Posts Tagged With: Arabella

Sibset of the Week: The Burnses

via wikipedia.org

via wikipedia.org

A few weeks ago I spent some time in Ayrshire during the Commonwealth Games, and this week’s family hails from that very part of the world and seemed a fitting way to end the unofficial ‘Scottish Week’ we’ve had going on.

Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns is one of the most noted poets to hail from Scotland, and indeed is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. As well as writing in English, he also wrote works in the Scots language, being one of the best known poets to do so. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV. His family therefore seemed an obvious choice to round off this week.

First, let’s take a look at Rabbie’s own family. He was the eldest son of William Burness and Agnes Brown:

Robert (1759-1796)

Gilbert (1760-1827)

Agnes (1762-1834)

Annabella (1764-1832) (I’ve also seen her name listed as Arabella, the Scottish form of Annabella)

William (1767-1790)

John (1769-1785)

Isabella (1771-1858)

All the names are pretty typical 18th century names, although the one that I took note of is Gilbert, since I’ve never covered the name on the blog. He’s a Germanic name that means bright pledge.

Then we have the children of Rabbie Burns who, unless noted, are also the child of Rabbie’s wife, Jean Armour.

Elizabeth ‘Bess’ (1785) by Elizabeth Paton

Robert (1786, twin of Jean)

Jean (1786, twin of Robert)

Unnamed twin daughter (1788)

Unnamed twin daughter (1788)

Robert (1788) by Janet Clow

Francis Wallace (1789)

William Nicol (1791)

Elizabeth ‘Betty’ (1791) by Ann Park

Elizabeth Riddell (1792)

James Glencairn (1794)

Maxwell (1796)

There are some pretty interesting middle names here: Nicol; Glencairn; and Riddell. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Nicol comes from a friend of Rabbie Burns’, so it could be logical to assume the same for the other two.

Maxwell is interesting to me, because he appears in several popular PC games: Scribblenauts as the primary playing character; Don’t Starve as the antagonist; and partially in the Max Payne games as the titular character. Maxwell also happens to be the codename of a Nvidia graphics processing unit (GPU).

Categories: Sibset of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

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

Some Popular A Names, Girls

PopularANames-Pink

A fortnight ago I spent the week looking at some less than popular A names. Therefore, as almost a follow up of sorts, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at the other end of the spectrum at some popular names beginning with the letter A, specifically those in the Top 200 in England&Wales in 2013. With that in mind I’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 A names who’ve risen the most in the rankings since 2008, and now lie within the Top 100.

In total there were 16 names that have risen in the past five years.

1. Amaya

From her 2008 ranking of #464 to her 2013 one of #198 (a rise of 266 places), Amaya is the highest climbing female A name within the Top 200. This name is a variant of Amaia, which means the end in Basque. Amaia is also the name of a mountain and village in the Basque region of Spain.

2. Anaya

It’s interesting to note that the second highest climbing name is only one letter different from the first. Anaya climbed 249 places from #404 to #155. As for her meaning, that’s less clear than Amaya. She is possibly a variant of the Biblical name Anaiah, which means God answers in Hebrew. I’ve also seen some give the name as being from Sanskrit and meaning complete freedom.

3. Ariana

This name rose 174 places from #360 to #186. She’s the Italian form of Ariadne, which comes from Greek means most holy.

4. Arabella

Between 2008 and 2013, this name rose 168 places from #325 to #157. Arabella is a medieval Scottish form of Annabel, a name that is a variant of Amabel, who means lovable.

5. Ayla

This name rose 157 places from #329 to #172 between 2008 and 2013. She has two different origins: she’s Turkish and means moonlight; she’s also a variant of the Hebrew name Elah, and means oak tree.

6. Amira

From #306 in 2008 to #198 in 2013, this means this name has risen 108 places in the last 5 years. Like Ayla, this name has two different origins. The first is that she’s the feminine form of Hebrew name Amir, which means treetop; the second is that she’s the feminine form of the Arabic name Amir, and means commander/prince(ss).

7. Aoife

From a ranking of #298 in 2008 to #192 in 2013, that’s a rise of 106 places. Aoife (pronounced EE-fa) is an Irish name meaning beauty. In Irish legend, Aoife was a warrior princess.

8. Autumn

The first name on the list to have climbed less than 100 places is Autumn, who rose 61 places from #258 to #197. This makes her the second most popular season name in England&Wales, after Summer who ranked at #48 in 2013, down from her peak at #23 in 2008. Whilst Spring does not rank, Winter does at #1018 for the girls and #4685 for the boys.

9. Aleena

This name climbed 55 places from #217 to #162. She could be one of two things: a variant of Alina, or a variant of Alena. The latter is simply of short form of names like Helena and Magdalena. As for Alina, she could also be a short form of names like Adelina and Carolina.

10. Annabelle

The only name on the list inside the Top 100, as she’s risen 51 places from #114 to #63. This is also the second entry on the list for the Amabel family of names, with the first being Arabella at #4.

The other six names are as follows: Alexis (#166 to #120, 46 places); Annie (#162 to #125, 37 places); Alexa (#184 to #162, 22 places); Alice (#46 to #27, 19 places); Ava (#21 to #4, 17 places); Aisha (#105 to #94, 11 places).

What I think is nice about this list is it gives an indication of names that could be on their way into the Top 100 (except for Annabelle, who already is). Whilst it’s unlikely that they’ll all make it into the Top 100,  it remains endlessly fascinating to me that the top 5 names are all from wildly different languages.

Categories: Popular Names, Popularity | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Name Spot of the Week: The Fool Strikes Again

Contestant from Junior Bake Off, Stanley, from eadt.co.uk

You’d think I’d be a pro at this blogging malarkey nowadays, but I somehow managed to leave for work last night without clicking the publish button. Since I didn’t actually get back until past midnight, I decided to be lazy and go to bed rather than provide you with your daily fix. Patience is a virtue, as my father would always annoying remind me, so hopefully I still have some readers out there 😉

Either way, onto the post. I caught another glimpse of Junior Bake Off this week, the kid-orientated version of BBC’s smash hit The Great British Bake Off. The one I watched a few minutes of the other day featured four young ‘uns named Jacob, Katie, Conal and Coco-Nina. Some other notable names from the series include:

Aasiya

Amari (m)

Galway

Hari

Joy

Kai

Marie

Saffron

Sangita

Stanley

Sylvia

Zyta

Speaking of television, there was a girl named Charis this week on Pointless who pronounced the first syllable of her name like one would say the first syllable of Karen. There was also a Lauren and Lauren III pairing who were both male, which reminds me that Laurence is a female name in France. On the subject of the French, Bree stole my heart with her list of French word names earlier on this week.

It’s slightly late, but Kate Silverton welcomed a daughter she named Clemency Florence Rose recently. David Cameron famously welcomed Florence Rose Endellion earlier last year, so Florence Rose is clearly a combination to keep an eye on. I’m still not entirely sure which name I prefer out of the two, given that I love both. There are plenty of -ce names out there right now, such as Alice and Beatrice, which are enjoying plenty of popularity.

My favourite outraged Daily Mail article of late has been about a couple’s messy divorce. A couple with four daughters named Arabella, Kitty, Lucy and Georgia. They also have a son with the delightfully complicated Ruaraidh.

11/11/11 UPDATE

There’s a girl on the news called Birdy. How apt given ‘yesterdays’ post!

Categories: Name Spot of the Wek | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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