What To Name Your Winter Baby
At Nameberry, plummeting temperatures mean just one thing: it’s time to revisit our annual survey of winter baby names.
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 the hit 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 beginnings. 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 with meanings related to 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 a long list of names that mean white. Some of our favorites –
Several seasonal holidays might inspire a name for your winter baby. We’ll be saying a lot more about Christmas names later this month, 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, 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 9th, 2010 at 2:56 am
My favourite winter names are the Welsh Eirwen and Gweneira which both mean ‘white snow’ (or snow white if you like) 🙂
on December 9th, 2010 at 8:54 am
I love so many Winter Names. Winter itself being my favorite! I will prob. use it someday as it is a family name. I also love Snow, Frost, Frostine (on someone elses child perhaps) I like Noor, Liora, Abner, Bianca and Viola!
on December 9th, 2010 at 10:48 am
Lucy or Lucia, as in St. Lucia’s Day. It’s a saint’s day in December when girls in Scandinavia wear long white dresses and a headress of candles or artificial lights.
on December 9th, 2010 at 10:57 am
I knew a Wynter and a Snowdyn from Breckenridge, CO.
on December 9th, 2010 at 11:09 am
And Eira (welsh; snow)
on December 9th, 2010 at 4:34 pm
I love Quennel, but you’re right, I don’t think it’s very usable. 🙁
on December 9th, 2010 at 4:42 pm
I’ve always LOVED the name Yuki (japanese meaning snow). I even got to know a real life person named Yuki in college. But because i’m 110% white, living in the midwest, there is no way i’d ever name my child Yuki.
on March 4th, 2011 at 3:33 pm
We named our November girl Neva. It means “snow” in Spanish.
on June 21st, 2011 at 9:58 pm
We named our daughter Shelby Frost. (Born on December 2nd) So, we used it as a winter reference, and also one of our favorite comic book vixens is named “emma frost”. So we were able to sneak in a comic reference there. lol
Lauren Kate Said
on February 28th, 2012 at 11:44 pm
In connection with Epiphany (January 6th) are the names of the three wise men. The highly usable Gaspar/Caspar/Jaspar, Melchior, and the most unlikely Balthazar.
on March 9th, 2012 at 2:46 pm
I like Wynter, Bianca, and Rowena the best. Word of caution to parents of winter babies; DO NOT use Snow. It brings to mind a certain blood-scented villian from a certain Suzanne Collins series…
on November 7th, 2012 at 9:58 am
My first name is Jazmin Iolanthe, though it’s long, I love it! I think it’s really beautiful! Though as I’m getting older, I’m starting to dislike how my name is spelt; JAZMIN. I often wonder if I should change it to JASMIN so that it flows better with Iolanthe?? Anyone agrees? My dad loves the Z spelling because he thinks it’s original and zingy! And, honestly, I’ll never stop spelling it with a Z so what’s the point hahaha!!
Happy November Berries! 😀
on December 16th, 2015 at 6:14 pm
Just to clarify, in the legend related to Persephone: Demeter would grieve in the fall and winter because her daughter would spend half the year in the Underworld with Hades. The other half of the year (spring and summer) is green and full of flowers because Demeter is rejoicing that her daughter gets to spend the next half of the year with her mother.
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