Saturday, January 3, 2015


We've been having a nostalgia fest in our house lately, and one of my old favourites that I revisited was the movie 'Troop Beverly Hills'. It stars Shelley Long as privileged Beverly Hills housewife Phyllis, who takes over as leader of her daughters Wilderness Girls Troop. Of course, they do things a little differently in Beverly Hills, and along the way Phyllis discovers a resourcefulness, courage and leadership that she didn't realise she had.

There are just eight girls in the troop, bearing the names of Hannah, Claire, Tiffany, Lily, Chica, Jasmine, Tessa and Emily. But what caught my attention was the name of the young Philippino actress playing Lily - Aquilina.

Sounds alluring and glamorous, doesn't it? I wonder why there aren't more actresses with this name.

Aquilina is a Spanish version of the Latin name Aquila, meaning 'eagle'. Hence it is said to either mean 'eagle' or 'sharp-eyed'. Like Aquila it can be used for both boys and girls. But unlike Aquila it has never charted in the U.S. This makes it quite rare.

If it sounds a little familiar, you may have heard it as a surname, particularly an Italian surname. Apparently this surname was adopted by people who either:

  • Owned eagles
  • Had great eyesight (eagle eyed)
  • Lived near a place populated by eagles; or
  • Lived in or near the city of L'Aquila, the capital of the Italian region of Abruzzi.

There was also a child saint by this name who lived from 281-293 BC. Her story is quite grisly, as she was a martyr saint who is honoured by the Roman Catholic Church. This does lend a sense of history and gravity to the name Aquilina, and likely helped to establish it's use as a girls name rather than a boys.

I'm not 100% sure on what the "proper" pronunciation of Aquilina is, although it seems that both ah-kwi-LEE-nuh and ah-kwi-LIE-nuh are acceptable. Personally I much prefer the first. I also prefer it as a girls name - the more likely nicknames of Lina or Aqua make it seem more feminine to me.

Another one of the things I like about this name is that it has a unique look to it. Names containing Q are still very rare on the whole, and therefore generally stand out for that very reason. This may make it seem like Aquilina would be slightly harder to wear if your child happens to be the shy type. But I think it is still soft enough to wear well no matter what your personality. I could see this one on a headstrong princess just as easily as on a tomboy or a quiet bookworm.

Aquilina stands out in a subtle way - graceful, almost whimsical; energetic and sparkling.  If you like names that are rare and tasteful, then Aquilina would be a worthy addition to your shortlist.

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