Alternative Names

Alternatives to the Top 10

Top10Alternatives

We’re taking a break from our Offbeat Alphabet Series this week, and today we’re talking about alternative names. It’s always been that there are those who don’t care about using popular names, and those who look for alternative to the popular names they love. I know this because my blog traffic is mostly people looking for alternatives to Olivia. Consider it a dream come true to all you google searchers today, because I’m going to address just that. In fact, I decided to push the boat out and come up with a list of alternatives for every name in the 2013 England&Wales Top 10.

Now, I had plenty of ideas for every name, but then I took a step back and decided that I needed to rein myself in. In my mind, it’s not a simple case of swapping out a comfortable favourite with something no one has ever heard of, otherwise this list would look a lot different. Instead, I’ve decided to go for familiar names of a similar style, so my criteria was thus:

  • The name has not been in the Top 100 since 2010
  • The name was within the Top 500 in 2013
  • The name has risen consistently in the rankings since 2010 without stagnant or fall

So, in the end, I’m swapping out current favourites for what could be the incoming favourites of the next decade or so, which I think is more fitting than telling parents considering Jessica to instead use Cressida, a name only used 6 times in 2013. Despite this, the list of options was a fun one to compile, and it became more of a discussion piece than a list as I felt an explanation for each choice was warranted.

OLIVER -> BENEDICT

With Oliver, we’re looking for something charming, and a solid nickname option that’s also pretty popular as a standalone, like Olly. Originally I thought of Raphael, but his popularity is faltering. Then there’s Rupert, but he didn’t quite fit. In the end, I went with Benedict, where Ben once ranked as high as #34, but still is in the mix at #140.

The name Benedict could attribute some of his popularity to Benedict Cumberbatch. Indeed, up until 2010 the name was falling, down from a peak of#165 in 1999 to #449. However, the name has begun to regain ground, as in 2013 he was back up to #350 in 2013. The name comes from Latin and means blessed.

AMELIA -> ROSALIE

We’re looking for a 3-syllable flourishing name that features a ‘lee’ sound. For me, the minute I saw Rosalie, I couldn’t help but see her as ‘the one’. Like Mia for Amelia, the nickname Rosie is seeing increased use and ranks at #38.

The name Rosalie is, for all intents and purposes, an elaboration of Rose, but she’s a darn fine one at that. She’s rocketed up from #1171 in 2009 to #394 in 2013.

JACK -> TED

We’re looking for a one syllable nickname that stands well aside from his parent name. I had a hard time here deciding between Ralph, Ted and Frank. Ralph was ruled out because he has two valid pronunciations used widely in the UK and that made him a step away from the simple style we were looking for. Frank was ruled out for being not quite on trend, whereas Ted felt more current.

Ted is usually taken as a nickname for Theodore, but it is known for him to be used as a short form of longtime Top 100 name Edward. His brother Teddy broke into the Top 100 in 2013, whilst Ted rose from #278 to #179 between 2010 and 2013.

OLIVIA -> AURELIA

Olivia is similar to Amelia in a few ways, so the suggested names could cross over. We’re looking for a many syllables name, but not too many letters as with Anastasia. The finalists were Aurelia, Ariana and Elodie, with Aurelia winning out in the end for her similar sound and feel to Olivia.

The name Aurelia comes from Latin and means golden. Since 2010, the name Aurelia has risen from #567 to #327.

HARRY -> REGGIE

We’re looking for a nickname that could standalone. Lenny was a serious consideration, but his popularity didn’t quite qualify him. In the end, Reggie wins the acolade.

Reggie is a nickname for Reginald, a name that means advice and rule. He’s been on the rise for much of the last decade, rising 79 places since 2010 to #121.

EMILY -> MILA

This is another name like Amelia, that the minute I saw Mila, she felt right. She’s almost come out of nowhere in recent years, after ranking at #616 in 2010, she’s rocketed up to her current ranking of #124.

The name Mila is from the Slavic region originally, but she’s finding more and more fans in the English speaking world. The name contains the Slavic element mil, and means gracious/dear.

JACOB -> EZRA

We’re looking for a biblical choice here preferably, although Gethin was briefly considered. Jeremiah has the popularity, but seemed too long. On the flip side Malachi, Raphael, Levi and Isaiah all felt valid as alternatives, but didn’t have the popularity. I settled for Ezra in the end.

It is somewhat of a compromise choice, as Ezra dropped between 2010 and 2011, but has rocketed from #441 in 2011 to #295 in 2013. The name means help in Hebrew.

AVA -> ALBA

With Ava, the obvious choice was Ada, but I was more intrigued by the option of Alba.

Alba has a Latin origin and a Germanic one. In Latin, she derives from Albus, and thus means white/bright. In Germanic, she comes from the element alb, meaning elf.

CHARLIE -> ALBIE

Again I had two to decide between: Albie and Arlo. As Albie, like Charlie, is a nickname in origin, he gets the honour. It’s also worth noting that Charles was once popular before being overtaken by Charlie, and right now Albert is a Top 100 pick that could be overtaken by Albie in the coming years. We briefly mentioned the name Albie earlier on this week.

ISLA-> SKYLA

There were two good choices here: Iris and Skyla. The former seemed a good option, due to her similar length and starting letter. In the end, however, Skyla felt the better fit style-wise as Isla is Scottish in origins (from Islay, a Scottlish island in the Inner Hebrides) and Skyla relates somewhat to the Isle of Skye that lie off the coast of west Scotland, also in the Inner Hebrides.

As for popularity, a friend of mine became a Dad to a little Skyla last year. The name could be taken as a feminising of Skyler, itself a variant of Schuyler, a Dutch name meaning scholar. Since 2008, the name has been rocketing up from #639 to her 2013 ranking of #176.

THOMAS -> MAXWELL

Plenty of T- names were considered here – Tobias and Tristan, for example – but none adhered to the popularity rule. Tate does, but he seemed too short. I finally settled on Maxwell, who has a similar feel and an easy nickname of Max, as Thomas has Tom.

Maxwell is a Scottish surname that’s over time become used more frequently as a first name; the name means Mack’s stream. From a ranking of #145 in 2010 to #114 in 2013, there’s a very real possibility that Maxwell could enter the Top 100 in a year or twos time.

JESSICA -> ATHENA

She has a unique sound to her, so instead I looked for a name that was equally statement and of equal length. I considered Verity, but her popularity has been somewhat inconsistent. Then there’s Harmony, who was rising until she dropped off in 2013. Adelaide could maybe be a contender in a few years time, and Tabitha has been more plateau-ing than rising. In the end – and since I couldn’t nominate CressidaAthena felt the most fitting of all the names I went through.

Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare. In 2010 the name ranked at #583, and has risen since then to #437.

OSCAR -> RUFUS or RUPERT

I considered Rupert for Oliver, and in fact he could also be an alternative to Oscar. However, poor Rupert was sidelined once more in favour of Rufus, before I relented and let them share the honour.

Whilst the two names appear quite similar, they do not share origins. The name Rufus comes from the Romans, and means red-haired in Latin. The name has been on a steady rise in 1996, and is currently at #237. On the flipside, Rupert is an Old German form of Robert, which means bright fame. In 2010 the name ranked at #360, and has risen more than a few places since then to #213.

POPPY -> ROBYN

There were so many choices here for me to decide between. Penny is similar to Poppy, but I wanted a nature name – this also sidelined Bonnie and Luna. It came down between Robyn and Pearl, and my gut told me to go with Robyn. She was the same rank in 2010 and 2011, but I’m letting it slide because she’s works on all other levels for me.

Whilst Robyn is decidedly feminine, the name Robin is considered more unisex. Most would presume the name to come from the bird, but (s)he actually derives as a medieval nickname for Robert. The name was within the Top 100 in the 90s, but she has started to rise again after spending the majority of the turn of the century falling. Since 2010, she’s risen 54 places to #119, which means she may be poised for a triumphant return to the Top 100.

WILLIAM -> CASSIUS

With William, we’re looking for something a Prince could wear. Now, I had plenty ideas of old classics that could work here: Christopher, Tobias, Jonathan, Maximilian, Richard and even Montgomery. Sadly, they’ve all experienced either inconsistent popularity or continuous fall. In the end, I had to turn to more modern classics for inspiration. The choice was between Barnaby and Cassius, but with Barnaby spending as much time plateauing than rising, the honour falls to Cassius.

It seems a surprising choice, and I’ll openly admit that this name is one that I’ve loved for a very long time. However, it appears he is one the current crop of parents are loving too, as he was at #481 in 2010, and now at #363. The name, however, doesn’t have the most wonderful of meanings: he comes from Latin and potentially means empty/vain.

ISABELLA -> ARABELLA

Both Emmeline and Penelope were contenders with their ‘el’ sounds and 3-syllables, but they didn’t feel quite right. It seemed that, with Isabella, we’re looking for preferably a -bella name, and we have that with Arabella. However, an honourable mention should go to Mabel.

The name Arabella is another one we mentioned earlier on this week. She’s a medieval Scottish variant of Annabel, a name that means lovable. The name has risen form #228 in 2010 to her current ranking of #157.

JAMES -> MYLES

My first consideration with this name was Miles, but in the end Myles is the spelling I went with because he’s had a more consistent rise in popularity and is currently the more popular spelling (albeit only by 3 places).

The name comes from the Germanic name Milo, which was brought over to Britain by the Normans as Miles. The name could come from the Slavic element mil, which means gracious. Alternatively, he could come from the Latin word miles, which means soldier. The name currently ranks at #177, up from #210 in 2010.

SOPHIE -> THEA

Vivienne and Sylvie were options, but Thea shares Sophie’s Greek origins. She also has the girly sound that translates well into adulthood.

In Greek, the element theos means God(ess), which might put parents off. The name can either be pronounced with a silent h (like Tia), or not – I hear both used as frequently as the other. Theia is also the name of the Greek Titaness who is the mother of Selene, the goddess of the moon. Fittingly, her name is given to a proposed planet from the beginning of the solar system that was the size of Mars which collided with Earth to create the moon. Thea had a massive soar in rank between 2012 and 2013, going from #225 to #121.

GEORGE -> BEAU

I’m stepping away from the classics to go with Beau here. It may seem like a bit wildcard, but stay with me here. My thinking for this is both names have spellings that you wouldn’t think if you’d only heard them said, plus both are one-syllable. You also can’t really shorten them. I wasn’t so sure of the popularity, and briefly considered dropping Beau in favour of Lloyd or Noel, but I’m sticking to my guns instead.

The name Beau means handsome. The problem with Beau is from 2010 to 2013 he’s only risen 5 places from #180 to #175, so it’s not like he’s going anywhere fast.

MIA -> LYLA

Something that is short and could be a nickname for many popular names felt like the brief here. The name Annie was a choice, but I was looking for something more nouveau. Emmie could have worked, but she fell between 2012 and 2013. In the end, it came down to two: Zoya and Lyla.

The name Lyla comes from Layla and means night in Arabic. The name was basically nowhere in 2004 at #1715, before a dramatic surge to #303 in 2005. Now, the only thing I could find to explain this is that in 2005 the band Oasis released an album called Don’t Believe the Truth, for which the lead single was called Lyla, which was the UK number one single for a week in May 2005. She now ranks at #114.

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Family Tree Alternatives

Usually when people ask for alternatives of other names, they tend to look at similar-sounding names. However, in this post we’re delving into names related to popular names and picking out some intriguing possibilities for alternative names.

1. Harry and Amelia

Harry was born as a nickname for Henry, and these days is living it large in the #1 spot. Another offshoot of Henry is the Scottish variant Hendry.

Whilst choices were plentiful for Harry, the pool of potential names is smaller for Amelia and basically revolves around the same letter combinations, e.g. Amalia, Amélie etc. Perhaps the best bet is Emelia.

2. Oliver and Olivia

There are plenty of weird and wonderful international variants of Oliver, but I’m rather partial to Noll, which is an old medieval diminutive for the name.

Oliver and Olivia are interrelated, and my favourite other female name in the family tree is almost certainly Olivette.

3. Jack and Lily

There were quite literally a bazillion choices for both names here; in terms of Jack I’m thinking either the Welsh Ianto, or the French Yannick. The name Ianto is a diminutive, like Jack, of Ifan which is the Welsh form of John. As for Yannick, he comes from Yann which is the Breton form of John.

However, a last minute acknowledgement must go to the name Manech: he’s the Basque form of Jean, and Jean is of course the French form of John.

Then we have Lily, and my initial thought was the Scottish form of Lilian: Lillias or Lileas. Or go psuedo-chemistry with Lilium.

4. Alfie and Jessica

The complete opposite of the above pair of names, in that both Alfie and Jessica have few options. Alfie is, of course, a nickname for Alfred, and my best suggestion is Avery: a medieval form of Alfred.

Jessica is a toughie for the simple reason that she has few cousins, however Iscah is an intriguing possibility, being a possible source of the name Jessica.

5. Charlie and Emily

Charlie is a nickname for Charles, and in France they have Charlot. Anyone familiar with the French language will note that the t is silent, thus the name does not sound like Charlotte, more like SHAR-lo.

With Emily we encounter the same problems as with Amelia; there is a tenuous link between Emily and the Welsh name Emlyn, but alas, Emlyn is technically a male name. Best suggestion is likely to be either Emmy, Émilienne or Aemilia.

6. Thomas and Sophie

The Welsh short form for Thomas is Twm (said something like tuwm), or alternatively there is the Scottish variant Tavish.

As for Sophie, in Scandinavia they use Vivi as a nickname for Sofia.

7. Jacob and Ruby

There are, again, a plethora of options to choose from here, but I’m opting for the short’n’sweet option with Jeb.

Being a word name makes Ruby difficult, but the French for Ruby is Rubis and the German is Rubin.

8. James and Grace

For James, I would opt for Jem, which is an old and now rarely used nickname for James.

Ditto Ruby when it comes to Grace; once more turning to French we have both Grâce and Joliesse as translations. The former isn’t so practical, given that the French pronounce it to sound more like grass than grace.

9. Joshua and Ava

We’re venturing into the Arab world for Joshua, with the name Isa; the Arabic form of Jesus.

As for Ava, Chava is undoubtedly a wonderful suggestion – being the Hebrew form of Eve – but she’s mostly reserved to parts of the world not inflicted with the word chav. There is also the option of Hungarian name Évike.

10. William and Isabella

With William, I’m thinking maybe the German and Dutch dimiutive, Wim. Aside from him, we also have the option of Wiley, or even the Dutch Pim.

As for Isabella, being related to Elizabeth gives us plenty of options. As for the ones vaguely similar to Isabella, we have the German name Ilsa, which is a diminutive of Elisabeth.

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Names Like George

I think the name George is fantastic, and many here in England&Wales seem to be on my wavelength, as he ranked at #12 in 2011.

So of course, it seems apt to put together a list of similar-ish names, should you not be enthralled by the idea of using a popular name. The majority of the names on the list fit into the old-timey-esque one syllable category.

Fitz

Once upon a time the nickname for names such as Fitzroy, this name has been used by itself since the 19th century. It derives from Old French, and means son.

Floyd

A relatively common surname, turned first name. The name itself derives from Lloyd: the slightly altered English version of Welsh name Llwyd which means grey.

Fred

Originally a short form of Frederick, but also of Alfred, Wilfred etc.

Fritz

A nickname for Friedrich, the German form of Frederick. During the First World War it came into use as slang for German soliders, just as the British soldiers came to be nicknamed Tommy.

Gage

More usually an English surname, it derives from Old French and means fixed measure. I remember being asked about gages in my driving test.

Gale

Another adoption of a surname as a first name, with Gale first being used as a first name circa the 18th century. The name derives form Old English and means light, pleasant, merry. It could also have links to Norman French word gaoile, which means gaol (or jail).

Gray/ Grey

Two spellings for the colour which is a mix of white and black.

Gregg

The name Gregg is usually taken as a short form of Gregory: the English form of the Latin name Gregorius, which means to watch.

Mal

Short form of Malcolm, and indeed the name of my very own Grandad.

Ray

Another name once simply a nickname, Ray has been used independently since around the 19th century. For me, this name is wonderful, not least because someone commented that I was a little ray of sunshine only the other day.

 

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5 Alternatives to Freya

I seemed to be inadvertently working my way through the most popular names in England&Wales list with these posts, but that matters not.

The name Freya hit the Top 100 in 1998, and has resided there ever since. In 2011 she ranked at #19, exactly the same as she did in 2010. Freya is an interesting name; she comes from Norse mythology where she is the Goddess of love, beauty and fertility.

When it comes to selecting names for these posts, I like to look at the aspects of the name that makes it so fantastic and match up those qualities with those of other names; hence, the names I’ve collected together are either similar in sound or have similar qualities to Freya.

1. Elska

Like Freya, Elska also has Norse origins: she means love in Old Norse. With no non-English characters, such as å, to deal with, this makes the name more accessible and indeed she has potential to cross into English-speaking use as Freya has done so before her.

2. Feya

Not a Norse name, rather, a Russian name meaning fairy. I added this name in for it’s similarity to Freya in sound.

3. Chaya

This name is from Hindu mythology, where Chaya was the name of the hand maid of Surya. In Sanskrit, the name means shade, shadow, play of light. Also, Chaya exists a a feminine form of Chaim, a Hebrew name meaning light. Like Feya, this name makes an appearance on the list as she shares the ay-ah sound.

4. Embla

Another Norse Mythology name, Embla comes from Old Norse and means elm tree. In Norse Mythology, Embla is the name of the first human female. Like Elska before her, Embla also has potential to cross into English-speaking use (she also happens to be an anagram of Mabel).

5. Iona

Long popular in Scotland and the name of an isle there, this name means yew. Finding the right name for the #5 spot was hard, but for some reason Iona felt like the right name to throw into the mix. Like Freya, she isn’t popular the world over, moreover, only appears in Scotland’s Top 100, so is familiar in the English-speaking world, but only really used widely in one part of the world.

The near-misses: Fauna; Fuschia; Anya; Enya; Astrid; Feray and Elsa.

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5 Alternatives to Poppy

from bbc.co.uk

Last week we talked about alternatives for Archie, and this week we’re back to talk about another Top 100 name: Poppy.

It’s a good time to talk about Poppy, because the annual Poppy Appeal by the Royal British Legion kicks off in late October time and until mid-November you really can’t look left nor right without seeing someone sporting a familiar red flower.

Aside from the appeal, it’s really not hard to see why we here in England love the name Poppy, she has the cutesy feel that everyone seems to love these days, but unlike many other popular names isn’t strictly a nickname.

I don’t really see the perceived cuteness as a bad thing, since Poppy has been fairly popular for a few years now (hey, she was at #92 back in 1996), so much so that I know several Poppys my age and above.

Can I imagine a name like Poppy on someone over the age of 30?

Why yes, yes I can.

Of course, one of the big issues with finding alternatives to Poppy is that everyone has already thought of all the obvious choices; names like Lily, Maisie, Ruby and Rosie are all in the England&Wales Top 100, so are automatically disqualified from the list.

However, I persevered and finally managed to come up with a list of 5 names, with several other names narrowly missing the cut. The names picked out were mostly chosen for having a similar feel to Poppy, which is of course highly subjective so feel free to disagree with me if you so choose.

1. Petal

Chef Jamie Oliver has four children, called Poppy, Daisy, Petal and Buddy. The name Petal sticks with the almost-cutesy floral feel of Poppy, and again she isn’t strictly a nickname.

Unlike Poppy however, Petal is a borderline rarity at #5785, with only 3 girls given the name in England&Wales in 2011.

2. Posy

Posy is an interesting name because she can be a short form of Josephine, but at the same time the word posy relates to a bunch of flowers, thus we get back to the floral but not [quite] a nickname brief. There are also the alternative spellings of Posey and Poesy, but only Posy ranks, at #4764 with 4 girls being given the name.

3. Penny

Penny is in the same bag as Posy, as she is undoubtedly a popular nickname for Penelope. Like Posy, however, there does also exist a word penny, which is slang for 1 pence pieces here in the UK.

Penny is one of the more popular names on the list at #398, with a total of 115 girls given the name in 2011.

4. Perry

And now time for something different, as Perry has a slight unisex vibe which leaves her with a little less in the cuteness stakes. Here in the UK, we do have a famous female with the name: Perri Shakes-Drayton, a hurdler for Team GB during London 2012. If you’re still rockin’ the Olympics vibe, she’s a lovely option to consider. Especially if you’re looking for a name that does not rank.

5. Peggy

So old she’s fresh? Potentially, and it’s that potential that helped Peggy claim the final spot on this list. I can remember back to when I was little and the show to watch was Playdays, which featured a puppet called Peggy. The name ranked at #1043 in 2011, with 33 girls given the name.

To end, a few honourable mentions go out to: Sosie; Sunny; Darcey; Bonnie; Kitty; Sunday; Connie and Lottie.

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5 Alternatives to Archie

from amazon.co.uk

It’s been awhile since I’ve written one of these posts, and it seems like we are returning to wonderful Archie. I do believe that I have previously covered Jack and Alfie in posts similar to this.

The name Archie is popular in all four countries belonging to the UK, but historical his heartland lies in Scotland and England. Indeed, Scotland was one of the first places Archibald took off in during the Middle Ages. Personally, I suspect that Balamory may have something to do with why I see Archie as having a Scottish edge to him. If you don’t know what Balamory is, I sympathise and direct ye here.

So, with Archie, we’re not necessarily looking for nicknames of old-school lad names, more, looking for nicknames with a slight Scottish tinge to them.

Shouldn’t be too hard, should it?

1. Fergie

The most obvious choice to me, despite being best associated with Mr. Marmite, Sir Alex Ferguson. No, he doesn’t own the company that makes Marmite, more that I’ve never met a football fan who doesn’t hate or worship the man. For those who don’t know, Sir Alex Ferguson is the long-time manager of Manchester United; mixing Man U up with Man City is a fatal mistake I urge you not to make.

Fergie is a nickname for Fergus, and it’s worth noting that the Fergie mentioned above is a Glaswegian by birth. The name Fergus means man of vigour.

2. Roddy

A nickname used in both Scottish and English, that Aardman used in their film Flushed Away for the main character, a rat.

The name Roddy can be short for either Roderick or Rodney, with Roderick meaning famous power, whilst Rodney means Hroda’s island.

3. Christie

I once had a teacher with a son named Christie, which is a predominantly a nickname for Christopher in Scotland and Ireland. The name Christopher actually remains much more popular in Scotland than in England&Wales where it has fallen outside of the Top 100, since Christopher ranked at #71 in 2011 in Scotland.

The name Christopher means bearing Christ.

4. Tam

The name Tam is a Scottish nickname for Thomas, a name that ranked at #27 in Scotland in 2011; Thomas means twin.

To prevent any confusion, Tamsin is not the Scottish feminine form of Thomas, rather, she is contracted form of Thomasina most often seen all the way down in Cornwall. However, the Tamsin I worked with at the Olympic Stadium was called Tam for short.

5. Greer

This name derives from the name Gregor and also has use as a [Scottish] surname. The name Gregor is a brother of Gregory and the name means watchful/alert.

 

And that’s all I got on this one; I know that I usually do 10 names when it comes to these posts, but what with having already covered Alfie, my other ideas were more of the same of those kinds of names. That said, I was sorely tempted by extending the list to 6 in order to award Brodie a place, given that the name is surprisingly popular in Scotland – #69 – whilst he’s down at #310 in England&Wales.

Since I’ve just mentioned him now, I guess that kind of includes him, despite having ruled him out due to not really having any Scottish links per se.

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Lily

Dragonfly, from stickers-moins-cher.com

One of the names to watch at the moment is Lily. Not so much watch, as to charge after at full speed. She’s popular, really popular – at #4 in England&Wales in 2010 and odds are she’ll rise further.

Part of Lily’s success not only comes from the multiple ways people are finding to spell her, or the dozens of combinations, but the fact that she can also work as a  nickname, whilst not technically being one. We’re thinking Lillian and Lilith as key examples of Lily’s nickname career. but it’s not just Lil- names that could shorten to Lily.

1. Callista/Callisto

Callista is a slight variant of Callisto, which comes from Greek and means most beautiful. My sister openly disagrees with me putting both of these names on this list, insisting that Lola is a better short form to consider, but I think the option of Lily is there should you wish to have the option.

2. Cecily

Perhaps Cecelia and Cecilia apply here too, but Cecily ends exactly the same way as Lily does so she gets full honours. The name Cecily was the usual form of the name in English in the Middle Ages. The name derives from the Roman name Caecilius, which means blind.

3. Endellion/Eulalie

I just couldn’t decide between these two E- names, so they share a spot on the list. Endellion is a Cornish pick championed by David and Samantha Cameron, and the name of a once obscure saint. The father of St. Endellion is usually listed as St. Brychan, who reportedly had as many as two dozen offspring.

Eulalie is a charming French name I’m seeing more and more mentioned by many. Indeed, and rather aptly, she means well spoken. Like Endellion, the name Eulalie also has connections to a saint of Spanish origins from circa the 4th century.

4. Libellule/Lullaby

The two wordy names of the list have joined forces for the purposes of this list, since I wasn’t convinced on either of them initially. Libellule is a French word meaning dragonfly, whilst Lullaby is the dreamy sister of Reverie.

5. Romilly

A French origin place name currently catching many a parent-to-be eyes. This name also has history of being both a male name and a surname; a Welsh painter by the name Augustus John welcomed a son named Romilly in 1906, whilst Emma Thompson welcomed daughter Gaia Romilly in 1999. The origins of the name Romilly remain undetermined.

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Oliver + Olivia Alternatives

Oliver the Musical poster, from bookyourtickets.co.uk

Oliver and Olivia are both #1 for their respective genders here in England&Wales in 2010, and as such I’ve been thinking about both quite frequently of late, more so about possible alternatives to them. It therefore seems about time to formulate a post, and indeed finally draw up a list of alternative names for our two most popular names.

The name Oliver is usually taken to be derived from the Old French olivier, which means olive tree. Aside from that, it could come from the name Olaf, which means ancestor’s relics.

When it came to choosing and picking names for the list, I tried to include a variety of names. In my reckoning, there are three key components to the name Oliver: The O, the V and the ER ending – so the primary aim was for each name to have at least one of these components. Aside from that, there was a dash of gut feeling thrown in for good measure. You may contest the worthiness of some of the names to be on this list, but I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out:

  • Alistair/Alister
  • Apollo
  • Avery
  • Bartholomew
  • Brooks
  • Calder
  • Callister
  • Chevalier
  • Clive
  • Cole
  • Colin
  • Colton
  • Eliezer
  • Elijah
  • Errol
  • Everard
  • Farrell
  • Gavin
  • Gulliver
  • Holbrook
  • Holden
  • Ivor
  • Keller
  • Leopold
  • Lester
  • Malcolm
  • Miller
  • Nicholas
  • Nolan
  • Oleksandr
  • Olson
  • Paulo
  • Prosper
  • Randolph
  • Rolf
  • Rio
  • River
  • Rollo
  • Severin
  • Solomon
  • Soren
  • Stellan
  • Sullivan
  • Trevor
  • Vernon
  • Virgil
  • Wolf
  • Walter

Then we have Olivia. She came about thanks to Shakespeare, who may have based her on Oliver or on the Latin word for olive: oliva.

When it came to collecting together a list of alternatives to Olivia, the main aim was to pick out names with a middle v sound, and a good selection of names heard and not so oft heard – since despite what many may hope for, I doubt everyone likes to use completely distinct names. Again, a few names made it onto this list on the back of my gut instinct.

  • Aurelia
  • Avalon
  • Aveline
  • Avie/Evie
  • Aviva
  • Avril
  • Caoimhe (Keeva)
  • Clover
  • Davina
  • Doveva
  • Elodie/Eloise
  • Evadne
  • Evangeline
  • Evelyn
  • Everild(a)
  • Flavia
  • Gavrielle
  • Genevieve
  • Ginevra
  • Hillevi
  • Lavinia
  • Lilavati
  • Linda/Linden
  • Loveday
  • Maeve
  • Mavis
  • Mireille
  • Nova/Novavie
  • Octavia
  • Odila
  • Olympia
  • Ophelia
  • Ottilie
  • Ovelia
  • Parvati
  • Ravenna
  • Reverie
  • Reviva
  • River
  • Savannah
  • Verdandi
  • Violet
  • Vivienne/Vivian
  • Willow
Categories: Alternative Names | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Weekend Post: The World Beyond Ella Pt.II

 

Kala and Tarzan, from dvdizzy.com

As previously mentioned, I’m not a big fan of the name Ella, but I do find myself fond of several similar names to her. A few weeks ago, I wrote Pt.I of this series which discussed names similar to Ella, in that they too began with the letters El. It therefore seems apt to devote Pt.II of this series to names which end -la, as Ella does.

But this could get a little complicated since many -la names are also -ella names. Think Gabriella, Arabella and so forth, so I’ve resolved this by excluding all such from this list for fear of clutter. It’s not exactly the perfect solution, but frees me up to devote more time to other -la names worthy of attention. This is by no means a complete list, rather a selection of familiar and less-familiar names which end in -la, you may also query as to whether some could truly be alternatives to Ella, but that isn’t really the aim of this post. The aim is to explore names with similar characteristics to Ella, which are of the following do have:

Alaula – Hawaiian name meaning either sunset glow or light of the dawn.

Beulah – Biblical name meaning married. There’s a similar looking name, Betula, which comes from Latin and means birch.

Calendula – A botanical name for the English marigold.

Casmilla – A variant of the name Camilla. There’s also the name Milla, which is a short form of the latter name.

Carla/Carola – Both originally derive from the name Charles, which means man.

Delilah – Biblical name means delicate, weak and thin.

Embla – A name from Norse Mythology, where Embla was the name of the first human female, formed from an elm tree.

Fionnuala – Irish name meaning white shoulder. Variations include Fionnghuala, Finnguala, Finuall and, sigh, Fenella. She also shortens to Nuala, noo-la.

Iola – Likely to be a variation of the name Iole, which is a Greek name meaning violet. The name Viola is worth a mention here, too, alongside the Romanian name Viorel which also means violet.

Kala – Hawaiian version of Sarah, and a Sanskrit name meaning art form, virtue. Also the name of Tarzan’s mother in the Disney film.

Kamala – Sanskrit name meaning lotus.

Lila – She means play in Sanskrit, but may also be taken as a variation of either Leila or Lily. Lila is also the German word for purple. Slightly similar, but not entirely ending -la is the name Lillai, which is a Romani name meaning spring and summer.

Lola – Spanish pet-form of the name Dolores, which means sorrows.

Nahla – Arabic name meaning either drink or bee.

Orla – Also spelt Órlaith. She’s an Irish name meaning golden ruler – I sometimes see the meaning is altered to golden princess.

Perla – Italian form of the name Pearl

Petula – An elaboration of the name Petal, notably seen on British singer Petula Clark.

Thekla – Contracted form of the name Theoclea, which means God’s glory.

Theophila – Feminine form of the name Theophilus, which means friend of God.

Tuathla – Old Irish name meaning ruler of the people. Sometimes seen anglicised to Tuala.

Tula – Sanskrit name meaning balance, scales and likeness.

Twyla – Of uncertain origins, but she has been linked to the name Étoile and Twilight as possibly being an offshoot of either of them. Also spelt Twila.

Ursula – Latin name meaning bear.

Vela – The name of a constellation, originally part of Argo Navis which was later divided into three pieces, creating Vela, Carina and Puppis.

Willa – Feminine form of the name William.

Categories: Alternative Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Alternative Botanical Choices to Lily, Violet and Rose

We all love Lily, Violet et al, and so to honour my rediscovered love of Rose, we’re going to delve into the depths of the world of all things botanical. Not a Lily nor Rose will be present on this list, because that would just be obvious.

A- Adair, Amaryllis, Aster

B- Briar, Bryony

C- Calendula, Camellia, Cassia, Clover, Cosmos

D- Dara (A male name in Ireland, Dara Ó Briain is an example), Dahlia

F-, Fern/Ferne/Fearne, Flora

H- Hadassah, Hana

I- Ianthe, Iris

J- Jonquil, Juniper

K- Kiri

L- Laurel, Leilani, Linnea

M- Magnolia, Mimosa

N- Neriette

P- Peony, Pomeline

R- Rowan, Rush

S- Senna, Shoshannah, Sorrel

T- Tamarind, Tamaris, Tansy

V- Verbena, Veronica

Z- Zizanie

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

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