NameSplash

For the 'different, not weird' baby namer

Moniker Morsel: Galilea

The name Galilea (“gal-uh-LAY-uh”) is sure to turn some heads, but with her soft ending and similar sound to mainstream picks Lily and Laila, I think she could make a wearable yet bold option for a baby girl. I like that Galilea could lead to a popular nickname such as Lily or Lea, yet is clearly distinct from the endless iterations of these and similar names.

Origin: Galilea, also spelled Galilaea, is (in several languages) a feminine form of the biblical place name Galilee, a region in Israel. A better known reference is of course the famous physicist Galileo Galilei, whose name shares these roots with Galilea. Thus, Galilea could just as easily acknowledge a religious background as pay homage to a science icon.

Famous Galilea’s: Galilea Montijo is a Mexican actress and comedian.

Nicknames:

Gala, Gaia, Lila, Lily, Laila, Lea/Leia/Laea

Sibling Name Ideas:

Galilea & Isadora (Lea and Dora, perhaps?)
Galilea & Genevieve or Geneva
Galilea & Clara

Galilea & Gideon
Galilea & Domenico
Galilea & Willem

(I had to resist some cheesy astronomy-related matchups!)

Possible Combos:

Galilea Aurelia
Galilea Garnet
Galilea Camille
Galilea Grace

Lyra Galilea
Ruby Galilea
Tamsin Galilea
Serafina Galilea

My thoughts:

Galilea is a unique and bold choice, yet she’s grounded in history and comes with a variety of sweet and delicate nicknames, so I think she’s wearable!

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Popular Baby Names: Let’s crunch numbers

The SSA released the top U.S. baby names of 2013 in May. Perhaps you heard, or perhaps this is your first time on the Internet since May.

If you’ve sought out this blog, chances are you prefer uncommon baby names. I’ve heard of people who refuse to consider top 100, or even top 1000, names for their children. Many parents (likely parents named Jennifer, Ashley, Michael, or Christopher) don’t want their kids to be one of 3 in their class with the same name. Others want to stretch their creative muscles when picking a baby name, and perhaps others may feel pressure from their baby-making peers to search for the coolest, most unique name that will turn their friends green with envy.

I, too, have my aversions to popular baby names, and I certainly have my beef with the cutesy, the trendy, and the kree8iv. Today, though, let’s take a step back and look at what makes a name ‘popular’ in this era of baby naming, and whether it’s really so bad to choose a top 100 name.

With regard to the argument that kindergarten classes will be packed to the brim with Sophias and Noahs, consider the fact that the number of children with ‘popular’ names has decreased dramatically in recent years. Last year, 137,991 girls and 163,214 boys received Top 10 names. Now, consider the year 1970: 284,440 girls and 499,229 boys received Top 10 names, more than doubling the counts for 2013! Thus, since far fewer children are actually given ‘popular’ names, it seems much safer now to use a popular name and trust that your child won’t be drowning in a flood of Noahs.

To add to this idea, let’s use the -den trend as an example. Last year, 22053 boys received names OUTSIDE the Top 100 but within the Top 1000 rhyming with Aidan (this number excludes other -den names such as Holden, Madden, and Kamden). That’s higher than the number of Noahs! Thus, are Braeden (#710) and Rayden (#747) really that unique?

So, just for today, let’s put aside our notions of popularity and our obsessions with rankings, and let’s appreciate all names, common or not, for their individual appeal. After all, the reason many of these names are popular may simply be that they are strong, beautiful, and versatile!

Without further ado, I’ll share my personal favorites from the 2013 Top 100:

Girls:

Sophia
Elizabeth- with her plethora of nicknames, Elizabeth can always be updated, yet she’ll have a solid, elegant name to fall back on.
Ella
Evelyn
Lillian
Anna
Aria- a less frilly, more practical alternative to Ariana
Scarlett- vintage chic
Sarah- another classic that will never sound outdated
Sadie
Maya
Julia
Eva
Sydney

Boys:

Jacob
William- timeless and sophisticated, but not stuffy
James
Samuel
Nathan
Luke- I love 1 syllable names for boys
Levi
Aaron
Adrian
Dominic
Blake

Many, if not all, of these names are unlikely to ‘go out of style,’ in my opinion. Sydney and Blake may be exceptions, but I just happen to love them anyway :) These are names that will never sound too young or too dated, and have plenty of character and charm. Yes, they’re in the taboo Top 100, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

What are your thoughts on this year’s Top 100? Have you ever crossed a name off your list due to it’s popularity?

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Zippy, Zesty X- and Z- Names

From Xander and Xavier to Zoe and Zayden, X’s and Z’s are all the rage.  They certainly make for quirkier, bolder baby names, but many parents seek names that both have history (Zayden is extremely modern, for example) and aren’t overused.  While I think there are several names in this category that wouldn’t age particularly well, but there are certainly a variety of very tasteful and wearable X and Z names (in my personal opinion, of course).  Here are some of my favorite zesty X- and Z- containing names:

Boys:

Cruz- A surname of Spanish origin meaning ‘cross,’ Cruz has a sleek feel to it and could easily fit in with modern trends while paying homage to a Spanish heritage.

Lorenzo- An Italian and Spanish variant of Lawrence, Lorenzo is also the name of a ruler of Florence.  Lorenzo has an older, vintage feel, and would make a great off-beat alternative to the trending Leonardo.

Zadok- Zadok is a biblical name of Hebrew origin meaning ‘righteous.’  Whether you’re seeking a more grounded alternative to the modern invented name Zayden, or an update on the classic Zachary, Zadok seems to achieve the perfect balance of fitting in and standing out.

Zedekiah- Another biblical name, Zedekiah means ‘the Lord is just.’ Zedekiah ranks outside the top 1000, yet I feel he’s just as accessible as Zachariah. Zed is a great simple, slick nickname, just like Zack.

Zuriel- Zuriel is a biblical name meaning ‘stone.’ His sound a bit more ‘out there’ than that of many of the others on this list, but I think Zuriel would make a great alternative to the popular Gabriel.

Lennox- Falling somewhere between Leonardo and Knox, Lennox is on trend, fairly simple, and made super cool by the X ending.

Lex- A diminutive of Alexander, the cool Lex could work well both as a nickname and as a given name.  He’d sound great with a longer surname, I think.

Paxton- This English surname has a cute, trendy sound, fitting in with Peyton and Jackson. I think Paxton is one of the few names of this style that could truly age well.

 

Girls:

Adaliz- A gorgeous, unusual name to add to the Addie club, Adaliz is of German origin and means “noble.” 

Azalea- This floral name is on the rise, ranking #900 in the US in 2012 and #631 in 2013. Azalea is is flowing, special, and I think, pretty wearable.

Aziza- Aziza is of Arabic origin and means ‘powerful’ or ‘beloved.’ She’s clunky but spunky, and if you love the Z sound, she could be just what you’re looking for.

Eliza- Eliza is perhaps my favorite of the names stemming from Elizabeth.  She’s a little vintage and she’s simple and sweet, but not at all boring.

Fiorenza- This glamorous Italian variant of Florence is sure to make a splash. Meaning “flowering,” Fiorenza is feminine and lively.

Hazel- Hazel fits into several trendy categories, from vintage monikers to nature names, and has a delightfully sweet but not-too-feminine sound.  She’s on the rise but hasn’t broken the US top 100…yet!

Nazanin- This beautiful Persian name means ‘sweetheart.’

Zara- This versatile name of multiple origins is sweet and simple with just a dash of quirky.

Calixta- A Spanish variant of the Greek Kallisto, Calixta means ‘most beautiful.’  Calixta is a bold choice, but the girly nickname Callie could make her very wearable.

Xanthe- Xanthe is a beautiful Greek name meaning ‘golden.’ She’s feminine but not excessively girly, and she’s unusual but accessible.  

Xylia- Xylia can be pronounced “ZYE-lee-uh” or “SEE-lee-uh” (like Celia). The name may have multiple lineages, but at least one is from the Greek word for ‘forest-dweller.’  I personally think the “Celia” pronunciation is prettier, but if you’re looking for something bold and lively, the alternative pronunciation could work for you!

 

What do you think of X and Z names? Would you use any of these?

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The Beauty of Japanese Baby Names

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, but I wanted to give this one adequate attention. I love Japanese baby names; these names often have lovely nature and virtue related meanings. But, Japanese baby naming tradition is complex, particularly due to the thousands of kanji (characters) that can be used to spell names. Many kanji have the same sound but different meanings; thus, names that sound the same could have many possible spellings and meanings. Additionally, a single kanji can have more than one sound. Here are some kanji (spelled out phonetically, of course) commonly used in names:

ai = love
hana = flower
hiro = man/husband/hero
ichi = one
ji = two
ken = healthy
ko = child (common in girls’ names)
mi = beauty
rou = son
you = sun

Next are some Japanese names I find most beautiful in sound and meaning. You will see that several of the names I’ve listed have 2 part meanings, representing the kanji commonly combined to create that name. Keep in mind that I have grouped names by gender based on my personal preference or most common usage. Many Japanese names are not considered gender specific.

Girls:

Aimi- Love+Beautiful
Airi- Love+Jasmine
Akemi- Bright+Beautiful
Akira- Bright+Light
Amarante- Flower that never fades
Aya- Color
Ayame- Iris
Chiyo- Thousand+Generations (eternal)
Emiko- Smiling child (there are a variety of other meanings but this is my favorite)
Hanako- Flower+Child
Kaede (“kah-eh-deh”)- Maple
Kaida- Little dragon
Kanon- Flower+Sound
Kaori- Fragrance
Kazuki- One OR Harmony + Radiance OR Hope
Kohana- Little flower
Maiko- Dance+Child
Miya- Increasing beauty
Moriko- Forest+Child
Shiori- Weave+Poem
Suzume- Sparrow
Tama- Jewel
Tsukiko- Moon+Child

Boys:

Akio- Bright+Man OR Bright+Hero
Daichi- Great+Earth OR Great+Wisdom
Hajime- Beginning
Isamu- Courage
Kado- Gateway
Kaemon- Joyful
Kazuo- Harmony+Man
Raiden- God of thunder (Rai=thunder, Den=Lightning)
Ronin- Samurai without a master
Ryuu- Dragon
Sora (“so-ruh”)- Sky
Taiki- Great+Radiance
Yasuo- Peaceful man
Yoite- Evening rain
Yori- Trustworthy

What are your favorite Japanese names? Please add your corrections and knowledge of Japanese baby naming!

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Full Names for ‘Annie:’ Beyond the Ann Clan

Annie is sweet, spunky, and, I think, ready to be super stylish…She’s classic and a little vintage, but still seems universally wearable.

While Annie is often a full name on her own or a nickname for obvious choices like Ann/Anne and compound names beginning with Ann/Anne/Anna (Annabelle, Annemarie, etc), there are plenty of other ways to get to Annie! Here are some more unusual options: 

Anastasia- Sophisticated and fairly unusual, Anastasia would make a great “different-but-not-weird” baby name choice.

Andromeda- While this glamorous Greek name is a bit over the top for me, I think Annie could soften it up nicely.

Angeline- My personal favorite of the names beginning with ‘Angel__.’I think Annie is a perfect nickname for this sweet, girly moniker.

Aniston- Not a fan, personally, but with this surname name being on the rise I couldn’t leave it out

Annika- Fitting perfectly with the “classic-with-a-twist” trend, Annika would make a lovely choice and perhaps works best on this list with the nickname Annie.

Anthea- feminine, understated, and ethereal, this sweet and special name would make a lovely formal name for Annie.

Antoinette- Again, a bit dramatic for my taste but a beautiful choice nonetheless, and easy to make wearable with Annie as a nickname

Antonella- My personal favorite on this list, Antonella is super feminine and glam but can easily be brought down to Earth with a simple nickname.

Antonia- Skip Toni and go with the girlier Annie!

Anwen- A unique yet simple Welsh name, Anwen is sweet but not overflowing with femininity.

Rhiannon- A GORGEOUS name from Welsh mythology…We Americans may have trouble pronouncing this name correctly though.

Savannah- I love Savannah as a sneaky way of getting to Annie!

 

What’s YOUR favorite formal name for Annie? Or do you prefer Annie on her own?

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Cool Biblical Baby Names

Here are a few less common names from the Bible to consider!

Boys:

Abel
Adlai
Asher
Canaan
Elon
Gideon
Ira
Jared
Jericho
Jethro
Samson
Simeon
Zuriel

Girls:

Adah
Damaris
Delilah
Joanna
Junia
Magdalene
Moriah
Phoebe
Seffora (form of Zipporah)
Susanna
Tabitha
Tirzah

What are your favorites? Add to the list!

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Me llamo…

I am preparing for a trip to Central America!!! I am unbelievably stoked. As a baby name fanatic, I thought it fitting to round up some beautiful Latin and Spanish baby names!

Adriana- has a trendy sound, yet is completely wearable and not too cute
Amalia- soft and feminine, could yield nicknames Ama, Amy, or Lia
Ana-a sweet, feminine classic
Carolina- glamorous and spunky, could have nicknames Carly, Cara, or Lina
Catalina- I love this one! So pretty. Nickname possibilities include Cat, Calla, Lina, Catie/Katie, and Callie.
Lucia- Pronounced loo-SEE-uh here, I think this name is just gorgeous, and wearable for all ages.
Magdalena- Love this one too! Very glamorous with a touch of youthful charm and spunk. How about Magda, Maggie, Lena, or Mae for nicknames?
Marisol- I find this name so gorgeous and special
Martina- A girly name with the tomboy nickname Marty. Or, call her Tina for something short and sweet.
Selena- A very feminine name that I imagine flowing beautifully with a variety of surnames.
Valeria-A more timeless variation on Valerie, I hope this name becomes more mainstream.
Ximena- glamorous, yet could yield a fun tomboy nickname…Jimmy!

Ambrosio- manly and refined, but can you think of a good nickname? I veto ‘Bro.’
Andres- A cool Andrew variation
Elías- On trend
Jerónimo- Fun and spunky, this one could have nicknames Jerry, Ron, Ronnie, or Jon.
Joaquin- popularized by actor Joaquin Phoenix, this name wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise in English speaking areas, which is great because it’s a sleek, cool name!
Matías- Cute and very wearable
Thiago- Love this one. I think it’s just the right balance of boyishness and manliness. Very cool.

I just LOVE Marisol. What are your favorites?

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S Ending boy names

S endings are hip and cool for boys. Perhaps you’ll fall for a name that sounds like a plural noun (Myles) or perhaps a Latin inspired name (Marcellus). Either way, S endings provide a treasure trove of cool options.

“Plurals” (I love these!)
Ames
Brooks
Myles
Niles
Piers
Rhodes

Other S-ending names
Aldous
Alexios
Alexandreus
Amias
Amos
Andreas
Aris
Atlas
Atticus
Carlos
Charles
Cornelius
Curtis
Cyrus
Dallas
Davis
Dennis
Dimitrios
Elias
Elvis
Francis
Gus (Short for the trendy August, perhaps?)
Hollis
Jonas
Louis
Lucas
Lucius
Marcellus
Marcus
Matthias (Can be pronounced ma-THIGH-us or ma-TEE-us)
Memphis
Morris
Nicholas
Osiris
Otis
Phineas
Rhys
Seamus
Silas
Thaddeus
Thomas
Tobias
Travis
Zacharias

What’s you’re favorite S-ending boy’s name?

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Looking Ahead: Springtime Baby Names

I am ready for winter to be over! I am SO DONE with the permeating cold, the wind, and the ice that is so determined to sweep my feet out from under me and make me look silly. So, to keep us all in the Northern hemisphere looking ahead to the warm breezes, sunshine, and blooming flowers, I’ve compiled a list of sprightly names suitable for springtime!

Girls:

Aileana- ‘from the green meadow’
Alba- ‘dawn’
Aliza- ‘joy’ (pronounced ah-LEE-zah)
Antheia- goddess of flowers
Aurelie- ‘golden; soft breeze’
Aviva- ‘springtime’
Calla
Camellia
Chloe- ‘green shoot’
Cira- ‘sun’
Dahlia
Daisy
Dawn
Flora
Hadley- ‘heather meadow’
Joy
Kore- another name for the goddess Persephone
Lara- ‘cheerful’
Laurel
Lily
Linette- ‘songbird’
Magnolia- nn Maggie or Nola!
Maia- a Roman goddess of springtime
Meridel- ‘joyous’
Persephone- goddess of spring growth
Rae- ‘sunbeam’
Sahar- ‘dawn’
Skye
Soleil
Susanna- ‘lily’
Zaria- ‘sunrise; morning star;” Slavic goddess of morning
Zinnia

Boys:

Apollo- God of sun, light, fertility
Bradley- ‘broad meadow’
Brooks
Cyrus- ‘sun’
Denver- ‘green valley’
Garth- ‘garden’
Keanu
Khenan- ‘rising sun’
Kiele- ‘gardenia flower’ (Hawaiian)
Pascal
Radley- ‘red meadow’
Varden/dan- ‘from the green hill’
Wesley- ‘western meadow’

Personally, I love the names Laurel, Maia, and Wesley, and I’m intrigued by Antheia, Meridel, Garth, and Radley.

What names make YOU think of the cheerful times ahead? Share some names you’d add to the list!

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The long and short of it

It has been a VERY busy couple of weeks, and for the first time in a long time, baby names have barely crossed my mind!  Next week I’ll get back to writing, but to get us through the weekend, here’s a quick post about my personal favorite long and short names.

These sophisticated-sounding long names could easily dress up a short last name, and have tons of potential nicknames, while the cool, sleek short names could balance out a long surname.

Antonella- Feminine and uncommon in English-speaking countries, I find this exotic-yet-accessible name to be a great girly alternative to names like Isabella and Gabriella.

Ariadne- I’ve never been sure what I love about this name, but I just think it’s gorgeous! The mythology reference is…unfortunate, but the name is elegant nonetheless.  Less over-the-top and glamorous than some other long names.

Elizabeth- Timeless and ageless, Elizabeth will always be classy and stylish. I just love Elizabeth and all her variations and nicknames!

Fay- I love the simplicity and softness of Fay.  She’s a bit dated, but she’s so sweet and easy to wear, I think she could make a comeback!

Eve- I think Eve sounds so sophisticated.  Though she’s short, I certainly don’t think she’s boring. She’s a stunning classic, and I like the Wall-E reference, too :)

Niamh- She rhymes with Eve, but I think Niamh has a more modern feel while retaining the refined elegance of Eve.  Another gorgeous and chic choice, I think.

Ambrogio- For me, this a family name (Italian origin) and I’d probably save it for the middle spot.  I think he’s intriguing though, don’t you?

Nathaniel- Although he’s getting popular, this name has a classic sound, a la William and Daniel, and a cool, crisp nickname in Nate.

Zachariah- I think Zachariah is a more grown-up, sophisticated alternative to the cute Zachary, and you still get to use Zach/Zack/Zac, etc as a nickname.

Max- Max is a warm, comfy sort of name…and he’s a classic that boasts the trendy X.

Dean- I think Dean is universally wearable, and can work equally well for a cute toddler and a professional adult.  Again, simple but not boring.

Blake- Blake is one of the few names that I find are cute and modern sounding, yet I definitely love.  I think he’s fairly versatile, and isn’t SO cute that he’ll be outgrown.

 

What are YOUR favorite long and short names?

 

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