Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Hi everyone!

Just a quick post to let you know that I'm heading off for a short Christmas holiday tomorrow, so I'll be taking a short break from blogging for the next week and a half. But I expect I'll be brimming with plenty of new inspirations and names for you when I'm back :)

In the meantime, if you're looking for more reading I recommend any of the other great baby name blogs I have listed on the right side of the page. I was almost tempted to suggest my favourites, but then realised that that would be half of the list anyway!

Also, if you haven't already been there make sure you check out Matilda Magazine, for three reasons:

1 - I've been doing weekly nature name guest posts on their blog, so check out the blog

2 - Their first magazine was full of great articles. I'm really looking forward to the next issue, which should be out soon.

3 - They have been running some fantastic  polls on the most outrageous names of 2012. All are real names that have been seen in birth announcements, and many are truly outrageous. If you haven't voted yet, head over there and vote now!

In the meantime I hope that all of my readers and their loved ones enjoy a fantastic Christmas!! Thank you so much for stopping by Baby Name Pondering, and for your comments. It's been extremely encouraging and helped to turn what started out as a bit of a fun side hobby into a real passion!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Titanium

The Barden Bellas of 'Pitch Perfect'
This one is another little flight of fancy of mine. Recently I watched the new movie 'Pitch Perfect', starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson. One of the songs featured in the movie is David Guetta's 'Titanium', which was written by and features the vocals of Australian recording artist Sia Furler. As I found myself singing the song in the shower yesterday morning, I wondered, would this be usable as a name?    

Titanium has never been used as a name in the US - or at least, it has never been given to more than five boys or girls in the same year. But there are several already established names that are extremely close to Titanium, making it seem like not too much of a stretch for parents to consider it.

Titan - Greek boy's name, after the race of deities that were the precursor of the Olympians (Zeus, Hera etc). Also the largest moon of Saturn.

Titania - Greek girl's name meaning 'great, giant one', best known as the name of the Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Also one of the moons of Uranus.

Titana - Latin girl's name meaning 'medal of honour'

Titus - Latin boy's name thought to mean 'defender', ranked #365 in America in 2011. An old Roman, new testament and Shakespearean name that is currently at the height of it's popularity. Titus Pullo was one of the central characters in the 2005 TV show 'Rome', and one of the few likable ones at that.

For girls, it may be hard to live down the "tit" beginning. But it seems this is not the case for boys. Titus has been steadily climbing for boys for the past ten years. Titanium could possibly be seen as a similar 'strong' name, but with a more modern feel.

Titanium is a metal with many uses, including jewellery, dentistry, sunscreens, paint, jet engines and spacecraft. This has contributed to it's reputation as a "space age metal". In relation to the song, just as the metal is a strong metal, the song is thought to be about inner strength, featuring lines such as:

"I'm bulletproof, nothin' to lose, 
Fire away, fire away, 
Ricochet, you take your aim, 
Fire away, fire away, 
You shoot me down, but I won't fall, 
I am titanium."

In a world where we name our children after plants, food, alcohol, gemstones, words and concepts, Titanium is a name that would convey strength, and isn't such a stretch from some long used classical names. With the success of this song, I don't think it's unreasonable to think we may see a few children named Titanium in years to come.

Monday, December 17, 2012

League of Legends - The Gents

'League of Legends' Champion Tryndamere - The Barbarian King
Okay, so I'm not sure how many of these would fall into the "gentlemen" category, but it sounds better that "all those other characters that aren't females". This is the follow up the the post I did a couple of weeks ago ago on the ladies of the video game 'League of Legends', and includes the guys and the creatures of what I like to call indeterminate gender. Again, I've profiled my three top picks first, but included the total list for you to choose your own.

Viktor – The Machine Herald 
Many would think of this spelled Victor, but ever since Viktor Krum made an appearance in 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' I much prefer this spelling. It just seems a little tougher and swarthier than Victor, which seems a bit stuffy and boring to me. Which may seem silly considering it is just one letter different. But it's something most of us have felt at some time or another, as evidenced by the rise in alternate spellings of names.

Viktor does in fact come from the Latin Victor, meaning 'champion'. Interestingly, it is a top 5 name in Iceland, a top 20 name in Sweden, and a top 100 name in the Czech Republic and Hungary. In the US it is still far from popular, despite rising quite a bit since the Harry Potter phenomenon started. In 2011 it ranked #1173, while the Victor spelling ranked #142. And was so popular it was given to 5 girls.

Draven – The Glorious Executioner 
I have to admit to forgetting that this name came from 'The Crow', and thinking it was a spin on Raven created for the game. Which was probably how it came to appear in 'The Crow'. As an invented name, it doesn't really have an accepted meaning. Draven is most commonly thought of as a "Gothic" name - somewhat dark and mysterious. I'd also add enigmatic, sophisticated and strong to this name. It's the kind of name I could imagine on a vampire.

The movie 'The Crow' came out in 1994, and that is the first year it started appearing on American children - boys and girls. However it is a top 1000 name for boys - at position #729 in 2011 - while only 8 girls were given this name in the same year. A different but not too unusual name that even people who know nothing about the movie will think is cool.

Ryze – The Rogue Mage 
Some will hate this, because it so obviously looks made up. I like to think of Ryze as a virtuous name for the space age though. The Y and Z make it look as if it is straight out of a futuristic post apocalyptic setting. But said aloud it sounds just like the common word "rise". To "rise above something" could be thought to be just as virtuous as traditional virtue names Clemence, Patience and Temperance, and modern virtue names such as Brave, Honor or True. Maybe Rise or Ryze will be found in a future wave of virtue names.

The Others:

*Aatrox - The Darkin Blade
Alistar – The Minotaur
Amumu – The Sad Mummy
Anivia – The Cryophoenix
*Azir - The Emperor of the Sands
Blitzcrank – The Great Steam Golem
Brand – The Burning Vengeance
*Braum - The Heart of the Freljord
Cho’Gath – The Terror of the Void
Corki – The Daring Bombadier
'League of Legends' Champion
Maokai - The Twisted Treant
Darius – The Hand of Noxus 
Dr Mundo – The Madman of Zaun 
Ezreal – The Prodigal Explorer 
Fiddlesticks – The Harbinger of Doom 
Fizz – The Tidal Trickster
Galio – The Sentinel's Sorrow 
Gangplank – The Saltwater Scourge 
Garen – The Might of Demacia
*Gnar - The Missing Link
Gragas – The Rabble Rouser
Graves – The Outlaw 
Hecarim – The Shadow of War 
Heimerdinger – The Revered Inventor 
Jarvan IV – The Exemplar of Demacia 
Jax – Grandmaster at Arms 
Jayce – The Defender of Tomorrow 
Karthus – The Deathsinger 
Kassadin – The Void Walker 
Kennen – The Heart of the Tempest
Kha’Zix – The Void Reaver
Kog’Maw – The Mouth of the Abyss
Lee Sin – The Blind Monk
*Lucian - The Purifier
Malphite – Shard of the Monolith 
Malzahar – The Prophet of the Void 
Maokai – The Twisted Treant
Master Yi – The Wuju Bladesman 
Mordekaiser – The Master of Metal 
Nasus – The Curator of the Sands 
Nautilus – The Titan of the Depths 
Nocturne – The Eternal Nightmare 
Nunu – The Yeti Rider 
Olaf – The Berserker 
Pantheon – The Artisan of War 
Rammus – The Armordillo
Renekton – The Butcher of the Sands
'League of Legends' Champion
Teemo - The Swift Scout
Rengar – The Pridestalker
Rumble – The Mechanized Menace
Shaco – The Demon Jester 
Shen – Eye of Twilight 
Singed – Mad Chemist 
Sion – The Undead Champion 
Skarner – The Crystal Vanguard
Swain – The Master Tactician 
Talon – The Blade's Shadow 
Taric – The Gem Knight 
Teemo – The Swift Scout
*Thresh - The Chain Warden
Trundle – The Cursed Troll 
Tryndamere – The Barbarian King 
Twisted Fate – The Card Master 
Twitch – The Plague Rat 
Udyr – The Animal Spirit 
Urgot – The Headsman's Pride
Varus – The Arrow of Retribution 
Veigar – The Tiny Master of Evil
*Vel'Koz - The Eye of the Void
Vladimir – The Crimson Reaper 
Volibear – The Thunder's Roar 
Warwick – The Blood Hunter 
Wukong – The Monkey King 
Xerath – The Magus Ascendant
Xin Zhao – The Seneschal of Demacia
*Yasuo - The Unforgiven
Yorick – The Grave Digger
*Zac - The Secret Weapon
*Zed - The Master of Shadows
Ziggs – The Hexplosives Expert 
Zilean – Chronokeeper

*Added 15th Feb 2015

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Inspiring Names - 'Sliders'

You may remember a show from the late 90's called 'Sliders'. It was one of Jerry O'Connell's biggest roles at the time - one that brought him attention as an adult actor, not just "that fat kid from 'Stand By Me'".

Rembrandt, Arturo, Wade and Quinn
If you're not familiar with the show, the premise was this - science whiz teen creates a machine that transports you between parallel dimensions. He brings his science professor over to his house to show off his revolutionary machine, but as he is demonstrating it something goes terribly wrong. The teen, his professor, his best friend who is at his house at the time and a lounge singer who happens to be driving past his house are all swept up in a vortex and transported to a parallel world. However, as it was still in it's experimental stages, the science whiz kid and his professor are unable to get them directly back to their own dimension, and hence the foursome have no choice but to "slide" from dimension to dimension until they hopefully arrive back in their original world.

If I haven't lost you yet, it was a great show. But besides the interesting story lines, one of the things I remember loving about this show was the names of the four main characters. The two teens had gender bending names, while the two older characters had very classic sounding but unusual names. I may not necessarily use these, but they have always stuck in my mind.

QUINN
Quinn Mallory was the science whiz kid, the character portrayed by Jerry O'Connell. Until then, I had only heard the name as a girls one, so I was intrigued by the idea of it being used on a male. I realise this seems strange, as in the US Quinn has been far more popular for boys right up until two years ago. In 2009, 'Glee' burst onto our screens, introducing us to the beautiful, complex and popular cheerleader Quinn Fabray. In 2010 girls Quinns outnumbered boys by just 44 children. This increased in 2011, and we'll probably see this trend for a few years yet, if not permanently.

Quinn is an Irish name meaning 'descendant of Conn'. In The US it was the 188th most popular girls name, and 297th most popular boys name in 2011, and it is the favourite Q name for either gender. 

WADE
Wade Welles was Quinn's best friend, played by Sabrina Lloyd. The only female of the original foursome, Wade often helped bring the heart and humanity to situations when Quinn and his professor started to lose sight of anything besides facts and figures. She also was the long time sufferer of a massive crush on Quinn. 

Wade is definitely entrenched in our minds as a boys name, and in 2011 was ranked #549 for boys in the U.S. That's not to say there aren't other female Wade's out there. It's just that there's never been more than 7 girls given this name in a single year. So obviously this show did not boost Wade's popularity as a girl's name while the show aired. 

Wade means "at the river crossing", so is an option for people looking for a different, not too obvious water related name for their child. It may not be everyone's idea of a great girl's name, but it suited this character to a T - tomboyish, spunky, but with a softer side to it.

ARTURO
This is perhaps one of the most interesting names of the show (well, for me at least). Professor Maximilian Arturo was played by John Rhys Davies, a great English actor possibly best remembered for the Indiana Jones movies, and more recently, as Gimli in 'The Lord of the Rings' movies.

The character sometimes tended towards being quite supercilious, and his posh sounding name suited him well. Arturo is an Italian version of Arthur, thought to mean 'bear'. Which I guess also suited this actors appearance, and the characters sometimes grumbly, sometimes roaring nature. I much prefer it to Arthur, personally, which for some reason has a slightly wimpy feel to me.

Arturo was #461 for American boys in 2011. While not a popular name for girls, like Wade it has been given to a handful of girls sporadically over the years. But unlike Wade, I personally have trouble imagining it suiting a girl very well.

REMBRANDT
Rembrandt 'Crying Man' Brown - played by Cleavant Derricks - was unlucky enough to be driving past the house when the vortex swelled out and swallowed him up with the other three. He was most out of his element, being an artist to the scientifically oriented Quinn and Arturo. What I loved about his character is that he was the one that seemed to grow the most over the course of the show. He started as a rather vain, struggling singer, but grew to be a thoughtful, selfless and caring person.

Rembrandt is synonymous with the great Dutch painter and etcher Rembrandt Van Rijn. So I guess they decided to give the singer and artist of the group an artists name. Rembrandt is a Dutch name meaning 'sword advisor', which arguably often became his role in the group. Interestingly, 2011 was the first time it appeared on the US SSA list, after being given to just 5 boys. I think people had been deterred because the artist association was so unavoidable. But perhaps the rise of Matisse as a name has made artist names a little more accepted, and helped put this option back on the table.

Quinn about to slide through a vortex
The show ran for 5 seasons, and over the course of their adventures some of these characters left, to be replaced by the other primary characters. But for me, these four original characters were the core of the show. Was 'Sliders' a favourite of yours? Would you consider any of these names? Or maybe it's a different sci-fi show that introduced some names that have always struck a chord with you. If you want more sci-fi related names I suggest you also check out Geek Baby Names. It's a new blog dedicated to names from science, sci-fi and fantasy, and owner Clare has already looked at some great ones.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sutton

Alexandra Chando plays Sutton Mercer
(and Emma  Beckett) in 'The Lying Game'

Sutton is one of those names that after hearing it once, it felt like I was suddenly seeing it everywhere. I first saw it on character Sutton Mercer in ABC Family's 'The Lying Game' when it started in 2011. Next to her identical twin Emma, younger sister Laurel, and best friends Charlotte (Char) and Madeline (Mads), Sutton's name really stood out as fresh and different.

Then 'Bunheads' started in June, with Tony winner Sutton Foster playing the lead character (on a side note, her brother is named Hunter - I love this as a sibset!). Since then whenever I see a Sutton I pay attention.

Sutton is an English name meaning 'from the southern homestead'. Something I found interesting when I was looking for information on this name was that it is usually listed as a boys name, but it seems that most of the examples I've come across of Sutton as a first name are girls. However Sutton is in fact used on more boys than girls. It's not exactly a popular name for either though - the highest it has ever charted in America was #1217 for boys in 2008. So it would seem that this is one surname/place name that can still be considered truly unisex for the time being, as it's not popular enough to have been "claimed" by either gender.

Sutton is indeed best known as a place name, particularly in England. One of the areas I lived in as a teenager was called Suttontown, so hearing this as a name brought back some good memories for me. Sutton Place is also an affluent street and neighborhood in New York City, so some may think of it as a somewhat "preppy" name. Besides being a place name, people in the medical profession may be familiar with something called Sutton's Law. Sutton's Law is the term for the principle of going straight to the most likely diagnosis, and is named for famous bank robber Willy Sutton who reportedly once said that he robbed banks because "that's where the money is".

Sutton is one of those names that the more you hear it the more it grows on you. At least, that's what I found for me. If you're unsure how to use it, most people tend to pair it with shorter, classic names. Charles, James, Rose, Anne, Lenore, Calli, William, Elizabeth, Claire and Ann are all middle names of actual Suttons. I think if you like surnames then this has a similar feel to favourites such as Braxton, Bennett or Cullen, with the benefit of being underused at the moment.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pixel & Other Technology Inspired Names

Pixel a.k.a. Pixie
A couple of months ago my brother and his wife bought a gorgeous new pet cat, who they named Pixel and nicknamed Pixie. It struck me as such a cute idea - my brother's a bit of a computer geek so Pixel was obviously his idea, but then they have a the cutesy name Pixie to use too. Plus, kittens and cats can often be mischievous little imps, just as pixies can be.

Then I turned on the TV today and lo and behold, what should I see but a cartoon called 'Pixel Pinkie'. It's an Australian show about two girls, one of who has a phone with a character called Pixel Pinkie in it that grants the girls wishes that then go terribly wrong. So chances are that this name would not seem to weird to children in today's world.

Considering 'Pixel Pinkie' this morning (which I took as a kind of sign) and the events in the past couple of weeks,  I figured today was the right time to profile Pixel as a name for a person. One of the events I refer to is the recent uproar created when it became known to the world that a baby girl was named Hashtag. The second is the report that the name Apple is also on the rise (for boys). When viewed together, many are once again claiming that "technology" names are an up-and-coming a trend. And if  the below stories and the comments they have attracted are any indication, this trend is not for everyone:


While I'm not personally a fan of Hashtag as a name (or Facebook, Like or Google, which have also been given to actual children), I'm not sure I see a massive problem here. People have often been inspired by famous figures, movies, books, characters, TV shows, current events etc when looking for names. If it's reasonable to think that Hurricane Sandy will spark a spate of Sandy related names, why couldn't the technology that we use every single day also provide inspiration for people?

The trick is to be a little more selective in how you do it - which means subtle and creative sounding. Hashtag and Google are too in-your-face. The reference is obvious, and they don't "sound" like names. They're not even creative variations on the names we already know and like. One of the reasons I love Pixel is because it is so closely related to Pixie, and sounds similar to several other established names such as Nyx, Nixie, Dixie and Trixie. It's cute for a girl, and could also work for a guy, especially if used with tougher sounding nickname Pix.

There are many other technology inspired names that could easily (or even at a stretch) meet this "subtle and creative" criteria. If you are intrigued by the idea of a technology age baby name but aren't sure where to start, here are my favourite ideas. Some are brands or companies, some are programs, some are languages, and some are just common terms. But all are names that aren't already well known "normal" ones that I think could pass with raised eyebrows rather than rolled eyes from your friends and family.

Acer
Adenine
Alef
Argus
Asus
Averest
Axum
Batch
Bing
Camino
Cel
Chrome
Poster for 'Pixel Pinkie'
Dart
Delphi
Esterel

Explorer
Euphoria
Fantom
Fortran
Haskell
Haxe
Jako
Java
Limnor
Linux
Lynx
Magma
Maple
Maquette
Matrix
Maxima
Mesa
Mirah
Neko
Nexus
Oriel
Perl
Pico
Quanta
Raster
Reia
Scala
Timber
Torrent
Unix
Vector
Vuze
Wistron
Zeno

Zimbra


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Raviva

Miles (Diego Boneta), Daphne (Sarah Habel), Sophia (Michelle Ang),
Raviva (Ingbar Lavi) and Lou (Jared Kusnitz)
Are you watching the new MTV show 'Underemployed'? If you are, you will recognise Raviva as the name of one of the main characters. The show is about a group of young college graduates finding that they're not exactly taking the world by storm the way they thought they would. Raviva - played by actress Inbar Lavi) originally headed to LA to make it big in the music scene, only to discover that she is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend Lou's baby. So she returns to Chicago to have her baby (which she names Rosemary) and adapt her plans to the unexpected turn her life has taken.

My ears definitely pricked up when I first heard Raviva's name. The rest of the main cast are also nicely named - Sophia, Lou, Miles and Daphne - but Raviva (pronounced ruh-VEE-vuh) is the standout by far.

I can't really find any history on this name. There are a handful of people on facebook with the name, but that's about it. My best guess is that it's a cross between Ravi and Aviva. Ravi is an Indian name meaning 'sun', for the Hindu God of the sun. In India it is usually used for boys, but apparently in Thailand and Cambodia it is used mainly for girls. Aviva (based on Aviv) is a Hebrew name meaning 'springlike, fresh, dewy'. If we put these together I guess you could say the meaning of Raviva is something along the lines of 'sunshine in spring'. Such a happy and gorgeous image!

This could be said to be true of the character on 'Underemployed'. She's free-spirited, wild, passionate and she loves life. I wouldn't be surprised if this one pops up on the US charts (meaning it is given to 5 or more babies) in the next year or two. Raviva is a new name to keep your eye on.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Zared

By panyangitz at deviant art
As you may have been able to tell from some of my previous posts, I'm a bit of a fan of fantasy novels. One of my favourites is Sara Douglass. By a happy coincidence I found out that she was actually born in the same small country town as I was, which I thought was pretty special considering the town had a population of just 1,317 people at the time of the 2006 census. Sara sadly passed away last year of ovarian cancer at the age of 54, but hopefully her books will remain fantasy favourites for generations to come.

I love some of the names she has used in the novels of hers that I have read. I'll no doubt feature more of these in future posts, but today's name is one from The Wayfarer Redemption trilogy. This trilogy contains three books - 'Sinner', 'Pilgrim' and 'Crusader' - and follows on from the The Axis Trilogy. The character of Zared appears in this as an uncle of the hero of our story, although they are roughly the same age. One of the things I found appealing about this character is that the reader is often left questioning whether he is a "good" or "bad" man. Like several of the characters in this book, when a chapter is told from their perspective we see that he honestly believes that his actions are for the best, whereas when shown from another characters perspective we come to question his motives and personality. This adds an extra layer of dimension to a character, and makes them feel more like real people with real weaknesses to the reader.

Zared's name immediately caught my attention as a very cool name. To be honest I was convinced that this was a case of a fantasy writer taking a somewhat common name - in this case Jared - and jazzing it up with a Z to make it sound more fantasy like. Kind of the way I'm semi-convinced some futuristic/fantasy writers add an unnecessary Y, V or X to make names more "interesting".

So I was surprised to find that Zared is actually an old Hebrew name. There is a little contention as to what the name means. Most sources state that it means 'trap' or 'ambush', but I've also seen 'verdant, of strange descent', or that it means 'brook', as there is a brook called Zared (or sometimes Zered) in the Torah. As my name is Brooke, I can't help but be inspired to think that this would be an interesting way to honour any Brook's (or it's variants) in your family. Just a thought.

If you want to name your son Zared (or daughter, if you're feeling super adventurous) I have a feeling that you'd probably get similar reactions to my first ones. Although in my case the end result was "I love it", and if more people thought that there would be more Zared's in the world that there currently are. In the U.S. it first appeared on the charts - i.e. was given to five or more boys - in 1991. It has never been given to more than 9 boys in any one year. Jared meanwhile has been in the top 1000 every year since 1950, and was a top 100 name from 1975 to 2002. Another similar name is Zarek, which has also been a quiet presence since 1991, but each year has been given to about four times as many babies as Zared has been.

Zared has a lot of cool qualities which could potentially make it a very appealing name. It starts with a Z, which is often seen as a trendy "alternative" letter (think Zander rather than Alexander, Zeke rather than Ezekiel). It sounds like the long popular Jared, which is now falling as people look for a fresher alternative. But belying it's modern look and sound, Zared is a name with history and biblical connections. It may take a while, but I like to think we may see more of this name in years to come as more people "discover" it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yarrow

Yarrow - could it be the next Katniss or Rue?
One year when I was in primary school, a girl called Yarrow transferred to my school one year. I remember being enchanted by her name. Not only had I never heard it as a name before, I had never heard the word before. I'd consider this to be a Katniss/Rue 'Hunger Games'-esque style name - a cool sounding name that is rarely used, and is derived from a relatively common plant that has practical uses.

If you also haven't heard of Yarrow before, it's a flowering herb with feathery leaves and white or pale lilac flowers. It is said that it was discovered and/or used by Achilles, who would carry it on the battlefield to help treat the soldiers' cuts, wounds and abrasions. Hence, some of Yarrow's many aliases include Herbe Militaris, Knight's Milfoil, Soldier's Woundwort and Staunchweed. It's Binomial name is actually Achillea millefolium, named after Achilles.

Yarrow has often been thought to have magical as well as medicinal properties. The Chinese think it is a lucky plant that can be used for divining the future, brightening the eyes and promoting intelligence. It is said to grow around the grave of Confucius. Similar beliefs can be found in British customs, and Yarrow was one of the herbs used in Saxon protection amulets. It is not just positive magical properties that it is associated with though. Yarrow was thought to be used by witches in the middles ages for their spells. For this reason it has also been recognised by the names Devil's Nettle and Devil's Plaything.

White Yarrow Flowers
I've always fancied Yarrow to be a soft, gentle sounding name, but maybe that's just me. It's easy to say because it's basically arrow-starting-with-a-Y. This makes it familiar feeling, yet it's still a very rare name. Yarrow is a unisex name, which is typical of many other nature names which are usually considered to be unisex. The "OW" ending is pretty cool and also fairly gender neutral. Personally I prefer it as a girls name probably because my first introduction to the name was on a girl. But I can see how it could also suit a boy, with it's arrow sound and connections to the battlefield.

While I see most of the above points as positives, I can't help thinking that many of these things are the same reasons it hasn't caught on as many other nature names have. Perhaps people dislike it's soft, androgynous sound and past connections to battles and witchcraft. But if you're willing to look past that, you have one unique and charming name.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

League of Legends - The Ladies

'League of Legends' Champion Lux, The Lady of Luminosity
My husband started playing an online game a couple of months ago called 'League of Legends'. I'm assuming it's pretty good because he spend a fair bit of time playing it. Anyway, as anyone who has played any fantasy/adventure/fighting based computer games knows, they are a fantastic source for names. Some are well known, some are fantastical and new, and all take on a different light when they're busy kicking some ass.

'League of Legends' is no exception. Not only does it contain some great name inspirations, but the characters also have cool titles to introduce them so you know what they're all about. Because there are so many, today I thought I'd profile just the ladies of 'League of Legends' (or LOL to it's regular players). I've featured my top three, with the rest listed below so you can decide what your top three would be. I hope you find them as cool and inspiring as I do!

Cassiopeia - The Serpent's Embrace
Cassiopeia is a name from Greek mythology, pronounced kass-ee-o-PEE-ah or kass-ee-OH-pey-uh (my husband's preferred pronunciation). In mythology, Cassiopeia was a very beautiful but vain and arrogant queen of Ethiopia, and the mother of Andromeda. Cassiopeia and Andromeda were so boastful about their beauty that they upset Poseidon, who set to destroy Ethiopia by flooding. Cassiopeia and her husband sought to appease Poseidon by chaining Andromeda to a rock, where she was later rescued by Perseus. To ensure Cassiopeia did not go unpunished, she was cast into the heavens, and remains the name today of one of the great constellations.

I love Cassiopeia because it sounds exotic, and is a different and interesting way to get to the familiar nicknames Cass and Cassie. I also love it's connections to Greek mythology and astronomy, and it means 'she whose word excels'. Plus this was my husbands pick of the bunch!

Sona - The Maven of the Strings
Sona makes the top three because a friend of ours who plays the game absolutely loves this character. And I mean loves it - she has even talked about getting a tattoo of this character. Sona (pronounced so-nah) is an Indian/Sanskrit name meaning 'golden'. It may sound like a submarine navigation system, or similar to an electronic brand name, but the more often I say this name the more I like it. It's cute and perky. And I find the meaning of golden quite endearing - it's like a subtle way of letting your child know everyday how precious they are to you.

Karma - The Enlightened One
Choosing a third name was harder, because there were a few I could have easily chosen for this spot. In the end it was Karma though, because I have to admit that this name has long held a fascination for me. I love it but tended to think it might be just a bit too "new agey". That was in the 90's, when 'Dharma and Greg' was on the TV, giving Dharma/Karma a hippy-dippy reputation. I have a feeling that it wouldn't seem so strange by today's naming standards though, and 'My Name is Earl' has helped to make karma seem less mystical and more of a common day concept.

Karma (pronounced KAR-mah) is a Hindi/Sanskrit concept meaning 'fate or destiny'. It could be a fresher alternative to Destiny, which has been a top 100 name in America for the past 18 years. Karma does of course come with it's good associations and bad ones (bad karma, karma's a b**ch) which you would need to consider first. But I'd love to see this one popping up on birth announcements, even if it was as a middle name.

The Others:

Ahri - The 9 Tails Fox
Akali - The Fist of Shadow
League of Legends Champion
Annie The Dark Child and her Bear Tibbers
Annie - The Dark Child
Ashe - The Frost Archer
Caitlyn - The Sheriff of Piltover
Diana - The Scorn of the Moon
Elise - The Spider Queen
Evelynn - The Widowmaker
Fiora - The Grand Duellist
Irelia - The Will of the Blades
Janna - The Storm's Fury
*Jinx - The Loose Cannon
*Kalista - The Spear of Vengeance
Katarina - The Sinister Blade
Kayle - The Judicator
LeBlanc - The Deceiver
Leona - The Radiant Dawn
*Lissandra - The Ice Witch
Lulu - The Fae Sorceress
Lux - The Lady of Luminosity
Miss Fortune - The Bounty Hunter
Morgana - Fallen Angel
Nami - The Tidecaller
Nidalee - The Bestial Huntress
Orianna - The Lady of Clockwork
Poppy - The Iron Ambassador
*Quinn (and Valor) - Demacia's Wings
*Rek'Sai - The Void Burrower
Riven - The Exile
Sejuani - The Winter's Wrath
Shyvana - The Half-Dragon
Sivir - The Battle Mistress
Soraka - The Starchild
Syndra - The Dark Sovereign
Tristana - The Megling Gunner
Vayne - The Night Hunter
*Vi - The Piltover Enforcer
Zyra - The Rise of the Thorns

*added 15th Feb 2015



Friday, November 23, 2012

Great Sibsets - Archie & Harry

Prince Harry......with a puppy! Too cute!
Today's sibset is inspired by an old workmate of mine. Anita and her husband Fraser moved here to Australia a few years ago from Scotland in the U.K. One of the reasons for the move was because they thought Australia would be a great place to raise a family (which I totally agree with, of course!), and they are now the proud parents of two beautiful boys. Big brother Archie is now 2 years old (almost 3), and Harry was born at the start of this year.

Archie and Harry are both such charming names, and complement each other extremely well. They're popular both here and in the U.K. While the names are firm favourites in the UK, and quite popular here in Australia, they are still to be embraced in America. In 2011 Archie was #24 on the England and Wales charts, while Harry took the number 1 position. In Australia Archie was #39 and Harry #40, and in America Archie was #1910 and Harry was #709 in 2011.  So if you live in the US and are a fan of British-sounding names, here are two great options you can get behind before everyone else discovers how great they are too.

Archie comes from the Teutonic name Archibald, and means 'bold, noble'. It could be a great alternative to Archer, a top #500 name in the US and number #12 in Australia. Anita tells me that Fraser suggested  Archie's name for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he was inspired by the soccer player (yes, I realise it's football to almost every other country in the world, but we have something here called Aussie Rules Football) Archie Gemmill. Archie Gemmill had a great career, but is best remembered for scoring the winning goal against the Netherlands in the 1978 FIFA world cup. The goal made him a national hero in Scotland, and was even mentioned in the cult film 'Trainspotting'. Which brings us to their second reason for choosing Archie - as Scots, it struck them as a great name to honour their Scottish roots.

Harry was also inspired by a famous figure - Prince Harry. Anita tells me he was a bit of a last minute pick (which is an understatement to say the least - she was still looking at baby naming books while she was in labour), but just seemed right as she is a bit of a royalist at heart and has always had a soft spot for Harry and his older brother William. Harry was traditionally a nickname for Henry, a German name meaning 'estate ruler'. Henry has been the name of many Kings of England, and is actually the birth name of Prince Harry. But somehow Harry seems to suit his cheeky but charming personality so much better. Of course there is also that incredibly famous Harry Potter, and the irrepressibly cute Harry Styles from British boy band sensation 'One Direction'. So the great thing is that with so many great Harry's to look up to people won't necessarily assume that you had the boy wizard in mind if you should choose to use Harry.

I love that both are nicknames that have become accepted as great names in their own right. They give off a warm, friendly and approachable vibe that makes them great picks that work extremely well together. And I know I'm not the only one who thinks so. I realised the other day that the celebrant who married me and my husband also has boys name Archie and Harry. It's definitely a winning combination.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

McKaley

McKaley Miller as Rose in 'Hart of Dixie'
I spotted this gem in the credits of 'Hart of Dixie'. McKaley Miller is the young actress who plays Rose Hattenburger on CW's 'Hart of Dixie'. Although only 16, she is already building an impressive body of work, having done 5 movies (with another one coming out next year) and playing recurring characters in 3 TV shows - 'Wizards of Waverly Place', 'The Gates' and of course 'Hart of Dixie'.

I'm almost surprised that more people haven't caught onto this name. It shares elements with several other names that are very hot right now, such as:

  • McK-anything. McKenna/MacKenna and McKenzie/MacKenzie are pretty hot in the US right now. In 2011 they charted at #239 and #135/#68.
  • Kaylee. This original spelling was #36 in America in 2011, but with plenty of alternate spellings out there such as Kayley, Kaylie, Kayleigh and Kailee the popularity of this name is potentially much higher than that.
  • Michaela. OK, at #409 in the US in 2011, it may not be everyone's idea of a hot name. But it is in the top 1000, and this feminine variation of Michael has spawned Mackayla (#56) and Mckayla (#734), so it is a sound liked my many people.

It stands to reasoning then that McKaley could be poised to take off for people who love any of the above options (or even all of them) but are looking for the next fresh alternative. It's perky, cool sounding; and is different but not too different in today's naming landscape.

As an invented name, there isn't really an accepted meaning for McKaley. Kaley comes from Kaylee, which comes from Kayla. Kayla is an Arabic/Hebrew name meaning 'laurel/crown', while Michaela means 'who is like God', so either could be considered as a possible meaning for McKaley. But then again maybe you fall in love with a name for the sound, not it's meaning. If you fall into that camp, McKaley has a lot going for it. It certainly caught my attention.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

True Blue


While things are cooling down in the northern hemisphere, things are warming up down here in Australia. Today we've had a beautiful blue sky, so I've been inspired to write a follow up to my previous post about the colour purple with one about blue names.

Blue is one of my favourite colours, and shot to stardom as  a baby name option when Beyonce and Jay-Z bestowed in on their little girl earlier this year. It caused some controversy, and I have to admit I was one of those people that thought the media had gotten the name wrong - surely it was Ivy Blue, not Blue Ivy right? But when you think about it, Blue is quite an attractive option for a name. It has many positive meanings and associations.

BLUE
Blue symbolises youth, spirituality,inspiration, sincerity and peace
Dark blue is the colour of truth and moderation
Turquoise blue provides protection, health, confidence and strength
Blue has a soothing, calming effect and encourages feeling of communication and peace
Blue represents heaven, and is the colour of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven

So many things are associated with blue that a list of them all could be incredibly long, so like I did with purple I've again just listed "official" shades. Enjoy, and feel free to add your suggestions for blue names in the comments!

Amparo                                          Cyan                                     Nile
Alice                                              Danube                                  Oxford
Azure                                             Delphinium                             Patriot
Bluebell                                          Denim                                    Periwinkle
Blueberry                                        Dodger                                  Phthalo
Bluebird                                          Duke                                     Royal
Bluejay                                           Dusk                                      Sapphire
Bondi                                             Eton                                       Saxony
Brandeis                                         French                                   Sky
Cambridge                                      Ink                                         Steel
Carolina                                          Iris                                         Teal
Celeste                                           Klein                                     Tiffany
Cendre                                            Lake                                     True
Cerulean                                         Majorelle                               Turquoise
Clematis                                         Maya                                     Ultramarine
Cobalt                                            Mazarine                               Vallarta
Columbia                                        Midnight                                Xenon
Cornflower                                      Monaco                                Yale
Corydalis                                        Navy                                      Zaffre


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Imogen

Imogen Poots
Imogen is a recent crush for me. I think one of the things that pushed it from being a slight interest to being a major interest was my husband. We were watching a movie one night ('Chatroom', to be exact), when my husband turned to me and asked "who is that actress?". He recognised her from 'Fright Night' and '28 Weeks Later', and when I replied that it was Imogen Poots, he surprised me by saying "Imogen. That's a nice name". Which was cool because it was one of the first names he showed a genuine interest in within the first couple of months of me starting this blog.

I like to pronounce Imogen as 'IM-oh-jen', which is it's original spelling and pronunciation. However in America it is just as often spelled Imogene and/or pronounced  'im-oh-GENE'. There is also a bit of debate as to the origins of Imogen. Most agree that it is a form of Innogen, mistakenly changed to Imogen due to a printer's error when printing William Shakespeare's play 'Cymbelline'. Or it could have been a deliberate choice by Shakespeare to change it, as possibly he thought it looked and sounded softer and prettier.  The theories as to where Innogen comes from is where opinions differ. One theory is that it is a Greek name from the Greek words 'inno' for beloved and 'gen' meaning child, giving us the meaning of 'beloved child'. Another is that Innogen is a Celtic name from the word 'inghean' meaning maiden, and 'maiden' is the most commonly quoted meaning for Imogen. I've also seen it said that in Hebrew Innogen means 'image of her mother'. Quite possibly it's all three, as names sometimes spring up in a few different places at once. All are great meanings, so why be restricted to just one?

People who haven't heard it before think Imogen is exotic and modern, even though it has been in use for a long time. Other descriptions I've seen of Imogen include strong, independent, intelligent, lovely, refined, classy, original, and that it sounds like "imagine". A lot of these impressions are based on some of the famous bearers of this name, such as Imogen Cunningham. Imogen Cunningham was an American photographer whose portraits, botanicals and industrial landscapes were widely acclaimed. Her work was sometimes considered controversial, but she is considered to be one of the greatest figures in American photography with a career spanning more than seven decades.

Imogen has been fast gaining in popularity in Australia, reaching position #20 in 2011. It's also popular in England and Scotland, but has never entered the top 1000 in America. In fact, most years fewer than five girls were given the name, but since 1995 the name has slowly been climbing. It will likely remain slow to climb, as many Americans feel it is a hard one to use as accents in some areas make the name sound a lot less attractive than it does in England or Australia. But consider the plethora of cute nickname options you could turn to. There's Immy, Im, Imo, Imio, Gen, Genny, Ginny, Midge, Mo, Imza, Imsky, Imzi, Mog, Idgie, Em, Emmy, and Emzy - plenty of easy to say options to suit whatever personality your Imogen might have.

Imogen is a gorgeous name that I'm sure we'll see a lot more of in the future. Would you consider using it where you live?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

J Names For Boys

Johnny Depp and Captain Jack Sparrow - two great J names
I recently read a great post at Nancy's Baby Names about the most popular first letters for boys and girls in 2011. It's an interesting read, especially as it seems the top 8 letters for boys and girls haven't changed since 2010, but the order has.

Turns out that for he last three years running, names starting with "J" have topped the list for boys names. And not by a small margin either. It got me to thinking, what "J" names would top my list? What "J" names are topping everyone else's lists? So here is a quick profile of five of the most popular and interesting (in my opinion) J names for boys.

JACK - Australia's top "J" boys name of 2011
As an Australian, I can vouch for the appeal of this name. It's conjures images of an honest, straightforward, easy going guy who would be everyone's mate. It just feels like an Australian name. We have the union jack on our flag, a jackeroo is widely considered our equivalent of a cowboy, and when Burger King came to Australia they changed their name to Hungry Jack's. 'Whispering Jack' was our nickname for one of our favourite Australian entertainers, John Farnham, and the name of his best selling album in the 80's.

In 2011 it was our 6th most popular boys name. England, Wales, Scotland and New Zealand also feel the strong appeal of Jack, as it tops the charts in their countries. In America Jackson is much more popular than Jack, although both are top 100 names. Jack started as a nickname for the name John (meaning God is gracious) but has made the transition to a given name in it's own right.

JEX - favourite new cool name?
OK, I have to admit that since I first saw Dax Shepherd's name in the credits of 'Without A Paddle', I have had a big crush on his name, which has extended to pretty much all three letter ends in "X" boy's names. Jax is cool, but it makes me think of video games. Jex is better, because it has a slightly "British upper crust" feel too it for me. Maybe due to a character called Jed that I liked on British TV show 'Bedlam' last year. And it's slightly edgier than Jett, if you believe that's possible.

JUPITER - favourite GP "J" name
I'm guessing this one appears on many guilty pleasure lists, because it would take a brave person to use it. Only 7 boys were given the name Jupiter in America in 2011.

Jupiter is not just a planet, it's also the name of the Roman King of the Gods and god of sky and thunder (the Roman equivalent of Zeus). Due to it's God connection, most people tend to consider Jupiter to be a boys name, and as such in America it has never been given to more than 5 girls in any one year.   With other god names such as Atlas on the rise, and night sky names such as Orion on the rise, Jupiter stands a chance of transitioning from just a little too quirky to uber-cool in the not too distant future.


JACOB - most popular boys name of 2011 in America
Yes, not just America's favourite "J" boy name, but America's top boy name. Full Stop. For the last 13 years. And in the 6 years before that it was a top 10 name. In fact, the lowest Jacob has ever charted was #368 in 1962.

I can see the appeal. It's a sturdy, manly biblical name, with the nickname Jake conveying the dual images of all-American boy-next-door or the bad boy. A Jacob (or Jake) could be a true chameleon. Seems it's meaning of 'supplanter' hasn't hurt this Hebrew name's image at all, and sexy young werewolf Jacob will probably ensure the name remains popular for many years to come as 'Twilight' fans start having little boys of their own.

Not one for people who don't like popular names, but otherwise a solid choice.


JAYNE - most intriguing crossover name
Usually we see "boys" names stolen for the girls. This is one that went the other way, but rarely. Jayne as a boys name came to my attention through the cult TV show 'Firefly'. If you're not familiar with it (which would quite frankly shock me) 'Firefly' is an almost legendary Joss Whedon TV series which spawned the hit movie 'Serenity'. I say legendary because it was not a big rater when it aired on TV and only lasted one season, but has developed a huge cult following since it went off air. The TV show aired in 2002/2003, but the following movie wasn't made until 2005 due to demand from the fans. The show centres on a dilapidated spaceship and it's eclectic crew and passengers. One of the main characters was Jayne, played by Adam Baldwin. I always assumed that Jayne was his last name, but watching the 'Firefly' ten year reunion special tonight I realised that it was his given name, with his full name being Jayne Cobb.

Jayne Cobb was an awesome character. He was a mercenary, tough, gruff and loved his weapons. But there were moments of comedy and tenderness in him that were ultimately endearing. I had at first thought that maybe this character would have triggered a small spate of little boy Jayne's. Not so though. It was most popular for boys in the years 1984-1986, when it was given to a total of just 17 boys.

Rarer than rare with a cool, tough namesake, Jayne could be worth considering.

JUSTUS - just 'cos
Just because I love the look and the sound of it. It sounds just like Justice, a cool name we can't use here is Australia because it could be confused with an official government position. It also looks very similar to the established, tried but true Justin. Which is nice, but a little boring to me.

Justus is a Latin name meaning 'fairminded, upright, honest'. There were three men named Justus in the bible, so this could be a up and coming alternative to Jacob, if you're looking for one.

With "J" names being the most popular for boys, I'm sure most people have at least one on their potential names list. What would be your pick?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dorothy

The latest Wizard of Oz sequel - called 'Dorothy of Oz' - is due out in 2013
Dorothy will be voiced by 'Glee' star Lea Michele
Dorothy is a special name for me, as it was the name of my paternal grandma. To many people that’s all it is, a “grandma” name, meaning they think it is old fashioned and not cool or spunky enough for a child of today. But as other names once considered as “grandma” names are being dusted off and resurrected, Dorothy may soon be on the rise.

In 1922 when my grandma was born, Dorothy was the second most popular name for girls in America, a position held from 1920 to 1927. Unfortunately there is no data for it’s popularity in Australia at the time, but it’s likely it was somewhat similar. In the U.S., since 1880 it has only been out of the top 1000 a handful of times – in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. While Dorothy is far from a popular name currently, it has always held some attraction to parents.


One of the most famous Dorothy’s of course was Dorothy Gale, the girl with the ruby slippers from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ that every little girl pretends to be at least once. Being such a popular name there are plenty of other examples to look to, such as the characters of Dorothy in ‘The Golden Girls’ or ‘Jerry Maguire’, Dorothy the Dinosaur, or real life examples American figure skater Dorothy Hamill, poet Dorothy Parker, actress Dorothy Dandridge, and writer Dorothy West, to name just a few.

In Australia, it was a different fictional Dorothy that caught our imaginations – pint sized Dot of ‘Dot and the Kangaroo’. The book ‘Dot and the Kangaroo’ was about a five year old girl who gets lost in the Australian bush and is befriended by a kangaroo, amongst other bush animals. The book was written in 1899 by Ethel Pedley and later made into a movie in 1977. The movie was a combination of animation and live action, and spawned eight sequels between 1981 and 1994.

Dot is one of the many cute nickname options for a little Dorothy, with other traditional options being Dottie and Dolly. Incidentally, my grandma went by Dot herself as her family had a cow named Dolly when she was growing up and she didn’t want to go by the same name as a cow (can’t really blame her). Newer nickname options also being used today are Dora, Doro, Dodie, Thea, Tia and Dory/Dori, which help to give Dorothy a fresher, updated image.


The name Dorothy was derived from the Greek name Theadora, another option if you have a Dorothy in the family that you’d like to honour but aren’t keen on the idea of Toto or big green dinosaur references. Both have a beautiful meaning, which has probably contributed to Dorothy’s enduring appeal. Dorothy means ‘gift of God’. And I certainly like to think that’s what my Grandma was.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Great Sibsets - The Averys

Mother Nicole Avery with her children Moss, Eamonn, Mable, Stirling and Magnus
Today an article in my local paper - The Herald Sun - caught my eye. Not for the story, but for the enchanting names of the children in the family in the accompanying photo. The family's children are named Moss (13), Eamonn (11), Mable (8), Stirling (6) and Magnus (3). Each is a great name in its own right, so let's have a quick look at each of them.

Moss - One of the great nature names that works for boys and girls. Moss has the same “oss” sound as the very popular Forrest, and the very cool Frost, but without the abrupt “t” ending. It’s that little more cutting edge. You just need to get people to think of it in terms of legendary race car driver Stirling Moss, rather than lichen growing on a tree.

Eamonn – Eamonn and Eamon (Eamonn is the original spelling, but Eamon is more popular) have had a bit of a jump in popularity in Australia since swimmer Eamon Sullivan came to our attention after winning a gold medal, a silver medal and breaking a Commonwealth record at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. Eamonn (or more popular spelling Eamon) is an Irish variation of Edmund. It means ‘rich protector’ and is pronounced AY-mon. Despite it’s similarity to other mega popular favourites Aiden and Ethan, Eamon is yet to appear on the top 100 in Australia or top 1000 in the US, so currently remains a great alternative if you’re looking for a less popular name.

Mable – I have to say that Mable (or Mabel) is a name that is slowly growing on me. As it seems to be with a lot of people, as Mabel has been slowly moving up the US charts in the last few years and should crack the top 1000 in the next year or two if it continues the way it has been. Mabel (pronounced MAY-bel) is an English name derived from the Latin Amabel and means ‘lovable’. And lovable it is. I actually prefer the less popular Mable spelling, maybe because it has the word “able” and looks so similar to Fable, which I also love. As a nature name fan though, I’d probably be more likely to lean towards Maple myself.

Stirling – Is an English name meaning ‘genuine, of high quality’. I personally prefer the original spelling of Sterling for a couple of reasons. 1 - I think it looks nicer. And 2 - Stirling, with Moss, in the same family, is a little much. I wonder if they are fans of the racing driver, or just thought the names sounded good together without realising the connection. At least they are not in order, or even sequential. Apart from that small quibble, I really like the name. It sounds a little bit posh, a little bit tough, and the "ing" ending sets it apart from pretty much all other popular names, male or female.

Magnus – this name is all quiet strength to me. Like his siblings, Magnus is not a hugely popular name now, but is slowly climbing. Magnus is a Latin name meaning ‘greatest’. It’s been a popular name for Scandinavian royalty and is in the top ten in Denmark and Norway. It has appeared in some popular tales such as in Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’, Charles Dickens’s ‘The Pickwick Papers’ and Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’. But it could be said that it is also benefiting from ‘The Hunger Games’ phenomenon. Many of the characters in this series have been given Roman/Latin names such as Cato, Flavius and Darius, so this could have sparked a renewed interest in related names such as Magnus.

All five are great names, and I like that while there isn’t really a pattern they seem to have the same vibe. Possibly a little heavy on the M’s, but the effect is diluted by having the M names interspersed with the others, so it’s not overpowering. The result overall is utterly charming. What do you think – have the Avery’s made great choices? Would you have done the same?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Makybe Diva

Makybe Diva's historic 3rd Melbourne Cup win in 2005
Today's post is inspired by two things. One, The Melbourne Cup is on today. In case you hadn't heard, it's one of the biggest horse races of the year, and a very big deal in Australia. And as I live in Melbourne I also get the luxury of a public holiday today so I can enjoy the race  - we're off to a BBQ with friends later today, which is the usual way to commemorate the day if you're not actually at the track today.

My second inspiration is the smoosh name, by way of Abby at Appellation Mountain. Abby has recently commented on her Facebook page that she's spotted an Emmylou, and that a post on name smooshes remains one of her favourites on Nameberry.

Which got me to thinking about one of the most successful name smooshes I've seen on a Melbourne Cup champion - Makybe Diva. Makybe Diva became the first ever horse to win the Melbourne Cup three times, which she did in years 2003, 2004 and 2005. I won't go into the history of the Melbourne Cup, as Anna did a great job of this recently at Waltzing More Than Matilda when she profiled the first ever winner of the Cup, Archer. But needless to say, it was a big deal to win it three years back to back, and a statue has been erected in the owners home town to commemorate this achievement.

Makybe Diva is owned by a tuna fisherman in my home state of South Australia named Tony. Tony is the one who gave Maybe Diva her name, which he designed by taking the first two initials of five of his female employees and creating a name. Thus MAureen - KYlie - BElinda - DIanne - VAnessa became Makybe Diva (pronounced mah-KY-bee DEE-vah). I think he was very lucky, as I've tried to do this before when creating team names and it does't usually work out so smoothly!

This was a slightly unusual way to name a horse, as it has generally been tradition to name a horse based on the name of their Sire (father) and Dam (mother). However it is not totally outside the rules - yes, there are rules for naming a racehorse, the same as there is for naming a child. In Australia, a brief overview of the rules are:

1. The maximum length of a name is 18 characters, including spaces.
2. Names can't be repeated for 20 years
3. Rude, offensive or racist words are not allowed.
4. Names can't promote a public company
5. Numbers up to 25 are not allowed, due to potential confusion for race callers. Eg One, Two, Three or First, Second, Third are not allowed.
6. But numbers is used in conjunction with other words, such as First Love will be considered
7. Letters must be spelt out. Eg Pea Kay. A & I are acceptable as a single letter as part of a horse's full name.
8. Names will not be considered if single letters are expected to be pronounced. A name must be pronounceable as words and understandable to the general public. Eg RUFIRST will not be considered, however, AREYOUFIRST will be considered.
9. Combinations of first name & surname (eg.,John Smith) will not be considered. Two first names will be considered (eg., John David)

It's interesting to see how race horse names are policed, but makes sense .

Whatever you're doing today, have a good one and try to catch the race at 3pm Melbourne time. I drew #14 Green Moon in our sweepstakes at work, which isn't a favourite to win but I guess anything can happen!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ofelia

Up and coming young actress Ophelia Lovibond
Today's name is inspired by a recent trip to Ikea. You know how everything has a name, and most of those names seem a little strange and crazy if English is the only (or main) language you speak. Well, on this trip I bought a blanket with the name Ofelia, which seemed to suit the light and fluffy white blanket perfectly.

Ofelia (pronounced oh-FEEL-ya) is the Spanish/Italian version of Ophelia, and is mainly used in Spanish speaking countries such as Argentina, Chile, or Mexico. It is also a Portugese name, with the slightly different pronunciation of oh-FEH-lyah (thanks Zeffy!). It means 'who assists or who helps', as the original name derives from the Greek word ofeleia, which has this meaning. Ofelia is also a Saint name, used in memory of Danish Roman Catholic Martyr Saint Ofelia. St Ofelia's name day is recognised in Italy as February the 3rd.

Most people recognise the name Ophelia as the character from Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', written in 1600, although it's first use was reportedly in the poem 'Arcadia', written in the 15th century by Jacopo Sannazaro. Shakespeare's Ophelia was quite a tragic figure. A young noblewoman from Denmark, Ophelia is presented as a potential wife for Hamlet. However she is treated very poorly by Hamlet, and eventually goes insane and drowns herself.

A lot of people have been put off using Ophelia/Ofelia for their daughters due to the tragic demise of Shakespeare's character, and fears of their children being taunted with lewd "I feel 'ya" comments. However these perceptions are wearing off, and examples of people who bear this name include:
  • Dr Ofelia Zepeda, American poet and intellectual
  • Spanish actress Ofelia Guilmain
  • Mexican actress Ofelia Medina
  • British actress Ophelia Lovibond
  • First mixed race model in America, Ophelia DeVore
  • Cousin Ophelia in 'The Addams Family'
  • O (short for Ophelia), main character in 2012 movie 'Savages', played by Blake Lively
  • Ofelia, main character in Guillermo Del Toro's dark 2006 movie 'Pan's Labyrinth'

I quite like Ofelia/Ophelia. It has a classic, stately feel to it, and cool nickname options Fee, Lia or O add a bit of spunk to it. As you've probably guessed, the Ophelia spelling is currently more popular in America. It's been on the rise in the past couple of years after dropping out of the top 1000 in 1959, and in 2011 was ranked #1864, given to 107 girls. Ofelia on the other hand has actually been a more consistent performer on the charts, lower than Ophelia but with fewer dramatic rises and falls in popularity. It ranked #3368 in America in 2011, given to 48 girls.

I like both variations, and personally feel that Ophelia looks more aristocratic, while Ofelia feels a little more approachable and friendly. So I'd probably lean more towards Ofelia. But maybe that's just me. What do you think?

Happily snuggled up in the Ofelia blanket
Photo courtesy of Lauren Rutherford Photography

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Name Lore

Photography by Glow Portraits, crown available at etsy

A couple of weeks ago I met a guy called Lor. Yes, that's his real name, not a nickname. The story behind his name as he tells it is that his "hippy" dad was determined to name him Lord Michael. When he went to get the name registered, he was of course told that you can't give a child the name Lord in Australia. Because Australia is part of the Commonwealth and ruled by the Queen we cannot use names that are official titles. So of course his dad just crossed out the "D" and triumphantly handed back the paperwork. And just like that, a baby boy was given the unusual name of Lor Michael. 
This has gotten me to thinking about Lor names in general. I quite like the sound, and one of my first thoughts was that Lore would actually be quite a cool name. It would fit in well with some of the other bookish names such as Story, Fable, Saga and Legend.

But if you like a bit more "substance" (i.e. length) to your names, I'd have to say that my top boys pick is Lorcan and my top girls pick is Lorelei.

Lorcan (pronounced LOHR-can) is an Irish/Gaelic name meaning 'little fierce one'. I think it sounds as if it stepped off the pages of a fantasy novel, and could end up giving Aidan a run for his money if given a chance and the right attention. One of the two most recognised Lorcans is Lorcan Ua Tuathail, an Irish saint who lived from 1128 to 1180. He is the patron saint of Dublin, and was also known as St Laurence O'Toole. The other well known Lorcan is actor Peter O'Toole's son, Lorcan O'Toole (also an actor). Apparently he was going to be given the name Luke, until his father had a dream in which he was told his name should be Lorcan. Lorcan is also dad Peter's second middle name.

Like many other girls (I suspect) I fell in love with the name Lorelei when watching 'The Gilmore Girls'. Before then Lorelei had always seemed like a much to fanciful name, especially considering it's origins. Lorelei (pronounced LOH-re-liy) is derived from the German name Lurlei which is a combination of the words luren (to watch) and lei (a cliff or rock). There is a legend that Lorelei was a beautiful siren who sat upon the rocks and lured sailors to their death, much like the sirens encountered by Odysseus in his journey. Hence the variation Lorelei is said to mean 'alluring temptress'.

While this may have been true of the Lorelei played by Marilyn Monroe in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', Lorelei Gilmore and her daughter Lorelei "Rory" made the name seem much warmer, friendlier and down to earth. And infinitely more usable.

Here are a few more names starting with or containing Lor that you might like.

         GIRLS               BOYS        
Annelore                                Bachelor
  Clorinda                               Chancelor
 Clorissa                                 Colorado
  Delora                                   Explorer
Elora                                     Florean
Flora                                     Florent
 Florence                                Florentino
Florinda                                    Florian
Glory                                    Halloran
Lorena                                     Lorand 
Loretta                                    Lorant
   Lori                                      Loretto
Lorice                                        Loric
Lorikeet                                  Lorimer
Lorinda                                    Lorin
  Lorna                                      Loring
Lorraine                                     Lorne
Mallory                                    Lorren
 Melora                                    Lorenzo
Sailor                                      Lorrenz
Saylor                                      Naylor
Taylor                                       Tylor
Valora                                       Valor

Then there are also those that have the Lor sound, such as Laura and Laurence, but that would mean I'd be here all night :) What would be your top Lor names?