Tag Archives: Name of the Day

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 ūüėČ 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.

Name of the Day: Vera

I mentioned my love for Vera in a recent post about Lavender. It’s such a sweet name, I thought it deserved it’s own post. It’s sweet, simple and means faith in Russian or true in Latin and summer in Albanian!

This name has lots of history, let’s start with its musical history, as that will most interest my husband. It’s a Beatles name, one of the grandchildren in “When I’m 64”. Vera Lynn is a singer known as “the Forces’ Sweetheart” as she was popular during WWII and sang many songs for the troops and toured giving concerts specifically for them. At 100 years old, she is still active both musically and charitably. I could do a whole post on how awesome she seems. The Pink Floyd song “Vera” is a reference to her.

In the movies Vera-Ellen is an actress and dancer  best known for her role in White Christmas. Another actress, Vera Miles is best known as Lila from Psycho. In modern day the name also belongs to actress Vera Farmiga.

A lot of literary characters have been named Vera, including Vera Rostov in War and Peace. The first time I considered the name was while watching Cheers with Peter years ago, as it’s Norm’s often mentioned, never seen, wife.¬†

Vera Brittain was a writer, feminist and pacifist. She served as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse during WWI, she also lost her fiance, brother and several close friends. This led her to feel very strongly against war, though she still volunteered to help provide for those serving in wars. Her books were typically at least somewhat autobiographical and show a very real picture of life during her time. 

Many associate this name with the designers Vera Wang and Vera Bradley. Though I don’t feel super strongly for or against their designs I find them to be inspiring namesakes as they are powerful business owners who followed their dreams. If my next daughter is half the fashionista as my first I’m sure she’d love to share her name with 2 designers.

This is as far as I’m going to go because holy cow, there is a massive list of influential Veras. If you want to see more check out the Wikipedia page.




Name of the Day: Winifred

I don’t think there’s any hope of selling this name to Peter, I’ve brought it up in the past. But I think it’s beautiful and adorable, one of my very very favorites! So, I’m going to try.

Derived from Gwenfrewi, it means blessed peace or reconciliation. I love the nicknames Winnie, Freddie or just Win or Fred! It has a lot of pop culture associations including characters in Hocus Pocus, Tuck Everlasting, Angel, Once Upon A Mattress, Mary Poppins, Jungle Book, and more. Through these associations, it is a name most are familiar with, though probably most don’t personally know a Winifred.

According to the legend of Saint Winifred, when Winifred decided to become a nun she had a suitor. When she told him of her choice, he decapitated her. Of course, her head was reattached, her attacker swallowed by the ground and she went on to do lots of great deeds. This tale makes her the patron saint of unwanted advances… which I think is pretty powerful!

Winifred Brunton was an artist known best for the pieces she made depicting Egyptian pharaohs. This is because her and her husband went on archaeological digs and she based her art of the ruins that they found, making her artwork more realistic than anything seen before on the subject.

Winifred Atwell was a pianist from Trinidad that had great success in the UK and Australia. She was without question the most successful pianist of her time, which is all the more impressive considering she was a black woman. Unfortunately for us in the states, she was never well known here. She was supposed to appear on the Ed Sullivan show, but producers thought the audience would be confused by a British sounding black woman and never recorded the segment (though she did fly in for it). Despite this, Winifred claimed to have not suffered from racism in her own life, but was very outspoken about the issue in society. Particularly, she spoke about the treatment of the aborigines in Australia, the place she called home later in life. She also donated her time and talents to charity concerts to help the needy and orphanages.

Winifred Maxwell was an aristocrat who saved her husband from the death sentence. The guards let her in to say goodbye on the night before his execution, she dressed him in woman’s clothing and escaped. I think that tale is a great example of bravery and love!

Other famous Winifreds include a silent film star, the first woman to earn a PhD in mathematics, several writers, one of the founders of modern speech therapy, educators, politicians and more. It’s a magical name, and if you’re reading this and considering naming your daughter Winifred, please do it!




Name of the Day: Camilla

 

Well known in many cultures, but not terribly popular, Camilla is gorgeous without being overly frilly. Nicknames Milly and Cammie are sweet and feminine, while Cam is spunky and masculine. Milla and Mila make cute nicknames too.

Many people will associate this name with the Dutchess of Cornwall, for better or worse, but the truth is it had a long history before her. However, let’s focus on her first. Princess Diana was very loved around the world and as a result many see Camilla as the floozy other woman. I do not in ANY way approve of married couples having affairs, however, I think it’s very clear that the relationship between Charles and Camilla was quite complicated, as was the one with Charles and Diana. They all live in a very different world than I do, a world obsessed with social class, riches and the accomplishments of everyone’s ancestors. A world where, sadly, I don’t think marriage is often a result of love, but being a good fit in terms of boosting one’s social image or increasing one’s wealth… maybe that was Charles and Diana’s marriage, and maybe him and Camilla were truly in love. I don’t know. I’m not going to pretend to. I really don’t care too much about the royal family… but I will say that Camilla has done quite lot in terms of raising awareness for issues such as rape and poverty. And generally I approve of those who use their social influence to help the less fortunate.

Camilla Collett is considered the first Norwegian feminist. She believed women should have more roles in society, be prepared for success beyond an arranged marriage, should have a say in their own future and allowed to marry for love. These things may seem pretty obvious now but were radical ideas in the 1800s when she wrote of them, which is why she had to do so anonymously. I think she sounds like a total badass. (Funny how her beliefs can be related back to the Dutchess, yes?)

Camilla has not one but two strong literary associations. First she was a warrior in the Latin epic poem Aeneid. Raised by her father in the woods surrounded by shepherds, she was a huntress and another badass woman. She ran so fast that she didn’t break a blade of grass and could run across water without getting her feet wet.

In 1796 Frances Burney published Camilla: ¬†A Picture of Youth. I haven’t researched much about this book because I want to read it and I didn’t want to accidentally stumble upon spoilers, but I think it is a love story and also a story about friendship and sisterhood. If I’m right it adds to the romantic vibe I get from this name.

So there you have it, totally badass, totally romantic, pretty and cute too! Camilla is an A+ in my book!




Name of the Day: Amos

Meaning “carried”, Amos is familiar but uncommon. In the Old Testament the book of Amos is one of the oldest of the books and is largely about greed, corruption and oppression of the poor. (Thank you behind the name for your always vast and helpful collection of name facts.) I find this to be particularly fitting in the current state of the world.

Besides the biblical Amos, Amos is also the birth name of Bronson Alcott, who went by his middle name and I wrote about in this post. It has musical ties through both Amos Lee and Tori Amos.

Known primarily for his Famous Amos cookies, Wallace Amos Jr. has also written 10 books, mostly ¬†of the “self help” genre. Before starting his cookie business he was a talent agent, representing artists such as Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross and the Supremes. He has also worked to help adults learn to read through volunteering and through a television program he hosted in the 80s.

Other famous Amos’ include Olympians, inventors, actors and more. There are no nicknames I love for it… but that didn’t bother me since the name is only 2 syllables. It’s short, sophisticated but spunky and I also really like the way it looks!




Name of the Day: Marielle

A French diminutive of Marie, Marielle is exotic but approachable. My middle name is Marie, which is in honor of my aunt. Probably 80% of the people reading this consider Marie to be a family name, it’s classic! This would be a great way to honor someone named Marie without using the same name. (Though, I do find Marie lovely as well!)

Katia and Marielle Labèque are French sisters known internationally for their piano performances. Check out their performance Rhapsody in Blue on YouTube. They now own their own record label, and represent young artists from several genres. Though they have their own personal lives, they still live together, currently in a palace in Rome.

Marielle Goitschel skied in the Olympics, winning 5 medals, 3 of them gold. Another famous sister set, Marielle and her older sister Christine were the first sisters to compete in an individual Olympic event against each other. Their first event Christine won gold and Marielle silver, the 2nd they flopped the order of their victories. I guess with this association as well as the one above, Marielle is the perfect little sister name.

2 members of the French parliament are named Marielle, which I think makes the name more powerful and passionate. Marielle Houle is a well known Canadian criminal who helped her sick son commit suicide. Obviously, to some this would be a terrible association, but to some, this namesake represents a very loving mother. To learn more about these and other Marielles, check out Wikipedia.




Name of the Day: Evander

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.




Name of the Day: Gilda

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.




Name of the Day: Thaddeus

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.