Thanos

An acquaintance recently named their son ThanosThanos is traditionally short for Greek Athanasios, which means ‘immortal’ or ‘without death.’  On the other hand, you can probably make it a nickname for Thanatos, which does mean ‘death’ and was the Ancient Greek personification/minor god thereofUltimately, all of these names are rare.  Recent appearances of Thanos in the extended data don’t necessarily correspond to religion or heritage. 

waterhouse-sleep_and_his_half-brother_death-1874

Waterhouse’s depiction of Thanatos and Hypnos, called “Sleep and his Half-brother Death.”

This name benefits from the Marvel treatment.  Thanos is basically an evil space alien who looks a bit like Azog from The Hobbit – if Azog were built like a football player, that is.  Thanos has a cameo in the Avengers (2012) and then shines in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.  With the Marvel Cinematic Universe as popular as it is right now, that’s a lot of exposure for a rare name. 

According to data from the Social Security Administration, Thanos was the first name of 12 baby boys last year, up from 5 in 2014.  I find it interesting that Athanasius also peaked in 2015 at 16 uses, up from 5 the previous year too.  Original Greek Athanasios was down from a few years earlier at 18 uses.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the concurrent rises of Thanos and Athanasius are merely coincidental; one now strongly associates with a fandom and the other has deeply religious connotations.  Catholics designate St. Athanasius of Alexandria as a “Doctor of the Church.”  This begs the question: did anything significant happen last year with him?  It isn’t impossible that Athanasius became more popular to conceal the Marvel connection, and it isn’t impossible that Thanos became more popular just because Athanasius was trending; but I don’t buy either theory by its lonesome.  Neither explains why Athanasios is trending downwards. 

What do you think of ThanosAthanasius?  Do you think either will pick up more steam?

Personal musings: I don’t think my acquaintance is Greek or particularly religious, but the baby seemed to have a middle name from another fandom.  Sure, the Marvel character’s a villain, but my inner nerd loves this.  Congrats on becoming a parent, and kudos for the epic appellation!  

Links for name data:

 

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Phelony: A Baby Name Rant

I love perusing lists of names.  My regular readers know that I obsess over Social Security Administration birth data, which I use for the basis for many of my posts.  Occasionally I also read lists of birth announcements.  My favorite source for these is a site called For Real Baby Names, which nowadays specializes in the more interesting and unusual American announcements.  I also mainly work with rare names on my own blog, but one I saw on hers still managed to shock me.  According to this post containing Nevada birth announcements, there’s a little baby named Phelony.  Phelony Rose.  Um…in the inarticulate words of my distracted generation, I “literally can’t even.”

Rosa_chinensis_1795

At least her middle name is Rose, right?

Now that I’ve collected my thoughts, my response is actually “bah humbug!”  There are only a few names I will vehemently argue against, and Phelony is one of them.  This daring name is a felony in every way except that which matters: legally.  It’s America.  You have the Constitutional right to name your child almost anything you desire.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m proud of the fact that our naming laws are almost non-existent.  Naming freedom truly lends to diversity and strengthens the 1st Amendment; it is an American value. Indeed, it would be very boring if everyone were named from a tiny pool of accepted appellations.  That Calliope and Saoirse, and Godric and Alastair roam today’s playgrounds is fantastic. 

That said – I have to wonder about the parent whose aspirations for their child involve breaking laws.  Virtues generally connote goodness; in this case, ‘Felony’ isn’t so much a vice as perhaps an anti-virtue.  Sure, maybe Phelony’s parents were trying to distinguish it from the word by changing the spelling.  Unfortunately, creative spellings don’t change pronunciation, and we’re still left with a baby girl who’s been called a criminal by the person(s) responsible for loving and protecting her.  Even if that wasn’t their intention, it’s the practical effect. 😦

Phelony may very well grow up to be an upstanding citizen.  Names don’t define their wearers.  Though weirdly, someone named “Fellony” actually did commit one.  Again, I don’t know how much her name affected her actions.  If anything, it probably had more to do with upbringing or weird luck. 

Exhibit A

I don’t know if this is the same Phelony from the birth announcement, but my Google-fu indicates there are probably a few of them out there.  Not too many, thankfully, but one is enough to catch my attention. :/

Thoughts, anyone? 

Notes:

  • In case anyone is interested, the screenshot was found via a College Humor post called 25 Parents Whose Baby Naming Privileges Should Be Revoked.”  Their words, not mine.  I usually don’t follow College Humor, but when I told someone about the birth announcement he said he’d seen the name recently and that there was a screenshot somewhere online!  I couldn’t help but look.  
  • Swistle (another name blogger) is my newest hero.  I just found a post from 2008 in which she helped steer a family away from naming their child Felony.
  • On the bright side, between Felony, Fellony, and Phelony, none have ever appeared in the SSA extended data.  The names exist, but it means there have never been 5 or more people given the name in the same birth year. (Don’t get any ideas)
  • Looking at the screenshot, and the way they spell ‘felony’ – I hope that doesn’t mean that ‘Arien’ is actually ‘Aryan.’  I pray they aren’t white supremacists. 

 

Below the Top 1000, Part 11 (Girls)

Happy Friday all!  Here are some of the many names given to between 50 and 69 American baby girls last year, according to data from the Social Security Administration.  For the especially curious, that data can be found here, in the zip file that says “national data.”

  • 65-69: Amaryllis, Eowyn, Haya, Prudence, Rosabella, Rosario, Sade, Abilene, Briseis, Emmylou, Ginger, Kezia, Lovely, Minnie, Vanellope, Bobbi, Camellia, Elowyn, Irma, Jean, Lenore, Sakura, Story, Xyla, Yasmina, Emmanuella, Empress, Eris, Justina, Lani, Marigold, Uma, Aries, Brandy, Emaline, Joseline, Kalliope, Ocean, Solana
  • 60-64: Adamaris, Angelia, Caia, Iona, Katana, Neve, Andromeda, Brie, Cathryn, Francis, Josette, Lavinia, Therese, Tirzah, Auden, Chevy, Crimson, Denali, Elizabella, Marlen, Shaindy, Ahuva, Austen, Cassia, Elanor, Harbor, Inez, Maja, Mirabella, Nell, Philippa, Zofia, Alaska, Arrow, Dinah, Lavender, Roberta, Verity, Wednesday, Xenia
  • 55-59: Aleida, Azeneth, Cedar, Henrietta, Israel, Kylar, Lulu, Olga, Snow, Bay, Berenice, Cate, Delphine, Divya, Esmee, Fabiana, Keisha, Rochelle, Sephora, Silvana, Eloisa, Hermione, Hosanna, Joella, Sicily, Sunshine, Bernice, Callista, Ebony, Siobhan, Cheryl, Francine, Pandora, Roxie, Sahar, Shakira, Talitha
  • 50-54: Emmanuelle, Izzy, Lenox, Sparrow, Anushka, Effie, Hilary, Jorja, Makaylee, Meira, Monserrath, Rosy, Sayuri, Zamora, Amen, Auburn, Candy, Demetria, Janney, Misty, Nada, Zada, Embry, Gisela, Havana, Jadore, Magali, Minerva, Sanjana, Yahaira, Aashi, Beautiful, Cailin, Clarity, Elvira, Fanny, Honesti, Leandra, Liesl, Mathilda, Meryl, Miamor, Primrose, Wynn, Zelie

What do you think of these names?  A few of my all-time favorite names are actually in this range, including Hermione, Philippa, and Primrose.  Lots of great mythological names in here too, like Andromeda and Briseis.  And do you notice the Tolkien names, Eowyn and Elanor

Previous posts in this series:

Ebenezer: No Longer a Scrooge?

I’m always looking out for old names that might be on the verge of a comeback.  Well, here’s a real oldie that’s popped onto my radar: Ebenezer.  Just a few years ago, children named Ebenezer were practically unheard of.  Until the 90s, the name only appeared sporadically in SSA data.  Since the new millennium, however…

Last year, 49 boys were named Ebenezer in the U.S.  That’s the highest usage the name has ever reached in the birth data, which extends back to 1880 (though isn’t necessarily accurate or complete-ish until the 1930s…still).  Not to mention, 74 boys were named Eben, which is traditionally a nickname for EbenezerEben however has a much more steady usage history than his parent name, and peaked in 2012 with 100 uses.  Curiously, it also appears that Ebenezer has appeared as a girls’ name three of the past 10 years (though not last year).  I don’t know if this will become a top 1000 name any time soon, but I bet it’ll continue to grow more popular nonetheless.  Yearly usage has more than doubled since 2000. 

None of us – and I mean none of us – can forget the cultural icon that is Ebenezer Scrooge.  A lonely old miser who’s cruel to everyone, even and especially at Christmas?  Whose principle phrase is “bah, humbug?”  This Dickensian creation permanently tainted this Biblical name for many.  But, we should remember…Scrooge came around at the end of A Christmas Carol.  His experience with the three ghosts permanently changed him for the better.  Therefore, he’s not so much a villain as perhaps someone who needed a wake-up call.  He was redeemed. 

A_Christmas_Carol_-_Scrooge_and_Bob_Cratchit

Happy, generous, changed Ebenezer Scrooge

Arguably, Ebenezer Scrooge isn’t a terrible namesake, because of the very fact that he could be and was redeemable.  But, he is probably most people’s association with the name.  I personally have another association via the 1948 movie Portrait of Jennie, which is coincidentally another ghost story (though much more romantic).  Anyway, the main character is an artist named Eben Adams. 

As to why the name Ebenezer is growing more popular, I have few ideas.  It certainly helps that the name has connections to the Bible, since rare and staunchly Old Testament Biblical names are trendy in the U.S. (i.e., Nehemiah, Ephraim, and Nahum).  I mean…is it possible that the name is losing some of its association with “Scrooge,” the way that Benedict seems to be losing its primary association with “Benedict Arnold?”  Obviously the fact that it rhymes with “geezer” didn’t bother the parents of those 49 boys, either.  The meaning is appealing, though: “stone of help.”

What do you think of the name Ebenezer?  Do you think his comeback will continue?  Finally, why do you think Ebenezer is becoming more popular in the first place? 

Sources:

Redundant Names

Every once in a while I swear I see birth announcements for children named Isabella Elizabeth or Jacob James.  First-Middle combos such as these always baffle me because Isabella and Elizabeth ultimately derive from the same Biblical Hebrew name, as do Jacob and James.  They appear different from each other, but have the same meaning and origin.  Don’t get me wrong…I love all these names (especially Elizabeth since it’s my own name).  But I do believe some names shouldn’t be juxtaposed.

Now, the meanings of names generally don’t matter too much to most people regarding English-language naming, but it is a good idea to at least make you aren’t using two versions of the same name.  Personally, if I want to look up the origin or meaning of a name, Behind the Name is the gold-standard.  Often I think BtN is far more reliable than any of the physical name dictionaries (including the one published by Oxford), but that’s a story for another time…

Here are some combos besides Isabella Elizabeth and Jacob James that I consider redundant.  Some of them are only theoretical, but I’m sure others have been tried.

  • Allison Alice Allison is a variation of Alison, which is a medieval form of Alice.
  • Hannah Anne – Both derive from a Hebrew name meaning “Grace.”  Anne is the French form of Anna, which is the Greek cognate of Hannah
  • Jacques James – Contrary to how it sounds, Jacques is related to James and Jacob, not Jack or John.  This said, if honoring a Jacques, Jack James is doable.
  • Jamie Jacqueline – ditto
  • Lillian ElizabethLillian is commonly believed to derive from Elizabeth.  Ergo, Lily Elizabeth is also an iffy combination, but the flower allows Lily to stand on her own as a name. 
  • Liam William – Visually self-evident, plus they’re closely related.  If you love both names, I recommend naming him William and using Liam as the nickname.
  • Jackson JohnJackson is a surname meaning ‘son of Jack,’ and Jack is a nickname for John.  
  • Molly MarieMolly is a nickname for Mary, English equivalent of French Marie.
  • Megan MargaretMegan is a Welsh pet form of Margaret.
  • Rebecca Rivka – Not going to lie, this could actually make a great character name.
  • Anna Grace – A stretch because the origins are different…however, they both mean “grace.”  Hannah Grace is in the same boat.
  • Nadia HopeNadia can mean “hope.”
  • Rupert Robert Even closer versions of the same name than James and Jacob.
  • Eliza Beth – One name split into two nicknames. 

Other potentially redundant combinations may arise in these situations:

  • Regarding mythological names, using both the Greek and Roman names for the same deity.  Think Hera Juno or Zeus Jupiter.  I’ll admit those sound very cool, but are still a little repetitive.  Vesta Hestia doesn’t sound so great though…
  • Regarding Biblical names; several figures in the Bible had their names changed.  Oftentimes the new names are entirely different from the old; therefore, something like Jacob Israel or Simon Peter is a fine first-and-middle combination.  I will suggest, however, that Abraham and Sarah‘s old names (Abram and Sarai) are too similar to be used in a combination with their new names (Abram Abraham and Sarah Sarai?). 

 Thoughts?  Can you think of any other repetitive or redundant combinations? 

Below the Top 1000, Part 9 (Girls)

Hi everyone!  It’s that time of the week again. 🙂  Here are some of the names given to between 70 and 89 baby girls last year in the United States, according to data from the Social Security Administration. 

  • 85-89: Adalind, Candace, Eleanore, Harlem, Katharine, Raine, Aarohi, Arizona, Greer, Josephina, Melania, Nyasia, Selma, Perry, Sol, Danae, Eliora, Juno, Lupita, Mildred, Odette, Agatha, Charis, Doris, Ellington, Fern, Sonja
  • 80-84: Adelle, Aja, Anissa, Emeline, Eternity, Jhene, Lillith, Neva, Sterling, Adelia, Batsheva, Coco, Gladys, Kalena, Linley, Marlow, Millicent, Rebel, Timber, Tracy, Carys, Daenerys, Glory, Jasleen, Lynn, Tamar, Aaradhya, Larkin, Yazaira, Evolet, Lotus, Marbella, Merritt, Roxy, Sevyn (!), Theodora, Tilly
  • 75-79: Brigid, Mahogany, Marguerite, Susannah, Allegra, Britton, Divine, Lottie, Zooey, Devon, Noelani, Pauline, Philomena, Arantxa, Edna, Elisheva, Felicia, Norma, Romy, Odessa, Theia
  • 70-74: Acelynn, Berlin, Nirvana, Adria, Fatoumata, Indiana, Pia, Starr, Zipporah, Aaralyn, Brinkley, Maple, Marlena, Yocheved, Kim, Mabry, Simran, Adella, Bethel, Jordana, Royale, Sequoia, Tillie, Venus

What do you think of these names?  Personally, I’m really digging some of these.  Agatha, Mildred, Millicent, Juno, Susannah, Theodora…there are some truly amazing names here.

Previous posts in this series:

Lightly edited May 8, 2017.

Personal Favorites from the Top 1000 (Girls)

Usually, I try to keep a neutral tone on my site.  Still, I have my own unique style and preference for names as much as everyone else does.  I’d like to share! 

Every year I comb through the American top 1000 and pick out my favorites.  Many names I love are still too rare to make it (Hermione and Horatio, for example), but Achilles is finally popular and so is Ariadne.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like very popular names; as a matter of fact, I love names like Emma and Benjamin.  Some people are completely turned off by top 100 or top 10 names, and that’s okay.  I personally tend to prefer rare names, though seeing a beloved name pick up heat excites me.  Ultimately, I think if you love a name enough, popularity shouldn’t matter. 

Here are my favorite girls’ names from the 2015 American top 1000, included with their ranks.  Now, I like plenty more top 1000 names that I didn’t list here, but I wanted to keep the list relatively short!  The boys’ list will go up soon enough.

Girls:

  • Emma (#1)
  • Sophia (#3)
  • Charlotte (#9)
  • Amelia (#12)
  • Elizabeth (#13)
  • Chloe (#17)
  • Lillian (#26)
  • Hannah (#28)
  • Penelope (#34)
  • Violet (#50)
  • Sarah (#58)
  • Eleanor (#60)
  • Caroline (#62)
  • Aurora (#79)
  • Lydia (#81)
  • Katherine (#84)
  • Alice (#87)
  • Julia (#89)
  • Isabelle (#94)
  • Clara (#98)
  • Alexandra (#101)
  • Luna (#110)
  • Valentina (#114)
  • Mary (#124) – Mary is probably my second-favorite name currently, after Hermione.
  • Josephine (#131)
  • Adeline (#135)
  • Emilia (#145)
  • Margaret (#154) – Margaret is also easily in my top 10
  • Athena (#157)
  • Rose (#166)
  • Rachel (#167)
  • Juliana (#168)
  • Valerie (#171)
  • Eliza (#175)
  • Catherine (#179)
  • Cecilia (#181)
  • Genevieve (#182)
  • Rebecca (#186)
  • Arabella (#194)
  • Esther (#203)
  • Anastasia (#216)
  • Iris (#217)
  • Juliette (#226)
  • Vivienne (#233)
  • Olive (#264)
  • Adelaide (#273)
  • Miranda (#278)
  • June (#280)
  • Lucille (#283)
  • Phoebe (#286)
  • Jane (#288)
  • Ruth (#293)
  • Miriam (#294)
  • Diana (#295)
  • Joanna (#305)
  • Camilla (#374)
  • Daphne (#378)
  • Annabella (#396)
  • Freya (#417)
  • Helen (#419)
  • Hattie (#488) – I’d love to see Harriet make a comeback as well as this nickname
  • Priscilla (#502)
  • Evie (#512)
  • Frances (#513)
  • Rosemary (#518)
  • Regina (#520)
  • Edith (#526) – Edie would be an adorable nickname.   I also like the spelling ‘Edythe.’
  • Helena (#534)
  • Matilda (#535)
  • Johanna (#541)
  • Adelina (#545)
  • Maia (#556)
  • Marie (#564)
  • Beatrice (#565)
  • Angelique (#568)
  • Anne (#569)
  • Mabel (#578)
  • Mae (#588)
  • Annabel (#621) – I used to prefer Annabelle, but lately I’ve grown to really love this version
  • Pearl (#628)
  • Magnolia (#633)
  • Renata (#636)
  • Zelda (#647) – I’m totally going through a 1920s phase…Hemingway, Fitzgerald, flapper outfits, etc.  (Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife and an author in her own right)
  • Adele (#652)
  • Aliza (#675) – I think a lot of people don’t realize that this is an entirely different name than Eliza.
  • Esme (#682)
  • Dorothy (#714)
  • Clare (#730)
  • Mina (#761)
  • Ariadne (#765)
  • Martha (#791)
  • Thalia (#792)
  • Marjorie (#799)
  • Aurelia (#802)
  • Emmeline (#809)
  • Clementine (#819)
  • Estelle (#823)
  • Paulina (#878)
  • Astrid (#890)
  • Louisa (#908)
  • Judith (#927)
  • Susan (#929)
  • Cordelia (#948)
  • Ingrid (#957)
  • Elora (#963)
  • Ophelia (#975)
  • Noor (#985)
  • Rhea (#989)

What do you think of these?  I realize my tastes veer rather heavily towards the traditional, though I do appreciate my fair share of modern names.  I adore Harper and Sutton, though I’d probably never actually use either of them.

Unusual Names in the 26-30 Range (Girls)

Here are names that were given to American baby girls between 26 and 30 times in 2014.  I think this range will be the final range I delve into before the 2015 stats come out. 

Some of these are very modern and look like they were probably invented within the last few years.  Others are older ladies waiting for revival!  Anyway, here they are:

30: Aline, Auriella, Avelynn, Bowie, Chantelle, Charissa, Cherokee, Deliah, Dempsey, Fanny, Fiorella, Galilee, Ginny, Glenda, Gloriana, Ishanvi, Jeannette, Lavina, Madelaine, Mahalia, Marigold, Melrose, Muriel, Nara, Nubia, Oliva, Posey, Rhys, Sadia, Sunni, Thais, Viviane, Zina, Zurisadai

29: Addilee, Adelaine, Annamaria, Arlie, Athziri, Audrielle, Avaline, Ayan, Charm, Corinna, Cruz, Cypress, Darling, Divinity, Doreen, Dreya, Edelyn, Evelyne, Favor, Freedom, Georgette, Idalia, Janine, Julian, Menucha, Meryl, Penina, Seraphine, Shailene, Tzipora, Winslow

28: Albany, Arrow, Consuelo, Delta, Elisabet, Esma, Essie, Hendrix, Joud, Kerri, Kimiko, Lenox, Leonie, Maison, Marvel, Mica, Nona, Orla, Peace, Samar, Seneca, Suhayla, Suzie, Yazleemar

27: Aissatou, Alaila, Amity, Annalea, Anvita, Aylee, Bibiana, Brazil, Brooks, CathleenChastity, Courtlyn, Darcie, Daya, Dorothea, Elma, Envy, Gigi, Guiliana, January, Joycelyn, Leighann, Livie, Maddalena, Magdalen, Neena, Nydia, Ora, Remedy, Romi, Sera, Sophiah, Stephania, Xoe

26: Ashby, Basya, Betsabe, Bruchy, Celestina, Evangelia, Florencia, Germani, Gwendolynn, Heiress, Indica, Jacinta, Joely, Juna, Marietta, Mecca, Mireille, Mulan, Rogue, Tempest, Zuleyma

Comments:

  • Bowie – it’s not going to happen in 2015, but do expect David Bowie (R.I.P) to cause this name to rise in 2016.  If Bowie appears to have risen in the 2015 data, it’s likely because of bowie knifes. 
  • Galilee Galilea is a top 1000 name right now, and I wonder if that helps Galilee’s usage.
  • Muriel – I wonder if we’ll see this start to rise now that old-fashioned names are fashionable.
  • Sunni – Probably a variant of Sunny, and not named after Sunni Islam. 
  • Corinna – I learned last week that Corinna was an Ancient Greek female poet!  Maybe add this one to the list of feminist names?  
  • Edelyn – I’m pretty sure this is a modern invention but it has an old charm that Adelyn does not.
  • Julian – so, Julian is actually a very old unisex name.  Julian of Norwich was a medieval writer; her  Revelations of Divine Love is the first known female-written book in the English language. 
  • Joud – I think this is supposed to be said like “Jude
  • Maison – Probably a variant of Mason, but could be from the French word for “house.
  • Marvel – If the superhero genre continues to be as big as it is now, expect to see a lot more baby Marvels.
  • When spelled Micah, I think Biblical.  When spelled Mica, I think minerals.
  • Seneca – Usually this reminds me of the male Roman writer, but then I realized that this could commemorate the Seneca Falls Convention.
  • Envy – add to the list of baby name no-nos, along with Violence and Tyrrany.
  • Guiliana – The way Giuliana is spelled here, I have two thoughts: the word “guile” and Julia Gulia.
  • Xoe – Plot twist, the ‘x’ doesn’t make it more Greek.
  • Celestina – For a rare Harry Potter name (Celestina Warbeck) this is used surprisingly often!
  • Germani – oddly more common than Germany, which I believe appeared in the 21-25 range.
  • Mulan – I don’t even know what to say here…merely surprised! 
  • Favorites: Ginny, Gloriana, Jeannette, Madelaine, Mahalia, Marigold, Thais, Avaline, Corinna, Edelyn, Evelyne, Favor, Georgette, Seraphine, Amity, Dorothea, Maddalena, Magdalen, Stephania, Betsabe, Celestina, Florencia, Mireille, Tempest

What do you think? 

Rare Names in the 11-20 Range (Boys)

Today I go over some of those rare boys’ names used between 11 and 20 times in the U.S. in 2014.  As I did with the girls’ names, I provide commentary, but many of the names aren’t so humorous this time.  Rather, they’re head-scratching or unfortunately reminiscent of the darker memories of history and religion.  Exhibit A: Nero.  Still, there are plenty of good names in here, and the occasional odd-ball.  Some of these are fandom names; I have to say, it’s pretty awesome to know there are little Theodens running around. 

And yes, in case it isn’t clear: these are actual names used in the U.S., from the last year for which we have data.  I don’t make them up.  

20: Aengus, Calloway, Christoph, Dream, Errol, Galileo, Haakon, Han, Ioannis, Jafar, Jupiter, Juvenal, Mister, Nachman, Rainier, Rufus, Sasha, Seneca, Silvestre, Stanford, Stark, Strider

19: Abenezer, Aleksey, Ananias, Andrea, Athanasios, Cassian, Evangelos, Gustav, Hamish, Hawthorne, Maynard, Ogden, Ragnar, Ripken, Styles, Winslow, Zlatan

18: Alucard, Attila, Buster, Castor, Cato, Dagoberto, Findlay, Gehrig, Harsh, Heinrich, Kyrillos, Leonid, Maximos, Miroslav, Nero, Prentice, Rand, Rollin, Supreme, Tennessee, Theoden

17: Abijah, Afton, Aleph, Amory, Caspar, Eladio, Exodus, Fabien, Friedrich, Gunther, Hale, Hannibal, Honest, Juventino, Mattia, Melchizedek, Napoleon, Oleg, Orville, Pharoah, Phinehas, Pike, Poseidon, Praise, Prentiss, Reno, Rexford, Rommel, Rourke, Tadhg, Texas, Townsend, Woodson, Yehudah

16: Auguste, Avram, Brandy, Castle, Creedence, Desi, Dewey, Dijon, Eero, Espn, Evaristo, Fenton, Florian, Francois, Garth, Gaston, Hero, Izzy, Lestat, Lynn, Mandela, Miracle, Mirko, Oisin, Omega, Pacey, Parris, Percival, Redmond, Renly, Rupert, Shooter, Sneijder, Taiga, Talmage, Theodoros, Thunder, Torben, Yohannes

15: Alp, Amilcar, Anastasios, Caelum, Elihu, Feynman, Freedom, Grover, Hercules, Hyde, Juno, Parrish, Philemon, Schuyler, Serge, Shadrach, Thurston, Welles, Yaroslav, Yochanan, Zabdiel, Zaccai

14: Aldous, Altair, Angelus, Anselmo, Arsalan, Baden, Berkeley, Cosmo, Elbert, Emmerich, Herschel, Isidore, Kona, Lafayette, Redford, Reuel, Sixto, Spenser, Stanislav, Taft, Ulrich, Wellington, Wolfe

13: Abishai, Balthazar, Barnabas, Caliber, Camillo, Catcher, Coltrane, Courage, Edris, Faolan, Gatsby, Godfrey, Gregor, Henrique, Jabin, Rocket, Taurus, Ubaldo, Ulric, Washington, Webster, Whittaker, Xerxes

12: Adams, Albin, Calvert, Cartel (?!), Christophe, Darcy, Drako, Emerald, Fergus, Garland, Giles, Makarios, Mattheus, Nephi, Padraic, Phil, Philopateer, Sanford Sumner, Thailand, Wilkes

11: Aeneas, Aldrich, Aloysius, Alvis, Avishai, Baldemar, Balin, Barack, Bastien, Bonham, Calixto, Coal, Cyprian, Django, Elric, Epic, Fitzpatrick, Franz, Godson, Gotti, Griffith, Gunter, Ioan, Ivar, Jubal, Judas, Kingdom, Leonides, Lorne, Lucifer, Majestic, Million, Milos, Nachum, Neville, Osborn, Petros, Porfirio, Priest, Promise, Rafferty, Reynolds, Righteous, Rogue, Sergei, Thornton, Winfield, Yancy, Zebulun

Commentary:

  • Abenezer – I’m surprised how many of these there are compared to Ebenezer, which is considered the correct spelling and registered 44 uses in 2014.  My thoughts are that perhaps parents liked the name but didn’t want the Scrooge association.
  • Espn, male equivalent to Abcde.  Yes, there are children named after ESPN. 
  • Alucard – Dracula backwards.  I highly doubt this is a case like Nevaeh; rather, I assume the parents are anime fans. 
  • Gatsby – If you’re looking for an F. Scott Fitzgerald character name that isn’t so obvious, I suggest Amory, which is also on the list. 
  • Mister – That’s gotta be confusing on forms…
  • Rommel – I have to wonder about parents who name their kids after Nazi generals.  Not good.
  • Hannibal – On the subject of generals, not so bad but still a cannibal.
  • Dijon – “Excuse me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?”
  • Kona – Don’t get me wrong…I’m addicted to my coffee, but I don’t like it *that* much.  Impressive level of brand-naming though!
  • Cartel – That someone would think this is a name disturbs me. 
  • Catcher – Does he have a brother or sister named Rye?
  • Lucifer – It’s way too early to tell, but I wonder if the TV show is going to boost usage within the next few years…
  • Priest – if you remember, this was Cyanide’s twin brother. 
  • Righteous – I have a hard time determining whether the parents of these boys are ultra-religious or California surfers.
  • Ananias – I know this is a Biblical name, but it sounds rather like the German word for “pineapple.”
  • Thunder – Just name him Thor already.  Marvel names are a thing; you may have seen that Stark registered 20 uses.  
  • Names I actually really like, i.e. my favorites: Percival, Rupert, Athanasios, Gustav, Hamish, Ragnar, Melchizedek, Amory, Florian, Alucard, Rufus, Errol, Friedrich, Phinehas, Yochanan, Anastasios, Shadrach, Aldous, Altair, Herschel, Isidore, Emmerich, Balthazar, Barnabas, Godfrey, Darcy, Django, Theoden, Balin, Aeneas, Aldrich, Aloysius, Cyprian, Reuel

Hellenic Hermione

Hermione is one of my very favorite names.  Almost everyone in my generation was introduced to the name through Hermione Granger; and believe me, that’s not a bad thing for the name.  H.G. is an incredibly strong and intelligent character, and for that I think she’s a fantastic namesake.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen many comments over time that suggest the name shouldn’t be used or that parents who love the name won’t use it because it’s *too* reminiscent of the Harry Potter series.  Again, Hermione is an incredible namesake and you should be naming your daughters after her.  But, if you think the single association is still too strong, there’s good news.  There are plenty other Hermione’s throughout literature and history!

The name itself has its provenance in Greek mythology.  Hermione was the daughter of King Menelaus of Sparta and his wife Helen.  Yes, that Helen, who famously eloped with Paris and incited the Trojan War.  Hermione married Neoptolemus and later Orestes.

Thousands of years later, there are yet more Hermione’s.  Shakespeare’s Hermione in The Winter’s Tale is one of the most famous.  There’s also a French tragedy called Cadmus and Hermione, but in this case Hermione is actually an alternative rendering of Harmonia.  There have been others (I know I’m missing a few – there are a lot), but I think the next important appearance is in the 1960s David Bowie song “Letter to Hermione.”  Lastly, in the 1990s, J.K. Rowling gave us Hermione Granger. 🙂

Historically, Hermione has also been a ship’s name.  The British have had four ships called HMS Hermione since the 18th century (the last one was scrapped only in the 1990s).  The French have had 12, including one dating to 2014 that is a replica of the famous 1779 Hermione frigate.   The Spanish also had at least one of these in the 18th-century. 

This name is pretty rare in the U.S., but tends to be popular enough in the U.K. to at least make the top 500…actually, I think it was ranked exactly #500 in 2014 on the English and Welsh charts.  This isn’t to say that Americans don’t use the name; since the HP books were first published, Hermione has been hitting around 50 uses a year fairly consistently.  Even before the books came out, the name was sporadically used.  I will say this – Hermione is one of those names that is far more classically British than American. 

Nickname potential is high for this name.  In a previous post about Ancient Greek girls’ names, I wrote that diminutives like Mia, Maia, and Hera could make the name more usable for some parents.