Names of the Week: Dahl and Fauna


We all love a nature name or two, so now it’s time to add a few more to the pile because you can never have too many. In theory.

It’s certainly a case two for the price of one when it comes to Dahl. For a start, there’s the foodstuffs called dahl, which you may also see spelt as either daal, dal or even dhal. I’m a huge lover of Indian cuisine, which is where you’re most likely to be served dahl. It is a preparation of pulses which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split. Indeed, the name dahl comes from a Sanskrit verbal root dal-, which means to split. The name dahl also refers to the thick stew one can prepare from these split pulses; regularly served with rice, vegetables or flat bread. Generally speaking, other areas to feature variations of dahl in their cuisine aside from India include Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Aside from food, the second nature reference you get from Dahl is his meaning: he’s a Germanic surname most often seen in the Scandinavian area of the world. As for his meaning, it’s valley or dale. It seems apt therefore that the best known Dahl is, naturally, the author Roald Dahl who was born in Wales to Norwegian parents. Dahl had three sisters named Astri, Else and Alfhild; tragically Astri died at the age of seven from an illness.

There are plenty of interesting names in Dahl’s family tree. With his wife Patricia, Dahl had five children:

  • Olivia
  • Chantal Sophia ‘Tessa’
  • Theo
  • Ophelia Magdalena
  • Lucy

Tessa, notably, has four interestingly named children: Sophie, Clover, Luke and Ned.

Going back to the author, Dahl’s books are much loved in many British households, even today. In 2008, he was placed 16th on The Times’ list: The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. He wrote such classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; The Twits; Matilda; The BFG and my personal favourite: James and the Giant Peach.

Are people actually using the name Dahl? Yes, yes they are. A lady wrote into You Can’t Call It It! for advice a few months ago, and was considering the possibility of using Dahl as a middle name for her unborn son. Guess what? She used it, too. Plenty more could be using Dahl quite simply as a pet name for their daughters they named Dahlia. It was well-reported that Nicolas Sarkozy named his newborn daughter Dahlia when she was born last year, before it eventually emerged that she was infact a Guilia.

Speaking of female names, the one we’re looking at this week is Fauna. She’s another offshoot from my search for alternatives to Flora. In part inspired by my lifetime love of the video game Spyro, as in the second game there is a faun introduced who is called Elora. There’s plenty of things linking her with Flora, too.

First off, if you’re thinking that you’ve heard the name elsewhere before, think Disney. The names of Sleeping Beauty’s three fairy godmothers in their version of the tale are Flora, Fauna and Merryweather; Fauna is the one who wears green and gave Aurora the gift of song.

In terms of mythology, whilst Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers, Fauna was the Roman goddess of fertility, women and healing. Whilst in the botanical world Flora relates to plant life, Fauna relates to animal life.

We mentioned faun earlier on, and a faun is also a character from Roman mythology; depicted as being half-man, half-goat. They were forest Gods and were often association with Greek satyrs. A famed faun you may remember is Mr. Tumnus from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a faun.

As a noun, the word fawn is the name for a young deer and a light-yellowish brown colour. As a verb, to fawn over usually suggests that one is seeking favour with someone else by flattering them.

Overall, both Dahl and Fauna feel almost contemporary names to use, but it remains to be seen as to whether they’ll pick up is usage since neither of the two names rank in England&Wales for the 2010 data.

Categories: Names of the Week | Tags: , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Names of the Week: Dahl and Fauna

  1. I’ve always liked Roald Dahl’s children’s names — they seem so before their time.

    Reading this post I now think I have a think for -ora names, as Flora, Elora and Aurora all appeal to me.


  2. Pingback: The Matilda Awards Winner of the Best Girl’s Name (Behind the Name) | Waltzing More Than Matilda

  3. Chantal is called Tessa cos they rhyme right? (Chantal and Dahl)


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