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.)
Meaning little deer, this Irish name is pronounced osh-een or ush-een. I love that it sounds sort of like ocean.
Oisín is known in Irish legends as the son of Finn mac Cumhaill and Sadbh, the greatest poet in Ireland and a great warrior. In his most famous tale he falls in love with a fairy woman, Niamh of the Golden Hair. They lived together for 300 years in the land of the young. When he decides to visit his old home, the 300 years catch up with him an he dies, never returning to Niamh.
James Macpherson published a series of poems in which Ossain (based off legendary Oisín) is the narrator. Osheen is a 3rd acceptable spelling, and probably the one that would cause the least amount of confusion.
Jessamine is a rarely used flower name… but I can’t figure out why it’s so rare. It’s lovely!! And nickname Jessa is adorable! I don’t know which pronunciation I prefer, the English JESS-ah-min or French Jess-ah-MEEN. With the first I worry that people would hear Jasmine… and the 2nd, well we’re not French so I feel like that’s not the correct version for us..?
Jessamine Shumate was an artist from Virginia. Reading about her I am inspired by her painting called “Cookie Pan”. She accidentally burned a cookie pan. She scrubbed and scrubbed trying to get it clean. When she couldn’t she just said, whatever, I’ll paint it. That’s an attitude I want my child to have, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade! I also love that she didn’t become a serious artist until her daughters were grown. Not because I think a woman can’t be both a mother and artist at the same time, of course. That would be inspirational as well. I just like that it’s something she always wanted to do and even though it took her a long time to get started, she did it! So many people get hung up on being too old to start new things, and that’s crazy. You never know how much longer you have, do what makes you happy no matter how long or short it may be!
Jessamine is a character in several books, none of which I’ve read. Though if this name becomes a finalist I will! Check Nameberry to see some of the books she’s a part of. I first encountered the name upon reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s not a character, but it was the first I’d heard mention of jessamine flowers, little Eva picking them! I thought, that’s a pretty flower name, I wonder if people use it as a name? And, sure enough! Anyways, since I read it in Uncle Tom’s Cabin and specifically in relation to the character Evangeline, I find Jessamine southern, sweet and innocent.
When I was growing up The Swan Princess was my very favorite movie. I wanted to be Princess Odette. I still love the name and the memory of my favorite movie makes my heart smile. And the connection to the ballet the movie is based off of, Swan Lake, makes it even better.
Odette means wealth and fortune. Besides it’s fictional namesakes, Odette Hallowes was a Works War II heroine. An Allied Intelligence Officer, she was imprisoned and spent time in a concentration camp, being tortured constantly but never gave any information or her true identity. She was incredibly brave, smart and full of energy and life.