Tag Archives: Name of the Day

Name of the Day: Perrine

I can’t use this name as it’s the feminine form of Pierre, which is the French form of Peter. (I’m also a big fan of Pierre.) My husband (Peter) and I agreed we don’t want to name our kids after ourselves. (Also can’t use it because I’m pregnant with our 3rd and last, and it’s a boy! So, no more girl names for me!) But I think it’s GORGEOUS! So I thought if I wrote about my love for it, maybe someday it’ll be stumbled upon and used by another!

Perrine is the name of 2 Olympic skiers, both from France: Perrine Pelen and Perrine Laffont. Nobody’s Girl is a novel by Hector Malet who’s main character is a 13 year old named Perrine. This book has been adapted into an anime series. That would be a really fun read (and watch) to enjoy with your daughter when she’s old enough.

I’m a total nickname person and I think the Perry or Reeney are beyond adorable! In 2014 5 girls were given this name, but it has not made the social security list since.

 




Name of the Day: Orwell

Orwell was our most likely boy name for baby #3 until about 22 weeks. It’s a name we still love and honestly he may still end up with, as I’m having trouble letting it go completely. But as of right now, it’s our runner up option.

Orwell is a surname of English and Scottish origin. The Scottish definition is boring (in my opinion), new village. But the English definition I LOVE. The branch of the river.

Orwell is not a common first name. In fact it has never appeared on the social security list. That means there has never been a year where 5 boys or 5 girls across the country were named Orwell. However, with sounds similar to Orson and Maxwell, and with so many other surnames commonly used as first names, I don’t think it feels out of place.

Orwell is most associated with George Orwell, author most notably known for Animal Farm and 1984. If you have never read anything by George Orwell, I highly recommend him. Especially in our current time of political uncertainty. George Orwell is a phenomenal namesake. Not only was he extremely smart and talented, he was also brave and never hesitated to stand up for his beliefs.

Orwell has great nickname options (not that it needs them, it’s so handsome on it’s own). O, Ori, Oreo, Wells, Olly. Paired with a J middle name I think OJ is adorable, though you may get the side eye at the playground from people who only associate the name with OJ Simpson.

As we were set on using this name for some time, and did share it with those that asked, I can speak to the downside of it. Though I consider George Orwell a very worthy  namesake, I thought it’s downside would be that it’s overly associated with George and I worried that’s super corny with a brother named Lennon, who already has a name very associated with an artist from the past. As an individual name, I don’t see it as a huge deal, and since he won’t spend his life being compared to his brother, I decided it was okay.

When sharing the name with others we found (in our social circle, at least) that people didn’t automatically associate it with George Orwell. Which would be great considering my above concern, except, with nothing to associate it with, people struggled to remember it. A lot of people would say “I remember it was like Orville, but it wasn’t.” Or if we said “you know, like George Orwell, the author” next time we saw them they’d say, “What are you naming him again? I remember you said it was after an author….” I decided that instead of trying to get people to remember via the George Orwell association I’d probably say “like if you’re at a restaurant and the waiter asks if you want your steak medium or well…. it’s the last 2 words, or well!”

I noticed my generation didn’t seem to have trouble remembering the name, I think we’re more used to uncommon names. Our children’s generation will be even more used to uncommon names so I doubt he’d have this problem with his peers. It’s just our parents generation. Therefore, I don’t think it should allow the name to be ruined as only his grandparent’s generation will refer to him as “that kid with the weird O name.” But I thought I should mention it as it did genuinely surprise me, we had “easy to remember” as a pro on our pro/con list!!

Moving “easy to remember” off our pro list isn’t what bumped this name to our runner up name. Rather, one day I thought of a name that was on our list of 15 names that we agreed on as possibilities pre pregnancy. I thought back to when it was eliminated as a possibility during my first trimester. Peter said it didn’t feel natural. I had been very sick for a long time so when he said “don’t you agree?” I said “I don’t know, nothing feels natural. I feel like death. If you don’t think it feels right, it’s off the list.” But one Friday, months later, I thought, but I have literally a dozen reasons this name is great for us! I should have fought for it. So I stated my case that night, Peter agreed we should use it for a couple days and see if it feels better now. After just a couple hours he said he liked it more and didn’t want to go back to Orwell. So we haven’t. 

So what’s the new name that fits our family even better? It’ll be announced when we meet him in May!! (I promise. Even if we meet him and go back to our original plan of naming him Orwell.)




Name of the Day: Booker

Occupational surnames as first names are hot right now. I’m constantly meeting little boys named Mason, Carter, Cooper… But I’ve yet to meet one with my favorite occupational surname: Booker!

Meaning “maker of books”, it’d be such an appropriate name for a baby born into a literary crazy family, like ours. B and Boo are adorable nicknames. And in my family, where we affectionately tease each other with the least attractive versions of our names, I’m sure we’d call him Booger.

Booker T. Washington was an extremely influential and inspiring African American leader. Born into slavery, Booker and his family were freed under the Emancipation Proclamation when he was 9 years old. He believed highly that education and entrepreneurship could help his people to become equals with the whites. He was one of the founders of the National Negro Business League and is well known for his speech “Atlanta Compromise”.

Everything I’ve read about Booker T. Washington has led me to believe he was very hard-working and very eager to help others. He was one of the most notable black men of his time, and the last generation born into slavery who could speak from experience about that time in American history. I very much want to read his autobiography Up from Slavery.

In 2016 (numbers are not yet out for 2017) 58 boys were named Booker, making it the 2,269th most popular boy name. An uncommon choice that everyone will recognize and know how to spell and pronounce!




Name of the Day: Anina

A German diminutive of Anna, which itself comes from the name Hannah, this name means “grace”. It is also an Aramaic name meaning “let my prayer be answered”.

I can’t find any historical namesakes with this name. Real or fictional. Which kind of blows my mind. It’s so beautiful but simple. It’d be a perfect way to honor someone named Ann or Anna or Nina while still giving them their own name.

Annie, Anna, Annie, Nina are also all great nicknames.

Come on people, why is nobody using this name??




 

Name of the Day: Kipling

According to behind the name, Kipling (which originated as an English surname) means Cybell’s cottage… I can’t figure out who Cybell is though!  If I were to use the name I’d want to so further research on that. (Please comment if you have any knowledge.) But on the bright side, I love cottages. My grandparents had a cottage on a lake and many of my happiest childhood memories took place there.

This name is most associated with Rudyard Kipling, writer of The Jungle Book, as well as many other works. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature, the first person who wrote in English to receive the honor, and also the youngest to receive it. He was 42.

I adore the nickname Kip and think Kipling sounds rather sophisticated as well! Win-win.




Name of the Day: Roscoe

Derived from a place name, Roscoe is used as both a first and last name and means “doe wood”. I believe there are 15 Roscoe towns and villages in the US.  It was only given to 63 boys last year, which I find incredible! It’s so handsome, why are people not using it?

With the name Otis I just linked to a bunch of youtube videos of artists with the name… it seemed to resonate with my husband, so let’s try that approach again!

Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbucke, a silent film star who mentored Charlie Chaplin and discovered Bob Hope. Other actors include: Roscoe Karns who comically starred in 150 films, Roscoe Orman (Gordon on Sesame Street), Roscoe Born, Roscoe Lee Browne and Alan Roscoe.

Outside the arts, there have been many influential politicians and accomplished athletes bearing Roscoe as a first or last name.  Several professor and scientist Roscoes have contributed research advancing the scientific world. It’s also the name of several war heroes and the first ever direcor of the CIA. Roscoe Pound is one of history’s most influential legal scholars. Roscoe Nicholson is one of the earliest advocates for conservation of forest life in the US.  Will Roscoe is an author and activist who’s works largely involve rights of the LGBT community.




Name of the Day: Florence

I adore the name Flora!! For years I’ve been pushing it on Peter, constantly insisting it’s perfect because it’s my great grandmother’s name (Florence) and his great grandmother’s name (Cora) combined. I’ve had no luck. But this week I found out, he does like Florence! And that’s even better in my book. Because Flora is still a nickname option, as is Flo. But it ads other great options Ren and Flossy! And Florence is beautiful, sophisticated, historical and exotic. And (like Flora) I love it’s nature inspired definition, flowering/blooming. (As a side note, I also like Florentia, the original version of the name.)

If you didn’t know my great grandmother, you likely associate the name with Florence Nightingale. She’s well enough know that I don’t think I need to write about her accomplishments. The founder of modern nursing, she was selfless, strong and would make the perfect namesake for any child!

In the arts: Florence Ballard was a founding member of Motown and the Supremes! Florence Lawrence is often referred to as the “First Movie Star”. She appeared in over 300 films.  Florence La Badie and Florence Turner were silent film actresses. Florence Mills “The Queen of Happiness” was a cabaret singer, dancer and comedian! Florence Price is the first African American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer. Florence Welch is the front-woman in Indie rock band Florence and the Machine. And of course Florence Henderson was the Mom on the Brady Bunch.

In other areas: Florence Kelley is a political reformer who worked for childen’s and worker’s right. Florence Newton is the most known “witch” of the Irish witch trials. Other Florences include A first lady, a Vietnam war protester who set herself on fire, several writes, athletes and some politicians.




Name of the Day: Miriam

The meaning of Miriam is quite disputed. In our culture most consider it a Hebrew name that is the first variation of Mary. Mary and Miriam have several theories regarding their origins. The most published definition is “bitter” but I believe it’s actually “beloved”. If Miriam were originally a Hebrew name bitterness would apply as “mr” in Hebrew is bitter. “yam” is sea. So in Hebrew the name means sea of bitterness. However, there is evidence (inscriptions in the pyramids) that the Egyptians had used the names before the Hebrews. It was adopted by the Hebrews to fit into the Egyptian culture. (Similar to if if someone immigrated to America today and named their child Sofia to fit in with our culture.) Many Egyptian names back then included “mr” as it means loved. Another possible Egyptian translation is “Mirror of God”.

Though I don’t consider Miriam to be Hebrew in origin, it’s history in the Bible and Torah is significant. As Moses’ sister she led the women out of Egypt and taught them the Torah, just Moses did for the men. From the time she was a very young girl she also assisted in delivering babies and sparing the lives of the boys that the Pharaoh decreed were supposed to be killed. When her father and other men began divorcing their wives for fear of having male sons, Miriam convinced them to remarry. She also told her parents that they’d give birth to Moses, who would save them all and she’s the one who saved him by putting him in a basket and then helped the Pharaoh’s daughter care for him when he was found. Though I was brought up Catholic, I am no longer part of organized religion. However, I do still find certain stories and characters in holy texts inspirational. Miriam is definitely one of my favorites! In recent decades Miriam has been seen as a symbol of feminism within Jewish communities.

Miriam Makeba was a singer, activist and, well… pretty much everything. Known by some as Mama Africa her life is extremely fascinating and inspiring. She wasn’t expected to survive birth, spent the first 6 months of her life living in a jail, her father died when she was young and she was married at 17 to a man who beat her. None of this stopped her from achieving international fame, but fame got her exiled from her home in South Africa, where her family still resided. It was at this point she began speaking out about the white minority government in Africa. There’s no way I can do justice to her in this blog post. She was talented, brave, confident and she also provided the world with amazing music. She stayed true to herself and her culture instead of trying to fit into the mold of the successful artists of the time. By exposing the world to her African style, she opened their minds to discuss moral and political issues as well. She spoke to the United Nations twice and was involved in many political movements and performances. She says she didn’t sing about politics, she sang about the truth and of her own life.

Miriam Leslie was an author, publisher, aristocrat and woman’s suffrage supporter. She was born to a noble family but was never given much in terms of “love and merriment” as she said herself. In the late 1860s the editor of Frank Leslie’s Lady’s Magazine became ill. She volunteered to take over the job while forfeiting the salary to the sick editor. When he died, she took over permanently and this of how she came to marry Frank Leslie. When Frank died she took over the magazine, immediately making it more successful. When she died she left her money to Carrie Chapman Catt for the woman’s suffrage movement.

Speaking of publishing, Miriam Goldberg also took over her husbands publication, Intermountain Jewish News. Under her leadership the paper began to take controversial stands. Miriam believed in presenting all sides of the issues that they covered, something I feel very strongly should always be done.

Miriam Rivera is a transgender TV personality that has starred in several reality shows and has been a pioneer for the transgender community. Her courage to be herself has helped normalize lives of transgender people to those who have no similar experiences within their own lives. She has never had gender the reassignment surgery because she loves and accepts her body as is. (I’m not at all against gender reassignment surgery, I think each individual should have the body they ate most comfortable in. But I do think her acceptance of herself is inspiring.)

Miriam Yalan-Shteklis was a talented children’s poet who’s works taught lessons without preaching, didn’t always dissolve adults of all blame (as most literature for children do) and showed children expressing a wide range of emotions, not just a happy ending. Similarly, Miriam Roth wrote books now considered children’s book classics and was a pioneer for preschool education in Israel. Several other Miriams have also had success writing for adults. Miriam Ben-Porat was the first female Supreme Court Judge in Isreal and the first female State Comptroller, a role in which she was extremely successful and had a very positive influence. Several other singers, Olympic athletes and actresses bear the name. So, I’d definitely there are very strong feminine role models associated with this name, a big perk for me when choosing names!

Miriam is also the name of the title character in a short story by Truman Capote. Is the story any good? I don’t know. What’s it about? I don’t know. I didn’t read anything about it because Truman Capote is one of my favorite writers so I’d like to read the story very soon.

Adorable nicknames include: Mira, Miri, Mim, Mia, Ria, Mimi… and Meerkat!




Name of the Day: Reynard

An Ancient Germanic name meaning brave advice, this name has lots of spelling variations. I really like Rainard as it has the word rain in it, which I find peaceful and cleansing, but I struggle to find as much information about it being a legitimate spelling…So I’ll go on with Reynard as it’s the most common spelling… though it was still given to less than 5 babies last year.

Reynard is the name of a sneaky Fox (Fox could be a cool nickname) in which many many forklores have been based. These tales started in the middle ages and were popular in Germany, France, England and the Netherlands. In fact these tales were so popular that renard became the new word for fox in France (it used to be goupil.) Reynard’s stories often involve him out smarting the upper class authorities.

His first documented tale is a Latin poem from 1148 called Ysengrimus. Reynard is renamed Rossel in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The character was also used by the Nazi party in an Anti Semitic children’s book (not all the history of a given name can be good!). Disney’s Robin Hood was a fox to make him similar to Reynard. These are just a few of many many examples of Reynard’s many many appearances in pop culture over the years.

I found a modern day pop singer names named Reynard Silva… maybe he’s a big deal… I really don’t keep up with what’s currently hip. Whether a household name or not though, I think he’s pretty talented.

Paul Reynard was a French born artist and art teacher. Many of his paintings exist in the United States, including a mural at Harvard. He was also a very skilled stained glass artist.

 




Name of the Day: Zinnia

The name of a flower, Zinnia has been used rarely as a girl’s name over the years. In fact, it was most popular in 2015 with 120 girls being given that name… but none of those slackers have done anything to make them significant figures yet 😉 I LOVE the name though, and I think I can make a strong case for it despite it’s lack of historical namesakes.

In general I love nature names. I believe I’ve mentioned before, however, most nature names remind me of a delicate, soft spoken child, and I don’t feel they fit a large variety of people. I don’t feel this way about Zinnia. As the name of a flower, I think it would still fit the small framed, shy girl previously mentioned. But the Z gives it extra spunk, making it fit the energetic child equally well. And I think it also has a more robust sound, making me associate it less with someone who is very frail and allowing me to picture it on all body types.

The zinnia flower was named for German botanist Johann Zinn. So, in a way, it has German roots. I pitch German names to Peter often as I’m 75% German but they almost always sound too harsh to him. In Germany the surname Zinn refers to someone who works with Tin. This makes me smile as my grandmother collected tins and started me on the same collection as a child.

Johann Zinn himself was not just a botanist but an anatomist. He was the first to provide some detailed anatomy of the human eye. He died at just 31, so nobody knows what contributions he could have made had his life been longer. Carl Linnaeus created the zinnia flower and named it after Johann. Linnaeus himself seems to have been rather interesting.

All flowers have their own meanings. Zinnia’s are an easy flowering plant and bloom longer than most other flowers, they therefore symbolize endurance. Then of course people like to assign different meanings to different colors within types of flowers. According to Pioneer thinking zinnias represent thoughts of friends. Mixed color zinnias mean thoughts of an absent friend. A yellow zinnia represents daily remembrance. White zinnias represent goodness. A scarlet zinnia is for constancy (matching what I said earlier about endurance) and a magenta Zinnia symbolizes lasting affection.

Though I can’t find any real women who have been influential with the name Zinnia, there have been characters with the name. Zinnia Wormwood is the mother in the movie Matilda. A pretty terrible character, but a great movie based off an even better book (in the book I don’t think Roald Dahl gave the mother a first name, I could be misremembering, I haven’t read it in years.) Zinnia is the name of one of the daughters in the 90s British TV series The Darling Buds of May, based off a novella by H. E. Bates. Zinnia is the main character is Chasing Redbird, a 1991 children’s novel.

This name makes me think of my husband and his love for gardening. I like the idea of naming my last child after something in nature. This world is so much more than just the people in it. The simplicity and beauty of a flower is inspiring to me.