Monday, January 28, 2013


Five year old Victorian girl Tempany after donating her hair to cancer patients for wigs
Saturday was Australia Day, but because the actual day fell on a weekend we are enjoying our Australia Day Holiday today. So in honour of today being technically-not-Australia-Day, I thought I'd look at a name that is quoted by many sources as being an Australian name, but in all likelihood is a technically-not-Australian-name. It's also a fitting name to look at today while Queensland and New South Wales experience some particularly stormy weather.

The origins of the name Tempany (pronounced TEHM-pah-nee) are very vague. At best guess, it comes from the word Tempest, meaning 'violent storm'. Tempest comes from the Old French "tempeste", and Latin terms "tempesta" and "tempestas". All of these mean 'storm, weather, season' and 'commotion, disturbance'. It is also related to "tempus" meaning 'time, season', hence Tempest came to be known as 'a disturbance in a period of time, season or weather', which led to 'bad weather' or 'storm'. For this reason, Tempany is thought to have Old French and Latin origins.

It's unclear how the name Tempany came about, but it seems that it most likely started as a surname. Maybe it started as a misspelling of a different name, as many surnames we see today started that way, or maybe it was adopted by someone who lived in an area prone to storms, or a child who was born during a storm. No one really knows.

It's thought that the first known Tempany's were from Leinster in Ireland, where the Tempanys held a family seat as Chiefs. The first documented appearance of the surname Tempany in Australia is 1850, when Henry and Elizabeth Tempany arrived in Adelaide, South Australia aboard the ship 'Sultana'. The 1891 England and Wales census shows evidence of some Tempany familes in London, Warwickshire, Essex and Wiltshire, while the 1920 American census shows some in New York and Ohio.

Tempany is usually listed as an Australian name, maybe because it's one of the only (if not the only) country where Tempany is used as a first name. This is mainly thanks to actress Tempany Deckert, who was in one of Australia's longest running soapies 'Home and Away'. Tempany appeared in the show as teenager Selina Roberts Cook from 1994-1998, making her a household name in Australia. One of her besties on the show was played by actress Isla Fisher, who is in the upcoming 'The Great Gatsby'. Melissa George also starred on the show during this time.

Tempany Deckert & Isla Fisher
in their 'Home and Away' days
Isla's name was rarely heard when she was on 'Home and Away' in the 90's, but it has since skyrocketed. In 2011 Isla was the 23rd most popular name in Australia, 15th in England and Wales and #268 in America. A lot of it's popularity is due to Isla Fisher. The same however can not be said of Tempany. Which just goes to show that a little international exposure can go a long, long way.

Tempany  is quite a pretty,with the benefits of  not being an overly frilly or delicate name. It does however sound kind of similar to words such as temporary, timpani (kettledrums) and teriyaki, which could be a little off-putting. If you can look past that, it kind of has the sound of Tiffany, but with the strong, classical but modern feel of Cadence or Temperance.

I love that it sounds like it could be either an unearthed vintage gem, or a modern invented name, as I think the more "faces" a name has the better it's longevity. Plus, if you're looking for a weather related name, Tempany is much prettier and subtle than Storm, Stormy or Tempest. You can pretty much guarantee that your daughter won't come across many other Tempanys in her lifetime.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Inspiring Names - 'Nashville'

The Cast of 'Nashville'
I'm starting to think I have a real thing for these southern shows. The first for me was 'True Blood', sultry, sassy and the supernatural in Louisiana. Then I fell in love with 'Hart of Dixie', loaded with sweet charm and quirkiness and set in a small town called Bluebell in Alabama. And now it's 'Nashville', a portrayal of the drama and politics it takes to rise to the top and stay there in the competitive country music capital, in Tennessee.

'Nashville' didn't pull me in as immediately as the other two, but I'm addicted now none the less. And like any good scripted TV show, there is a multitude of great character names to mull over in this one. My favourites (and I'll admit up front that I may be strongly influenced by how much I also like the characters here) are:

The title and city gives us the cool cowboy name possibility of Nash. The city was founded and named for Francis Nash, but his surname has now become a hot given name. It entered the American charts for boys in 1910, but not the top 1000 until 1997, when the show 'Nash Bridges' firmly cemented Nash in our minds as a first name possibility. Fast forward to 2011, and Nash is positioned at #519. Ash and Ash names have long been hugely popular. The addition of the N gives it a fresh sound, and fits right in with other current favourites Dash and Cash. Plus short, "manly" names are looking hot for 2013.

Rayna Jaymes (played by Connie Britton) is a superstar on the 'Nashville' country music circuit, and one of the leading ladies of the show. Whoever named this character did a good job - in Hebrew Rayna means 'song of the lord' and in Latin or Russian Rayna means 'queen', both of which fit this character. Rayna has been present in the American charts since the 1930's, but only became a regular in the top #1000 in the late 90's. It peaked at #756 in 2008, so is a familiar but not common name. Alternative spelling Raina is only slightly more popular. I feel like the Rayna spelling looks more "namey", whereas Raina looks more like rain and less regal. But then again Rayna could be mistaken for a feminine version of Ray, which might not appeal to some. Either way, I quite like the sound of Rayna, and think the name was well chosen for the show.

Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) and Rayna (Connie Britton)
While Rayna is the veteran of the industry, Juliette Barnes (played by Hayden Panettiere) is the new comer to the scene. I think she's meant to have a Taylor Swift-esque career, but with more of a nasty, jaded attitude behind the scenes (and it's great to see Hayden playing a darker character than her cheerleader days). Juliette comes from Juliet, a Latin name meaning 'youthful'. The "ette" makes it feel even younger, as it is generally used to mean 'smaller'. Since one of the main themes of the show is that Juliette's youth makes her both a inexperienced in the industry (and prone to making some unwise career decisions), her youth and quick success is also a threat to Rayna. And just like Shakespeare's Juliet, this Juliette is somewhat of a tragic but vulnerable character, who also flirts with a marriage into a family who deem her "unsuitable" due to her own family background. This makes it another successfully chosen name.

Deacon Claybourne (played by Charles Esten) is Rayna's long term guitar player, ex-flame and ex-alcoholic. He is almost as legendary in the country music world as Rayna is. Deacon has Greek origins, and means 'dusty one, servant, messenger'. It's also a title for a church officer or cleric. Again, these things could be said to apply to 'Nashville's Deacon. He's been around a long time, backing up Rayna, and now helps other reformed alcoholics as well as occasionally providing some wise, much needed advice to others in the show. Like Nash, Deacon has that cowboy feel to it, but also feels almost Irish/Scottish, possibly due to it's similarity to names such as Declan and Duncan. Deacon has charted in America since the late 60's/early 70's,  but really started leaping up the charts since the year 2000. In 2011 is was #66, and possibly still rising. I think the cowboy/ honest church official associations makes for a wholesome sounding name with just a touch of bad boy to it.

Scarlett is a name that that has been shooting up the American charts in the past decade, entering the top 100 at position #80 in 2011. Scarlett O'Connor is played by young Aussie actress Clare Bowen, and her wide eyed innocence and modesty makes for a great contrast against the similar age Juliette. Scarlett is Deacon's niece, and her O'Connor surname further hints at an Irish/Scottish connection for this family. Or maybe the writers were just aiming for some similarity to famous southern belle, Scarlett O'Hara. Like O'Hara, this Scarlett is passionate about her man, before realising she is naive. It takes a different man who really believes in her to give her the strength to assert herself and realise there is more potential to her than supporting a man.

While these are my favourites, the show is full of other great names, many or which are currently gaining in popularity. As an aside, looks like "ie"/y endings are quite popular in 'Nashville'!

Gunnar, played by Brit actor
Sam Palladio


Wednesday, January 23, 2013


One of the benefits of having a name blog is that suddenly your friends are also keeping their eyes and ears open for interesting names to send your way. This is one of those names - it caught the attention of a friend of mine when he met a Faizel recently, and he thought I might also find it interesting. He was right, as I also hadn't heard this name before.

Faizel (pronounced fah-ee-ZAL) is an Arabic boys name meaning 'judge'.  I think this is most likely  a pre-Islamic name, as apparently pre-Islamic Arabian names often came from vocabulary words for nature or occupations.

It's mainly used in Arabic speaking countries, which is probably why it seems like such a different name to us in Australia. I'm not sure how common it actually is in other countries, so if you know feel free to let me know in the comments below! In America though it has never appeared on the SSA charts, meaning it has never been given to more than 5 children in any one year.

The pronunciation might be a little tricky for those unfamiliar with the name. To see it written down, your first instinct is probably to say FAY-zel. But this is hardly a huge obstacle, and also not that unique these days as people often use unfamiliar names or names with "creative" spelling in order to find a name that is different and stands out. And Faizel would definitely stand out, plus has the benefit of being a "real" name, for those that want something different but with a history.

I personally have a few reservations about this name. I'm not sure I like the meaning, although it could probably be taken a few different ways, some more positive than others. And I would really, really want to pronounce it FAY-zel, mainly because I think it sounds cooler. Plus, Faze would be a pretty cool nickname (Hey, if the character on 'Life, Unexpected' can get away with the nickname Baze, Faze would definitely work). Mmmmmm- maybe Faze would be a cool middle name to add to my list...........

This is something I love when you look at different names. You're not going to love everything. Otherwise how would you ever settle on a name? But keep looking at new and interesting names and it will get the cogs turning, revealing new possibilities with every turn. I may not adore Faizel, but it's definitely got me thinking. Maybe it will get you thinking too - or maybe Faizel is exactly the rare, exotic sounding name you've been looking for.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


For the designers, decorators and artists among you, you may already be aware that Emerald is the Pantone colour of the year for 2013. If you're not sure what that means, basically it means that the colour Emerald will feature strongly in most designs, decorating schemes, soft furnishings, clothing, products and whatever else you can think of this year. Pantone usually pick a colour that they feel connects with the current spirit of society. Or maybe with two 'Wizard of Oz' movies coming out this year, they simply thought that when audiences saw those gorgeous images of the Emerald City they would have a renewed love of all things Emerald.

Of Emerald, Pantone says that it is "Lively. Radiant. Lush. A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony". And also that "Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. Also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity, no other color conveys regeneration more than green."

This reminded me of a name I heard a little while back that I had been keeping note of - Emeralda. What I love about Emeralda is that it is so similar to Emerald, the gemstone, but sounds a little more "namey", like Esmeralda. And at the same time it manages to sound just that bit fresher and spunkier than either of those. Esmeralda and Emeralda are in fact different versions of Emerald, which is a Persian word for the gemstone, meaning 'green'.

All three are pretty rarely used. Emerald appeared in the American top 1000 for girls from 1991 to 2001, peaking at #766 in 1994. It has also occasionally been used for boys. Esmeralda has also been used a similar amount of times for boys, but has been more popular than Emerald for the girls. It's been in the top 1000 since the fifties, and in 2011 was #332. By contrast, Emeralda has only shown in the charts in 1991, when it was given to just 5 girls.

 A few other reasons why you might want to choose an Emerald themed name include:

  • wanting to honour an Irish background (as in the Emerald Isles)
  • for a child born in May, under the sign of cancer, or on a Tuesday or Friday (as the Emerald is the birthstone for these times)
  • to honour someone else born at those times
  • to honour someone whose favourite gemstone is/was Emerald, or favourite colour is/was green
  • to honour someone with an "Em" name, such as Emma or Emory.

Emeralda would be a rare, exotic choice, with the benefits of not sounding too strange. And it's easy to associate all of those great things that people think about Emerald with Emeralda. With so many great reasons to use Emeralda, it would be a very fashionable name to use in 2013.

Tutu dress from Little Dreamers on Etsy

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Chloe Grace Moretz as telekinetic teen Carrie in the 2013 remake of Stephen Kings 'Carrie'
The posters for the new 'Carrie' movie sport the tagline "You Will Know Her Name". And indeed they are right. 2013 will likely be a big year for Carrie, with two of the most famous fictional Carries returning to the screen.

This week saw the first episode of 'The Carrie Diaries' air on CW. For those unaware, this show is the prequel to the much loved 'Sex and The City'. It follows the life of a teenage Carrie Bradshaw (played by Anna-Sophia Robb) as she deals with the death of her mother, the perils of high school and becoming....well....Carrie Bradshaw.

And then in October this year Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore star in the remake of Stephen King's 'Carrie', the chilling tale of a mousy teen whose telekinetic powers take on a hellish turn when high school bullying and her oppressive mother become too much for her.

Despite the well recognised "scary" Carrie - first portrayed by Sissy Spacek in 1976 - the popularity of Carrie does not seem to have suffered. When America started keeping SSA records in 1880, Carrie sat at a high #20 on the charts. In 1915 she slipped out of the top 100, and slowly declined for a number of years before re-entering the top 100 in 1968.

In 1976 when the original 'Carrie' came out, she was at a peak for that decade of #28, a position that remained steady in 1977 when Carrie Fisher made Princess Leia a cult figure in the first (now technically the fourth) Star Wars movie, 'Star Wars:A New Hope'. Her popularity waned again after that, and in 2009 fell out of the top #1000 for the first time.

But I don't think this is because Carrie has lost any of it's charm. Maybe we have just become a little Carrie-wary. Carrie Bradshaw graced our screens for 6 seasons (over 7 years), to be followed by 2 movies. Stephen King's 'Carrie' remains a Halloween favourite, and Carrie Fisher has become an almost legendary figure for Star Wars fans. In addition to that, we also have:

  • American Idol winner Carrie Underwood
  • Carrie Brownstein, singer, writer and actor in 'Portlandia'
  • 'The Matrix' actress Carrie-Anne Moss
  • American dancer, choreographer and 'Dancing With The Stars' judge Carrie Ann Inaba
  • 'King of Queens' main character Carrie, played by Leah Rimini
  • Actress Carrie Preston, who plays Arlene on 'True Blood'
  • Lead character of 'Homeland', Carrie Mathison, portrayed by Claire Danes
  • plus many, many more notable Carries!

So many Carries could mean we feel it's overused, but a big positive is that it also means that society doesn't have a particular stereotype for this name. You could be a fashionista, a writer, a dancer, a musician, a political activist and a powerful force to be reckoned with. People wouldn't necessarily see Carrie on a resume and think "dumb blonde", "sound's like a snob" or "that's a stripper name". Carrie is familiar, but by no means boring.

Carrie - like so many names ending in "ie" - started as a pet name, most notably for Caroline (Stephen Kings Carrie was actually short for Carietta, which has never appeared in the US charts). This gives it an Old German origin, and a meaning of 'free man'. Many names with this "ie" ending are being polished off and are making an appearance on today's birth certificates.

Carrie may be one of the few that was too recently popular to fall into the "vintage charm" category that characterises most of these re-discovered names. But with two fresh, beautiful young women playing teenage Carries this year, we are once again reminded that Carrie can be youthful, vibrant and strong. And that can be a powerful combination. One way or another, we'll be seeing a lot of Carrie in 2013.

Anna Sophia Robb as a youthful Carrie Bradshaw in 'The Carrie Diaries'

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Few things are as magical as that moment when the four Pevensie children first enter Narnia together
Like many avid readers, when it comes to thinking about the names I may someday use for my future children, I think about my favourite books. About the characters that I have loved, those that have inspired me and those that have intrigued me. Or sometimes we turn to an author that has written several books we adore, because it's hard to encapsulate everything we love about their stories with just one character. But in today's naming landscape, we find that we can cast our nets much wider, and that a name doesn't necessarily have to come from a real or fictional person. Names can also come from words - real or fictional.

I know I am not alone in my love of the 'Chronicles of Narnia' books by C.S. Lewis. I remember my excitement when my mother brought me the box set, and suddenly the land of Narnia went from being just 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' to being seven (yes, SEVEN) whole books! And while some characters such as Lucy, Edmund, Susan, Caspian and even Aslan himself appear in multiple books, there is only one real constant throughout all of them. And that is the enchanting world of Narnia.

So why not Narnia as a possible name? I know I'm not the only one to think of it, as I've seen other people on Nameberry discussing using it as a girls name. Turns out that Narnia made it to the US Social Security popularity lists in 2006, when it was bestowed upon 6 girls. This coincides with the release of the first of the modern movie adaptations - 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' - in 2005. For me, the movies not only revived fond memories of the books, but also the 1988 BBC production of the books, which I watched on TV as a child. And I dare say that it did the same for many other people, reminding them of the magic and strength of these tales.

It is this feeling of magic, strength and honour that fans think of when they hear the word Narnia, and this is probably the type of feeling that parents who consider this name are aiming for. We all know children are special, and many people try to emphasise this with their choice of name for their child. And Narnia definitely holds a special place in many people's hearts.

So far Narnia has only charted as a girls name - possibly due to it's similarity to Nadia, or because "a" endings most often indicate a feminine name. But there's no reason why it couldn't work on a boy too. That is, if you think it works as a name at all. What do you think? Usable? As a first name, or is it strictly middle name material? Either way, this is one name that would ensure it's wearer is not soon forgotten.

View of the Stone Table in Narnia

Monday, January 14, 2013

Minty Fresh Names

Sugar sweet names worked (well, kind of) in 'Wreck It Ralph' - why not some minty fresh names?
When you think of mint, you think of fresh. That's why mint is such a popular flavour and smell for breath fresheners, toothpastes and mouthwashes. They also do a fantastic job as an after dinner chocolate dessert - a la chocolate dinner mints, and the tradition of leaving mints on your pillow for when you turn in for the night at hotels.

Fresh is a term that is often bandied about in the name world too. It's used when parents are looking for a rarely heard, "fresh" new name, when we are "tweaking" a popular favourite to give it a "fresh" feel, or forgotten gems that are being polished off and given a "fresh" lease on life.

So I thought if a name is connected to mint and all thing's minty, that could be a good thing right? Maybe not, but here's some mint related names to get you thinking.

Araminta - my first thought for a "mint" girls name. Love Arabella, but not the inevitable nickname Bella, which would be shared with all those Isabella's out there? Then how about Araminta? Different but not too different, and bursting with new old fashioned charm.

Eminta/Aminta - Araminta is thought to come from Aminta, a Greek name meaning 'defender, vindicator'. It's sleeker than Araminta, and a little more modern looking. I personally prefer the Eminta spelling. Not because I don't like "A" names, it's just....well....there's so many of them. Plus it helps steer people away from "want a mint, eh?" jokes. I could also see Eminta fitting in quite well as a regal name in a sci fi setting if you're looking for a character name for a book. Just saying.

Reminton - You may recognise him better as Remington, but then he wouldn't have "mint" in his name, would he? Reminton is an English name meaning 'place on the riverbank'. He's all Bond-like sophistication. Remington was ranked #479 for boys in America in 2011 (and was also given to 120 girls) while Reminton has never charted.

Minty/Mintie - Super cute, could be used as name by itself or nickname for any of the above. The Mintie spelling is on trend with other "ie" ending nickname names such as Evie or Ellie. However minties are a very popular lolly here in Australia, so if you also have them in your country you may want to stick with the Minty spelling.

Spear - As in Spearmint. Fits right in with both weapon like names like Arrow, Hunter and Gunner, and the current popularity of short, sharp strong names for boys. Yet so far it has gone undiscovered. Possibly a little too primal sounding to sit comfortably with most people.

Pepper - As in Peppermint. Pepper is a spunky little name that while more popular for girls, also works well for boys. Again, I could see it being a great character name in a book or movie. One often heard argument against Pepper is that it's not a name you could see on a Chief Justice (i.e. doesn't work well on grown ups). But I look at it this way 1 - not all adults have high profile prestigious jobs (and a "normal" middle name gives them another option if that turns out to be their path in life) and 2 - seems to work OK for Pepper Potts. Sure, as she's Iron Man's uber smart secretary and paramour, she's a fictional character. But she's taken seriously, and many people in today's society have grown up accepting that a Pepper can be smart too. So possibly not the big handicap you might first assume.

Patty - Peppermint Patty is one of Charlie Brown's friends in the famous 'Peanuts' cartoons. Her full name is actually Patricia "Peppermint Patty" Reichardt, and story is that creator Charles M. Schulz named her for a dish of peppermint candies he had on his writing desk. Patricia (and Patty) is from the Latin word for 'noble, patrician'. Popular from the 30's to the 50's, Patty is very rarely found these days. Personally, I'd probably stick with the elegant Patricia.

Cane - Because candy canes are made of peppermint :). Cane comes in many different spelling variations - Cain, Kane, Kain, Kayne - all of which comes from Cain. Cain is a Hebrew name meaning 'possessed'. It's various spellings are quite popular as video game characters, possibly because they sound strong. The biblical tale of Cain and Abel also lends the name an aura of treachery and danger. The various spelling most likely arose as a way to get the sound without the biblical image, and Kane is currently the most popular spelling, sitting at #505 for American boys in 2011.

Aero - while we're talking about peppermint flavoured candy associations, I thought I'd include Aero. In case you haven't heard of it, the Aero bar is a chocolate bar filled with bubbles. The mint Aero (my favourite) has mint flavoured chocolate bubbles and is covered in milk chocolate. Sounds kind of like Arrow, but with more of a nature association it's a much softer choice. Reminds me of  Neo from 'The Matrix', or 'Aeon Flux', so feels a little futuristic. Cool and interesting choice for a boy or a girl.

Franklin - To get away from candy, The Franklin Mint is a famous producer of coins, jewellery, sculptures and other collectibles. Franklin is an English name meaning 'free landholder'. It's quite distinguished sounding, but inexplicably tied to president Benjamin Franklin.

Tulip - This "friendlier" version of Mint Julep was the name of one of Strawberry Shortcake's pals in the 80's. Very sweet, underused flower name, but does have the drawback of sounding more like a pet name than other flower names such as Rose and Lily. But I can just imagine a little girl called Tulip with the nickname Minty.

Dublin or Ireland - Maybe you think I included this because mint is green, and the colour green is associated with Ireland. Not so. The Mint was once a very famous Michelin star restaurant in Dublin, Ireland, that closed in 2009. Both Dublin and Ireland have been used as place names for boys and girls. Ireland has a little more name fame, as Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin named their first daughter Ireland (nickname Addie) in 1995. I personally prefer Ireland to Dublin, simply because I'm not a fan of the "dub" sound.

Vegas - And to another famous Mint establishment, The Mint Las Vegas hotel and casino. Although it closed down in 1988, The Mint was famous for its sponsorship of The Mint 400, one of the biggest off road car races. Hunter S Thompson stayed there and immortalised it in his novel 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas', and a digital replication of the casino appears in the movie of the same name. The actual casino also appeared in a Bond movie and a U2 video clip. Vegas probably works better as a name outside of America, unless you want people to think of wild times and showgirls when they meet your child. Or drop the "s" and you have Vega, an Arabic name meaning 'swooping eagle' and the name of an actual star.

By now I guess it's hard to remember that today's post was first inspired by the new pot of mint sitting on my kitchen bench :)

Well that wraps up my ideas for fresh names inspired by Mint. What names do you think of when you think of Mint? Would you use any of these?

Friday, January 11, 2013


"Hero" names can take many forms. Some go for the direct approach, simply using Hero (good for a girl or boy). Some prefer names with hero meanings. Others find their heroes from legends; or literature, comic books, movie characters, video games, sports, or music. The list goes on an on - writers, scientists, astronauts, directors, inventors, presidents, prime ministers - any area where you admire great strength (personal and or physical) and achievements. And our favorite actors are no exception.

Jason Statham is one of my favourite actors to make a living playing action heroes. Maybe you haven't noticed him - he can sometimes fly under the radar. But rest assured he is a bona fide action hero. If you need proof, remember that he made it into the line up for 'The Expendables' and 'The Expendables 2', arguably the most greatest line up of action movie heroes to ever occur in one place. 

Statham is an English actor who hit the scene in Guy Ritchie's 'Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels', which he then followed up with another Guy Ritchie movie, 'Snatch'. He's probably best known for his lead role in 'The Transporter' movies, but some of his other notable roles have been in 'The Italian Job', 'Crank', 'Death Race' and 'The Bank Job'. He's also very busy, with four movies due out this year, including 'Parker', in which Jennifer Lopez co-stars.

Jason Statham is, to put is simply, very sexy. He has a lean, athletic physique from years of professional diving and martial arts, and one of the best low, gravelly voices out there. And that fantastic accent doesn't hurt either. Guys love him too, mainly because he's so kick-ass cool that he does all of his own stunts. And it's this almost universal - but understated - appeal that make him an attractive movie hero namesake.

One of the great things about the name Statham (pronounced stath-AMM) is that it's very rare. It has only appeared on the American SSA lists once, in 2010, when it was given to just 6 boys. 2010 was the year that 'The Expendables' was released. Statham is an English surname that originated as a place name. It comes from the Old English word 'stoeth', meaning a landing stage or wharf, and hence Statham means 'settlement at the wharf'. This subtle reference to water may also appeal to those looking for a water related name that's not too obvious.

Statham has a slightly classy, preppy-ish feel for me, which I think is due to it's resemblance to Ivy League name (and 'Sex in the City' name) Stanford. Or maybe it's just due to Jason Statham's British-ness (yes, I realise that I'm just making up words now :)). But either way, it's almost certain that a boy with this name will be associated with Jason Statham. So if like me you think cool, classy, tough and sexy when you hear the name Statham, that's great. If not, then I'd say that this distinctive action hero name is probably not for you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012 Top Victorian Names

We're just eight days into he new year and the nice people at Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria have already released the complete list of baby names used in the state of Victoria in 2012.

For those of you not familiar with Australia, Victoria is a small state in the South East of Australia. It's capital city is Melbourne (where I live!) and the state population as of March 2012 was 5,603,100.

The list of names from 2012 doesn't actually reach 1000 names, due to our smaller population. Instead we had 697 girl names and 650 boys names on the charts, which only counted names given to more than 5 children. So I thought I'd have a quick recap of the top, middle and rarest names from 2012 for Victoria.

Our top 10 favourite names for 2012 were:

  Olivia                            Jack
     Ruby                          William
        Mia                              Oliver
      Emily                             Ethan
     Amelia                         Thomas
   Sophie                          Noah
     Ava                              James
    Zoe                              Lucas
   Isabella                          Joshua
      Sienna                         Alexander

Past the top 10, I thought I'd look at names that were "middle of the field" - that is, given to approximately half as many children as the top name was. Surprisingly, these names were not positioned at 100, 200 or 300 out of 600 or so. For the girls, Grace was "middle of the field", yet she is only position #13! Out of 697! It's a similar story with the boys, with "middle of the field" names Harry and Henry positioned at #22 and #23 out of 650.

Our pre-occupation with choosing "different" and "special" names for our children means that the field is much more spread out, and our choices more diverse. For both boys and girls, about a third of the names on the list were given to just 6-10 children. A selection of some of the interesting names that fall into this category include:

Aditi                    Hector
Alkali                    Jovan
Amina                    Koda
Eadie                    Lucian
Inara                    Maxim
Mahlia                    Novak
Portia                    Oakley
            Samira                      Odin                
Tayah                    Tarkyn
Zahlee                    Willem

Almost just as fun was looking for the names that weren't listed. And I must admit a small sense of joy at the fact that some of my secret (and not so secret) top picks weren't there.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Rachel Weiss gets her evil on!

If you've been to the movies in the past couple of weeks (and if you haven't, I highly recommend 'Wreck It Ralph'!) you've probably seen the trailer for the latest Wizard of Oz movie, 'Oz: The Great and Powerful'. The movie is due out in March and looks like it is going to be a visually sumptuous event. The fabulous Sam Raimi directs, James Franco stars as Oz, and the story is a prequel of sorts - the background story for Oz before Dorothy Gale lands on the scene.

All the hype aside, one of the things that caught my attention was the three enchantresses of the movie. We all know Glinda, this time around played by Michelle Williams, who we recognise as the good witch of the South. However traditionally Glinda was the only witch named by the author Frank L Baum (I think), meaning that people creating adaptations have been able to name the other witches as they please. And this time around the writers have gone with Theodora (played by Mila Kunis) and Evanora (Rachel Weiss). Some may be a little disappointed that they are not, well, "glitzier" names, but I think they both strike a good balance between fanciful and classical. After all, the original story was first published in 1900.

Theodora is an existing name meaning 'gift of god'. It's probably my favourite of the many "Dora" names, and Bewitching Names did a great profile of it over a year ago when she first heard the movie was going to be made.

But it was Evanora that I found the more interesting of the two, as I have never seen or heard it before. For this reason, it already makes the character more mysterious than the others. As the trailer tries to make it ambiguous as to whether these two will ultimately be good or bad witches, a bit of mystery is a good thing. I've heard though that Evanora ultimately becomes the Wicked Witch of the East, which makes me think that the "Ev" start to her name is a hint at the evil that is to come from this character.

We could make a few guesses at where Evanora came from, and what it means. My main thoughts are:

  • A combination of Eva and Nora (well, duh) producing a possible meaning of 'light and life'
  • A combination of Evan and Nora, producing a possible meaning of 'the lord is gracious with life'
  • Ev for evil combined with Annora, producing a meaning of 'evil honour'

I have to say that the third is my favourite explanation for a witch. It's also a lot subtler than the names given to the wicked witches in 'The Wiz' - Evamene and Evilene. If I were ever to name a child Evanora though, I'd go with one of the first two explanations!

Unfortunately I don't think that being associated with witches is going to help either Theodora's or Evanora's popularity, which is a shame as they are both lovely and rarely used names. It looks like it's going to be a fantastic movie though - both Rachel Weiss and Mila Kunis are usually fantastic, as are James Franco and Michelle Williams. Here's hoping it's as good as the trailer makes it look!

Friday, January 4, 2013


Molly Tarlov, looking much more angelic than Sadie Saxton, the character she portrays on 'Awkward'
If you asked me ten years ago what I thought about the name Sadie, I probably would have screwed my nose up. My main Sadie experiences were an elderly (and very lovely) neighbour, a girl I wouldn't say I was friends with in primary school named Sadie-Rose, and the cleaning lady from the John Farnham song. In fact, I'm sure Farnsys breakout 60's song 'Sadie The Cleaning Lady' single-handedly caused a drop in the use of the name Sadie in Australia.

However lately she's been popping up all over the place, and my perceptions of Sadie have been changing. Today she was the eldest daughter in the new movie 'This Is 40'. Over the past year, she's been high school mean girl Sadie Saxton from MTV's 'Awkward' (I know we're not meant to like the bully's but there's something so cool about her snide "You're Welcome" after she delivers her zingers). Suddenly Sadie has spunk and attitude. She also has celeb baby cred, as Christina Applegate used it for her daughter Sadie Grace, born early 2011. And with the vintage revival trend going strong, Sadie is emerging as one of my favourite gems from the past.

Sadie (pronounced SAY-dee) started out as a pet form of the Hebrew name Sarah, meaning 'princess', but became commonly used as a name on it's own. In America she's actually quite a bit more popular than you might think. Sadie was positioned at #124 in the US in 2011, and was #78 on Nameberry's most popular girls names list for 2012, so likely to remain fairly steady when the SSA figures for 2012 are released in May. It's also popular in Canada and Scotland.

Sadie is a pretty, graceful, but fresh and spunky sounding name. Name aficionado Laura Wattenburg of Baby Name Wizard has been quoted as saying that Sadie is a "Quadruple bulls-eye" name, "perfectly combining Jewish heritage, period feel, informal style and modern appeal".

Sadie also offers some interesting options for parents who can't agree on whether they want a vintage, traditional name, or a more modern option. If you still can't agree on Sadie itself, I've heard of one couple settling for Mercedes, nickname Sadie as an unusual compromise. Zadie is another option - same sound, but the "Z" gives it a "cooler" look and feel if that's an important factor for you (as a side note, the only Zadie's I've known were short for Scheherazade, but it's also a fantastic name in itself and much much less popular than Sadie).

If you don't mind the plethora of different songs composed in her name, or that in America there's a custom of girls inviting boys to the Sadie Hawkins dance, Sadie (or even Zadie) is a gorgeous name that could tick a lot of boxes. Or dare I say it, hit multiple bullseyes for you.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Bachelor Season 17 Names

Bachelor 17 - Sean Lowe
In the next few weeks several of my favorite TV shows will be returning to our screens, whether it be for a new season or from a mid season break. 'The Bachelor' is one of those shows. It's hard to believe it has been going for 17 seasons now! It has also spawned 'The Bachelorette' (with 8 seasons so far) and 'Bachelor Pad' (with 3 seasons up it's sleeve) so looks like the producers are onto a winning formula.

For those unfamiliar with the show, the formula is simple. One handsome, single guy (or girl) who is looking to end their life of flings and unsuccessful relationships and marry a person who they feel they could truly spend the rest of their life with is presented with a number of people of the opposite sex vying for their affections. Through cocktail parties and dates ranging from the cozy (camping in the backyard, baking cookies) to the glamorous (helicopter rides over exotic locations) the bachelor eliminates suitors until they decide upon the one special person they want to spend their life with.

Corny? Yes. Trashy? Sometimes. Scandalous? It's a boring season without scandal! But this all makes for some very addictive, guilty pleasure watching, especially for romantics like myself. And while very few of these relationships last the distance, we always hold hope that this couple will be the next Trista and Ryan, Jason and Molly, or Ashley and J.P, who have all made it down the aisle and are still together today.

Season 17 starts January 7th, and features the hunky Sean Lowe as the bachelor. If you watched the last season of the 'The Bachelorette' where he was vying for Emily Maynard's affections, you will already be familiar with his good looks and calm confidence. And of course his muscles! Sean is a real southern sweetheart.

The ladies of this season are:
AshLee F.
Sean's all ready to hand out the roses
Ashley P.
Ashley H.
Kacie (rumoured "mystery" contestant)

A couple of things stand out about this line up. 1 - Ashley was a popular name in the 80's when most of these women were born; and 2 - names ending with the "ie"/"ey"/"y" sound in general were pretty popular.

Other than that, my favourite name picks from this list are Tierra, Taryn and Desiree. They're the few that stand out as different and somewhat unique - in fact, I don't think I've ever heard Tierra before, but I quite like it. It's a mix between Tia and Sierra, and could receive a boost from the show. Or maybe not - early gossip is that Tierra is quite the interesting one in the house. How about you - are you a closet Bachelor fan? What names on this list catch your eye?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Happy New Year!

As one year has ended and another one started, I thought it would be a good day to consider the name Phoenix. In Greek mythology, the Phoenix (pronounced FEE-niks) was a bird who would die by spontaneously combusting into flames. A new Phoenix would then rise from the ashes of the dead bird. Hence the Phoenix has long been a symbol of rebirth and immortality.It has also been associated with the colour purple and royalty, however the name means 'deep/bright red'.

The Phoenix makes many appearances in popular culture today. In the 'Harry Potter' series, Dumbledore has a Phoenix named Fawkes who comes to Harry's aid more than once. Harry actually gets to see Fawkes die and regenerate at one point. The fifth book in the series is also called 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix', The Order of The Phoenix being an organisation of good witches and wizards dedicated to bringing an end to the dark days of Lord Voldemort and creating a new, enlightened time when the magical world can live without fear.

Other places you may recognise Phoenixes from are:

  • Achilles' wise tutor in Homers epic 'The Iliad'
  • Phoenix McFarland, author of 'The New Book of Magical Names' (Phoenix is her pagan name)
  • The Phoenix family (think actors River and Joaquin) 
  • An alternative rock band from France
  • The city in Arizona, America
  • the 1965 movie 'Flight of the Phoenix' and it's 2004 remake 
  • Evil alter ego of X-Men comic book superhero Jean Grey
  • video game character Phoenix Wright from the Ace Attorney series
  • Phoenixes are also popular in movies and video games featuring mythological creatures. 

As a teenager in the 90's, I remember thinking that Phoenix was an extremely exotic, "out there", super cool name. These days it is still a special name (it also has that cool "X" factor), but far from a strange rarity. It has been in the American top 1000 for boys since 1997 and for girls since 2003. While quite a unisex name, for now at least this one is skewing towards the males - in 2011 it ranked #388 for boys in the US, and #645 for girls. It is also a top #1000 name in Canada.

One great aspect to this name is that it is somewhat of a nick-namers paradise. Suggestions I've seen thrown around are Nick, Nyx, Fifi, Fee, Pix, Pixie, Fire, Firebird, Pyre, Phoe, Ixxy, Ash, and Nikki. I've also seen the variant Fenix used in a birth announcement in the past year. Which I thought was someone looking for a more "modern" way to spell it, until I realised that this spelling is not only the Old/Middle English spelling of Phoenix, but also the last name of 'Gears of War' video game hero Marcus Fenix.

Whichever way you want to use it, Phoenix is unique without being too unique, futuristic sounding but classical. It would be a great way to symbolise the beginning of a new life, or even just a New Year.