Email Me!

Email me questions, comments, or post ideas!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The independent film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is about a group of British elderly that for various reasons go to India, to Marigold Hotel, an old folks home. The movie offers some great names because most of the main characters are elderly - that generation of names that is currently being revived (Just look at Evelyn). The rest of the characters are Indian, names not used much in the USA. 

The English
Evelyn - Enjoying a recent surge of popularly, Evelyn is a name with diverse origins and meanings. It has been in the top 100 for the past 10 years, ranking 24th in 2011. It has great nickname options like Evi and Lynie

Norman - Unlike Evelyn, Normal has been dropping in popularity and is currently ranked 910. It is of Old German origin and means northerner.

Madge - This is a nickname for Margaret that has been lost to the ages in favor of Maggie and Margo. I think its retro feel fits perfectly with Hattie and Millie, which are rapidly on the rise. It has not been in the top 1000 since 1948, maybe it will come back soon?

Graham - Current ranked 255th, Graham is at its most popular point since statistics were tracked for America.  It is of Old England origin and refers to a gravelly area.

Douglas - This name was discussed briefly during the Christmas post as a possible Christmas name due to Douglas pines (or, for me, the song Douglas Mountain). Douglas is a place name of Gaelic origin meaning black river. It has the nickname Dougie (or Doug), which I think is cute despite the recent associated dance. Douglas has been slowly declining in popularity since a high of 23rd in 1942. Perhaps it should start a slow rise again soon.

Muriel - I am a big fan of Mir/Mur names. Unfortunately my husband is not. Muriel is a great example. It reminds me of the words mural and miracle, both positive associations. Muriel has not been in the top 1000 since 1964. It is of Irish origin and means sparkling sea.

Judith - Another name, like Douglas, that has been declining since the 40s (when it got as high as 4th), but has since been steadily declining. The adorable nickname Judy is something to consider.

Jean - Simple and sweet, this is a variant on Jane or John and means God is gracious.

The Indians
Sonny - Despite being the first of the "Indian" names, Sonny is actually of English origin, perfectly reflecting how entwined India and Britain are. Sonny could be a short form of names like Santino and might be worth a "How to get your nickname" post.

Sunaina - Sanskrit for Beautiful Eyes, what a lovely meeting! Pronounced Suh-nen-uh.This could have nicknames like Sunny or Nena.

Anokhi - Sanskrit for Unique, pronounced uh-no-kee. Unfortunately to me this sounds a bit too much like Nokia, the brand, but it is pretty.

Gaurika - Sanskrit for pretty girl, pronounced gah-ree-ka.This feels like a play on Erica or Enrique.

Manoj - Sanskrit for "born of mind", pronounced muh-no-j.

So what do you think? Will Madge make a comeback? Would you consider an Indian name?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Harry Potter Alphabet: F is for Filius

Sorry for my absenteeism. I have no excuse. I have lots of post ideas boiling, hopefully I will be able to get more out to you soon. Now onto the F names in Harry Potter!

Fleur - French for "flower", a nice option for a nature name. (Fleur Delacour)

Frederick - With the adorable nickname Fred or Freddie, this old German name meaning peaceful ruler might be due for a resurgence. It is right on trend with other names coming back now like Charles (Charlie) and Henry (Hank). (Fred Weasley)

Firenze - This is the Italian and German word for the city of Florence. It is pronounced Fur-en-zee. Florence means flowering or in bloom, but I would view Firenze as a place name. In the movie this is a male character, but I think it could work quite well for a girl.

Filius - I cannot find a history of this being a name, it appears to be the Latin word for son. If you like the sound of Philip but want something more unique, this might fit the bill. (Filius Flitwick)

Frank - A shortening of Francis meaning french man or Franklin meaning free land owner, this has been used as a stand alone name for centuries. Frankie is an adorable nickname and matches things like (Frank Bryce)

Florean- The more traditional spelling is Florian, and its Latin and Slavic for flower, a masculine version of Flora. (Florean Flortescue)

Fabian - An old Roman name referring to a tribe. Pronounced Fay-bee-en, with other Roman names coming back (like Magnus and Octavian), this could be a good option. (Fabian Prewett)

Fawkes - To me, Fawkes sounds like a last name first sort of deal. It could also be seen as a variant of the "real" baby name Fawke, which is a variant on Fulke, which is Old English for people (think Folk).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Birthday Party

My husband and I spent this afternoon at a party for a 3 year old girl and 5 year old boy. I found myself fascinated by the collection of names at the party. The kids ranged from 13m (my son) to maybe 15? Most of the kids were related in someway, though not all and I cannot tell you what the sibsets are. It was pretty confusing with all the kids running around!

Chase - This sleek one syllable name has been in the top 100 since 1995 but never made the top 50. It is popular but not over the top popular, and it has a fresh sound. It is Old English/French and means Huntsman. Or, I guess it can be a "word as name" if you prefer.

Sullivan - Last name as first name, with the adorable nickname Sully (ala Monster's Inc), Sullivan has been a very slow rise since the late 90s, and is currently in the five-hundreds in popularity. It means "dark eyes" in Gaelic.

Benjamin - With the rest of the names on this list, its no surprise that one of the grandparents of most of the other children commented "Oh, his name is Benjamin? Such a nice old name!". She meant it entirely as a complement. Benjamin is Hebrew (first appearing in the bible), meaning "Son of the south" or "son of my right hand". Despite Grandma's surprise, there are plenty of little Benjamin's running around. It ranked 19th in 2011 and has been on a slow rise.

A.J. - Clearly not a name, but a nickname. I think initial nicknames don't get nearly the attention they deserve. They can solve a lot of naming dilemmas, such as wanting to give the child an honor name but either not loving the sound of it or not being practical to use it. I wonder what this A.J. stands for? Andrew Jacob? Allen Joseph? Alister Jude?

Kairi - I was shocked to find this actually IS in the top 1000! Just crept in their at 962 in 2010 (the year this little girl was born). It comes from a video game "Kingdom of Hearts" and means ocean princess (a more direct Japanese translation would be ocean village, but I think the video game meaning is probably where the name is coming from).

Kenley - Another name that only recently made the top 1000, but unlike Kairi is rapidly climbing - from 994 in 2008 to 491 in 2011. Kenley is Old English and "last name as first name" and means "King's meadow".

Meghan - Originally a nickname or form of Margaret, it has long stood as its own name. It is a name on the decline, dropping from 134 in 2000 to 739 in 2011.

Kendra - This name has many possible derivations. One is Welsh and meaning "greatest champion". Kendra has been slowly dropping in popularity and is currently at 293 (in 2011).

Rowa - What a unique name! A slightly more feminized version of Rowan perhaps? Or perhaps this was just her nickname? I am not sure. One source says Rowa means "beautiful vision", but I am not sure if its reliable. Rowa could be short for Rowena or, well basically any of the girls names discussed as source names for nickname Ro! It does not appear in the top 1000 in any year.

Opal - A nature name, the birthstone for October is iridescent. The name is of Hindi and sanskrit origins. I grew up with an Opal and always thought it was a beautiful name with a great meaning, so I was charmed to find it on another little beauty. It dropped out of the top 1000 in 1961, but with other gemstone names like Ruby on the rise, I would not be shocked to see it make a reappearance soon!

Nora - I have seen a lot of this name on Swistle's blog, she loves to recommend it, and she is right on trend as it has been steadily rising for the past 15 or so years and is currently 137th (in 2011) . It can be derived in several ways, most commonly as a shortened form of Eleanor.

What do you think? Would you use any of these names?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Get Your Nickname: Ettie

With Emma having been in the top 5 for ten years now, I think she has run her course. Ella, meanwhile, has been on her climb to the top. "Ev" names are also quite popular and rising (with Eva and Evelyn both in the top 100, and Evie, Eve farther back but all four climbing). It is unsurprising that people are finding the option of "Ettie" as a nickname as charming. I have particularly been hearing a lot of buzz around the name "Henrietta" as a source for Ettie, though it has not been in the top 1000 since 1968. It and its derivative Harriet may soon be making comebacks!

I think Ettie is an adorable nickname, but by no means are you limited to Henrietta as the source. Since posting about my unused girls name from when my son was born, Cosette, I have been intending to post about "names ending in ette". And here it is. "Ette' is a diminutive ending in French. That means that it makes a word become smaller, cuter, more feminine (in German "chen" serves the same purpose". It is kind of like adding an "ie" or "y" to something in English, though much more clear and more common than that.

Because of this role of "ette" in French, there are MANY names with it as an ending, and it can be added to almost any root name to get a feminine alternative. I cannot possible touch on all "ette" names here. If you would like to see more, check out this list, which claims to have 204th, though I am sure there are duplicates based on how they count. (The list of names ending in Etta is 172 long and is largely overlap.)

My favorite options for getting the nickname Ettie:


Do you like the nickname Ettie? What long name would you pick to get there? Obviously, I am a fan of Cosette, but I also love many of the other options.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Harry Potter Alphabet - E is for Everard

OK. I think I found a more comprehensive Harry Potter character list, so back to the alphabet! Credit to John Denker for compiling it. I may have to go back and update the earlier posts at some point, but for now lets keep moving forward!! Also, from now on I have decided to make the lists as comprehensive as possible, but only discussing the a interesting names! So, here are the "E"s!

Elphias and Elfric I cannot find a source or meaning of these specific name. They are rather whimsical with the  "elf" sound. I searched for similar names and could not find a boys name that starts with Elph. There is Elfred which means elf and Elford which is old English and means "old place. While Elfric sounds like it came out of a fantasy novel, I think Elphias is quite usable. (Elphias Doge) (Elfric the Evil).

Emeric - I went to High School with an Emeric and always thought it was a very unique name. Emeric is old German and means home ruler. It turns out I was quite right, as Emeric has not been in the top 1000 names in the past 100 years (or likely ever). With "Emma" number one for  girls for quite sometime, why not "Em" names for boys?  (Emeric Switch)

Everard - I really like this name. I have been seeing Everett around a lot lately (seems to pop up on Swistle's blog a lot!) , and I think Everard is the rarer brother. Everard is old English and means "brave, strong boar". There is also a German version, Eberhard. (Headmaster Everard)

Ernie - In the U.S. Ernie is strongly associated with Sesame Street characters Ernie and Bert. Ernie is short of Ernest, which means "serious, battle to the death". For me, Ernest is associated with stupid comedic movies featuring a character Ernest P Worrell. Because of these associations, iw ould not consider the name, but there are also more classic references like Ernest Hemingway and Archduke Ernest of Austria  (Ernie McMillan) (Ernie Prang)

Errol - This is a version or Earl and means "nobleman" (as in the title Earl - Earl of Sandwich etc). Since Earl has take on a "white trash" connotation in the U.S. (solidified by sitcom My Name is Earl), Errol offers a nice alternative (Errol the Owl)

Euan -  This is a classic Scottish name meaning "born of the yew tree". Alternate spelling Ewan, like actor Ewan McGregor might be more pronounceable for the American public. (Euan Abercrombie)
Edgar (Edgar Bones)

Elfrida -  Remember the discussion above about "elf" names? Well unlike Elphias and Elfric, Elfrida is a "real" name of OLD English origin, which means elf, or "magical being". (Elfrida Cragg)

Emmaline - Emma too popular for you but you like the sound? Or perhaps you like Emma as a nickname but want something longer or more formal. If so, here is your girl. Emmaline has not been in the top 1000 names since 1915, and back then it was at 994! There are many possible meanings depending on how you derive the name. Alternate spelling Emeline is German for "peaceful home".   (Emmaline Vance)

Enid - For me, Enid is a Barenaked Ladies song of the same title. However, to other ears it might be an old name that is ripe for a comeback. It is Welsh and means soul or life (Great Aunt Enid)

The more mainstream names: Eleanor (Eleanor Branstone), Emma (Emma Dobbs), Eloise (Eloise Midgeon), Eric (Eric Munch)