Winter Baby Names: From Amethyst to Zohara

It’s the first day of winter–and plummeting temperatures and shorter days mean just one thing at Nameberry: it’s time to revisit  and update our annual survey of winter baby names. Just a few years ago, we might have said that Winter was the season least friendly to names, whereas 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 then Gretchen Mol using it as her daughter’s first, plus 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.  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; DecembraDecimus, or DecioDecember’s flower is the narcissus or holly, suggesting the names Narcissa (difficult at best) and Holly (definitely 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, and the inspiration for January Jones’ parents.  The Saxons called January the Wolf Month.  A few other names related to wolf: Conan, Lowell, GuadalupePhelan, Fillin, Ralph, Raoul, Rollo, Ulric and Zev.

In Finland, it’s called the Month of the Oak. Names with meanings related to Oak: Adair, Oak, DarraghIlana,OakleyOgden, and QuennelGarnetis 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 the Month of the Pearl.  Viola and Primrose are February’s flowers; its stone is Amethyst and so Violet – or Iolanthe or Yolanda — would be other appropriate choices. 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 NevaNevada, 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 week, so we won’t cover those here.  But you might want to consider Kwanzaa names such as Nia (for purpose) and Imani (meaning faith); Bodhi, for the Buddhist day of enlightenment in December; Soyala – Hopi for the Winter Solstice; Epiphany, Valentine, and King, along with Presidents’ Day hero names George, Washington, Abraham, or Lincoln.

And then of course there’s Hanukkah, suggesting the eternal winter celebration of light.  There are dozens of wonderful names whose meanings relate to light. A few great ideas:

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10 Responses to “Winter Baby Names: From Amethyst to Zohara”

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jessesgirl Says:

December 21st, 2011 at 1:34 am

Here are the ones I like from your lists!!
Lots of good names!!

Poppy528 Says:

December 21st, 2011 at 2:45 am

Happy first night of Channukah, Berries!

Love the suggestions of: Zev, Bronwyn, Frost, Luz, Thea, Viola, Wolf, Rollo. Lots of these were already on my shortlist; never knew they were all connected this way 🙂

lyddy Says:

December 21st, 2011 at 6:51 am

I love Winter, Pearl, Primrose and Amethyst as middle names! I slso like Conan, Oakley, Camellia, Viola, Neve, Bronwen, Eleanor, Helen, Lucius and Thea.

klcalder2 Says:

December 21st, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Great lists! Winter is probably my favorite season to inspire names.

Nyx Says:

December 21st, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Names (that I might include) with a more subtle link to the winter months:

Berry: As in winterberry or snowberry

Tiffany: Easier to wear then Epiphany

Clara: Meaning “bright/clear” and also the heroine of The Nutcracker

OliviaSarah Says:

December 21st, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I’ve always loved Eira, which is Welsh for snow. I think it’s so lovely and magical sounding.

Oak and Camellia are particularly nice from this list.

strangeasang3ls Says:

December 22nd, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I went to school with a girl named Desneige, which I always thought was pretty; it means snow.

whambamglambam Says:

December 25th, 2011 at 10:25 am

I’d say Spring is the season name used the least. I’ve only ever heard of maybe one!

mckennaberry Says:

December 25th, 2011 at 9:01 pm

cute but sassy is my favrout kind these names are mixed up sassy sweet chrismas type and more hope you like
behla ( not bella ) behhhla kinda
and my favrout chikera

elifsu Says:

July 14th, 2015 at 6:04 am

Fairuza isn’t a Turkish name, we have Firuze but it is Persian. Turkuaz means Turquoise and Turquoise means Turkish stone. Karya means snow queen in Turkish and I really like that name.

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