Monday, August 13, 2012


Baby Berkeley courtesy of Jam Photography
So I think I caught one of my work colleagues off-guard today when he was showing me an email from one of his customers about a billing issue (fun stuff, I know) and I exclaimed "Oh! What an interesting name he has!" Probably happens to all of us at some point, right?

The exclamation-worthy name is Berkeley. My first question was, is this guy American? I thought maybe he was named after the university. Then I noticed he had quite a British sounding last name, and bingo! Yes, this Berkeley is in fact British.

Berkeley is an old English name meaning 'where birches grow' or 'from the birch tree meadow'. I feel like this is one of those Old English names that really sounds quintessentially British, and by that I guess I mean "upper-crust-British-sounding". I also love nature names that don't necessarily sound like nature names, so Berkeley has two big ticks in my book.

Of course, there is no escaping the fact that the word Berkeley is synonymous with the prestigious university in California. If you're American or living in America it would be hard to name your child Berkeley without people thinking you were being a little pretentious. And thinking you were even more pretentious if you actually went to school there. So if you did and you really, really loved your time there, this would be best as middle name material only.

Luckily I'm in Australia, and could probably get away with using Berkeley as a first name with only a few raised eyebrows. Or maybe the question "Isn't that the dog from Sesame Street?" (whose name is Barkley :-)). That said, Berkeley could be a great name for either a boy or a girl.


  1. Oh, how do you say Berkeley? I say it like Barkley, but some say it like it looks. I much prefer the Barkley pronunciation, given the 'berk' bit kinda puts me off the other pronunciation.

    Great name.

  2. I have friends that just named their little girl Berkeley. It's growing on me each time I see her sweet little face.