Winter Baby Names
by Pamela Redmond
Just a few years ago, it might have been fair to say that Winter was the season least friendly to names, while now it seems to offer the newest choices for the adventurous baby namer. Why? Two reasons: Nicole Richie choosing Winter as one of the middle names for her high-profile little girl Harlow, and January Jones, beauteous star of noteworthy new show Mad Men.
WINTER is the season name that’s seen the least amount of use over the years, yet one that holds the most potential for boys as well as girls. Variations include WINTERS, WYNTER, and (please don’t) WINTR. Translations of the seasonal name include the French Hiver (pronounced ee-vair), Italian INVERNO, and in Spanish, INVIERNO. In Dutch and German, it’s still Winter and and in Swedish, the comical-sounding (to the English speaker’s ear) VINTER.
In mythology, winter was said to be caused by DEMETER in grief over the loss of her daughter PERSEPHONE, consigned forever to the underworld (but rising again as a baby name, with or without the pronunciation of the final long e).
DECEMBER, still a highly unusual month name yet certainly a usable one, means ten. Other versions you may want to consider: DECIMA, name of the Roman goddess of childbirth; DECEMBRA, DECIMUS, or DECIO. December’s flower is the narcissus or holly, suggesting the names NARCISSA (difficult at best) and HOLLY (already a bit worn at the edges). December gem TURQUOISE can work as a name, as can AQUA or its Turkish equivalent FAIRUZA. Red, however, seems more suitable as December’s color, which leads you to a whole spectrum of great names, from SCARLETT to CRIMSON to RUFUS and RORY.
JANUARY is named after JANUS, god of the doorway. JANUARY Wayne was the lead character of Jacqueline Susann’s Once Is Not Enough, the inspiration for January Jones’ parents. The Saxons called January the WOLF Month. A few other names that mean Wolf: CONAN, LOWELL, LUPE, PHELAN, RUDY, TALA. In Finland, it’s called Month of the OAK. Names that mean Oak: ADAIR, DARRAGH, ILANA, OAKLEY, OGDEN, QUENNEL. GARNET is the month’s gem and in Japan, the flower is the name-worthy CAMELLIA.
FEBRUARY is from a Latin word meaning purification, unlikely to inspire many baby-namers. It’s also called the Mud month and the KALE month. More promising: Finns call it Month of the PEARL. VIOLA and PRIMROSE are February’s flowers; its stone is AMETHYST and so VIOLET – or IOLANTHE or YOLANDA — would be another appropriate choice.
JACK and FROST are both good winter baby names; we’ve even heard of a chic little Parisian FROSTINE. SNOW is lovely, and can be turned into NEVE or NEVA, NEVADA, or YUKI. CRYSTAL fits the theme, though at this point is not so sparkly. And what is snow but white? Nameberry highlights 58 names that mean white. Some of our favorites –
Several winter holidays might inspire a name for your winter baby. We’ll be saying a lot more about Christmas names later this week, so we won’t cover those here. But you might want to consider:
SOYALA – Hopi for the Winter Solstice
SADEH or SADA – Iranian holiday to defeat the darkness
And then of course there’s Hanukkah, already past this year but suggesting the eternal winter celebration of light. There are dozens of wonderful names meaning light. A few great ideas:
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on December 18th, 2009 at 10:09 am
Hanukkah is not quite over yet! 😉
Pamela Redmond Satran Said
on December 18th, 2009 at 10:11 am
Sorry! We were originally going to run this post last week but switched things around….
on December 18th, 2009 at 11:17 am
Don’t forget the welsh Eira meaning snow…and Lucy (variant of Lucius) for the meaning light!
on December 18th, 2009 at 12:03 pm
Noel is one of our family names that also has ties to Winter.
on December 18th, 2009 at 9:23 pm
My father’s name is Lowell 🙂 I love December! Happy Holidays!
on December 19th, 2009 at 1:51 pm
I really like Whittaker! There’s somethnig about the nn Whit that’s so cute. 🙂
on December 20th, 2009 at 8:24 am
Love Eira; I did forget that one. Though I didn’t forget Lucy for light — there were lots of good choices for that one and I just had to pick a handful.
on December 21st, 2009 at 7:15 pm
Winter, Snow and Eira are all on my baby name list 😀
on December 23rd, 2009 at 11:47 pm
I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
on January 12th, 2010 at 2:54 am
We named our daughter Winter. I love love love love LOVE her name. It suits her to a tee!
on November 26th, 2010 at 10:34 pm
my dh great great grandmother was Wynter
I like the spelling Winter better but it was so fun to see it on his family tree! I would like to use it somewhere for a child of ours someday. I like so many of these January, Noelle, Snow and Neve are my favorites
on December 7th, 2010 at 9:14 pm
I love Persephone but not the spelling. Any ideas?
on December 22nd, 2010 at 4:30 pm
Noelle Yvaine = Christmas evening star
on November 19th, 2014 at 5:45 am
I love Olwen…beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
And I am quite keen on Noel, for a boy, and Eira is beautiful.
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