Friday, September 28, 2012

Percy

Logan Lerman plays Percy (Perseus) Jackson

Since the release of the Percy Jackson books and then the movie 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (released in 2010) Percy has started to become a more attractive option to modern day parents. Admittedly, I have an extra reason to like Percy, as it was the middle name of one of my great grandfathers.

Back in the 1890's, Percy was hot stuff. It peaked at #111 in America, much more popular than the longer Percival that people often assume the name is derived from. Since that time, Percy has slowly slid into almost non-existence, not even mentioning a rating on the American charts in the 1990's.

There is some debate as to the origins of the name Percy. The main theories are:
  1. It is a short form of the French name Percival, which means 'valley piercer'
  2. It was an aristocratic Norman surname, which started as a place name from Perci-en-Auge
  3. The name is from the Greek Perseus, which is derived from p─ôrtho (to destroy).
It is the third alternative that is used in the Percy Jackson series, helping to give Percy the tougher image that it sorely needs. For some reason, over the past hundred years Percy gained a reputation as being a wimpy name. The negative comments I've seen about this name are:
  • It has been used as a name for men's genitalia (I had never heard this - oh the joys of the Internet)
  • And unfortunately also sounds similar to a slang word for a females genitalia
  • "for some reason Percy Filth was used at college as a euphemism about having it off" (I assume this is related to the first point?)
  • It reminds people of Percy Pig (I think this is a confectionery brand?)
  • People think of the wimpy Percy character in 'The Black Adder' TV series
  • Percy is the name of a train in 'Thomas the Tank Engine'
  • The Harry Potter character Percy Weasley was a nasty, supercilious traitor
  • The most famous Percy was Percy Bysshe Shelley, an English romantic poet
  • Percy is an effeminate, "sissy" name
This conclusion is quite surprising when you consider the earliest examples of Perseus and Percival. Percival was one of King Arthur's Legendary Knights. He was the only knight virtuous enough to be able to retrieve the highly coveted Holy Grail, making him a hero. Likewise, Perseus was a great hero in Greek mythology, credited with killing the famous snake-haired Medusa. Perseus has recently been depicted not only in the Percy Jackson series, but also by the very easy to look at Australian Actor Sam Worthington, in the movies "Clash of the Titans" (2010) and "Wrath of the Titans" (2012).

I'm sure that it is due to these dual Perseus depictions that the shorter Percy is suddenly back on the radar. It now has a tough image longer form, and a lot of people are really love Greek mythological names. Perseus is one that has flown under the radar for a long time, so it has a certain cool and unique factor about it. And as with many names, it will soon lose a lot of it's negative tarnish and be considered cool again. People have already started comparing it to Archie, Alfie, Perry, Freddie, Artie and Charlie. Could Percy possibly be the next big thing in the nickname-as-name trend? I think it could.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Your Favourite Letter

Name Magnets Available from Three Button Designs
Most people put a lot of thought into naming their children, or characters in a story. Amongst the lists of "rules" that many people have when choosing names, choosing a name for its first initial - and consequently how the initials of their given names will work with their surname - is a consideration for most people. Here are some of the most common factors people care about in relation to initials:
  • They don't want more than one person in the family to have the same first initial, to avoid confusion with mail, at school, on labelling etc
  • They don't want all of their children to have the same first initial so they can avoid "Duggar Style" naming. Or Kardashian style naming for that matter.
  • If the first two children have different initials, the third one can't have the same initial as the other two to avoid the one with the different initial feeling "left out"
  • Conversely, they prefer all children to have the same initial - either because the first two happen to have the same one and they don't want subsequent children to feel like the odd one out, or because they like the children to have a common bond (beyond belonging to the same family)
  • Perhaps the most important one - their initials must not spell out any undesirable words. i.e. Freddie Ulysses Kramer = not good.
However here's another thing worth considering - how would you feel if their first initial became their nickname? Some people deliberately choose first and second names to get a cute nickname, such as J.P. or D.J. On the other hand, others choose names specifically because they feel it doesn't have any usable nicknames. On first appearances, would you think Blair has any obvious nicknames? No? How about the character Blair on 'Gossip Girl'. Her best friend Serena calls her B, which further translates to her famous reputation as "Queen Bee".

This all crossed by mind the other day when dealing with someone at work who loves to use this method of nicknaming. Luckily my first name starts with B, which I think works well as a nickname. And I've heard him call a Helen "H", which I guess is OK. But I started to wonder when Felicity (Flick to most people) became "F". What do you think? Which letters work best for this style of nicknaming? And how would you feel about carefully choosing a name you love that seems to have no nicknames, only to have that name reduced to just a letter?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Azura

The Shrine of Azura in 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim'
Azura is one of my favourite names. It is an elegant and understated name, without being snobbish or trashy. It also has a slightly exotic feel, which is largely thanks to its' "z". Azura is pronounced ah-ZYUR-ah, and is a form of the word French Azure, meaning 'blue'.

Azura may be a colour name, but could also be considered to be a gemstone inspired name. Have you ever seem some of the ancient jewellery from any Ancient civilisations, such as the Egyptians? You may have noticed a beautiful blue stone used for a lot of inlay work on various items, and in some of their most intricate jewellery. That blue stone is called Lapis Lazuli, which translates to 'stone of azure'. There is also a carbon mineral called Azurite, named for its similar clear, deep blue colour. Azurite has been used as a pigment in dyes and paints for centuries.

Both Azura and Azure are fairly rarely seen as given names, which seems strange considering it seems most people find them both to be very pretty names. I first became aware of it on actress Azura Skye. Yes, this combination literally means 'blue sky', a somewhat "hippy" sounding name, but the use of Azura makes it subtle and somehow magical. I'm not the only one who must think so, as at least one other parent gave this combination to their daughter according to one For Real Baby Names post last year.

The other variation of this name I've seen is Azhure, a major character in the fantasy novel series' "The Axis Trilogy" and "The Wayfarer Redemption". In fact, Azura has quite some presence in the fantasy world. She is The Lady of Twilight in the game 'The Elder Scrolls', a superhero in the Marvel comics universe (also known as Thena), a character in a Canadian fantasy animated TV show called 'Di-Gata Defenders'; and an island fortress in the game 'Gears of War 3'. This is great for people like me who love their fantasy and sci-fi names. But if fantasy isn't your thing, the name Azura also appears in the bible, as the wife of Seth.

Most Azuras love their name, and it's hard to find a lot of teasing potential for young girls named Azura. Possible nicknames if you're looking for one could be Az, Zuzu or Zulie. I'd be tempted to go with the simple but lovely Blue though (despite the possible Blue Ivy connection). As people are often looking for the next almost-fantasy-inspired but little-known "established" name,  Azura could possibly become a lot more popular once it is "discovered". My advice is, if you love it get in early before others cotton on to just what a gorgeous name it is and Azura becomes the next Aria/Arya or even Zelda.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

One Syllable "AY" Names


One syllable names are great things. They can be cute and spunky. They can be simple and lovely on girls, or abrupt and strong on boys. As first names, they can balance out a long, complicated surname. Or as middle names they have help tone down a long or "frilly" first name, and often they help to create that highly desired "flow" between a first name and a surname. And they're perfect for parent hoping to head off undesirable nicknames.

If you're after a one syllable name, a great resource is the e-book '1-Syllable Baby Names', written by Nancy Mann and available at Nancy's Baby Names. In it she outlines the 100 most popular one syllable baby names (for girls and boys) in America in 2011. I was reading through it the other day when I was struck by how many of these names contain an "AY" sound. I shouldn't really be surprised, because when I think about it most of my own favourite one syllable names contain this sound, such as Paige, Sage and Dane. Even my husband's name falls into this category. I like the sound of these names, so I can understand why so many others do too.

So listed here are the names that meet this criteria that appeared in the top 1000 last year, as per Nancy's book. I've changed the order slightly to include various spellings of the same name as one entry. Where a name does have various spelling, they are written in order of popularity.

                    GIRLS                                                      BOYS
                    Grace/Grayce                                            James
                    Faith/Fayth                                               Chase
                    Jade/Jayde/Jaide                                       Jace/Jayce/Jase
                    Paige                                                         Blake
                    Kate/Cate                                                  Jake
                    Jane/Jayne                                                Gage
                    Sage/Saige                                                Lane/Layne
                    Rayne/Rain/Raine/Reign                             Shane
                    Maeve                                                       Drake
                    Mae/May/Mai                                            Zane
                    Shea/Shay/Shae                                        Cade/Kade
                    Blake                                                        Frank
                    Layne/Laine/Lane                                      Trey
                    Faye                                                          Tate
                    Chase                                                        Jay
                    Rae                                                           Kane
                                                                                     Wade
                                                                                     Ace
                                                                                     Blaine
                                                                                     Trace
                                                                                     Kale
                                                                                     Case
                                                                                     Dane

At this point there are a couple of observations I'd like to make. Firstly, only three names on this list were used for both girls and boys - Chase, Blake and Lane. In all three cases, more males were given the name than females were.

the next is that there were fewer girls names, but they varied the most, as almost all names were used with more than one spelling. Comparatively, only three of the boys names had more than one spelling, and only one name - Blaine - used the "ai" combination that is so popular with the girls. Do we see "ai" as more feminine? Are we more open to experimenting with our girls names than boys names? And for those who think there are more "good" girls names than boys, it seems this would be one category where that is not the case, judging from the length of the boys list.

If this has whet your appetite, but you prefer names that are a little less commonly used, then here are some more for you to think about:

Babe                              Haig                        Pace                         Thane
Bay/Bai                          Hale                       Payne/Paine               Trail
Blaise                             Haze                       Praise                       Twain
Craig                              Kane                       Quade/Quaid             Vale
Dale                               Kay                         Rafe                           Wales
Day                               Lake                        Slade                          Wray
Flame                            Mace                       Slate                           Yale
Gale/Gail                      Maine                      Swain                         Zade/Zaid/Zayd
Gray/Grey                     Nate                        Taye/Tay                    Zale
   

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paloma


Paloma Faith
If you're looking for a soft and pretty, classic but different, it's hard to go past Paloma. It has a similar look and feel to the gorgeous Pandora but without the nasty "unleashed all the evils of hell upon the world" connotations.

Paloma (pronounced pah-LOH-mah) is a Spanish name meaning dove. Or pigeon. But I prefer to focus on the dove part, even though I know that a dove is only a white pigeon. The dove is universally recognised as a symbol of peace, and in religious art the Dove symbolises the Holy Spirit, so this could also be an inadvertently spiritual name. Dove itself is also a rising name, so Paloma would also be a nice nod to the currently trendy bird names without feeling dated in ten years time.

I have always felt that Paloma is a pretty name, given to elegant, sophisticated people such as Paloma Picasso (daughter of famous painter Pablo Picasso). However not everyone will have the same first impression of this name. I've seen reactions such as "It sounds like a type of drug or cancer" (you mean melanoma?) to "It sounds like a sandwich meat" (um..I think they're thinking of bologna) to "Sounds like something you should name a horse" (I guess their horse is a palomino). But plenty of other people think it is beautiful and feminine.

Other famous Palomas include:
  • Indian actress Paloma Rao,
  • Spanish pianist Paloma O'Shea
  • Mexican model Paloma Jimenez
  • Argentine ballet dancer Paloma Herrera; and
  • British Singer and actress Paloma Faith
Which illustrates that Paloma is a name that works well in many countries. In Italy, the feast of Paloma is celebrated on August 15th. Celebrity Salma Hayek chose it as the middle name for her daughter - Valentina Paloma - while 'Ugly Betty' star Ana Ortiz named her daughter Paloma Louise. There are also songs, towns and even a cocktail with the name Paloma.

Paloma is a gentle, polished, feminine name that is familiar to people worldwide, and would be a great choice for your daughter's name.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hunter

Like the look? Check out www.hunterbaby.com.au

I was having a bit of a play with the Baby Name Genie this evening and was very surprised when it came up with the combo of Hunter Craig when I put in my last name. Surprised, because Craig is my husband's name, so I guess that means the genie thinks his name was a good choice with his last name :) So would I consider actually using this name combination? Long story short - probably not. But Hunter does have a certain charm to it.

I think of Hunter as a boys name, and if you haven't been able to tell by my previous posts I tend to like strong names for boys. Hunter definitely falls into this category, mainly due to the associations people have with the word. Hunter is an English name that means 'one who hunts'. Some are put off the name because they find hunting and by extension the name Hunter to be violent and therefore an undesirable trait or image to be associated with. Yet Hunter remains a very popular name for boys - in 2011 it charted at #54 in America, and #20 in Australia. Which I found a little surprising, as many see Hunter as a very American name, probably due to the larger number of people who enjoy hunting as a pastime in the US.

If you love names in the same 'hunting' vein as Hunter, other options you might also like are Chase (#69 in the US, #68 in Aus), Archer (#447 in the US, #14 in Aus), Ryder (#108 in the US, #46 in Aus), Fisher (#854 in US, uncharted in Aus), or perhaps Arrow (uncharted).

Many characters in movies and TV shows are named Hunter, and in 1984-1991 there was even an American police drama titled 'Hunter'. Famous namesakes include American journalist and author Hunter S Thompson, golfer Hunter Mahan, young country singer Hunter Hayes and actor Hunter Parrish. While thought of as a boys name, another well known Hunter is female - Hunter Tylo, famous for her role as Taylor in 'The Bold and the Beautiful'. It is seeing some use as a girls name, but is yet to appear on the girls charts.

If you like the sound of Hunter but not its popularity or immediate hunting connotations, other options could by Huntington, Huntingden or Huntley (my personal fave). But my one biggest personal  misgiving about using any "Hunt" related names is exactly that. Their nickname is most likely to be Hunt, which could quickly become a similar sounding word starting with C that nobody should ever like to be called. Not likely to be a problem in the schoolyard, but that's not great at any age.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Great Naming Story


Coach Sue introduces baby Robin to Kurt
I caught the first episode of the new season of 'Glee' this week. If you weren't already aware, eternally sassy coach Sue Sylvester has now had her baby. Her daughter was introduced in this first episode of season four, titled "The New Rachel".

Now, turns out that most of the talk about this new addition is that it is the first depiction of a baby with Downs Syndrome on a TV show. I didn't realise that though until just now when I was checking that I had the right spelling of the baby's name, so I guess we're yet to see how that will impact any upcoming story lines. It's a great testament to the shows theme of inclusivity.

However the reason I'm remarking on this is because I love the back story behind how Sue named her bundle of joy. Sue has named her daughter Robin, and the explanation she gives Kurt for her naming choice is "It recalls hope, springtime and my favourite dead Bee Gee". As usual, a quick insight into Sue's softer side followed by a snappy line :).

I'd love to hear if anyone else has any short explanations on why they love their favourite name!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lawson

Boyband Lawson - Andy, Adam Joel and Ryan

I always feel a sense of serendipity when a concept you hadn't heard or noticed before suddenly appears a couple of times in quick succession. That is how I felt this week with Lawson. Firstly, I've just finished reading Stephen King's "The Stand" this week, and was struck by how I got almost all of the way through the book before realising that the character Larry's name was actually short for Lawson, not short for Lawrence or even a name by itself. I was already thinking about looking at Lawson further, when I'm in the toilets at the movies last night and in walk two women and one is talking about her son Lawson. I figured it must be a sign.

Lawson started as a surname, meaning 'Man from Laurentum' after the town Laurentum in Italy that was famous for it's Laurel trees. It was thought to have been brought to England and Scotland in the 12th century by crusaders as Lawrence. This would be why Lawson (as a given name) is now seen as on Old English name meaning 'son of Lawrence'.

Lawson has been in use as a first name since 1850, but has been more commonly known as the surname of some great people. Here in Australia the name is synonymous with the legendary Henry Lawson, a poet and short story writer from the late 1800's to early 1900's. Other famous Lawsons include:

Henry Lawson
  • Louisa Lawson, Australian writer and suffragist, and mother of Henry Lawson
  • English politician Nigel Lawson
  • American four time Grand Prix motorcycle racing World Champion Eddie Lawson
  • British explorer, naturalist and writer John Lawson
  • 17th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Canada, Frank Ray Lawson OBE
  • Creator of the Lawson criterion, British engineer and physicist John David Lawson FRS
  • British food writer and broadcaster, Nigella Lawson
  • Josh Lawson, current Australian actor
  • rising UK boyband Lawson

Lawson feels right at home with today's popular surnames, and it's modern sound belies it's strong history. For boys, it's a less popular alternative for people who like the look of Lawrence but want a slightly cooler feel. Popular nicknames are Lars, Laz, Larry and Law -which was apparently an extremely popular nickname in medieval times. I actually quite like the nickname Law, it's sounds like a strong nickname for a boy.

Some girls are now being given the name Lawson too. I personally think it would be a little harder for a girl to wear the name Lawson, but it could be done. I personally would go for a softer nickname though, like Lacy or Lo.

In the US the name is yet to crack the top 1000 for girls, whereas Lawson sat at #582 for boys in 2011. This makes it one of those great not-unheard-of-but not-too-popular names. As of yet it seems to be quite rare in Australia, but I think it would be a great name if you want something to honour your Australian heritage without being too obvious.




Thursday, September 13, 2012

Survivor Season 25 Names

The Cast for Season 25 of 'Survivor'
I got very excited today when I found out that the cast of the upcoming season of 'Survivor' has now been announced. Mainly because this means that the new season of 'Survivor' starts just next week!! I always love watching the different personalities each season brings, and seeing how they interact with each other. And I love discovering the new batch of names every season. This is the show that introduced me to the exotic Parvati, Cirie and Yau-Man. And where else would you see a Troyzan and a Tarzan in the same place?

The other thing intriguing thing with 'Survivor' names is the chance that the show will change how you think about the names you already know. As we have all experienced, our impression of a name can be influenced greatly by other people. How many times have you fallen out of love with a name because you knew a bully in school with that name, or your partner has an ex with that name, or that horrible woman you work with has that name?  For me, 'Survivor' has made Colby more than just a type of cheese; Sugar seem like an acceptable nickname for an adult; and Colton a bitchy diva name rather than a strong manly name. With so many big personalities on Survivor every season, there is always a chance that a name will suddenly take on a different light.

So with that said, the cast of the upcoming season 25 of Survivor will give us the following crop of names to fall in (or out) of love with.

The Girls
Abi-Maria - wouldn't work quite the same if it were Abby-Maria or Abbi-Maria. Abi is just the right amount of cute to balance out the tried-and-true grown up Maria.
Angie
Dana
Dawson (Sarah Dawson) - I'm intrigued that she goes by her last name. Quite like this on a girl even though I've only seen it on a boy before.
Denise
Katie - interesting that both Angie and Katie are ex-pageant girls. Does the fact that they both have nickname names mean they seem more outgoing and approachable, and therefore more attractive maybe?
Lisa
RC (Roberta) - no mention of her middle name, which I'm guessing starts with a C because her last name doesn't.
Roxy (Roxanne) - The name Roxanne plummeted just a decade ago. I'm not sure why when it has such a spunky nickname.

The Boys
Artis - this one I hadn't heard before! Apparently it's a form the name Arthur, which means Bear. Of course, also sounds just short of the occupation Artist, which could cause some confusion.
Carter - Do you think of Carter as a preppy type or laid back surfer dude?
Jeff
Jonathan
Malcolm - haven't often given this name much thought, but I quite like it. Especially when associated with Captain Mal Reynolds from the show 'Firefly'.
Michael
Pete (Peter)
Russell
Zane - I have to admit to having a thing for the 'ane' names - Dane, Kane, Lane, Zane....

Happy viewing everyone!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Saffron


Today's name was in part inspired by a post on 100 Best Fall Baby Names. Yes, I'm on the other side of the hemisphere and therefore it's more timely for me to be thinking about Spring names right about now. But when I noticed this gem at the number 14 position on the girl's list, I was reminded of how much I have liked Saffron for a long time.

There were two main reasons that Saffron popped onto my radar as a teenager in the 90's. The first inspiration came in the form of the long suffering daughter on the British comedy classic 'Absolutely Fabulous'. Saffron - often better known as Saffy or "Saffy Darling" - was the daughter of PR maven Edina (played by Jennifer Saunders). Edina was crazy, outrageous and incredibly selfish. She liked to overindulge in drugs and booze, and I think it was always assumed that the name Saffron was a result of her drug induced, hazy hippy days. Saffron herself however was anything but dippy. She was the calm, sensible one attempting to bring normalcy to their lives and counterbalance the effects of Edina's crazy friend Patsy (played by Joanna Lumley). Saffron was played by Julia Sawalha, who I already loved from her days in the show 'Press Gang'. At the time Saffron seemed like such a far out, 'hippy' name and at such contrast to the sensible on-screen character that I was intrigued.

And then not long after 'Absolutely Fabulous' hit the screens, I fell in love with a movie called 'Circle of Friends'. Well worth a watch if you haven't already seen it - I love to pull this off the DVD shelf from time to time. But without going too off-track here, one of the stars of this gem was the then relatively unknown Saffron Burrows. And suddenly Saffron went from being an 'interesting but a bit of a strange, hippy name' to being a beautiful, sophisticated and unique name for me.

Saffron still strikes me as an elegant name, and slightly quirky in-a-good-way. As a spice name, it feels like a more modern alternative to other spice names such as Rosemary and Thyme. Saffron is arguably the rarest and most expensive spice (it can only be collected by hand), making it feel very special and unique. It is also a colour name - this bright yellow spice is used to dye the robes that monks of some eastern religions such as Buddhism a bright yellow orange colour. And Saffron is a flower name, as the spice Saffron comes from the purple crocus flower.

While I think the nickname Saffy used in 'Absolutely Fabulous' is cute, I understand that actual Saffrons don't necessarily feel the same way. Real life Saffrons have also reported that people seem to associate this name with India, possibly due to the prevalent of the spice in Indian food, despite it being a name that seems to have originated in England.

However I think one person who commented on the babyname wizard website summed up my feelings on the name Saffron most eloquently with this insightful comment: "I think this is a perfect name to give a baby if you believe your child is worth her weight in gold (or even more than her weight in gold)". Ditto from me.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Marshall

6 month old Marshall, courtesy of Aimee Cook Photography
If you're a fan of 'How I Met Your Mother', you'll be familiar with one of the shows main characters, Marshall Eriksen. He's the dorky but lovable gentle giant of the group. I must admit I hadn't given his name much more than a passing thought until I read the recent weekly post by Appellation Mountains' Abby on Nameberry championing the great variety of good boys names out there. She's absolutely right. And so tonight as I watched 'How I Met Your Mother' I noticed it in a new light. I think that Marshall is definitely one of those cool boys names that can often get overlooked.

 Marshall is a French name that means 'caretaker of the horses'. It could fall into several different name categories that are currently in vogue - word names, military names, old school names, occupational names, surnames - but while it is reasonably popular in America (#340 in 2011), it seems the name is yet to catch on in Australia. This is possibly due to a little rule we have here about not being able to give children names that denote rank or nobility (i.e. Duke, Earl and Prince are not options for us). I know I couldn't use Governor or Sheriff, but what about Marshall? I wasn't sure myself, until I found that in 2011 Marshall was indeed given to 3 boys in one of the Australian States, so I guess it's OK.

One of the things I like about Marshall is the contrasting images it can present. If you think of it in terms of law enforcement, it's tough and assertive. But on the other hand, it sounds a lot like marshmallow, so kind of sweet, soft and cuddly. I love names with dual images like this. There are also quite a few cool (and some not so cool) nicknames for Marshall. My personal favourite is Mars. Marsh is also quite popular, which could be good but could also lead to 'swamp' jokes. Or it could turn into Marsha, and that infamously whiny catch cry "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!". At the other end of the spectrum a son with this name could also be expected to know 'Marshall' arts, or declare 'Marshall' Law, both contributing to the tough image of this name. Which brings us back to the Marshmallow that I mentioned it reminding me of earlier as a nickname possibility.

Maybe because it can also be seen as having a softer side, Marshall is also starting to get a bit of attention as a girls name. I guess Marshall would be a great sister for Jessica's Simpson's Maxwell. But hopefully we'll see Marshall left for the boys for a while longer yet!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Calliope


Calliope is one of the prettiest (in my opinion) names from Greek Mythology. Pronounced kah-LY-oh-pee, she was one of the nine Muses that were the inspiration of poetry, music and dance. Specifically, Calliope was the muse of epic poetry, and was thought to be the muse of Homer, the author of "The Odyssey" and "The Iliad". The meaning of Calliope is 'beautiful voiced', which is possibly why the musical instrument you hear when on a merry go round was given the same name.

Some may find Calliope slightly hard to say - I've heard of people confusing it with Cauliflower or Cantaloupe. Which makes me think they weren't really making any effort to understand it. Strange. This problem should lessen as we see more characters in television and books with this name. In the 80's, 'Days of Our Lives' had a quirky character named Calliope. In current times, Dr Calliope Torres on 'Grey's Anatomy' goes by the more familiar Callie. There are also central characters in Jeffrey Eugenides' novel "Middlesex", Amy Carter's "Goddess Test" and Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler's "Scrambled Eggs at Midnight" with this name.

I feel that Calliope has a magical, musical quality to it. Some might say it is a big, fanciful name that would be hard for a girl to wear if she wasn't particularly talented in the creative arts. But not everyone will be immediately aware of the musical and creative connections with this name. For me, Calliope actually falls into the category of beautiful, feminine names with spunkier nicknames that make it easier to wear in everyday life. Cute nicknames of Poppy, Calli and Calla spring to mind. Or another option is to spell Kalliope with a K, which gives the longer version a slightly less classic, more modern feel. I think this is one name we'll slowly start seeing more of in the future.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Adrian

Actor Adrian Grenier from 'Entourage'
Today is Father's Day here in Australia so I thought I'd look at my own father's name, Adrian. Adrian is a Latin name meaning 'From Hadria'. Hadria was a town in Northern Italy, and is also purportedly the source of the name for the Adriatic Sea. It is also indirectly the source of the name of Hadrian's Wall, a wall that was built across Northern England during the reign of  Roman Emperor Publius Aelius Hadrianus in the second century AD.

Adrian was first popular in Britain in the 1950's, but these days is popular in many countries. In fact, www.babynamewizard.com reports that Adrian is currently a top 100 name in Spain, Norway, Germany, Austria, Hungary, USA and Sweden. This means that Adrian would likely travel well and be easily recognised in many countries, if you are a parent who has to move to various countries and are looking for a name that would work well in many cultures.

Famous Adrian's are plentiful, and include:
  • several saints
  • six popes, including the only English pope (Adrian IV) and the only Dutch pope (Adrian VI)
  • Sir Adrian Cedric Boult, an English conductor
  • multiple American actors, such as Adrien Brody, and Adrian Grenier (pictured above)
  • several football players
  • Olympic athletes in athletics, baseball and table tennis
I like the name Adrian, and find it to be quite strong and masculine. This is despite the fact that Adrian has often been seen as a feminine name after the girlfriend in the 'Rocky' movies of the 70's and 80's bore this name. Or slightly wimpy if you were a reader of the 80's English young teen book "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole".

If you also like Adrian, but want a slightly less common variation for your son, great alternatives include Adrien, Hadrian or Adriano. Adrienne, Adrianna and Adria (my personal favourite!) are also good female alternatives, with the double benefits of being feminine but strong sounding names.

Happy Father's Day everyone!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Colour Purple


Our team had lunch at Purple Cafe today, and I love this little blurb on the back of their menus:

PURPLE
Uplifts
Calms the mind
Encourages creativity
Creates a sense of spirituality
Blend the stability of blue and the energy of red
Symbolises power, nobility, luxury, wisdom, dignity and magic

I love the colour purple! When you think of it in terms of the above it's easy to see why so many others love it too. But while Blue, Grey and even Pink are colours that are now accepted as names, Purple seems just a little too quirky to use on its own yet. Luckily there are plenty of other options for purple inspired names that can be used to still convey the feelings and qualities people associate with purple.

While flowers tend to be the most popular source of purple names, below is a list of some "official" shades of purple to draw some inspiration from. By no means do I suggest these would all be great names (Eggplant? For dinner, yes; a person, no), but you may find some potential winners here.

Amethyst
Byzantium
Cerise
Eggplant
Fandango
Fuchsia
Han
Heliotrope
Indigo
Lavender
Magenta
Mulberry
Orchid
Pansy
Phlox
Pizazz
Plum
Rose
Thistle
Tyrian
Veronica
Violet
Wisteria