An ancient Greek name meaning “good man”. I think this name is strong and handsome… But worry it’s too associated with Evander Holyfield. He may be a lovely person, I don’t know. I have no interest in boxing, so with him being such a strong association for many, it’s probably not the perfect name for my son. But if boxing is your thing, I recommend it. And if it’s not but you think you can get past the Holyfield association, there have been other influential bearers of the name.
Evander of Pallene founded the city of Pallantium, which would later be Rome. He also started the Lupercalia festival, which rids the city of evil spirits, cleanses the villagers and making them healthy and fertile.
Evander is also the name of an ancient Greek philosopher, a sculptor and more. I love the nickname Van! LOVE!! Evan is another good nickname, as is Ander.
Gilda means sacrifice or value. It has 3 very strong associations, but I think all 3 are glamorous, classic and artsy.
Gilda is the name of a 1946 film starring Rita Hayworth. I love watching old Hollywood movies and wondering if my grandparents saw the film, how they liked it, etc. As someone who went to school for media studies, I find films from this time period so simple and endearing. I’d love a name that reminded me of any of them. This one in particular, though, I haven’t yet seen to be able to say if I like it better or worse than others. But I plan too.
Gilda Radner was one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live, and most consider her to be the most talented and influential of the original cast. I know she was my mom’s favorite. Like many people who have brought so much joy and laughter to her fans, her life was actually quite tragic in many ways. She struggled with many eating disorders, her father died when she was young, had friends who abused drugs, of which she didn’t approve, and of course, she died at only 42 of ovarian cancer. However, her life also found her a great love in Gene Wilder. Their romance was cut tragically short when she lost her battle to cancer, but Gene continued to honor his late wife by raising awareness of ovarian cancer and providing support for those with cancer or a high likelihood of getting ovarian cancer.
Gilda is also the beautiful daughter of Rigoletto in the tragic opera Rigoletto. Her father shelters her from the public to protect her, but in truth this makes her naive and foolish and starving for any sort of affection. In the end she gives her life for a man she thinks she loves, despite knowing he is unfaithful and has lied to her.
I just love Gilda. It’s so simple, but uncommon, while still being familiar. I don’t think it needs a nickname, however Gildy, Gilly and G are all adorable.
I’m obsessed with the name Thaddeus. My husband has shot it down before and I’ve put off bringing it up again as I know he isn’t a fan if the “Th” sound, especially in the beginning of a name. But I love it too much to not even try.
Thaddeus means courageous heart or could be related to Theodore, so would mean Gift of God. Both amazing meanings. Thaddeus is the last name of one of Jesus’s 12 Apostles, Jude.
I love nicknames Tad, Thad, Taz, Ted and Deus. Let’s be honest, as a baby I’d call him Tadpole!
Thaddeus can be considered a musically inspired name for 2 reasons: Thaddeus “Thad” Jones was a jazz trumpeter, composer and band leader. Also the inventor of the telharmonium (an electric organ considered the first synthetic instrument) was Thaddeus Cahill.
Thaddeus Stevens was a Radical Republican who wanted to rid our country of slavery. When the freedom of slaves was clearly going to happen, he thought some of the slave owners’ land should have been given to the newly freed slaves. When Lincoln was killed and Johnson took his place, Stevens was disgusted by his unwillingness to put into law any protections for the newly freed slaves. Thus, he tried to get Johnson impeached, which, as we know, never happened. He also believed in, worked for and donated his own resources towards free public education to all.
Meaning beauty or splendid in Sanskrit, this name belongs to the wife of Hindu God Vishnu. She is the goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. (She’s also known as Lakshmi.) To me this name is extraordinarily feminine and powerful.
Indira Gandhi was the third Prime Minister of India. To date, she is the only female to hold this position. Her father is the only prime minister who served longer than herself, a record she may have broken had she not been assassinated. In 1999 BBC did a poll which resulted in Indira being named “Woman of the Millennium.”
Indira Devi was an extremely courageous and passionate Indian princess. At 18 years old she broke of her engagement that her parents arranged to marry someone they didn’t approve of. Her parents continued to fight this wedding but eventually gave her permission, though they refused to attend it. She had 5 kids but before their 10 year anniversary her husband died. 2 of her children died while Indira still lived. So full of life herself, it’s sad how much tragedy found her family.
Indira Kadambi is an Indian dancer and choreographer. Indira Freitas Johnson is an Indian artist and nonviolence educator. Indira Naidoo is an Australian journalist. Many more influential Indiras can be found on this Wikipedia page.
Meaning “beautiful victory” this name is currently common in Sweden and Norway, but hasn’t ranked in the top 1,000 in the U.S. since 1915. I love the sound of it, but I also love the nickname Siri and Sigi.
Sigrid Undset was a Nobel Prize winning writer. She is best known for her trilogy Kristin Lavransdatter , a historical novel that follows the life of a woman living in Scandinavia in the middle ages from birth to death.
Sigrid Banér was a Swedish noble known for the letters she wrote detailing her family’s history. She also sponsored scholarships for students to study theology at Uppsala University. I imagine her to have been a very generous person because of this.
Sigrid Peyerimhoff is a German chemist who has written over 400 articles, won several awards and is on the executive board of several professional societies. And let’s be honest, just being a woman in the field of chemistry is pretty bad ass.
Sigrid Hunke is a German author known for her work in religious studies. She was a Pagan Unitarian, a religion based on connecting with nature and personal spiritual growth, which I dig.
Sigrid Schultz might be my favorite Sigrid. An American journalist, she was arguably the best investigative reporter leading up to and during World War II. This is all the more impressive cosnidering before her no woman was even given such a job in the media. She wrote several books as well. Above all she worked hard to uncover the truth and present information as fairly as possible, but also made her beliefs known regarding those being unfairly persecuted.
More writers, artists, royalty, athletes and more, see the Wikipedia list of influential Sigrids here.
Meaning enthusiastic prince, this Welsh name is simple yet exotic. Idris is also an Arabic name meaning to learn or study. Two excellent meanings for one name? Jackpot!
Currently the best known Idris is probably actor Idris Elba. However it also belonged to Idris Gawr, or Idris the Giant. He was a king in medieval times who could apparently sit upon a mountain and keep an eye on his whole kingdom.
My favorite famous Idris is Idris Davies. A famous Welsh poet, his works discuss many significant events and struggles in 20th century Wales. He saw both the beauty and struggles in every day life and his works seem very fresh, real and believable. Some of his works have been turned into folk songs.
Other famous Idris’ include many political leaders (king, sultan, etc.), politicians, musicians and more.
Short form of Nicolette, this name means “victory of the people.” I love the nickname options: Coco, Lettie, Colly, Etta, even Cole.
Saint Colette is the patron saint for women trying to conceive, pregnant women and sick children. Born by a first time mother who was 60 years old, her birth was considered by her parents to be a miracle. Years later she was staying with a woman who was in labor, and it was literally killing her. Colette prayed and the lady, who lived and had a healthy baby girl, credited Colette for their survival. Colette also met a baby born deceased and wrapped him up and he came back to life. Certainly fitting stories for those expecting, especially those who are high risk or struggled to conceive.
Colette is also the more pen name of the French novelist who is best known for her novella Gigi. Her works often explored the struggles of trying to be an independent woman in a world run by men. In 1954 she was was nominated for a Noble Prize in literature. Very influential in her time, and still today, she is a great role model, as she was brave and never afraid to be herself.
Meaning “excellent”, Sterling is a strong name that feels modern without feeling made up. It has a long history as both a first and last name, adding to it’s appeal.
Sterling Holloway is a voice actor who probably starred in your favorite childhood movie. His biggest part has been the voice of Winnie the Pooh in many, many of Pooh’s tales. He also had smaller roles in The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, Aristocats, Bambi and more. Knowing this name belonged to someone who worked on so many movies that brought me joy makes me smile.
Sterling makes me think of Roger Sterling in the television show Mad Men. If you’ve ever watched Mad Men, you know none of the characters are particularly endearing. However, Roger was probably my favorite. He was a jackass like the rest of them, but you could tell deep down he was a good guy. I always saw Roger as a product of his environment. He was surrounded by unsavory characters who gave into their every temptation, so he did too. But aside from his as a character, the association makes me happy as it reminds me of the hours Peter and I spent watching the show together.
As usual, there is a much longer list of famous Sterlings that may be inspiring to you. A NASCAR driver, musicians, writers, and more. These are my top 2 but to see others check out these Wikipedia pages.
Pauline is my Grandmother’s name, so I wouldn’t actually use it as a first name. But I would love for it to be our girl middle name next time around, so I thought it would be fun to see what I could dig up on it.
Obviously Pauline is the feminine form of Paul, meaning “small”. I love Paul as it’s my grandfather’s name (on the other side of my family). Also it would keep our accidental Beatles theme going via Paul McCartney.
Pauline Fossil is one of three sisters in the children’s novel, Ballet Shoes. An aspiring performer, this character would fit in with artsy namesake Lucille and Lennon.
Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins was an African-American writer. How cool, Elizabeth is also my Grandmother’s middle name. Her writing was typically romantic but also expressed her views on race and social issues.
I can’t tell you how much joy it would bring my kids if I ever used the name Abigail. They are obsessed with Abby Cadaby on Sesame Street. The meaning “Father’s Joy” is beautiful… and for some reason I found it surprising. Also surprising to me was that this name was known as a servant’s name for many years, due to her story in the Bible and several other classic books. It wasn’t until this last century Abigail has shaken that image… I also thought of it as almost snooty, so this was funny to me.
Besides a Muppet, Abigail is also the name of two first ladies, Adams and Fillmore. Abby Wambach is a gold medal Olympic athlete who actually grew up not far from where I grew up. Abby’s also the mother of Louisa May Alcott and the pen name for sister advice columnists (Dear Abby). Nick name Abbey is also a reference to the Beatles album Abbey Road, which is why my husband likes it and I’m trying to sell myself on it. (Not that he’s dead set on keeping our accidental Beatles theme going. But he thinks it’d be sort of cool if the name we chose ended up having a Beatles connection too.)