10 Pokémon Names That Could Work IRL

I’ve been a fan of Pokémon since the original series back in the first region of Kanto. Since then the series has steadily worked through Johto; Hoenn; Sinnoh; Unova; and Kalos of the most recent Gen VI.

A friendly discussion exists between myself and another friend who enjoys the games of the merits of naming your captured pokémon: naturally, I do, whilst he firmly believes it to be a waste of his time.

Either way, I as was working my way through a Nuzlocke challenge in Leaf Green, I couldn’t help but wonder if any pokémon names could actually pass for ‘actual’ names.

1. Amaura

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

Both Maura and Amaury are names – but not Amaura. This pokémon was only introduced in the latest games – X & Y – and evolves into Aurorus.

2. Roselia

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

We can never have too many Rose names, right ? This one fits in amongst Rosie, Rosalie and Rosell. Roselia was introduced in Gen III, and also part of her evolution line are Budew and Roserade.

3. Magby

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

A few years back I had a major crush on the name Magda, and this pokémon has a name that resembles my one-time love. Introduced in Gen II as a new Baby Pokémon type, Magby evolves into Magmar and then Magmortar.

4. Swanna

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

People are starting to consider names such as Bear, Lion and Swan right now, but Swanna feels all the more appealing. Swanna was introduced in Gen V and evolves into Ducklett.

5. Marill / Azurill

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

I’ve heard people refer to this pokémon as ‘Pikablu’, since it was Gen II’s answer to Pikachu. Azurill is the first form in the evolution line, followed by Marill (pictured) and then Azumarill.

6. Munna

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

I know people are fond of Minna, so maybe they could love Munna ? This Gen V pokémon evolves into Musharna.

7. Chespin

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

Chespin is the Grass started pokémon for Kalos (the region you can explore in Gen VI games X & Y); he evolves into Quilladin and then Chesnaught.

8. Starmie / Starly

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

A joint ranking for Gen I Starmie and Gen IV Starly, for obvious reasons. Starmie is one of my favourite Gen I pokémon, but due the team constraints is often left in the PC in favour of my water starter, Squirtle; Starmie is the evolved form of Staryu.

Starly is Gen VI’s answer to Gen I’s Pidgey, and evolves into Staravia (stunning name) and then Staraptor (less stunning name).

9. Floette

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

This pokémon comes from the newest generation, and is also part of the newest type of pokémon: fairy-type. Floette evolves from the hard-to-pronounced Flabébé, and will eventually evolve to Florges.

10. Delphox

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

This name to me rather resembles a less delicate Delphine. Delphox is the final form of Gen VI fire starter Fennekin, with the middle evolution being Braixen.

Categories: Name List, Video Game Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sibset of the Week: The Cleggs

via express.co.uk

via express.co.uk

For this week’s edition of Sibset of the Week, we’re looking to the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Liberal Democrats political party, Nick Clegg.

First elected as an MP in 2005, he went onto to ascend to leadership of the Liberal Democrats in 2007, and following the 2010 General Election joined his party with that of the Conservatives to create our current coalition government. His time in government hasn’t all been plain sailing however, and the likelihood of his party remaining in power after the 2014 General Election are but a slim chance at best – especially after he alienated a big section of his party’s voting demographic following the rise in tuition fees.

That said, we’re here to talk names, not politics. Nick married his Spanish wife Miriam González Durántez in 2000, and the pair have three sons:




It may seem odd to you that Nick Clegg’s sons would have distinctly Spanish names, but it’s worth noting that Nick Clegg speaks 5 languages – including Spanish – and had a Dutch mother himself.

The name Antonio is of uncertain meaning (rank #524), whilst Alberto means noble and bright (#1339). Miguel is the Spanish form of Michael, a name which means who is like God? and ranked at #508 in England&Wales in 2013.

Categories: Sibset of the Week | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Icelandic Naming Customs

It’s of endless fascination to me the difference in naming customs from country to country, and one particular country I always think of is Iceland.

Iceland is a Nordic country found to the north-west of the British Isles between the North Atlantic and Artic Ocean. Despite this, Iceland is considered a part of Europe, and it the most sparsely populated country in the continent. First settled in 874 AD by a Norwegian chieftain, Iceland has a long history linking it to the Scandinavian countries. It eventually became independent from Denmark in 1918 after centuries of rule by Norway and then Denmark, but the effects are still felt. Until recently, Danish was taught in schools, until the inevitable takeover of the pesky English language.

Due to centuries of influence, Icelandic culture is closely linked to Scandinavia. Unlike their Scandinavian friends who have since adopted current Western surname systems (i.e. father’s surname passed to all children), they continue to use the traditional Nordic system of surnames (although in many Nordic countries it has since been reintroduced as an option.)

In the Icelandic system, a person’s surname indicates the first name of their father (patronymic), or in some cases the mother (matronymic). This remains a widespread practice, although family names in the western sense do exist, mostly due to immigration. What this means is that when Jón has a a son, that son will take Jónsson as a surname, whilst a daughter would take Jóndóttir, not Jón’s own surname of Ólafursson, like we would presume to in the Western world. It’s also not unheard of if Jón father was actually called Einar Ólafur Arnarsson, but instead of being called Jón Einarsson, he was given the name Jón Ólafursson. Most cases, this is because Jón’s father might have been better known by his middle name. Or it could simply be because Jón’s parents liked the sound of Jón Ólafursson over Jón Einarsson.

Before 1925, it was perfectly legal to adopt a new family name, however since then one cannot unless you show you have the right to through inheritance, i.e. you can’t just pick a random new surname for your family, but the Cook family from Berwick-Upon-Tweed may continue to use Cook.

The flip side of this is when people from Iceland emigrate to, say, Gibraltar. They tend to abandon the traditional Icelandic naming system, favouring instead to adapt to the naming conventions of their country of residence, in most cases by retaining the patronymic of their first ancestor to immigrate to the new country as a permanent family surname.

Aside from surnames, Iceland is also well known amongst the naming community for it’s pretty strict rules regarding first names, which must be approved for use by the Icelandic Naming Committee. You might consider this unfair, until you factor in the thought that little Blaziken Jónsson will likely go on to pass on his first name as a surname – and then the need for rules suddenly becomes clearer.

There are criteria which a name must satisfy before being accepted for use:

  • Must be easily incorporated into the Icelandic language
  • Must contain only letters found in the Icelandic alphabet
  • Must be able to be declined according to the language’s grammatical case system

Gender-inappropriate names are normally not allowed; however, in January 2013, a 15-year-old girl named Blær (a masculine noun in Icelandic) was allowed to keep this name in a court decision that overruled an initial rejection by the naming committee.

Further up I mentioned the less common practice of matronymic naming, wherein the mother’s name is used instead. Continuing the example above, Jón could also have been named Jón Brynjuson (taking his mother Brynja’s name) – or even more uncommon is taking both: Jón Ólafursson Brynjuson.

Most cases of matronymic naming is similar to the reasons in the Western world for baby John to take his mother’s surname over the father’s, i.e. the biological father is not like to be a part of the child’s life, or maybe the mother is making a social statement.

One of the most fascinating impacts of this naming is found in a telephone directory, where people are listed by their first name rather than surname. When it comes to formal address, first names are again used, i.e. Jón Ólafursson would be introduced as either Jón Ólafursson or (more commonly) simply Jón – never Mr Ólafursson. Indeed, if Jón was at a social event with a man named Jón Dagursson, they would be referred to as Jón Ólafurs and Jón Dagurs instead as a way of distinguishing between the pair, with the ‘son’ part dropped – or would be referred to as Jón Stéfan and Jón Eggert (their middle names). These days, middle names tend to be the distinguishing factor.

I could talk about this fascinating style of naming at great lengths, but I think I’ll leave it there.

Categories: Icelandic Names, Naming Culture | 4 Comments

Sibset of the Week: The Baldwins

via thewave.com

via thewave.com

Holly Willoughby is another TV presenter that first crossed my path in the world of children’s TV. In the case of Holly, she co-presented the popular Saturday morning show Ministry of Mayhem that ran from 2004-2006 that my younger siblings all loved. She’s been a panelist on the show Celebrity Juice since 2008, which several of my friends watch – although I’ve yet to really understand it’s popularity with them.

Either way, I was planning on covering this family earlier on this year, but then Holly went and announced she was expecting her third child, meaning that this post had to be shelved until this week when she welcomed her third bundle of joy.

Holly married Dan Baldwin in 2007, and together they are now parents to three children:

Belle (b. 2009)

Harry William (b. 2011)

Chester James (b. 2014)

Bizarrely, Belle still trails behind Beau in the female England&Wales rankings – #321 to Beau’s #178 (with Beau ranking at #175 for boys). It’s always been an interesting fact to be, given that Bella is at #56, inside the Top 100 alongside many other -bel names (think: Isabella and friends).

It’s interesting to note that both Belle (#525 in 2009) and Chester (#581 in 2013) were in the 500s when Holly chose them, whilst Harry hit the #1 spot in the year her first son was born – 2011.

Categories: Sibset of the Week | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

10 Names From The Carolingian Dynasty

Today we’re looking into a dynasty that hails from France in the Middle Ages. The Carolingian Empire occurred from 800-888 AD and covered much of modern day France as well as surrounding countries, including much of what these days constitute the western part of modern-day Germany. Some of the names from the era are fascinating, and today we’re covering 10 of them.

1. Charlemagne

Perhaps the best known Frankish king from the Carolingian Dynasty (reigning from 742-814 AD). Charlemagne is an elaboration of Charles le Magne, which in English is Charles the Great. This name is commonly heard in my household as a nickname for friend Charlotte.

2. Carloman

Whilst Charles and Carl have made it to modern day usage, this other offshoot has not. This was the name of several Frankish rulers, including the 8th-century Carloman I who ruled jointly with his brother (the above aforementioned Charlemagne) for a time.

3. Pepin

Alternatively spelled Pippin, the origins of this name are uncertain. Pepin the Short was the first Carolingian king of the Franks and father of Charlemagne.

4. Louis

The only name on this list to have any modern day usage, and he goes on to become incredibly popular amongst the Renaissance French Royals until Louis the Millionth* (*that’s a lie, he was the 16th) met his fateful end. First used by the son of Charlemagne, this name was brought to England by the Norman with the spelling Lewis. The name is the French form of Ludovicus, which comes from Ludwig.

5. Lothaire

Perhaps too close to the word lothario for anyone to seriously consider the name, but this name has had a prolific usage amongst the continental royals (specifically in France and Italy). Lothaire was the son of Louis I and ruled over the region we now know as Lorraine. Lothaire is the French form of Lothar.

6. Gisela

In modern day usage, this is the German, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese form of Giselle. The name is of Germanic origins and means pledge. This was the name of the daughter of Charles III, who went on to marry the Norman leader Rollo in the 10th century. Popular in France in the Middle Ages.

7. Rotrude

A female name that sounds as hopelessly unfashionable as Gertrude, and yet, I’m intrigued. Rotrude of Treves was the first wife of Charles Martel, who was the grandfather of Charlemagne. She’s a variant of Rotrud, a name of Germanic origin that means famed strength.

8. Drogo

You may have thought this name came from George R.R. Maritn’s imagination, but you’d be wrong. He’s a Norman name that potentially came from the Germanic element dragen, meaning to carry. Alternatively, he could come from the Germanic element drog, meaning ghost. This was another name brought to Britain by the Normans, but he sadly hasn’t survived to modern day usage.

9. Ermentrude

Perhaps even more hopelessly unfashionable than either Rotrude or Gertrude, and like Drogo, this name appears in the Song of Ice & Fire series of books for a lesser character, Lady Ermentrude of House Hayford. The name is the French form of Ermendrud, which derives from the Germanic elements: ermen, meaning whole/universal (aka the source of Emma) and drud, meaning strength. These days, you’re more like to meet an Emma than an Ermentrude. This was the name of the 9th-century queen consort of France, Ermentrude d’Órléans (825-869).

10. Ansgarde

The first wife of Louis the Stammerer and mother of later Carolingian Kings Louis III and Carloman II. Her name is of Germanic origins and means godly enclosure.

Categories: Historical Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sibset of the Week: The Hares

Cressida Cowell, via davidhigham.co.uk

Cressida Cowell, via davidhigham.co.uk

Today we’re looking into the extended family of one of my favourite authors from my childhood: Cressida Cowell. From the moment I was gifted How To Train Your Dragon not long after it’s release, I was a big fan of her dragons series – and have previously covered her own children in this feature. Today we’re back to look at other members of her family.

We’re starting with that of her maternal grandfather, Major Hon. Alan Victor Hare and his wife Jill North, who had two children:

Marcia Persephone (b. 1946)

Alan Simon Mercury (b. 1948)

Both have wonderful Greek mythology middle names that I can’t not love. The name Mercury is that of the Greek god of trade (later given to the closest planet to the sun), and fittingly the name means to trade. The meaning of Persephone is uncertain, although many relate it to the Greek words pertho and phone, which means to destroy and murder, respectively. In Greek mythology, Persephone was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus, and was kidnapped by Hades. It’s said that her return to the surface for part of the year brings the change of seasons.

Cressida’s Uncle Alan went on to marry Hon. Alexandra Amery, and the pair have two daughters with charmingly alliterative:

Alice Alexandra (b. 1989)

Florence Freda (b. 1993)

Whilst Marcia married Michael John Hare, 2nd Viscount Blakeham, and the pair had three children, including Cressida herself:

Cressida (b. 1966)

Emily (b. 1967)

Caspar (b. 1972)

Categories: Sibset of the Week | 1 Comment



Apologies in advance for the lateness in this post, caused by a sudden weekend-long internet outage. Thankfully, it’s back now and we can finish up with Week C.

I was inspired to cover today’s name for the simple reason that a lady appeared in this year’s Bake Off with the name. For those not in the know, The Great British Bake Off is now one of the most popular shows here in the UK; a noted mishap with a baked alaska caused a storm on twitter and ended up making front page news. Yes, we take this baking competition seriously.

Chetna was my favourite to win the series, but sadly left in the semi-finals this week, leaving Nancy, Richard and Luis left to battle it out in the final on Wednesday. Right now, I want Nancy the Maverick to win – but most agree we could be looking at another scandal if five-time star baker Richard doesn’t take the title.

The name Chetna is Indian in origin, and looks similar to the names Chetana and Chetan, who mean soul in Sanskrit. However, Chetna doesn’t seem to be an offshoot of Chetana, and whilst I’ve seen various meanings for Chetna bandied about, the most consistent one given is alert, realisation.

When it comes to popularity, Chetna has near to none – which I’ll admit surprised me, given we have many Indian communities living here in the UK. The name was given to 3 girls born in England&Wales in 1996, but since then doesn’t rank at all. It should be interesting to see the 2014 list next year to see whether the Bake Off has prodded Chetna into at least ranking. The name Chetana doesn’t rank, whilst Chetan was given to 7 boys in 2013.

With Chetna, you have an obscure Indian pick that is gorgeous and deserves more usage that she’s currently receiving. That might make her appeal to those looking for something unique, but now well known in the UK thanks to the Bake Off.

And Chetna, you rule.

The Bake Off 2014 competitors, Chetna is at the front in the pink jumper, via dailymail.co.uk

The Bake Off 2014 competitors, Chetna is at the front in the pink jumper, via dailymail.co.uk

Categories: The Offbeat Alphabet Series | Tags: , , | 2 Comments



Originally when I was drafting up a list of names to feature this week, I included a long-time personal favourite – Crimson – on the list. Somehow, over the many, many revisions Week C went through, we’ve switched to instead look at Cramesy.

Cramesy is an old term for Crimson which dropped off the radar in the early 19th century. Crimson has been around since the 15th century, and has seen various spellings over the centuries before settling on the one we know today, used to describe a shade of red.

The word comes from the Medieval Latin word cremesinus, which refers to the dye produced from the Kermes scale insects (the original source of the colour), itself coming from the Arabic word qermez, meaning red.

I’m interested to see what happens with Crimson, in terms of popularity, as in 2013 she recorded her first ranking in England&Wales of #5742 with 3 girls given the name.

One of the reasons that I chose to cover Cramesy instead is for the undefined gender usage, and following on from that, the similarity Cramesy has with longtime favourite James, a name that has been inside the Top 10 for the last two decades. Interestingly, he’s been hovering around the #10 mark recently, so in a year or two could potentially drop out of the Top 10. I think James is an example of a name overcoming a less than stellar meaning – he means supplanter – to be an extremely popular name. That said, most are probably unaware of said meaning.

To conclude, Cramesy is a word once forgotten that could see a revival as people look for something ‘like James, but not James‘.

Categories: The Offbeat Alphabet Series | Tags: , , | 1 Comment



We’re coming to the midpoint of Week C and we’re taking a trip into the world of Ancient Celtic names.

Cynbel is a new find for me, and rather reminds me of the musical instrument, cymbals – even more so if you consider that I’ve seen this name alternatively spelled Cynbal. He’s a Welsh male name by origins and means warrior chief.

When it comes to popularity, as with many names in this feature, the name has failed to rank at all in England&Wales since 1996. The only Cyn- names to rank are Cynan (#2954) and Cynthia (at the surprisingly low #3160).

Trying to come up with a popular sound-alike brethren proved tricky. Sybil is similar, but ranks at #2313. Cyril ranks even lower at #4685. There is Sydney, which ranks at ##378 for the girls and #233 for the boys (spelled Sidney).

One name I thought of though is Cymbeline, which I became interested in a few years ago. It’s the name of the eponymous character in the Shakespeare play. The name Cymbeline also doesn’t rank, and means hound of Belenus.

What’s interesting is that Cymbeline from the Shakespeare play was male, although most agree that these days that the name would be more suited to the female side of things. With Cynbel, I think it’s a little less clear cut.

It is worth noting that, -bel names are all the rage right now: Annabelle; Isabella; Isabelle; Isabel; Bella; Isobel are all within the Top 100, with Annabel; Arabella; and Mabel not far behind.

If you are considering Cynbel as a female name, the option of a respell as Cynbelle or Cynbella is a possibility – although not one I personally would consider (although that’s simply personal preference).

However, with the Cynbal spelling this issue is almost side-stepped, if you consider it to be one (and are considering this as a male name).

In the end, what you have with Cynbel is a long forgotten male name that could see an interest as a modern female name.

Categories: The Offbeat Alphabet Series | Tags: , | 1 Comment



This was the only name the made it from the original planned list to actually be including as part of the week. That’s impressive, despite a last minute panic about whether Christabel and Chesten were too similar to both warrant their own post.

The name Christabel is an interesting one because she sounds as if she’s a modern smoosh name, but she first appeared in Sir Eglamour d’Artois, a Medieval romance dating from the 1350s. However, Christabel became more commonplace on birth certificates by those wonderful people we know today as the Victorians, inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Christabel (first part published 1797).

The poem was published in two parts, and the story it tells is that of Christabel and her encounter with a stranger named Geraldine after she goes into the woods to pray by the large oak. Geraldine claims to have been abducted from her home by a group of men. Christabel pities the woman and things go on from there. The interesting thing to note is that the poem was never finished: Coleridge published two parts, and had plans for at least an additional three more.

Whilst not a modern smoosh, speculation is that she originally came about as a combination of Christ and Belle. It is also worth noting the Spanish name Cristóbal, which is the Spanish form of Christopher. The name Christopher comes from the Greek word chrio, meaning to anoint, whereas Belle is the French word for beautiful. I guess that means you could construe Christabel’s meaning as beautiful anointment.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu would publish a novel entitled Carmilla almost a century later in 1872, which is said to be inspired by Christabel – complete with a fascinating C- name. In this case, Carmilla looks to be either an elaboration of Carmel or Camilla (or maybe even a smoosh of the two ! ). In the case of this novel, Carmilla is the vampire character and inspired by Geraldine – and the novel would likely prove inspiration for one of the defining works of the vampire genre, Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Perhaps one of the more noted bearers of times gone by is Dame Christabel Pankhurst (1880-1958), a suffragette. This lends the name a strong forebearer and may be reason enough to use Christabel. Ms Pankhurst has previously been mentioned in this blog before in a Sibset post.

The name also has had sporadic use by the Royals – with Princess Alexandra bearing Christabel as one of her 4 middle names. Princess Alexandra is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II (their fathers are brothers) and when she was born, Princess Alexandra was sixth in line to the throne, but now lies all the way down at #46. I’ve read somewhere that her middle name Christabel was chosen because she was born on Christmas Day.

Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester almost ruled as Queen Elizabeth II’s regent had her father King George VI (his brother) died before she came of age. He married Lady Alice Christabel Montagu Douglas Scott in 1935. By happy coincidence, Princess Alice, as she came to be known, was also born on Christmas Day.

When it comes to usage, again, it’s a sporadic story, although in recent years there’s an emerging pattern of roughly 15-20 girls born in England&Wales each year given the name; her 2013 ranking was #1639.

It seems surprising maybe that Christabel not be rising in popularity, given the surge in popularity of likes of Arabella and Annabel. And I think that is the greatest shame of all, although that makes her all the more alluring for those looking for a fabulous literary name with next to no usage and almost guaranteed ‘recognisability’.

Categories: The Offbeat Alphabet Series | Tags: | 1 Comment

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