Gideon is an English name meaning “hewer” which gives it a rugged vibe. The first two syllables being pronounced “giddy” also gives me a happy feeling. I like giddy as a nickname, though as he ages, he’d probably prefer Deon. Or of course I’m always all for going by one’s full name.
A biblical hero, this name goes way back, but I think it still feels fresh today. Besides being in the bible, it’s also the name of the bibles that you find in every hotel. This is because Gideon represents few people doing great work, beautiful! I also like that these bibles make me think of travelling. Though I should note that the organization also distributes bibles to hospitals, jails, colleges and more.
Gideon has history beyond the bible. Gideon vs Wainwright was a significant Supreme Court case that mandated all states must provide an attorney to any defendant in a criminal law case who cannot afford to hire one them self. I like this reference as it illustrates what our country offers to us: fairness, freedom and equality. I also think Clarence Gideon is inspiring as he didn’t give up, he fought for himself and his rights. He wrote to the Supreme Court from jail and this act ensured all his fellow Americans would have legal help in defending themselves so they would not be wrongly persecuted solely due to their lack of funds. In case you’re wondering, after winning this case, he was given a retrial for his original criminal case and found innocent within an hour. Many others who were doing time that for crimes they didn’t commit also got retrials and the chance to walk free.
Perhaps it’s a stretch but I’m going to say I can call Gideon a Beatles inspired name, as Rocky Raccoon mention Gideon’s Bible. This is significant to us as we accidentally started a Beatles theme with Lucille ans Lennon’s names. A theme we won’t go out if our way to continue… But if it happened, excellent! Keeping with the musical theme, Gideon is also the youngest brother in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Meaning brown’s son, this name has a long history of use as a first name and surname. I love the nicknames Bron, Brons, Bro and of course Sonny.
Bronson Alcott is the father of Louisa May Alcott. He is known himself as an educator, philosopher, abolitionist and an early feminist. (The father of 4 daughters, I suppose it’s not surprising he felt strongly about women’s rights.) He was known for controversial teachings, as he encouraged young students to be self reliant and didn’t agree with many forms of punishment. He asked students whether they thought the stories in the gospel were literal or not, which many found blasphemous, but which I find refreshing. He allowed a black student into his school and refused to expel him despite protests that he do so. His family was often poor, but this is because Bronson refused jobs that he did not agree with morally.
Bronson has also been the name of many athletes, a couple actors, politicians, even the surname of a war hero who received the U.S. Medal of Honor.
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.
Meaning “of the forest”, Sylvester was my great grandfather’s middle name. I’m aware most people will associate it with a cartoon cat and Sylvester Stallone, but as neither of those are bad associations, I think it’s worth consideration. Let’s see who else has had the name.
Sylvester Churchill was a distant relative of Winston Churchill. Born in Vermont in 1783, he is a war hero in both the War of 1812 and the Civil War. He also published a weekly newspaper called The Vermont Republican.
Sly Stone (birth name Sylvester) is a Rock an Roll Hall of Famer, the front man in Sly and the Family Stones. The band was very influential for soul, funk and psychedelic music.
Also the name of several popes and saints.
Nick names Silly, Sly and Ves are all adorable!
Tavish is the anglicized Scottish form of Thomas. Thomas means twin, which is kind of fun because Peter’s dad is a twin, and his name starts with T. So, I feel like it would honor him. Thomas is also the last name of my closest aunt, uncle and cousins. In Hindi Tavish also means heaven.
I haven’t dug up any significant info on Tavish, but if course Thomas has history galore. So if you want to honor a Thomas without using Thomas, this is an interesting way to do so!
A Scandinavian name meaning “island spear” this name is rugged and uncommon. Again, so uncommon I didn’t find it on nameberry. But don’t worry, I dug up some info thanks to behind the name and of course, Wikipedia.
When I hear Holger I picture someone big and muscley, maybe because it sounds a little like hulk. Anyways, that fits the many athletes that bear the name. Maybe not quite as burly, it’s also the name of several politicians in America, Germany and elsewhere past and present. A couple German musicians as well as a Danish composer, several actors, businessmen, astronomers and more… it’s a way bigger list than I expected and frankly I can’t research them all. Having a professional background in radio I do need to mention Holger Peterson who has hosted Saturday Night Blues since 1987, which is syndicated throughout Canada and is also on Sirius. He also owns and operates an independent music label, Stony Plain Records.
Holger Cahill deserves his own paragraph. Cahill is best known for his role as national director for the federal art project during the New Deal. During this time 100 cities across the country started community art centers and 10,000 artists were able to support themselves throughout the Great Depression. Besides being one of the Art’s biggest supporters and influencers, he was also an artist himself, primarily a writer. He wrote 3 novels and was working on a 4th at the time of his death. He also wrote a biography, several essays and short stories over the years. This is all the more impressive as he grew up in a poor family that didn’t want him, was mistreated and forced to runaway. Perhaps the arts provided an escape from his sad life as a child, and that’s why he grew to treasure them so.
Oswin means “God’s Friend” which I find very sweet. Originally Oswine, it’s the name of a King in Deira. He ruled peacefully for seven years but then Oswiu, the king to the North declared war on him. Oswine refused to engage, but was ultimately betrayed by his friend and put to death.
This is pretty much all I can find on Oswin, sadly. So I’ll just add that Winnie, O and my favorite, Ozzy are all wonderful nicknames!
Cassius has 2 acceptable pronunciations, both of which I love. KAS-ee-us and KASH-us. I slightly prefer the 2nd, partially because it’s the way I always heard it in history class. Also because I love the nickname Cash. Cash makes me think of Johnny Cash and it’s a definite guilty pleasure name for me. Because of its association with money I would never use it as a standalone name… but I think as a nickname it works just fine!
Cassius means empty. Not a great meaning… but not terrible. If you think of empty as needing to be filled I think it’s a creative and beautiful meaning. Full of potential. A reminder that every new life is a blank slate and their experiences will help determine who they become and the kind of influence they have on the world.
If you can’t put a positive spin on empty, Cassius has enough history to override that. Cassius Clay was most known for his work towards the abolition of slavery as well as being the ambassador for Russia under president Lincoln, Johnson and Grant. In 1845 he began printing an anti slavery newspaper, True American. His views and publications were not well received by all and he received death threats. But this didn’t stop him from speaking out against what he thought was right.
Muhammad Ali’s birth name was Cassius Clay Junior, named after his father who was named after the abolitionist. Ali lived the life he wanted to live, regardless of social acceptance. Though I don’t agree with everything he has done, I agree with that attitude. And I do agree with his refusal to join the draft for the Vietnam war and the publicity it brought for the anti war movement. Also though I don’t love boxing (I’m not really into sports in general) I do respect all the hard work he put into being the best in his sport.
Cassius is a character in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar who is of course based on the real life Roman senator. Cassius Dio was a historian who published 80 volumes covering 1,000 years of ancient Roman history, he lived from 155-235 AD. Cassius is also the name of several Catholic saints.
Meaning immortal, I consider Ambrose one of my most sophisticated favorites. The first thing that popped out to me when researching this name is that Saint Ambrose is the patron saint of bees and beekeepers!! If you’ve read any of my other articles you probably already know Peter was dressed as a bee when I met him and I’ve always felt a deep connection to bees as my grandmother went by Bea and loved all things bee related.
Since I already mentioned Saint Ambrose, let’s start with him. He’s also the patron saint of domestic animals, learning, livestock, police officers and more. Ambrose was very close minded about beliefs of others, which I consider a major character flaw. But since he lived about 1,700 years ago I suppose I can say he was a product of his time. In other ways he was a kind man, it is said he was always very generous to the poor.
Ambrose Bierce was a writer best known for his short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”. He grew up poor, one of 13 kids, and though they didn’t have much his parents instilled in their children a love of literature. Before starting his writing career he was quite the hero in the Union Army. He then went on to have a very successful journalism career. His creative, fictional works typically involved war and he drew on his own experiences as a soldier. An agnostic, he also wrote a lot about the “absurdity of death.” I could go on, I find this man very fascinating. Read more about him on Wikipedia and the articles that they link up to.
Ambrose Akinmusire is a jazz trumpeter that in 2007 won two prestigious competitions: the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition. In 2014 he won the Paul Acket Award at the North Sea Jazz Festival. Only 34 years old, I expect he has a lot of accomplishments still ahead of him.
Ambrose Burnside was a Union Army General in the Civil War and a politician. What he’s best known for are his sideburns… in fact, he is how side burns got their name. In all honesty though, he seemed to be a pretty nice man, though in over his head in terms of military rank. Apparently he saw himself unfit to perform such a leadership role in the army, but had to oblige upon the 3rd request of his superiors.
Mercer means merchant, fitting in with other occupational names in fashion such as Cooper and Fletcher. It has a long history of use as both a first and last name.
My first association is Mercer Mayer, who is a children’s author and illustrator. Growing up I loved his Little Critter books. We also had a couple Little Monster books, but I preferred the critter. Especially the books with little critter’s little sister. Mercer Mayer has had over 300 books published. Not bad for someone that was told by several authority figures he wasn’t good enough to ever make money with his illustrations.
Johnny Mercer was a songwriter and the founder of Capital Records. James Mercer is the lead singer and guitarist of The Shins. Writer and social activist Langston Hughes was born James Mercer Langston Hughes.
I think Merce is a phenomenal nickname, and it reminds me of Merce Cunningham. Merce was a dancer and choreographer who was very influential in the world of modern dance. Extremely talented and extremely dedicated, he continued running the Cunningham Dance Foundation and creating new art until he died at age 90.