Showing posts from January, 2022


During the Middle Ages, St. Clare of Assisi popularized her name throughout Europe. None of these women were just Clare, however. Latin records suggest referred to them as Clara. Clara didn't just come from Latinizing Clare. It also originated as the feminine equivalent of the Roman Clarus. In Ancient Rome, names ending in "us" for boys ended in "a" for girls. However, Clarus and Clara were often used as extra middle names rather than first names.  Clara entered use among English-speakers in the twelfth century. As described above, women with the name went by Clare in everyday life. It wasn't until the eighteenth century that Clara was heard itself.  Clara became popular for the first time among English-speakers during the nineteenth century. In Australia, Clara was common through the 1900s. In England, Clara was popular through the 1910s. In the United States and Canada, Clara remained common through the 1930s. During Clara's reign in popularity, severa

Timeless Girls' Names

Every generation, names cycle in and out of favor. Thirty years ago, Ashley and Jessica were among the most popular names. Since then, Everly and Luna have taken their place. However, there are names sound acceptable in every era, even if they weren't always popular. These are classic or timeless names. In order to count as a timeless classic, a name must have seen centuries of consistent use. They also must have seen American use with no sharp peaks or troughs. Many timeless names also have international variants or are used in international countries even though that is not necessary. Regardless, they should not feel tied to one group of nations or languages.  I have to say, though, that this list is not perfect. You might think some of these names don't belong here. For instance, some might be too tied to foreign languages or feel too vintage for some people. However, these names are all easy to pronounce in English and none have every peaked or dropped sharply. Here are som


On the third Monday of every January, we celebrate a civil rights activist who became famous for his "I Have a Dream" speech. That activist was an African-American man, Martin Luther King jr.  Martin was not the first to bear his name. Perhaps Martin has existed as a first name since antiquity. Martin comes from the Roman Martinus, which is related to the Roman god Mars. In addition, St. Martin of Tours lived about a century before the Middle Ages began. He was known for giving half his cloak to a beggar. St. Martin also dreamed about Jesus wearing half his cloak.  St. Martin of Tours popularized his name throughout the Middle Ages. It continued to be popular after theologian Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation. Martin remained a top 100 name in England all the way through the 1980s. In the United States, Martin was in the top 100 through the 1960s. The assassination of Martin Luther King jr. in 1968 may have had an impact on his name. It has been declining since,

Top 100 Contemporary Boys' Word Names

While word names have long been used for girls, they have not been as common among boys. August and Basil have histories, so do surnames like Miller and Carter. However, most word names for boys come from new possibilities. That makes them contemporary.  Here are the top 100 contemporary boys' word names: Maverick (#49) Cooper (#74) Rowan (#113) Legend (#127) River (#129) Archer (#160) Atlas (#189) Messiah (#190) Tucker (#192) Ace (#199) Colt (#221) Kyrie (#223) Phoenix (#238) Crew (#283) Gunner (#308) Ronin (#388) Sage (#442) Baker (#524) Cannon (#543) Case (#572) Saint (#578) Sincere (#600) Onyx (#613) Ledger (#626) Ridge (#627) Reign (#643) Justice (#666) Briar (#755) Nova (#758) Legacy (#767) Talon (#788) Creed (#796) Ocean (#800) Dash (#802) Bode (#824) Genesis (#828) Blaze (#852) Bear (#897) Fisher (#908) Fox (#916) Seven (#927) Lyric (#959) Decker (unranked) Knowledge (unranked) Beck (unranked) Loyal (unranked) Stone (unranked) Ash (unranked) Neo (unranked) Link (unranked) V

Top 100 Contemporary Girls' Word Names

Word names have been in use among girls for centuries. Classic Grace and Rose emerged before the Renaissance. The Puritans then adopted Faith and Hope. The nineteenth century gave us Ivy and Pearl. This realm has since expanded to musical terms, tree/bush names, and more.  Today I list the top 100 contemporary word names that stem from expanding possibilities. To qualify as a word name, it must appear as an improper noun, verb, or adjective in a dictionary.  Harper (#10) Aria (#26) Nova (#38) Willow (#48) Paisley (#50) Genesis (#62) Serenity (#70) Piper (#91) Jade (#97) Sienna (#166) Juniper (#172) Harmony (#175) River (#186) Ember (#187) Sage (#223) Aspen (#224) Trinity (#228) Rowan (#255) Phoenix (#286) Journey (#298) Haven (#310) Winter (#315) Palmer (#347) Reign (#356) Wren (#361) Miracle (#388) Royalty (#393) Dream (#407) Lyric (#412) Heaven (#422) Scarlet (#446) Poppy (#462) Meadow (#476) Azalea (#483) Legacy (#500) Briar (#563) Justice (#575) Ivory (#599) Navy (#658) Cadence (#6

Traditional vs. Contemporary Names

Names have a variety of styles, but there are two broad categories: traditional and contemporary.  Traditional Names Traditional names have roots in the past. Yet, that's not enough to make a name qualify. A name must also have a sense of history and/or continuation.  These names come from a variety of styles. All classic names, including John and Mary, count as traditional. The same holds true for vintage names like Alfred and Edith. Other traditional names are neither classic nor vintage. These names include Liam and Scarlett.  Contemporary Names Contemporary names stem from new possibilities. While none of them were popular in the past, not all of them are new. Weston and Nova both ranked in the top 1000 before 1940.  As with traditional names, contemporary names can belong to any style. Many of these are unisex names like Phoenix and Tatum and surnames like Easton and Harper. In addition, some styles that are traditional for one gender can be contemporary for another. For insta

Names Inspired by Nova

For a few centuries, Nova was a rare word name describing an exploding star. Within the last decade, though, it has become a modern staple. Nova went from ranking outside the top 1000 to the top 50 in under ten years. This means that Nova will probably date to the 2020s.  Parents who find Nova's rapid rise and/or popularity a problem will enjoy looking at this list of alternatives. This list is also for parents looking to name Nova's sister and name enthusiasts who love the name Nova. There are qualities of Nova that people like. Hence, they will also like the names listed below because they have at least half of Nova's qualities.  To qualify as a name inspired by Nova, it must meet at least two of the following criteria along with containing some of Nova's sounds: Inspired by science or fantasy Mostly soft in sound Short and sweet Word name Here are some names that are inspired by Nova: Aura Aura is a celestial word name referring to an illumination. It also has Nova&#

Blog Changes for 2022

Now that a new year has started, I want to discuss my goals for this blog in 2022. These goals regard the content and organization of my posts. Goal #1: Universal Audience Lots of people who never had kids love names. I'm one of these people. Yet, few websites are designed for name lovers beyond expectant parents. Well, there's Behind The Name and Namerology, but that's about it.  This being said, I want this blog to be for anyone who loves names. This blog is not just for parents even though they might find my posts helpful. Hence, I avoid using the term "baby name" and, instead, simply use the terms "name", "given name", or "first name." Regarding my titles, I have been using "Names Inspired by" instead of "Alternatives to". I also use the term "similar girls'/boys' names" instead of "sister/brother name ideas" in my individual name posts so that my readers will find more names that th

22 New Name Possibilities for 2022

To celebrate the new year, I have decided to list 22 name possibilities that I think deserve promotion to given name status. I will list 11 girls' names and 11 boys' names.  To qualify, a name must have been used for a total of less than 50 babies since 1880. I will also list the total usage over time next to each name.  Alco (5 boys) Alco fits in Leo along with up-and-coming Arlo. Thus, Alco fits in with current tastes. Alco mixes the common "al" prefix with the ending of Nico, making it easy to pronounce.  Brucie (27 girls) Brucie adds the "ie" suffix to masculine Bruce and rhymes with classic Lucy. Stevie and Frankie, both elongations of single-syllable boys' names, are rising at the moment. Thus, Brucie fits in.  Casta (6 girls) If you don't recognize this name, think Lucasta, a name invented by poet Richard Lovelace. Just remove the "lu" prefix and you have just Casta. The name can be a fresh way to honor a Christa or Cassandra. Druce