Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mythical Creature Names for Halloween Babies

A Cerberus doesn't have to be scary - fantastic artwork by Evolvana

It's October again, which means another month of Halloween themed names! To ease into it, I thought I'd run a list that I wrote for Nameberry last October, but haven't posted yet on here.

Initially they may seem a little strange and outlandish, but when you look closer at these names inspired by mythical creatures you might feel that they're not quite as unlikely (or unlikable) as they first seem.

This three headed dog (or hell-hound) seemed a lot less intimidating in 'Harry Potter' when named Fluffy and guarding a trapdoor rather than the gates of the Underworld. The most commonly accepted pronunciation is SUR-ber-uss, meaning 'formidable guard' or some variation of this. Cerberus has never charted in the U.S, but it would be a very cool name for a boy.

Pronounced ky-MEER-ah, this one sounds like a smoosh of girls names Chiara and Mira. Thought to be a creature composed of lion, snake and goat parts that breathes fire, it's also used as a generic term to describe creatures that are composed of various animal parts. Despite the grim creature association, it has a pretty sound and could make a good girl's name.

Dragons capture our imagination like few other creatures, with depictions ranging from fiery vengeful beasts to wise advisors and companions. Dragon has only ever charted as a boys name, maybe this is because on a boy it comes across as a compliment, conjuring images of strength and might, whereas calling a female a dragon is generally meant to be slight, that her anger and “fiery” nature are uncontrollable.

Fauns generally aren't thought of as dangerous or malevolent creatures. But they embody the Halloween tradition of trick or treat, as they're thought to help or hinder people depending on their mood. Fauns are half human, half goat, with famous Fauns being the Greek God Pan and Mr Tumnus of Narnia. Spelling Fawn (meaning 'young deer') is more popular, but there is a history of this version being given to girls too.

Griffin has been charting regularly for both genders for over 30 years, but remains far more popular for boys. The Griffin was thought to be a very powerful, majestic creature as it is composed of the body, tail and rear legs of a lion (king of the beasts) and the head, wings and talons of an eagle (king of the birds).  In heraldry they denote strength, courage and leadership.

Lamia is the name of a queen from Greek mythology who became a child-eating demon. It was used as the name of the evil character played by Michelle Pfeiffer in the 2007 movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 'Stardust'. Pronounced lah-MEE-ah it has a pretty sound despite a far from pretty inspiration.

Those looking for a formal name for a young Levi that aren't keen on Leviticus may instead be interested in Leviathan. In the Bible the Leviathan is a sea monster, but in Modern Hebrew it has come to simply mean 'whale'. Their appearance in season 7 of 'Supernatural' has helped a lot to give this name a more sexy, dangerous image.

A type of “wolf man” originating from Transylvania, Lycans can choose when to shift into wolf form rather than be controlled by the cycles of the moon as a werewolf is. Lycan has a similar look to Lucian and Lorcan, and the super hot “an” ending for boys which should make it a winner. But it's scary meaning and unfortunate similarity in sound to lichen (fungus) may be what has stopped this name from really taking off. The 'Underworld' movies have helped to overcome this and put Lycan on the SSA charts in recent years.

The Phoenix is a bird renowned for dying by spontaneous combustion, only to rise again from it's own ashes, hence it is a symbol of rebirth and immortality. 30 years ago this name was an exotic rarity, but these days it is a top 1000 name for both genders in the U.S. It still carries a high cool factor, and has been getting recent use by celebrities such as Tammin Sursok and ex-Spice girl Mel B.

Not to be confused with Rock, a Roc is a giant mythical bird that terrorized sailors and could carry an elephant. The streamlined Roc feels like he has the ability to make it to the top 1000 eventually, alongside other modern looking, masculine three letter choices such as Max, Jex and Zac.

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