By Aimee Tafreshi
As a Pisces, I have always been drawn to the water. Throughout baby-naming history, parents have gleaned inspiration from elements of nature. Names like Hazel, Meadow and Juniper have moved from the outdoors into the baby nursery. And beyond the trees and herbs, there are lovely names floating on nature’s surface. For the parent who feels most at home on, in or near the water, consider one of these aquatic nature names for your future beach baby.
Bay is the perfect baby name for someone wanting to avoid a nickname and would also make a unique middle name as an alternative to single-syllable Grace or Rose. The image of a tranquil bay, dotted with boats, is a peaceful one. Bay could also balance out a more difficult, multisyllabic last name. While longer names Baylee and Baylor are currently in the Top 1000, Bay has yet to crack this list. I don’t foresee it becoming a popular first name, but there is great potential as an unexpected middle, and this simple moniker would work for a boy or a girl.
I’m quite surprised that I’ve never encountered a baby named Beach. The name suggests sand dunes, waves lapping at a shoreline, with gulls swooping overhead. Despite its relative non-use as a name, Beach doesn’t seem too far a leap from other one-syllable B boy names like Beau, Bryce and Blake. For those who prefer land to sea, the arboreal Beech is an alternative spelling.
What better image to bestow on your child than one that calls to mind a peaceful, babbling brook? In general, Brooks is the preferred choice for boys, although Brook would be the more masculine spelling if you want to drop the S. Brooks has risen rapidly up the popularity charts to Number 232. Brooke, at this point a classic name for girls, has enjoyed steady popularity for the last forty plus years, inspired in part by Brooke Shields.
Crew is a nautical name that is ripe for the picking, sounding similar to the hip, celebrity- endorsed Cruz, but with a preppy spin. This novel pick made its debut on Social Security list in 2011 and sits now at Number 715.Whether rowing crew or sporting J.Crew, this is the perfect name for a boy who summers on the coast and prefers his khakis salmon hued.
Though I’ve yet to hear of a baby Harbor, this name seems like a logical leap from the current batch of water and word names and is not dissimilar in sound from the trendy Harper. Here’s to the next Harbor Lee or Leigh.
I first heard this name in college (on a boy, no less) and immediately admired his parents for their gutsy choice. Today, the talented Lake Bell has given star power to this short name that packs a punch. Lake could make a cool middle name for a boy or girl, or stand alone as a first name, a watery mash-up of Layne and Blake. Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady used it as a middle for their daughter Vivian.
Marin is one of my all-time favorite girl names. In French, it means “sailor,” whereas the Latin meaning translates as “of the sea.” Marin is a subtle watery name that is feminine yet strong. I prefer the pronunciation that rhymes with Karen, but one could also pronounce it like Marin County, California, with the emphasis on the second syllable. Maren is a German spelling variation. Marin cracked the Top 1000 in the mid-2000s but has since fallen off. This girls’ name is one that will stand out yet sound mainstream. Another attractive variation is Marina, meaning “from the sea,”– a third option, Marine, is uber popular in France and lends the name a sophisticated sound.
Speaking of the French, Océane (oh-see-EN) has yet to arrive in the United States. This chic name could be the perfect choice for parents who dream of raising a supermodel or future editor of Vogue and adds another “O” name option for those in love with Francophile choices Ophélie, Odette or Odile.
The quintessential water name River entered the Top 1000 in 1994 following actor River Phoenix’s untimely passing. The name has steadily climbed up the popularity charts to Number 244 for boys and surged to a surprising Number 350 for girls, chosen for their daughters by both Corey Hart and Kelly Clarkson. The name of River Phoenix’s sister, Rain (or Raine/Rayne), is another aqueous nature option.
Celebrities and mortals alike have ventured into Sailor territory for seafaring girls and boys with this cute as a button name. Surfer could be a next step for parents seeking a sun-drenched beach vibe. (These are also catchy names for canines, as a friend of mine uses for her water-loving dogs.)
As more parents explore our natural world for naming inspiration, your perfect baby name may be found at the nearest watering hole.