Posts Tagged With: Calliope

A Little Less Usual


Yesterday we talked about some of my favourite names inside the England&Wales Top 100, so now for a complete change of tune. Today we’re talking about a selection of less-than-usual names I’ve come across these past few days.

Soren – The name I intended to cover yesterday seems a fitting way to start today’s post. I covered the name Sora as a name of the week not too long ago, and I recently stumbled across the name Soren twice in one day. It seemed a sign at the time.

Now, in Nortern Europe this name is seen as Sören in Sweden and Germany, whilst he’s Søren in Norway and Denmark. The former is simply a cultural variation of the latter, whilst the latter himself in the Danish form of Severinus. If you thought we’d go a post without mentioning Harry Potter, you were wrong (ironically, Harry was the first name in yesterday’s post). The name Severinus, or Severus, means stern, serious or strict. It’s Italian and Spanish offshoot is Severo, whilst the Finnish prefer Severi and the Frenchies opt for Séverin. There’s several other relations which can be found here. One that did catch my eye is Sévèrine – the French feminine form which seems oddly appealing in a French accent.

That means, therefore, that Soren isn’t technically related to the name Sora, which means sky in Japanese.

Papaya – A recent addition to the crop of British celeb babies, born to Alicia Douvall late last year. It’s the name of the fruit of a Papaya tree, so in a way it’s like the 21st century version of Peaches. Which reminds me, the original Peaches [Geldof] recently announced that she plans to name her unborn son Astala. It rather reminded me of the name of musician Pete Doherty’s son: Astile.

Paprika – I used to watch this kids show called Blues Clues as a child, where many characters were household items. ‘Lo and behold, the salt and pepper shakers (Mr Salt and Mrs Pepper) had a daughter named Paprika, who was a Paprika shaker. The happy couple also had another ‘child’ named Cinnamon, who was a boy. If you think this is confusing, I used to think that Blue the dog was male, because blue is a boy’s colour, so the character must be a boy. There was a another dog named Magenta, who clearly must be a girl because pink is a girls colour. Turns out both were female dogs, and Periwinkle the cat was a boy and there’s also his friend Plum the parrot which I think must be male, too, but I remain unsure. Either way, this all added up to a very confused me.

Callisto – The name derives from Greek and means most beautiful. She was a fair maiden in Greek mythology, and was a favourite of Artemis. After attracting the attention of Zeus, he then transformed her into a bear to protect her from the wrath of Hera. She was later placed amongst the constellations in Ursa Major – which is also known as the Great Bear. Similar name Calliope also exists in Greek mythology, being the name of one of the muses. Her name means beautiful face. A lesser known name from Greek mythology is Callirhoe, which means beautiful stream. Two daughters of river Gods from Greek mythology wore this name.

Categories: Less Popular Names | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

When Penelope Gets Popular

Paloma Faith may inspire you, from

When I originally penned the Clementine post, I never imagined doing a sequel post or even turning it into a series, but the fact of the matter is that the name Penelope is getting popular, and I’ve started to wonder about what alternatives are out there. This post started off as me pondering about what other names I could get Penny from (the final three being Typhena, Peony and Euphemia), but the original draft of such a post seemed like more should be said. An elaboration was in order, and a sequel was born. So, what other names could we use when Penelope gets too popular for our liking? Just to illustrate the fact that she has grown in popularity, here’s how she’s fared in the past few years:

2003 2004 2005 2006
Rank 583 565 562 678
Births 50 55 59 46
2007 2008 2009 2010
Rank 515 427 328 272
Births 72 99 135 181

A ranking of #272 is something to take note of, since she’s shot up from #678 in 2006 to where she is today. To start off with, it seems best to first approach this topic by asking what exactly are the kinds of names people are pairing the name Penelope with, either as sibling or middle names? A trip to the London Telegraph Birth Announcements was in order to find just that out, and it was an eclectic bunch of names to say the least; here is a cut-down version:

  • Annabel
  • Aurelia
  • Bróna
  • Clementine
  • Esther
  • Evelyn
  • Dorothea
  • Felicity
  • Florence
  • Georgina
  • Harriet
  • Hettie
  • Horatia
  • Jemima
  • Lucinda
  • Marissa
  • Muriel
  • Nancy
  • Orla
  • Scarlett
  • Serena
  • Willa

The names Clementine and Florence came up severeal times, whilst Lucinda also came up at least twice. There are some conflicting styles in the names, from the seldom heard Horatia, to the very Irish name Bróna. Since Florence is a clear favourite, it seems apt to kick off a list of suggestions with the younger Nightingale sister’s name: Parthenope. Like her sister before her, Parthenope was named after an Italian city, and like Penelope, she’s four-syllables. If long names are your preference, another four-syllable P name is Philomena, which shares Penelope’s Greek roots. Dorothea from the above list also shares this trait. Other four-syllable Greek names include:

  • Angeliki
  • Calliope
  • Cassiopeia (technically five-syllables)
  • Elisavet
  • Eugenia (modern Greek form: Evgenia)
  • Konstantina
  • Louiza
  • Ophelia
  • Paraskeve (Pah-rah-ske-vee)
  • Persephone
  • Theodora
  • Timothea
  • Zenovia/Zenobia

But you may have no Greek heritage, which means the above list may means nothing at all to you. Fear not, for there are other, more English-based, options out there. The current leader of the pack for me is Peony. She’s floral, like Lily, and could also shorten to Penny if your heart so desires. I’m astonisahed that only 9 of them were born in England&Wales in 2010, because she is such a pretty name. I first came upon her, myself, when reading a book which I can’t for the life of me remember. But what I can remember was that Peony wore trousers with different coloured legs. She was an eccentric child, to say the least. Another seldom used name in England&Wales in Tolulope, given to just 4 girls in 2010, whilst Temitope was given to 10 girls.

Another P name that I reckon will be rising fast here in the UK in the next few years is Paloma. We’ve already had pop act Florence&The Machine attributed to the rise of Florence, and there’s another similar artist in the UK right now called Paloma Faith. She was the goth girl, Andrea, in the first of the rebooted St.Trinians films, but has since embraced colour to the max. Her name is Spanish for dove. Another British pop act, Mika, has three sisters named Yasmina, Paloma and Zuleika.

Going back to 2000, Penelope was given to 35 girls that year, as was Henrietta. Other names ranking similarly to her, and also containing four syllables (within 45-25 births) in 2000, with their 2010 ranking/birth number in brackets after are:

  • Angelica (#531, 75 births)
  • Henrietta (#730, 50 births)
  • Ophelia (#559, 71 births)
  • Valentina (#521, 77 births)
  • Veronica (#452, 92 births)

As you can see, non of them have broken the Top 300 as Penelope has done, but they have all risen since 2000 and could rise further but maybe not as quickly as dear Penny. That leads us onto another point, one could simply use a nickname of Penelope instead. Aside from Poppy, which resides firmly in the Top 100, the nicknames are generally not as popular as their long form:

  • Nell – #390
  • Nelly – #747
  • Penny – #396
  • Petal – #3156
  • Piper – #719
  • Polly – #300
  • Posy – #4688

I would also suggest Pippa as a nickname for Penelope, but she’s also on the express train to popularity at the moment. I guess one could argue that Philippa is another great alternative choice, who has actually been going backwards in the past few years. Other vintage-sounding P names include Patience, Prudence and Pearl, and Pomeline is a name with Royal heritage.

To conclude, Penelope is a great name with some great alternatives should her popularity put you off. My line on popularity is the same as always, though: if your heart says go for it, just go for it regardless of how popular the name may be.

Categories: Girl Names, Nicknames | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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