Sunday, December 22, 2013


Photo courtesy of Mali Workman Photography

"On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, ten Lords a-leaping"

Well, if the ladies got to dance, then why shouldn't the men also? Apparently only men could partake in leaping type dances. These dances possibly originated as a war dance, to get men limber and worked up before a battle, or as a fertility ritual to encourage healthy crops. Such dances then became a part of the entertainment between courses at feasts, although as this became better known as entertainment it was no longer just for the Lords of the land.

Which brings us to Laird, a Scottish name meaning 'Lord of the land'. Pronounced LAYRD, it was a title of sorts in Scotland that can be traced back further than the 15th century. It comes from the same origin as the English word Lord, but technically a Laird isn't the same thing as a Lord, as anyone who owned an estate could call themselves a Laird whereas Lord is a noble title.

You'll most often hear Laird in as a surname, or as "Laird of X". It's not used as a given name in Scotland (that would be far too confusing) but it does see use in the U.S. It first appeared in 1888 when it was given to just 5 boys. More recently we've seen Laird on big-wave pro-surfer Laird Hamilton, and Sharon Stone bestowed this name on her son in 2005. In 2012 Laird was given to just 24 boys, positioning it at #4173 on the charts. Pretty rare indeed.

Yet Laird feels like it has the making to go much further. It's a nicely different alternative to many of the one syllable boys names that are so popular. It's more subtle than Prince or King, it still caries an air of nobility but without the pretentious sound. And some even feel it has a bit of an urban cowboy feel - Nameberry listed it as a "bookish cowboy" name just a few months ago. I tend to agree, as personally I think that it feels quite rugged and roguish. There are a lot of boys named Hamish and Lachlan here in Australia, and Laird could be a solid alternative Scottish name.

Incidentally, if you're not in love with Laird (unfortunately it does sound a little too close to lard for many people's comfort) you could always buy your son a Lairdship instead. It's not that hard to buy a small plot of land and receive paperwork confirming your new status - just try here or here. The money goes towards conversation of the land and estate, and it's a great gift idea for the person who has everything. Or maybe a great way to tell your little Laird that he is indeed an actual Laird.

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