Yet there’s more to these J-names than meets the eye. Along with their many variants, Julian and Julia draw additional strength from their rich, historical roots, while also offering an assortment of sleeker, modern alternatives.
One of the earliest records of the surname Julius tracks back to Rome’s most famous patrician family, the gens Julia, who laid claim to history’s best-known Roman dictator, Gaius Julius Caesar, and boasted descent from the mythological hero Julus. The family’s shared bloodline with several Olympian gods was even outlined by Virgil in the Aeneid, leading many scholars to argue that Julian, translating to “Jove’s child” in English, references Jupiter, the Roman god of sky and thunder. Others suggest that Julian means everything from “youthful” to “downy-bearded,” leaving much of the name’s etymological origins shrouded in mystery.
Julian, borne by many illustrious saints and emperors, was coolly received in the Middle Ages, when it was first introduced, but quickly gained momentum in Italy and France during the Renaissance, in more regionalized versions like Giuliano and Julien. Julia — its female variant –mirrored such popularity trends, only becoming common in the English-speaking world during the 1700’s. Both names, however, were bestowed upon several important literary and religious figures in earlier centuries, including Saint Julian the Hospitaller, patron saint of travelers, Julian the Apostate, Rome’s last pagan Emperor, St. Julia of Corsica, and Proteus’ lover Julia in William Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. And Juliet— a softer, more romantic female variant– was, of course, also used by the legendary playwright in his best-known tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.