I think Indigo is one of those names you either love or hate. For some it’s not serious enough, whilst others like the fun sound it possesses.
I’m lucky enough to meet the name on a regular basis, thanks to my local bus service, the indigo. Once upon a time it was called the Rainbow 5, but received a major style overhaul in 2008, complete with leather seats, a stop announcement and a new tagline: the really stylish way to go.
It now the UK’s first commerical 24 hour bus route, so I do feel rather priveledged. But do I connect the name now too much with the bus? In a way yes, and to be honest, that’s not a bad thing. I love taking the bus because the drivers are always a pleasure, and a trent barton driver was named best bus driver of the year in 2009.
We’ve previously made mention of the name Indigo as a potential long form of Indie. But it the name Indigo more for boys or girls?
The above table covers the usage for boys. As you can see, he’s been up and down a lot recently, but generally his average is under 10 births, except for 2008 when things got particularly exciting.
As for the girls? Much more usage:
As you can see, she’s broken the 1000 barrier a few times and these tables prove Indigo is more consistently used for females, rather than males. Which is at odds with what I’m about to say.
The first time I came across the name Indigo, it was on a male character in a series of books by Hilary McKay. She wrote a series of books focusing on the Cassan family, who were all named after colours: Cadimium Gold ‘Caddy’, Indigo, Saffron ‘Saffy’ and Permanent Rose ‘Rose’. There were all named after the family colour chart on the kitchen wall, and Indigo is the sole male child.
In the natural world, we’ll find the Blue Wild Indigo, or Blue False Indigo. It’s latin name is Baptisia australis, and it’s a member of the pea family. Native to central and eastern North America, it’s now been introduced elsewhere outside it’s natural range.
The Cherokees used this plant as a source of blue dye, which we Europeans later took heed from. The roots were also used in teas or to treat tooth aches or nausea.
The best known use of the name is as the colour, which was defined as a spectrum colour by Sir Isaac Newton when he was devising and defining the optical spectrum. Proof Newton did things other than being hit on the head with an apple.
Back in ye olde days, the colour purple was reserved only for the rich and royals, and the colour purple in general is still associated with royalty to this day. The reason behind this was because Tyrian Purple could only be extracted from sea snails making it difficult to acquire, hence expensive. The dye was also prized because it did not fade in harsh sunlight, rather it became brighter and more intense.
The first recorded use in England of the word indigo was in 1289. And it’s origins are in India, which is believed to be the oldest centre of indigo dying in the Old World. It was the primary supplier of indigo dye to Europe from around the Greco-Roman era. The association of India with indigo is reflected in the Greek word indikon, meaning from India. The Romans used the term indicum, which passed into Italian dialect and eventually into English as the word indigo.
With Blue/Bleu reigning high as one of the more popular picks for a middle, this could be the niche for Indigo to start making ground. Either way, since my post all those months ago about finding a long form for Indie, I’ve been won over by the name. Indigo has a fun kind of sound to it, and the colour is lovely in most hues, unlike green or yellow.