No Name? No Big Dill.

September 16th, 2011

Do you read the hopelessly creative and utopian blog, No Big Dill?  The Dill family has five beautiful daughters: Divine, Pearl, Olive, Azure, and Clover, and mama just gave birth to their first son.  As of today, he remains nameless.

Let’s help, shall we?  They seem to have a predilection for nature names, but the names largely have Christian undertones to them (the family, like many of the most amazing bloggers out there, is Mormon).  It will be interesting to see if the Dills keep with the same naming traditions they’ve gone with for their daughters, or if this being their only son will have them opt for a more traditional choice.  Will they repeat initials for the first time?

Here are a few names that I feel would fit seemlessly into their crew.  What do you think suits this child? 


Fisher

Forest

Giles

Heath

Indigo

Jasper

Lauro 

Lemuel

Reef

Rowan

Sylvan

Theodore, nn Theo

Zion

IMG_4512

How lovely is this woman?

This is Rebecca Woolfe, who writes the popular blog Girl’s Gone Child.  Aside from an egregious propensity for terrible puns, she’s a lovely writer and by all accounts, seems like a really fun person to know.

She has two children, a son Archer and a daughter Fable, and as luck would have it, finds herself currently pregnant with the namer’s dream:  twin girls.

I’ve literally lain awake at night trying to “name them” for her.  Yes I KNOW naming is a terribly personal thing, of course it is (I don’t actually want to name the twins for you Bec & Hal).  But I am extremely excited to see what this couple comes up with.  Like us, they take this naming business terribly seriously.

Yesterday she posted her discarded list– the names she’d like to see go out and find happy homes, she’s generous like that.

But when I made the majority of my list below, this is what I had to work with to gauge her style.  We share a love of Salome and Mirabelle.  I’m still trying to talk her into Zelda.

The trickiest part is trying to figure out if she’ll use another word name.

MY LIST:

Echo- My first thought.  How poetic is this Ancient Greek beauty?  I thought the concept of an “echo” might appeal to Woolfe’s sensibilities, and as it turns out, I was right!  But Rebecca’s thought this through, it just doesn’t work for a twin.

Calliope- Muse was a name on the first long list.  I prefer a specific muse to just “Muse” itself.  Calliope has a galloping sound in the same vein as Tallulah, and is less common than her long time love Chloe.  Rebecca’s passion of the written word may find her attracted to this goddess of epic poetry.

Juniper- Has a similar modern, galloping feel to Tallulah and Indigo.  The Juniper tree is associated with being able to ward off negative forces and illness.  They have Cypress on the most recent list of hand-me-downs, so trees are a possibility (though she has said they will not be named for flowers).

Zephyrine- Zephyr was a possibility for Fable, so if she likes that, why not Frenchify it with this obscure but legitimate gem?  Also, they live on the West coast, and Zephyr is the God of the West Winds.

Vesper- Greek for “evening.”  Perhaps a possible middle depending on when the babes are born.  I like the style and feel of this but don’t love the -er endings with big brother Archer.

Mercy- Rebecca and Hal have overcome some serious strife together.  Someone has shown their family mercy.  Why not?

Blythe- Blythe might be an easier name to carry, and a more fun sentiment to try to live up to.

Verena, Verity- As the great Keats said (in Ode on a Grecian Urn no less): “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”  They want names that match, but aren’t matchy.  One of these could pair well next to a name that symbolizes beauty, as though there is a part of each twin in the other.

Zelda- The wife of F. Scott FitzGerald, a brilliant mind with a troubled life.  Zingy vintage find.

Clio- The Greek muse of history.  I know they’re great admirers and students of history in this family.

Thalia- Muse of comedy and idyllic poetry.  Rebecca makes us laugh as often as she makes us cry.

Oona- Irish “lamb.”  A super cool name that this super cool fam could certainly pull off.  I like the flow with Archer and Fable, but don’t know if it’s common in LA.  I’ve met a few of them here.

Melba- Retro vibe that could rock with their decor and meld with the likes of Ava and Harlow.  I see an LA baby as giving this name new schwang.

Hedy- Ditto  Melba, but more Hollywood.

Dove- Rebecca talks about peace and strength a lot.  Dove sounds nice with the sibset as well, but what do you name her sister? Paz?  Turns out, they do like Pace.

Snow- The antidote to the hot Cali sun.

Neige- Ditto Snow, the Francophile version.

Capricorn- She’s admitted to being a huge Henry Miller fan.  Would this work for a girl born in October?  Would this work with Snow or Neige?  Not my favorite.

Merritt, Merit-  This name boasts the feminine sound of Mary with a familiar surname twist.  Spell it like the word to get closer to the admirable meaning and further from the surname trend.

Thisbe- Greek inspiration continues with one of my favorite names for somebody else.  The Juliet of mythology. Somebody please use this!

Colette- Colette is another name that I love on somebody else’s child, but for some reason can’t quite bring myself to use.  Come to find out Rebecca feels the same way, but only because this would have been Archer’s name had he been a girl.

Hermione- Perhaps too Harry Potter, but has that lilting quality we like from so many on her list.  Also, Hermione was a messenger.  Hermione and Dove maybe?

Simone- Simone de Beauvoir and Nina Simone.  I could see a daughter of Rebecca’s pulling this off, to borrow Rebecca’s word, with aplomb.

The following four were added to the list after I read her most recent castaways:

Pallas- She loves Zenith, and Pallas Athena was at the apex of the Greek gods.

Cerulean- This should be a name, and symbolizes the sky and even at times, the ocean.

Solstice- She likes Season, so why not Solstice?  I’ll tell you why not– these babies are due in October but may come early.  Equinox just doesn’t have the same ring to it, plus it’s a gym.

Xanthe- She likes Zs and Xs.  Xanthe was a near miss for me, plus it’s Greek to boot.  I really think they’re going to go Greek with at least one baby.  It means blond.  Rebecca is really a blond too.

Rebecca Woolfe and hubby Hal, I do apologize if I’ve exposed your secret names.  Only time will tell, and (obviously) I can’t wait to see what you choose!  Those babies are going to a wonderful loving home.

Would you pair any of these names with one another? What would you name Hal and Rebecca’s twins?  What would you name your own?

Earth Day Baby Names

April 22nd, 2011

Milkvetch.  Wallflower.  Toothwart.

Yes, the Earth is indeed a wellspring for baby names.

Actually I skipped those.  Here are a few favorites culled– believe it or not– from endangered species lists.  Morbid as that may seem, I promise they’re quite nice!  Famous conservationists and a few other notables help bring it back down to Earth I’d love to see Audubon or Fossey as firsts or to meet an all-American infant Sigurd.

Truly though, the names are of minor importance.  Gasp!  The most we can hope for is that our children do better than we did.

FAMOUS CONSERVATIONISTS

John James Audubon

Rachel Carson

Jeff Corwin

Jacques Cousteau

Dian Fossey

Buckminster Fuller

Jane Goodall

Julia Butterfly Hill

Steve Irwin

Aldo Leopold

Chico Mendes

John Muir

Frederick Law Olmsted

Sigurd F. Olson

Peter Simon Pallas

Henry David Thoreau

EMBLEMS OF THE EARTH

GIRLS

Anona- Roman goddess of the harvest

Avani- Sanskrit, “earth”

Ceres- Ancient Roman, “to grow”, Roman goddess of agriculture

Demeter- Greek, “earth mother”, Greek goddess of agriculture

Flora- Roman goddess of flowers

Gaia- Greek, “earth”, and the goddess of the earth

Georgia, Georgina, Georgianna- Greek, “farmer”

Kun- Chinese, “earth”

Luna- Roman goddess of the moon

Maia- Roman goddess of Spring

Perpetua- Latin, “continuous”

Terra- Latin, “earth”

Zoe- Greek, “life”

BOYS

Adam- Hebrew, debated meaning; man formed from the Earth

Asa- Hebrew, “healer”

Chayim- Hebrew, “life”

Enki- Sumerian, “lord of the earth”, god of water and wisdom

Francis- Italian saint reknowned for his connection to animals

George- Greek, “farmer, earthworker”

Pax- Latin, “peace”

Vitus- Ancient Roman, from the latin for “life”

Zephyr- Greek god of the west wind

ANIMAL (proceed with caution)

Akialoa

Anemone

Bear

Bison

Caribou

Condor

Crane

Delphine

Eagle

Eider

Gazelle

Lynx

Nightingale

Ocelot

Peregrine

Rhea

Warbler

Wren

Wolf


VEGETABLE

Aster

Azalea

Banyan

Birch

Briar

Bryony

Cicely

Clementine

Clover

Columbine

Crocus

Cypress

Elm

Fern

Hazel

Huckleberry

Hyssop

Indigo

Juniper

Maple

Oak

Phlox

Plum

Primrose

Reed

Rosemary

Rosette

Sage

Sedge

Sorrel

Spruce

Thistle

Verbena

Willow

Yarrow

MINERAL (a rather Soap-Operatic category)

Bay

Coral

Earth, Eartha

Flint

Jasper

Marina

Obsidian

Ocean, Oceane

Onyx

Peter, Petra

Reef

Ridge

Slate

Solstice

Stone

There are so many Earth names, this could go on for days.  Did I miss your favorite?

Image by Andy Goldsworthy

Names for Earth Day

April 22nd, 2009

 

Milkvetch.  Wallflower.  Toothwart.  

 

Yes, the Earth is indeed a wellspring for baby names. 

Actually I skipped those.  Here are a few favorites culled– believe it or not– from endangered species lists.  Morbid as that may seem, I promise they’re quite nice!  Famous conservationists and a few other notables help bring it back down to Earth I’d love to see Audubon or Fossey as firsts or to meet an all-American infant Sigurd.  

Truly though, the names are of minor importance.  Gasp!  The most we can hope for is that our children do better than we did.  

 

NOTE:  This post is simultatneously appearing at Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran’s wonderful nameberry.com, where I am a guest blogger.  If you haven’t done so already, please enter their contest to guess the top 10 names for boys and girls for 2008.  Be the first to guess correctly and you could win four amazing books including and advanced copy of their brand spanking new Beyond Ava and Aiden:  The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby.  Think the 2008 changed radically?

 

FAMOUS CONSERVATIONISTS

John James Audubon

Rachel Carson

Jeff Corwin

Jacques Cousteau

Dian Fossey

Buckminster Fuller

Jane Goodall

Julia Butterfly Hill

Steve Irwin

Aldo Leopold

Chico Mendes

John Muir

Frederick Law Olmstead

Sigurd F. Olson

Peter Simon Pallas

Henry David Thoreau

 

EMBLEMS OF THE EARTH

GIRLS

Anona- Roman goddess of the harvest

Avani- Sanskrit, “earth”

CeresAncient Roman, “to grow”, Roman goddess of agriculture

Demeter- Greek, “earth mother”, Greek goddess of agriculture

Flora- Roman goddess of flowers

Francis- Italian saint reknowned for his connection to animals

Gaia- Greek, “earth”, and the goddess of the earth

Georgia, Georgina, Georgianna- Greek, “farmer”

Kun- Chinese, “earth”

Luna- Roman goddess of the moon

Perpetua- Latin, “continuous”

Terra- Latin, “earth”

Zoe- Greek, “life”

 

BOYS

Adam- Hebrew, debated meaning; man formed from the Earth

Asa- Hebrew, “healer”

Chayim- Hebrew, “life”

Enki- Sumerian, “lord of the earth”, god of water and wisdom

George- Greek, “farmer, earthworker”

Pax- Latin, “peace”

Vitus- Ancient Roman, from the latin for “life”

Zephyr- Greek god of the west wind

 

ANIMAL

Akialoa

Bear

Bison

Caribou

Cheetah

Condor

Cougar

Crane

Delphine

Eagle

Eider

Gazelle

Lynx

Nightingale

Ocelot

Peregrine

Rhea

Warbler

Wolf


VEGETABLE

Anemone

Aster

Azalea

Birch

Buttercup

Cicely

Clover

Columbine

Crocus

Cypress

Elm

Fern

Huckleberry

Hyssop

Indigo

Juniper

Maple

Oak

Phlox

Plum

Primrose

Rosemary

Rosette

Sage

Sedge

Snowdrop

Sundrop

Sorrel

Spruce

Thistle

Verbena

Willow

Yarrow

 

MINERAL

Bay

Earth, Eartha

Jasper

Marina

Obsidian

Ocean, Oceane

Onyx

Peter, Petra

Ridge

Slate

Solstice

Stone

…and finally Montana… much to the chagrin of Pam and Linda I’m sure.

 

Above:  Oil on paper painting by Elisabeth Wilborn (that’s me).  ;-)

Purple Mountain Majesty

February 27th, 2009

iris

 

As February comes to a close, I’m reminded of the things the month means to me:  Valentine’s day, finding out that I was going to become a mother for the first time, and my own mother.  This is Mama’s birth month, and I’ve spent many hours trying to figure out how I might honor her in some way.  Her birthstone is Amethyst, her flower the violet (and sometimes Iris).  All of these things come in a purple hue.  So in remembrance of the color of passion, royalty, and my mom, I present purple names.  

 

Amaranth- Both a medicine and a poison

Amethyst- One of the funniest meanings I’ve yet to come across: in Greek this translates to “not drunk”; February’s birth stone

Aster- Rita’s daughter on Dexter may inspire a few?

Berry- Makes for darling middle if you have this in your family tree

Crocus- Crocodile meets locust?  Well, they come in purple anyway.

Dahlia- A name I like to champion; underused in my opinion

Daphne- means “laurel” in Greek

Freesia- Frigid or freeing?  You decide.

Fuchsia- Pleasing to the ear, but a devil to spell!

Glory- For morning glories

Hibiscus- This one would really need a workable nickname.  Try Ibby on for size.

Hyacinth- Anyone remember “Keeping Up Appearances”?  Hyacinth’s character may not be the best namesake, but she sure made us laugh.  Her sisters are the upper class Violet, the cartoonish down-and-out Daisy, and the sex-addicted Rose.

Indigo- So this leans a little bluish;  it’s making inroads on both sexes

Iolanthe- Greek for “violet”

Iris- Top of the pop amongst those in the know, also has the lovely meaning “rainbow” in Greek

Jacinda, Jacinta- From the Latin for “hyacinth”

Laurel- Who brings with her Laura, Laurence, Lawrence, Lauren

Lavandula- The genus for lavender

Lavender- I heard this on a real life girl and found it charming

Lilac- One with real potential, but few seem to consider it

Lydia- Said to be a “seller of purple”, which may mean that she sold cloth and other goods to royalty and the wealthy

Magenta- My favorite Rocky Horror Picture Show gal, and Blue’s cousin from Blue’s Clues

Mauve- A cross between Maeve and Maude

Myrtille- “Blueberry” in French

Orchid- Though this is one of the loveliest of flowers, take caution that its meaning derives from orchis, or ”testicle” in Latin

Periwinkle- My favorite Crayola, Perry makes this *almost* usable (but not quite)

Pansy- Due to connotations, this may be better left in the middle or on your kitten

Plum- Plum Sykes is the best known bearer, but this has real potential

Primrose- Too prim for most, it sets just the right sweet British-inflected tone for others

Primula- The primrose genus

Prune- Evidently quite chic in Paris, this is actually the French word for the ripe plum

Rose- Roses come in nearly every shade, my favorite perhaps being lavender 

Thistle- Reservations with this one as it rhymes with bristle

Uva- While Uva could be just a step away from Ava, know that it means “grape”

Verbena- The sweetest little flower

Violet, Violetta, Violette, Viola- Let’s not forget about Violet’s equally sweet and underappreciated companions

Wisteria- I once met child sisters Primrose, Wisteria, and Violet


This is Just to Say



I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.
- William Carlos Williams



 

primrose-blue2

Autumnal Names

December 5th, 2008

Vermont Hillside

 

The leaves have fallen.  The pumpkin patch is cleared and the apples have all been picked. But with technically sixteen days left of Fall, I thought I’d squeeze this post in while I still could!  Stay tuned for Christmas names soon.  

 

Shades of changing leaves:

Amber- Reddish brown petrified resin

Aurelia- “Golden”

Goldie

Heather

Jasper- Reddish brown stone that recalls the hue of the season

Marigold- Golden in color, this flower also blooms well into the fall

Ora- “Gold”

Saffron- Spice yellow in hue

Scarlett- “Scarlet red”

Tawny- Yellowish brown in color, evocative of caramel and port

 

Tasty Treats:

Apple

Cinnamon

Ginger

Maple

Myrtle, Myrtille- Myrtille is blueberry in French

Plum

 

In Bloom & Fall Foliage:

Anemone

Ash (or Ash names?)

Aspen

Beech

Cypress

Dahlia

Elm

Ivy

Maple (again)

Oak

Poplar

 

In Mythology, Religion & Lore:

Anona- Roman goddess of the harvest

Aphaea- Greek goddess associated with agriculture and fertility

Dhanya- Sanskrit for “grain”

Demeter- Greek goddess of the harvest

Devi- Hindu goddess who blesses the abundance of the harvest

Laksmhi- Hindu goddess of the harvest, in the form of Dhanya Lakshmi

Saturn- Roman god of the harvest

Sif/Sifa- Norse god of the harvest

Sita- Also Hindu goddess of the harvest

Willow- Used during the Jewish feast celebration of Sukkoth, in conjunction with etrog (citron), lulav (date palm), and myrtle

 

Writer’s who love the Autumn:

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor

Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Hawthorne, Nathaniel David

Keats, John

Rilke, Rainer Maria

Thoreau, Henry David- Wrote about Lake Walden

 

By Month:

Aster-Flower for September

Sapphira- Sapphire is September’s gem stone

September- Itself is also occasionally given as a name

Lapis Lazuli- Gemstone for September.  Either one would make an unusual choice

Opal- October’s birth stone

Tourmaline- Also shares the honor of being October’s birth stone

Chrysanthemum- November’s flower, shortens to the user friendly Chrys

Topaz- Shares the role of birth stone for November

Citrine- November’s other gemstone

December- If September works as a first name, why not try December, November, or October?

Poinsettia- The famed red plant used for Christmas decor and December’s flower

Orchid- Also known to be flower of December

Turquoise- December’s shockingly colorful birth stone for its season

 

Why not the season itself?

Aki- Japanese, “bright autumn”

Akiko- “Bright autumn child” in Japanese

Autumn

Ekin- “Harvest” in Turkish

Hazan- “Autumn” in Turkish

Qiu- Chinese for “autumn”

Thu- “Autumn” in Vietnamese

Wekesa- “Born during harvest”, in East Africa

 

Thanks to Emmie and Elizabeth for your additions!

Summer Solstice

June 20th, 2008

 

 

Summer has officially arrived, I’d like to be the first to extend a giant *Welcome.* I’d like also of course, to usher her in with a new set of baby name possibilities.  If commemorating the season in which your summer baby is born appeals, here are some ideas, both classic and off-beat.  Whether you draw from the long sunny days, beach vacations, or a birthstone, there are practically endless possibilities.  Saints Days are also an option, and I post the upcoming week’s list every Sunday.  When you’re done here, please go to Appellation Mountain’s thoughts on the subject.  

Now we’re off to the park to celebrate a birthday with potluck and good old fashioned wiffle ball.  Hope you are enjoying your summer.

 

GIRLS

Alexandra, Alexandrine- Greek, “defender of mankind.”  Alexandrine is sometimes listed as a birthstone for June

Anona- Latin, goddess of the harvest

Apolline, Apollonia- “Stength”; Female version of the Greek Apollo, the god of the sun, and far more usable in this form

Augusta, Augustine- Latin, “great, venerable”;  might be a nice nod to the month of August

Dagmar, Dagny- In Old Norse, “dag” names are related to “day”, appropriate since the days are long this time of year

Eloise, Heloise- French; possibly originating in the Greek helios meaning “sun”

Haruko- Japanese for “sun child”

Helen, Helena- Greek for “torch”, also “light”

Julia, Julianna, Juliet- The feminizations of Julius, for whom the month of July was named

June, Junia- From the month of June and the Roman goddess Juno, queen of the heavens

Lavender- In Provence, June is the month when the Lavender blooms

Leona, Leonie, Leontine, Leonora- If your baby is a Leo, these might be viable first or middle name options

Liberty- English, well-suited to an Independence Day baby

Lucia, Lucienne, Lucy- From the Latin lux ”light”

Margaret- English, from the Greek margarites meaning Pearl.  Margarita also works as a themey double-entendre

Marina- Originally Greek, Marina is used in many languages and means “sea” for those lucky enough to be there

Marisol- Spanish combination of Maria and Sol “sun”

Natsumi- Japanese natsu ”summer” and mi ”beautiful”; also from na “vegetables” and tsumu “pick”

Ondine- French, from the Latin unda meaning “wave”

Ora- Hebrew “light”

Pearl- June’s birthstone

Poppy- August’s flower, though they bloom in May

Rose- The flower of June, a hardy and lovely flower in the sun

Ruby- July’s birthstone

Sita- Sanskrit, “furrow”, Hindu goddess of the harvest

Sol- Spanish for sun

Soleil- French for sun, recalls the actress Soleil Moon Frye, an intrepid baby namer herself

Solstice- With word names like Story and Ever all the rage, this one struck me as a pleasant-sounding possibility

Solveig- Norse combining sol “sun” and veig “strength”

Summer- A name that’s had its day in the sun

Sunniva- Norwegian “sun gift”

Suvi- Finnish “summer”

Svetlana- Slavic “light”

Theresa- Greek theros “summer”

Vera- From the Albanian verë for “summer”

Virginia- If your wee one comes toward the end of summer, you may wind up with a Virgo, making this related name particularly apt;  note that the state, Virginia, was named for the Virgin Queen, Queen Elizabeth I

 

BOYS

August, Augustus- Latin, “great, venerable” after the Emporer Augustus, for whom the month was named

Cyrus- Biblical, may be related to the Persian khur, meaning “sun”

Haru- Japanese “sunlight”

Horus- Egyptian mythology, god of light

Hyperion- Greek mythology, the titan who presided over the sun and light

Julian, Julius- Latin, “downy-bearded”; July was named after Julius Caesar, and so might your child be!

Leo, Leonard, Leonardo, Leonidas, Leopold- If your baby is born under the sign of Leo, you have a multitude of options should you be stuck

Luke, Lucian, Lucius- From the Latin lux for “light”

Mehrdad- Persian “gift of the sun” 

Prakash- Sanskrit “light”

Ra- Egyptian mythology, god of the sun

Ravindra- Sanskrit, “Lord of the sun”

Roshan- Persian “light, bright”

Samson- Hebrew, possibly meaning “sun”

Somereld- Scottish “summer traveler”

Surya- Sanskrit, Hindu god of the sun

Wekesa- East African origin, means “born during the harvest”

 

Above Image: August, from the Très riches heures du duc de Berry

 

 

Writing about butterfly names, I got to thinking, what other names are closely linked to animals or can be represented for a child by an animal?  I embarked on a list of animal baby names.  What fun it is for little Leo to know that a his name means “lion”, or for Philippa to see a horse and associate it with herself!  This list is far from complete, but these are some of the names that struck me as usable for a modern baby, appearing in many American family trees, or being in some other way noteworthy.  Please let me know what your favorite animal names are.   Expect a subsequent post devoted exclusively to bird names!

 

GIRLS

Agnes- Greek, “chaste”, also associated with agnus, or “lamb”

Anka- Aboriginal Australian, “barramundi”

Arjuni- Sanskrit, “ox”

Athena- Greek, goddess of wisdom whose symbol is the owl

Ayala- Hebrew, “deer”

Columba, Colombe- Scottish, “dove” (St. Columba was male but this name is more closely associated with girls now)

Deborah- Biblical, “bee”

Delphine- Greek, French possibly related to delphis, “dolphin”, also the city of Delphi

Dorcas- Biblical, “gazelle”

Eowyn- Old English, “horse lover”

Jael, Yael- Hebrew, “mountain goat”

Jemima- Biblical, “dove”

Leona, Leontine- Greek, French, “lion”, see Leo

Melissa- Greek, “honey bee”

Merle- English variant of Muriel; this spelling is influenced by the French word merle, meaning “blackbird.”  Also used as a male name.

Oona- Irish, “lamb”

Orpah- Hebrew, “fawn”

Paloma- Spanish, “dove”

Penelope- Greek, possibly associated with “duck”

Philippa- Greek, “horse lover”

Rachel- Hebrew, “ewe”

Rosalind- English, ”soft horse”, derived from the Germanic elements hros ”horse” and linde ”soft, tender”

Rosamund- English, German for ”horse protection” from Germanic hros ”horse” and mund ”protection”

Tabitha- Biblical, Aramaic “gazelle”

Ursa, Ursula- Latin, “bear”

Zipporah, Tzipporah- Hebrew, “bird”

 

BOYS

Adler- Teutonic, “eagle”

Aquila- Latin, “eagle”

Ari, Ariel- Biblical, “lion”

Arnold- German, “eagle power”

Arthur- Irish, “strong as a bear”

Asad- Arabic, “lion”

Aslan- Turkish, “lion”

Averell, Everild- Teutonic, “boar slayer”

Barend- Dutch, “a firm bear”

Bernard- German, “bold as a bear”

Björn- Scandinavian, “bear”

Borden- Old English, “from the valley of the boar”

Callum- Scottish, “dove”, form of Columba

Conan- Irish, “little wolf”

Darby- English, “deer town”

Dov- Hebrew, “bear”

Drake- English, “duck” or Old English for “dragon”

Everett, Everard- Old English, “brave as a boar”

Ganesh- Sankrit, Hindu god normally represented with the face of an elephant

Gavin- Welsh, from Gwalchgwyn ”white hawk”

Giles- English by way of Greece, “young goat”

Gryphon- Mythological creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle

Leander- Greek, “lion of man”

Leo, Leon, Leonard, Leonidas- Greek, “lion”

Lev- Russian, “lion”

Llywelyn- Welsh, possibly related to llew “lion”

Mayur- Sanskrit, “peacock”

Nagendra- Sanskrit, “lord of snakes”

Oscar- Irish, “deer lover”, derived from Gaelic os ”deer” and cara ”lover”

Orson- English, Latin,  ”bear”

Owen- Welsh, possibly related to  oen ”lamb”

Philip- Greek, “horse lover”

Phineas- Hebrew, possibly means “serpent’s mouth”

Randolf- English, “wolf’s shield”

Renard- French, “fox”; originally from the Germanic Reginard, meaning “advice, brave, hardy.”  A Medieval character Reynard the Fox was the source for the present meaning in France.

Roscoe- Old Norse, “from the deer forest”

Todd- English, from a surname meaning “fox”

Tzvi- Hebrew, “deer”

Usama- Arabic, “lion”

Vespasian- Latin, possibly realted to vespa “wasp”

Wolfgang- German, “wolf’s path”

 

ETA: Zipporah, Tzipporah, at Lola’s suggestion.  Added Rachel, Merle, and Tzvi at Miriam’s suggestion.  Also changed a few meanings to be accurate thanks to Miriam.  :-)

We’re all familiar with the practice of taking names from nature: Lily, Violet, Iris, and Hazel grace our playgrounds as much as they do our gardens. But what of butterflies?

I began to focus on butterflies as to me they symbolize a quiet, delicate strength. Transforming from caterpillar to chrysalis to their eventual manifestation, butterflies represent a constant renewal and rebirth. They are tremendous voyagers, flying thousands of miles in their short lives, and have a symbiotic relationship with flowers as they aid in pollination. I am reminded of the line in “The Sound of Music” when Louisa sings “I flit, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly…”

A quick search on www.behindthename.com lists a few female names as having the meaning “Butterfly”: Chou & Chouko (Japanese), Flutura (Albanian), Kelebek (Turkish), Parvana (Iranian), and Vanessa (English), and listed Papillion as a French male name which I’m not so sure about. Aside from Flutura which might be an interesting futuristic choice, or Parvana which has a liliting quality, none of these were very satisfying options for me. So I went in search of more names associated with this lithe and lovely creature. My quest was limited to the butterflies of North America. Some of these are common first names, some are surnames likely named after the discoverer, some are likely derived from the flowers they surround themselves with. A few just sound like they could be bestowed onto a human being, and where these are concerned, gender was arbitrarily assigned based on sound. I’ve also heard Mariposa, the Spanish word for butterfly, being bandied about. Though it sounds pretty, it is a Spanish slur and thus might not be a very neutral choice.

If a theme is what you’re after, this compilation might be an understated one. It could be fun for sisters to share a hidden theme, and some of the male options are scrumptous, butterfly or no! Where there is no definition below, only the butterfly of that name was found. The name of the actual butterflies are in italics. I’ll spare you Mangrove, Goatweed, and the like.

Acacia- Acacia Skipper; Greek “thorn, point”, like the tree of the same name.

Alberta- Alberta Arctic; English “bright, nobility.” Queen Victoria’s husband was Prince Albert, and she decried that all her descendants would have a form of either Victoria or Albert in their name.

Alexandra- Queen Alexandra’s Sulphur; Greek, “defender of mankind”

Anicia- Anicia Checkerspot. Possibly related to Anise?

Anise- Anise Swallowtail; English, from the herb of the same name.

Antonia- Empress Antonia; Ancient Roman, “of inestimable worth.”

Aryxna- Aryxna Giant Skipper

Astarte- Astarte Fritillary; Greek form of Ashtoreth, the Phoenician goddess of love, war, and fertility. Also Ishtar.

Aster- Aster Checkerspot; A form of Esther, meaning “star.” Also a star-like flower.

Atala- Atala; 152 Atala is an asteroid. There is also a novel Atala, by Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand.

Avalon- Avalon Hairstreak; related to the Welsh “afal”, meaning Apple. Also King Arthur’s heaven.

Carolina- Carolina Satyr; Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, “warrior.”

Cestri- Cestri Hairstreak

Chara- Chara Checkerspot; Greek “happiness, joy”

Coral- Coral Hairstreak; from the Greek, “maiden of the sea

Diana- Diana; Roman Mythology, “heavenly, divine”

Dorcas- Dorcas Copper; Greek, “gazelle”

Edith- Edith’s Copper, Edith’s Checkerspot, Old English, “rich, blessed + war”

Elada- Elada Checkerspot; Latinized version of the Greek Hellados, meaning “from Greece”

Eufala- Eufala Skipper

Fatima- Fatima; Arabic “to abstain”; Muhammed’s daughter

Ferentina- Ferentina Calico; The patron goddess of the city Ferentium, Latium. She was protector of the Latin commonwealth, and was also closely associated with the Roman Empire

Flora- Empress Flora; Latin “flower.” The Roman goddess of flowers and spring, the wife of Zephyr the west wind

Georgia- Georgia Satyr; English, Greek “farmer”

Julia- Julia, Julia Skipper; Ancient Roman, “youthful” or “downy-bearded”

Juniper- Juniper Hairstreak; English, from the tree of the same name

Lantana- Larger Lantana Butterfly, Smaller Lantana Butterfly; flowering plants

Laure- Laure; French “laurel”

Laviana- Laviana Skipper; an autonomous community on the northern coast of Spain

Leanira- Leanira

Leda- Leda Hairstreak; Greek mythology, possibly means “woman.” The mother of Castor, Pollux and Helen, by Zeus, who discovered her in the form of a swan

Leilia- Empress Leilia; Ancient Roman, a type of orchid

Lilac- Lilac-banded Longtail; a type of flower

Louisa- Empress Louisa; English, “famous warrior”

Magdalena- Magdalena Alpine; Biblical, “of Magdala”

Melissa- Melissa Arctic; Greek “honeybee”, a nymph from Greek mythology

Mimosa- Mimosa’s Yellow; after the flowering trees; a pretty name, if you can get beyong the drink

Mylitta- Mylitta Crescentspot, Mylitta Greenwing

Nivalis- Nivalis Copper; also an Arctic Finch otherwise known as Snowbird

Olive- Olive Hairstreak; from the tree, and a symbol of the goddess Athena

Olympia- Olympia Marblewing; Greek, the mountain Olympus was the home of the Greek gods

Pahaska- Pahaska Skipper

Pearl- Pearly Marblewing

Phoebe- Phoebus Parnassian; Greek mythology, Biblical, meaning “bright, pure”

Saffron- Saffron Skipper; English, from the Arabic. A spice from the crocus flower, orange-yellow in color.

Sierra- Sierra Skipper; Spanish, English, “mountain range”

Sara- Sara Orangetip; Hebrew “princess”

Sonora- Sonora Skipper; a state in Mexico

Telea- Telea Hairstreak

Theona- Theona Checkerspot; Greek mythology, Dymus’ daughter, Hecuba’s sister, Amycus’ wife and Mimas’ mother

Thula- Thula Sulphur

Titania- Titania’s Fritillary; English, “of the Titans”

Vesta- Vesta Crescentspot; Roman goddess of the hearth

Violet- Violet-banded Skipper, Violet-patch Skipper; English, after the purple flower

Xami- Xami Hairstreak

Zebina- Zebina Hairstreak

Zela- Zela Metalmark; Ancient city in Asia Minor, and site of the battle where Julius Caeser recalled “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”)

Zerene- Zerene Fritillary

Zilpa- Zilpa-banded Longtail; Zilpah is Hebrew for “frailty”

Araxes- Araxes Skipper; River that is the border between Iran and Azerbaijan

Becker- Becker’s White

Behr- Behr’s Sulfur

Cassius- Cassius Blue; Ancient Roman “empty, vain”

Cyneas- Cyneas Checkerspot

Dakota- Dakota Skipper; “friend” in the Dakota language

Edward- Edwards’ Hairstreak, Edwards’ Fritillary; English, “rich guard”

Gray- Gray Marble, Gray Comma; from the surname and the color

Hayden- Hayden’s Ringlet; Old English, “hay valley”

Harris- Harris’ Checkerspot; English surname “son of the ruler of the home”

Henry- Henry’s Elfin; English, “ruler of the home”

Hessel- Hessel’s Hairstreak

Horace- Horace’s Duskywing; Ancient Roman, “hour, time, season”

Leonard, Leonardo- Leonardus Skipper; “Brave Lion”

Lorquin- Lorquin’s Admiral

Mitchell- Mitchell’s Marsh Satyr; from the surname, meaning “who is like God”?

Nelson- Nelson’s Hairstreak; English, “son of Neil”

Ocher- Ocher Ringlet; yellow-red color and soil

Oreas- Oreas Anglewing

Orseis- Orseis Crescentspot

Otto- Ottoe Skipper; German, “wealth, fortune”

Sachem- Sachem; Native American (some), the chief of a tribe

Sedge- Sedge Skipper; a kind of brushy herb

Teleus- Teleus Longtail

Theano- Theano Alpine

Thoas- Thoas Swallowtail

Uhler- Uhler’s Ringlet

Wright- Wright’s Metalmark; surname meaning “carpenter”

Xerxes- Xerces Blue; Greek from the Persian “ruler over heroes”

Zephyr- Zephyr Anglewing; Greek mythology, “the west wind”

Edible Baby Names

June 6th, 2008

Names irrevocably associated with food include:

Amandine- Almond flavor

Ambrose- Rice pudding (UK)

Angus- Evokes both a burger and Scottish flair

Anise- Licorice

Apple- Though this happens to be the name of one famous little girl, it may not be name enough for widespread use.

Arista- Ear of corn (courtesy Eli[zabeth])

Avalon- From King Arthur’s paradise island, possibly related to Afal, the Welsh word for apple (Also courtesy Eli[zabeth], Thank you!)

Basil- Yummy herb

Berry- Surname, occasionally used as a first name

Brandy- Liquor; I wouldn’t if I were you

Brie- I can’t help but always think of cheese when I hear this relatively common name. May I suggest it as a nickname for Gabrielle, Brianna, Cambria, or Bridget?

Caesar- I’ll wager people recall the salad just as much as they do the emporer, sadly

Candy- Since the 70s, this name rarely appears on the birth certificate. It’s more often used as a name a stripper might give to herself.

Cassia- The Greek prettier version of cinnamon

Cerise- Cherry in French

Ceylon- A kind of tea and a place name, this has a lilting sound

Chablis- Heard more frequently, to our dismay

Chardonnay- Chablis’ unfortunate sister

Charlotte- A delectable chocolate cake (Merci Gaelle)

Cherry- Too much teasing potential!

Cicely- Similar to Cecily, but this is an herb name that Sandra Bernhard chose for her daughter.

Cinnamon- Yep, like the toast

Claret- A kind of wine (Bordeaux), and a color

Clementine- One of the food names I would like to see get beyond its breakfast table association.

Clover- Heard this on a little girl the other day and was charmed.

Coco - Cute and feasible as a nickname (think Colette, Cosette, Cora, Cordelia, Corinne, Corisande, Cornelia, Cosima)

Colby- I still think Wisconsin cheese, but this is really is a surname.

Curry- Kind of a spicy possibility

Dulcie, Dulce- Dulce is climbing the charts in the Latino community, where it means caramel. Dulcie is an old British name with a bit more style.

Flora- Brits associate this with margarine. The rest of us hear “flowers” and “floor.”

Ginger- A spice that has entered (and for the most part exited) common use

Haddock- A fish

Ham- Hebrew “hot, warm.” Something tells me this one isn’t tempting you.

Jasmine- Very popular these days, I’m sure it will start a wave of fragrance names

Jemima- Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all get past the syrup connotations and remember this lovely daughter of Job whose name means “dove”? Clementine’s sister?

Julienne- Thinly sliced strips of vegetables. Julianne is so much better.

Kobe- Beef, named after the city in Japan. Pronounced “KOH-bee”

Lorraine- Quiche

Madeleine- (France) A kind of shell-shaped pastry

Margarita- We all know this is really Margaret in Spanish, right kids?

Maize- Still corn

Mirabelle- (France) Plum

Myrtille- Blueberry (France)

Olive- Olive

Pepper- A great name for a dog or cat

Poppy- Like the seed? Clementine and Jemima’s baby sister

Quince- OK, so the name is usually Quincy, but this could be a fruity nickname

Reuben- Anyone fancy corned beef?

Rosemary- Clementine, Jemima, and Poppy’s mum

Saffron- A yellow spice that recalls the studious child on “Absolutely Fabulous”

Earl of Sandwich- His name sounds like a food because he invented it.

Sorrel- Reminiscent of Laurel but with the soft S at the start

Sara Lee- Frozen foods

Tamar- Hebrew for “date palm”

Did I miss any of your favorite food groups?

Yes, I did. Edited to add Olive (thanks, Jess), Charlotte (thanks, Gaelle), and Reuben.