Posts Tagged With: Caoimhe

Banbha

Banbha

We’re approaching the end of Week B, and today we’re looking across the Irish Sea to Nana Lou’s home country of Ireland. In a way, we’re looking at the Emerald Isle as a whole, since today’s name is sometimes used as a poetic name for Ireland.

It makes sense, as according to Irish mythology, Banbha is the patron goddess of Ireland. Some traditions also hold that Banbha was the first person to set foot in Ireland before the flood.

Try to think of some names similar to Banbha who are currently popular, and you might struggle. After mulling over it, I came to the conclusion that she shares a certain similarity to Bella, who is currently (i.e. 2013) #56 in England&Wales. Consider it, and both are two-syllable B names ending with the ‘ah’ sound, of course, what you might call Bella’s ‘middle-section’ is softer sounding, which may be part of why she’s so loved.

Of course, most by now accept that the popularity of Bella can also in part be attributed to the Twilight furore. Especially if you consider my favourite fact that on the girls list, Beau outranks Bella’s sister, Belle, ranking at #178, compared to #321 – a gap that actually grew between 2012 and 2013 as Belle fell 66 places. Belle and Beau both mean beautiful in French, with Beau the masculine form of the word and Belle, the feminine; Bella, on the other hand, is Italian for beautiful. 

Despite the similarities, Banbha fails to rank at all for any year since 1996.

Which is a shame, as whilst the likes of Siobhan (#1484) and Caoimhe (#639) rank, despite their pronunciation issues, Banbha is legitimately Irish and without the difficulty, but next to no usage. Although, as a side note, I have a friend named Siobhan and a mutual friend of ours still struggles with her name, despite me considering it to be a more ‘mainstream’ Irish name, i.e. one people ought be fine with the pronunciation of, like Sean. I went to Catholic school, though, so there were many Siobhans, Roisins, Sineads et al, that means not only did my school provide me with a traditional education, but also a fairly robust grounding in how to pronounced popular Irish names.

When it comes to the meaning of the name, the likeliest source of the name is the Scottish Gaelic word banbh, which means land unplowed for a year. However, there is an Old Irish word – banb – which could also figure in: the word means piglet.

To surmise, the name Banbha seems to be crying out for usage, and she could find fans in those looking for an Irish heritage pick off-the-beaten track, and this one has the added plus of links to Irish mythology.

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Categories: The Offbeat Alphabet Series | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekend Post: Good, Fresh, Uncomplicated Names

Eat’s ethos

Since I shared this photo in last week’s Spot post, I’ve been thinking about the Eat ethos, which is good, fresh, uncomplicated food.

What would be the naming equivalent?

Let’s break it down.

FRESH

Fresh is often used (and I’m particularly guilty of this one) as another way to say unusual, but one could also see it as a name that hasn’t been overexposed.

In the end I settled for 4 set criteria for a name to pass this category and go on to the next category. For a name to be fresh in my eyes, it must not be:

  • A name that has been in the Top 100 for 10 years at some point in time
  • A name that ever been #1
  • A name that has been given to a high profile celeb offspring
  • A name that has risen more than 100+ places in the Top 500 since 2000

Taking this into consideration, names that fail this category include:

  1. Amber
  2. Amelie (up 1420 since 2000)
  3. Chloe
  4. Harry
  5. Jack
  6. Kayden (up 1326 since 2000)
  7. Lexi (up 1949 since 2000)
  8. Oliver
  9. Suri
  10. Thomas

GOOD

For a name to be good, I believe it has to have little negative connections such as an evil forebearer (whether fictional or not) or less-than-lovely meaning.

8 names that would fall down at this hurdle, but would’ve passed the previous category include:

  1. Adolf – self explanatory
  2. Azrael – aka The Angel of Death
  3. Bellatrix – think Harry Potter
  4. Dolores – means sorrows + think Harry Potter
  5. Gretel – Hansel&Gretel tale
  6. Louhi – name of a death goddess in Finnish mythology
  7. Memphis – the US city known for crime
  8. Mordred – rival of Arthur in Arthurian legend
  9. Nuala – the Nuala in Irish mythology was less-than-nice
  10. Persephone – means murder /to destroy

UNCOMPLICATED

What makes a name complicated? One could say it is a name which causes little spelling/pronunciation issues, such as James and Ruby.

8 names that fail this test, but passed the previous two include:

  1. Caoimhe – pronounced KEE-va
  2. Ceridwen – pronounced ke-RID-wen
  3. Eluned – pronounced EH-lee-ned
  4. Heliodoro – just generally a mouthful of a name
  5. Joachim/Joaquin – just generally a name that causes me a headache when it comes to pronunciation
  6. Schuyler – pronounced SKY-ler
  7. Solveig – pronounced SOL-vay
  8. Xanthe – pronounced ZAN-the

So, without further ado, here’s the list of  some of the names I think  pass all three tests:

BOYS

  1. Angus
  2. August
  3. Barnaby
  4. Bruno
  5. Caspian
  6. Cosmo
  7. Ever
  8. Ezra
  9. Fergus
  10. Gray
  11. Indigo
  12. Ivor
  13. Rio

GIRLS

  1. Avalon
  2. Blossom
  3. Coral
  4. Gwen
  5. Hero
  6. Ingrid
  7. Josie
  8. Lux
  9. Nova
  10. Orla
  11. Roma
  12. Rosemary
  13. Vera

Do you dispute any of these choices? Are there any names you think qualify too?

Categories: Weekend Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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