Calamity Cal Pt.II

Front cover of children's book, Chasing Vermeer, from puffin.co.uk

We’ve already covered the more popular names from which you can derive the nickname Cal in the previous part to this post, so now it’s time to look at the more eclectic choices. Since my ideas were getting out of hand, we’ve condensed the list down to a top five, hence why this post way delayed. But it’s here, so let’s heartily celebrate:

1. Kalani
He’s one of my favourite Hawaiian names, which isn’t their form of an English name. Kalani means the heavens coming from the Hawaiian elements:
  • ka, meaning the
  • lani, meaning heaven
If you’re on the market for some new swimwear, Oleema and Kalani Miller own a company which sells just that, named Mikoh Swimwear. They’re from Orange County, and both are female. It’s true the name Kalani has usage on both sides, but currently in England&Wales he’s pretty unused for both genders. Only 5 male Kalanis were born in 2010 and he doesn’t rank in the female data.
2. Calder
One of my favourite books is called Chasing Vermeer, and features a lad named Calder as one of the main characters alongside a girl named Petra. Outside of this, Alexander Calder is one of the most notable bearers, and he was a sculptor and likely inspiration behind the name of the character, since the book heavily features art in many senses.
The England&Wales data speaks volumes about the popularity of this name, since it doesn’t rank for either gender, and you need 3 births to rank. So there could be two 2010 baby boys at present in England&Wales with the name, but equally there might not be any.
3. Clarence

I’m not ashamed to say I like the name Clarence, and at the same time admitting he replaced Callixto here on the list at the last minute. Thanks to the recent royal wedding, most people in the world will know about Clarence House, the London residence of the Prince of Wales and his wife. Will that help his popularity? We’ll have to wait until we get the 2011 stats to be sure.
Either way, Clarence does not suffer the gender issues some of the names on this list are open to. However, he is far down on the popularity list in England&Wales nevertheless, which gives him a spot on this list. In 2010, 6 baby boys became Clarence, that equates to a ranking of #2941, putting our rather refined choice amongst the likes of D’mari and Marvellous.
The name Clarence itself could come from a variety of sources. For one, it could come from the Latin word clarus, meaning clear perhaps making it the masculine form of Clare. It also has links with the title Clarensis which was used by various member of the British Royal Family.
4. Campbell
I much prefer soup to sandwiches for a variety of reasons, and Campbell is a name almost synonymous with soup, especially since Andy Warhol painted a picture of them in 1962.
This name gains a place in this list for being an unexpected brainwave. Campbell could easily shorten to Cal, but most probably use either Cam or Belle/a as a nickname depending on whether their darling child is male or female. Which brings us nicely onto our next point.
23 lads were named Campbell in 2010 in England&Wales, and Campbell didn’t rank as a female name. You may be thinking: Great! Let’s go get our unborn son a monogrammed hat to celebrate, but hold your horses because Campbell ranked at #758 in the US in 2010 as a female name, whilst as a male name it didn’t make Top 1000. So those 358 American girls will more than outnumber the 23 British boys. I’m not saying you should stop considering Campbell right here right now, I’m saying Campbell is a name you need to watch in terms of popularity. At the same time, Campbell could be posed to become another Ashley, a bonafide female name in the States, whilst still much more popular as a male name on the other side of the pond.
5. Callahan
I’ll admit, I used to like this name quite a bit. Unfamiliar, yet familiar in other capacities, i.e. as a surname. I’m still not sure quite where I stand on the whole surnames as first names trend, but this name put me in favour of it for a short while. There weren’t enough Callahans born in 2010 for it to rank on the England&Wales data.
This name also puts me face to face with one of my all time pet peeves: Fake Irish Syndrome. You may know a few, those people down at the local who claim to be Irish, yet have never stepped foot on Emerald Isle, and the only Irish person they’re related to is a Great Aunt from yester year. But I’ll stop myself before this rant takes over the post.
Callahan comes from the Irish surname Ó Ceallacháin, meaning descendent of Ceallachán. All pretty straight forward stuff. Follow back the name Ceallachán and you get to Ceallach, which is traditionally said to mean bright-headed. Alternatively it could have links to the word ceall, meaning church or the word ceallach, meaning war.
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Categories: Boy Names | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Calamity Cal Pt.II

  1. Awkward Turtle

    I like Calder, but Callahan seems unnecessarily surnamey. No, I don’t know what makes one fine and one not. My tastes refuse to make sense sometimes.

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    • I’m a huge believer in gut instinct. I still can’t fathom exactly why I hate the name Daisy so much, she’s a fine name to call oneself, my gut instinct just says no, though.

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  2. I can actually see Callahan doing well here – Irish surnames, fake or not, are very popular, and with Callahan associated with the “Dirty Harry” movies, it sounds very masculine and even has that badass vibe so many parents love. I can even see Harry and Callahan as a sibset!

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