Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Photo courtesy of Tumblr

From one bird related name to an actual bird name. This is one I first noticed in a birth announcement in February this year at Waltzing More Than Matilda. It caught my eye as interesting at the time, but I didn't really think much more than that. But for some reason it has slowly been growing on me, and I'm starting to think there is more to this powerful little nature name than meets the eye.

As a bird, Rooks are related to Ravens and Crows, both of which have a history of being associated with Halloween. Ravens in particular are popular in Halloween iconography. It's thought in many cultures that because these birds feed on carrion, they are a link between life and death. Some think they contain lost souls, others say ghosts of murdered people and some say they were messengers from the gods. To see one was considered a good omen by some, but an ill omen by many others.

The benefit of using Rook rather than Raven or Crow/Crowe as a name though is that its' connection is much subtler, a little less "dark" than the other two, possibly because it has plenty of other meanings. The Rook is also a chess piece (named from the Persian work rukh meaning 'chariot'), a card game, a piercing in the antihelix of the ear, a cheat or swindler, a type of rocket and a shortened slang term for a rookie (someone who is new to a job or activity). In pop culture he is a moving castle character in the video game 'Demigod', and a character in 'Ben 10' - sure to make a young Rook happy.

I've seen Rook described by various people as cool, modern, strong, fierce, fresh, unique, romantic and adventurous. It certainly is rare - it first charted in the U.S just over a decade ago, and in 2012 was given to only 24 boys. If you like the idea of Rook but think the K ending is a bit abrupt, Rooker is a possible alternative, or Roderick with the nickname Rook is a distinguished choice.

I also have to admit to having a more personal reason for liking Rook - my name is Brooke, and I adore the idea of using Rook as a middle for a son because it contains elements of my name. It could also work to honour any Brooks' or Brooklyns, or of course and Ravens or Crow/Crowes in the family. And of course I love a nature name.

If you like your boys names to be short, spunky and unexpected, Rook is definitely worth a second look.

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