Love from Latin: Verb Conjugations of Amare as Baby Names

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 6.17.13 PMHey everyone, Happy Valentine’s Day!  Time for some lovely names?

I took Latin while at university, and at some point I realized that some of the many conjugations or forms of the verb amare (“to love”) have become baby names.  No, I’m not going to make you learn all the ways to say love in Latin – I don’t even think I learned every tense myself since I only had three semesters of the stuff, and I’m a bit rusty to boot.  I *am* going to list the derivative names I can find in my old textbook.  Enjoy!

  • Ama – 2nd singular Present Imperative Active, which basically means it’s the command “Love!” directed at one person.  16 girls were named Ama in 2016.
  • Amanda – Feminine future passive participle / gerundive.  Means “to be loved.”  Amanda is one of the few girls’ names to be in the top 1000 since 1880!  This timeless choice was given to 992 girls in 2016, and ranked #329.
  • Amandus – Masculine version of Amanda.  It appeared a few times in the data between 1917 and 1935.
  • Amare – Infinitive active verb meaning “to love.”  19 girls and 207 boys (#979) were named Amare in 2016.
  • Amari – Present passive infinitive, means “to be loved.”  In modern times, Amari is also plural for amaro, which is a type of Italian digestif (alcoholic beverage consumed to help digest a meal).  1351 boys (#269) and 695 girls (#459) were named Amari in 2016.
  • Amaris – 2nd. singular present passive indicative, means “you are loved.”  376 girls (#751) and 28 boys received this name in 2016.
  • Amata – Feminine perfect passive participle, means “having been loved.”  6 girls in 2016.  I also really like the masculine form “Amatus,” but it doesn’t appear in the SSA data.
  • Amer – 1st singular subjunctive passive…I think it means “I may/should/would be loved?”  28 boys in 2016.
  • Ames – 2nd singular present active subjective.  I can’t be 100% on the correct translation, but I think it’s something like “you may/should/would love.” 86 boys and 5 girls in 2016.  This name is rising very quickly!
  • Ameris – 2nd singular present subjunctive passive; if Ames is active, I think this is probably “you may/should/would be loved.”  12 girls in 2016.
  • Amo – 1st person singular present active indicative, means “I love.”  Appeared in the data for both genders immediately after World War I.
  • Amor – 1st singular Present Passive Indicative, means “I am loved.”  This is also the noun for “love.”  In 2016, 96 girls and 33 boys were named Amor.

    • Amore isn’t a verb, but another (locative, dative, and/or ablative) form of the noun Amor *and* the name of 44 girls and 19 boys born two years ago.
    • Amos is also an old (nominative and vocative) form of the noun Amor.  It ranked #678 in 2016, having been given to 373 boys.

It would be cool to see the forms Amaturus and Amatura as names, but I realized they can sound a lot like “amateur” outside of classical pronunciation. 

What do you think?  Do you like any of these?  And to my readers who know Latin – if I’ve missed any verb conjugations that are names or gotten any translations wrong, please let met know.  Truly, participles and subjunctives are curses upon us all.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve written a Puritan name acrostic for you all!  An acrostic is a poem in which a letter from each line (especially the first letter) spells something out.



I doubt we’re having turkey…more likely, we’re having lasagna.  Does anybody else eat unconventional Thanksgiving foods?

Temperance – 232 girls in 2016.  It was a top 1000 name between 2011 and 2014.

Hope – 1324 girls (#240) and 7 boys.

Amity – 42 girls.  Amity means “friendship.”

Noble – 140 boys and 15 girls.

Knowledge – 112 boys and 8 girls.

Sincere – 405 boys (#628) and 39 girls.  The other option was Silence.

Grace – 7531 girls (#19) and 15 boys.

Increase – Famously borne by Increase Mather (1639-1723).  I’m a little surprised this one isn’t anywhere in the SSA data.

Victory – 47 girls and 16 boys.

Independence – 6 girls.

Nazareth – 64 girls and 47 boys.  ‘N’ is one of the less common letters for Puritan names; Noble is the only ‘N’ virtue name I could find.  My other choice for this slot was the very random word-name “Notwithstanding,” which was mentioned in Albion’s Seed.*  Yes, someone really named their kid Notwithstanding.

Godswill – 6 boys.  This might be a modern creation, but it’s up there with Obedience.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

(As usual, the data came from the Social Security Administration.  The book I mention, Albion’s Seed, is by David Hackett Fischer and contains some information on colonial naming practices)

Mountainous Baby Names

For Earth Day 2017: mountains, volcanoes, and baby names!

Mountains and Volcanoes:

Afton (Virginia) – 96 girls, 7 boys.  Someone told me that they thought all the Afton‘s in their local preschool were named after Afton Mountain.  Looking at the state data for 2015, 10 of the 96 female Afton‘s (about 10.4%) were born in Virginia.  So, the data does seem to suggest a some geographic concentration.

Aspen (Colorado) – 873 girls (#372) and 87 boys.  This name appears in the top 100 of several states, mostly in or near the Rockies (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, and Oklahoma).

Augusta (Alaska/Canada) – 48 girls.

Denali (Alaska) – 62 girls and 28 boys.  About 13% of the girls named Denali in 2015 were indeed born in Alaska.


Denali / Mt. McKinley, by Denali National Park and Preserve

Elbert (Colorado) – 15 boys.

Erebus – Mt. Erebus is a volcano in Antarctica.  For the adventurous mythology-lover searching for a unique baby name, Erebus is the primordial darkness and an underworld locale.  Although he isn’t in the data, the name of another geographical feature of the Underworld – Acheron – was given to 6 boys in 2015. 

Everest (China / Nepal) – 111 boys and 29 girls were named after the world’s tallest peak in 2015.

Hayes (Alaska) – 524 boys (#539), 26 girls.

Helen (Washington State) – Mt. St. Helens partly exploded in 1980, taking off over 1300 ft of elevation.  Helen ranked #419 in 2015, being given to 757 girls.

Hesperus (Alaska) – Greek personification of the Evening Star (Venus).  In Mythology, Hesperus is the half-brother of PhosphorosPhosphoros means “light-bearer,” and is thus the Greek cognate of Lucifer.

Kea (Hawaii) – Mauna Kea.  Kea last appeared in the SSA birth data in 2012.

Kenya – 307 girls (#892) and 7 boys.  Mt. Kenya: largest in that country, 2nd-largest in Africa after Kilimanjaro.

Logan (Canada) – #14 representing 12862 boys; #394 for 827 girls. Mount Logan is the highest mountain in Canada, 2nd largest on the continent after Denali / McKinley.  The fact that Logan’s in Canada really makes me think of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.

Lorenzo (Argentina/Chile) – #216 (1834 boys) in the U.S.  Monte San Lorenzo.

McKinley – #380 / 856 girls, plus 73 boys.  McKinley is the recently deposed name for Denali; Denali is the native name.  Regardless, both appeared in Alaska’s top 100 in 2015 and only in the Alaskan top 100. 

Rainier (Washington State) – Also known as Tacoma or Tahoma, this volcano name was given to 34 boys and 8 girls in 2015.

Rosa (Switzerland/Italy) – Monte Rosa.  Ranks #631, given to 448 girls.

Shasta (California) – Only 15 girls in 2015, though this was a popular name in the 70s and 80s.  Read here for more information on the baby name Shasta.


Mt. Shasta

Sinai (Egypt) – 83 girls.

Stanley (Democratic Republic of the Congo/Uganda) – 363 boys (#688).

Whitney (California) – #640 / 444 girls; also 7 boys.


Alaska – 60 girls.

Amaro (Ethiopia) – 5 boys

Atlas (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) – #490 / 595 boys and 30 girls.  Even as a Greek mythology nerd I think it strange that this name would take off, out of all the classical names out there.  I’ll take it though!

Bridger – 197 boys.  There are actually a couple of Bridger Ranges in Montana and Wyoming, both named for Jim Bridger (of The Revenant fame).  And guess what – Bridger appeared in the 2015 top 100 for both states, but nowhere else!


Jim Bridger

Carmel (Israel) – 18 girls.

Elias (Alaska/Canada) – #100 / 4062 boys and 10 girls.   Elias ranks higher in Alaska than in every other state except for New Mexico.  (I should note – since Alaska has so few people, their charts have little effect on the national data.  That said, their surroundings really do affect their baby naming.  Aurora (like the phenomenon) is their #3 baby name).

Rocky (North America) – #927 / 229 boys.

Taurus (Turkey) – 16 boys.


Blue* – 31 boys, 20 girls; as in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Cliff – 17 boys. 

Denver – 240 boys (#900) and 197 girls.  It’s impossible to think of the Rockies or the Blue Ridge without mention of the folk singer John Denver. 

Kili – Because Kilimanjaro isn’t a baby name, there’s always the Tolkien dwarf name Kili!  6 boys in 2015.

Ridge – 226 boys (#932).

Sierra – 778 girls (#408).  The Spanish word for “mountain range.” 

What do you think?  Don’t you find the geographic concentration of baby names fascinating?  Even an obscurity like Afton seems to influence its surroundings!  And of course: happy Earth Day!

*I’m aware that Blue is coded purple.  I did that because usage is unisex rather than masculine.

Data source:

Irish Spellings in America

When I was growing up, having an Irish name in America likely meant that your parents had named you Ryan or Kaitlyn.  If you had a “Gaelic” spelling, your name was probably Caitlin or Sean.  I still remember how surprised I was when I heard there was an Aine (pr. Awn-yuh) at my high school. 

St. Patrick’s Day is fairly important to me.  Tomorrow will be the first anniversary of this blog, but more importantly: I’m Irish-American!  Several branches of my family emigrated to America between the 17 and 19th centuries.  Some were Catholic, but others were (a little strangely) Protestant.  The last branch to arrive in the U.S. were native Irish-speakers…something you probably don’t hear too often.  With them in mind, I’ve decided observe St. Patty’s on my site by tracking down and posting as many non-Anglicized Irish spellings as I could find within in the 2015 data.  Irish spellings of English names…totally okay!  I’ll point those out as they come along.

One final note before starting: I’ve tried to include the accents, even though the SSA doesn’t count them. 


Aibhlinn – 18 girls in 2015.  A user-submitted comment to Behind the Name suggests this is an Irish form of Aveline.  Either way, it’s very similar to Eibhlín (see below).

Ailís – 12 girls.  Form of Alice.

Áine – 44 girls.

Aisling – 48.  Variant Aislinn (said like Ashlynn) entered the top 1000 in 2015 with 280 uses.  Another spelling, Aislin, was used 55 times in 2015.

Aoife – 98 girls.

Brighid – 9 girls.  Form of Bridget

Cailín – 50 girls.  Note: I don’t think this is actually a name in Ireland, but Colleen is the Anglicized spelling of this.  It means “girl.”

Caitlín – 473 girls, .  Meant to be pronounced more like Katleen than Katelyn.

Caitríona – 11 girls.  Think Katrina.

Caoimhe – 11 girls.  Pronounced like Keeva.

Ciara – 370 girls, #756.

Clíona – 5 girls.

Clodagh – 5 girls.

Deirdre – 27 girls.

Eibhlín – 8 girls.  Eileen is an English-version, although Eibhlín can also be said more like “Evleen.”

Eilís – 6 girls girls.  Usually a form of Elizabeth

Fíona – 1484 girls, #219. 

Fionnuala – 7 girls.  Fenella is probably my favorite English spelling!     


“Maev,” J.C. Leyendecker, 1911.

Maebh – 6 girls.  My mother told me once that I’d have been named Maeve if I were born in the 80s. 

Máire – 10 girls.  Form of Mary

Mairéad – 24 girls.  Irish form of Margaret

Máirín – 12 girls.  Maureen is the Anglicized form.

Muireann – 5 girls.

Niamh – 35 girls.  Rhymes with Eve!

Nuala – 9 girls.  I’ve actually met one. 

Órla – 30 girls.

Ríona – 33 girls.

Roísín – 27.  Diminutive of Rós, making Roísín the Irish equivalent of “Rosie.”

Saoirse – 158 girls.  Pronounced like “Seer-sha,” I think most are named after actress Saoirse Ronan.

Sinéad – 10 girls.  Form of Jane

Siobhán – 56 girls.  Nancy at Nancy’s Baby Names just wrote a piece on the American familiarity with Siobhan.  Check it out!

Sorcha – 7 girls.

Úna – 45 girls.


Aédán – 166 boys.     

Aengus – 9 boys.

Aodhán – 12 boys.

Art – 20 boys. 

Artúr – 24 boys.

Bradán – 13 boys.  You probably know this name through one of its other spellings – Braden and Brayden.

Bran – 12 boys.

Brian – 2200 boys, #188.

Cathal – 5 boys.

Cathán – 5 boys.

Cian – 153.  Keane is an Anglicized form.

Ciarán – 73.  Kieran is the English spelling, though I still prefer Ciarán.  It makes me think of Ciaran Hinds (especially his role as Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome).

Cillian – 121.  Pronounced with a hard ‘c,’ like Killian.

Colm – 13 boys.  I met one once, and made the mistake of pronouncing it phonetically.  It’s closer to Colum. 

Colmán – 16 boys.

Conall – 38 boys.

Conán – 58 boys.

Conor – 621 boys, #477.

Cormac – 175 boys.  This always reminds me of Cormac McLaggen from Harry Potter!

Dara – 9 boys, 64 girls.

Deaglán – 50 boys.  Declan is Deaglán‘s Anglicized form.

Donn – 5 boys.  

Éamonn – 35 boys.  Irish form of Edmund

Eoghan – 28 boys.  Equivalent of Owen

Eoin – 57 boys.  Form of John.

Faolán – 8 boys. 

Fergus – 21 boys.

Finn – 1881 boys, #209.  Finn is actually considered an older spelling than Fionn


Finn MacCool, as depicted by Stephen Reid in 1910

Finnian – 164 boys. 

Fionn – 30 boys.

Lochlann – 20 boys.  

Lorcán – 7 boys.

Micheál – 266 boys, #840

Niall – 53 boys.

Oisín – 16 boys. 

Oscar – 2286, #181

Padráig – 28 boys.  Form of Patrick.

Rían – 123 boys, 88 girls

Rónán – 1024 boys, #335. 

Ruairí – 13 boys.  Rory is the most common English spelling. 

Ruari – 14 boys, 10 girls

Séamus – 218 boys, #946.  Irish form of James.

Seán – 1870, #211.  Form of John

Tadhg – 17 boys. 

Torin – 137 boys, 9 girls

Uilliam – 6 boys.  Form of William.

Thoughts?  Questions (especially about pronunciation)?  Additions or subtractions?  Let me know in the comments! 

I sourced the names from these two lists:

The numbers themselves come from the Social Security Administration.  Ranks from Behind the Name.

Boo! Scary and Sweet Names for Halloween


Happy Halloween!  I don’t think there are many things scarier this year than the looming election or killer clowns, but that doesn’t stop me from reminiscing about simpler times when the scariest item was the friendly neighborhood Grim Reaper, who’d still give you candy.

Here is an eerie selection of Halloween-themed baby names, mostly from movies or the bounties of trick-or-treating!  Almost all were used in the U.S. in 2015; data comes from the Social Security Administration.

Candy – 52 girls. 

  • Kit – 40 boys, 28 girls. Kit-Kats, anyone?
  • Mars – 27 boys.  Mars is a delicious British chocolate bar not very well known in the U.S., but some groceries carry them in the international aisle. 
  • Reese – #173 for girls, #701 among boys.  Reese is an anglicized spelling of original Rhys, which is Welsh.  Reese also gives its name to the peanut butter cup and Reese Witherspoon. 
  • Ruth – 293rd most popular girls’ name in the U.S.  The Goonies puts it best: “Baby Rooooth?”


The Addams Family (1991) inspires a line of scary names.  Can you believe the movie is leaving Netflix on the 1st? 😦

  • Morticia – Under 5 in 2015, but 5 were born in 2014.
  • Tully – 8 boys.  Tully was the family’s lawyer.   
  • Wednesday – 60 girls.

I’d love to meet a Gomez, though I doubt that will happen anytime soon. 

I finally saw Dracula (1931) this weekend.  Bela Lugosi had a serious troll-face going on; someone get him a Guy Fawkes mask!

Image result for Dracula 1931

Dracula, 1931

  • Bela – 16 girls, 7 boys.  Actor Bela Lugosi was *the* stereotypical Dracula.  Bela is an Eastern European men’s name.  When given to girls, it’s more likely a variant of Bella.
  • Mina – #761 among girls, plus 20 boys.
  • Harker – 5 boys.

And what’s Halloween without a little Hocus Pocus (1993)?

  • Thackery – 8 boys.  For the longest time I thought Binx’s first name was Zachary, but in fact it’s Thackery!  How fantastic! 
  • Winifred – 156 girls.  Winifred Sanderson is sister to Mary and Sarah and very much the head witch of their group.

Since I’m writing this on the eve of Halloween, I must also mention The Crow (1994).  That movie gave us the name Draven, which still ranks in the top 1000 (currently #861) over twenty years later.


  • Apple – 14 girls.  Whether you’re bobbing for apples, imbibing cider, or Snow White on her way to bed, your Halloween festivities may include this fruit. 
  • Arachne – Chances are you’ll never meet someone called Arachne, but according to Greek mythology, she was transformed into a spider after a weaving competition against Athena.  Hence, the word “arachnid.” 
  • Jack – #40 for boys.  Have you ever made a Jack O’Lantern?

Like any of these names?  Are there any I’m missing?  Let me know in the comments!