Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All The Ways To You Can Say: Rose

The name Rose conjurs up many a pretty picture but unfortunately, it has lost some of its charm now as every second child that you meet somehow has the middle name 'Rose'. It tends to end up as a bit of a filler-name, placed in the middle because it has a nice flowing sound. Don't get me wrong, I like the name, I could even see myself using it as a middle name but if you want to still want to honour the name Rose but don't want 'Rose', here are some other ways to say it:

·         Opgestaan (Afrikaans)
·         Trëndafil (Albanian)
·         Vard (Armenian)
·         Gül (Azerbaijani)
·         Igo (Basque)
·         Ruža (Belarusian/Croatian)
·         Gōlāpī (Bengali)
·         Roza (Bulgarian/Russian)
·         Rosa (Catalan/Galican/Italian/Portuguese/Spanish)
·         Méiguī (Chinese Traditional)
·         Růže (Czech)
·         Steg (Danish/Norwegian)
·         Roos (Dutch/Estonian)
·         Leviĝis (Esperanto)
·         Rosas (Filipino)
·         Ruusu (Finnish)
·         Triantáfyllo (Greek)
·         Leve (Haitian Creole)
·         Gulāba (Hindi)
·         Rózsa (Hungarian)
·         Hækkaði (Icelandic)
·         Mawar (Indonesian)
·         Ardaigh (Irish)
·         Bara (Japanese)
·         Gulābi (Kannada)
·         Jangmi (Korean)
·         Surrexit (Latin)
·         Rožu (Latvian)
·         Rožė (Lithuanian)
·         Zgolemi (Macedonian)
·         Meningkat (Malay)
·         Tela (Maltese)
·         Róża (Polish)
·         Trandafir (Romanian)
·         Ruža (Serbian)
·         Ruže (Slovak)
·         Ökade (Swedish)
·         Rōjā (Tamil)
·         Kuh̄lāb (Thai)
·         Gül (Turkish)
·         Troyanda (Ukranian)
·         Tăng (Vietnamese)
·         Rhoysn (Welsh)
·         Rwyz (Yiddish)

Monday, September 17, 2012

In Retrospect: 1880 - Given To Five Babies

It is now time to take a look at the names that were given to five babies in the year of 1800. I have selected ten of my favourites – or the ones I have found most interesting – for both genders. There are plenty of other gems on this section of the list, including names that see more use now including Adelle, Elisa, Adrienne, Johannah and Sibyl for girls and Zachariah, Sampson, Phineas, Payton and Brad for boys. There were some other wonderful, more obscure names that I missed but I would be here for days if I was to try and mention them all, and I am sure a few of them will pop up in the following years when I go and analyse them. But for now, enjoy 20 names that were given to 5 babies in the year of 1880. Hopefully, some may inspire you.

Albertine – (pronounced: AHL-bert-een) is a French female variant to the male name Albert. It has the meaning of ‘noble, bright, famous’. It was given to less than five, if any, girls in 2011 but the Old German female variant of Albert, Alberta fared better with 9 baby girls given the name. This name does have less appeal than the more snappy and prim Alberta.

Bulah – (pronounced: BYOO-la) is a variant of the Hebrew ‘Beulah’ which means ‘married’ or ‘bride’. For a biblical name, it hasn’t had much love over the years unlike other names that came from the Bible and would make for an interesting choice. Neither Bulah nor Beulah was given to five babies last year and was possibly given to none at all. The variant Beulah I find slightly more attractive aesthetically and has been in use since the Protestant Reformation.

Hassie – (pronounced: HASS-ee) is another one of those old time diminutive names. With Hattie now in the top 1000, could Hassie be the logical successor? It also has a similar style to Cassie but might also bring up connotations with the dog Lassie.
Juana The Mad c.1500
Juana – (pronounced: HWAHN-ah) is of Spanish origin and truthfully, if I happen to marry a man with an inch of Spanish blood, this could possibly be my daughter’s name. It is a female variation of Juan, which is a Spanish variation of John, and is highly popular in the States though Juana is not. Juanna is also seen as the Spanish variant of Joanna. Possibly best known thanks to the 16th century Queen of Castile, known as Juana the Mad (and sister of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII) it was given to 116 baby girls last year in the states. I would like to see it used more but I think it is one of those names where you might have to have the right cultural background.

Lavonia – (pronounced: la-voh-NEE-ah) seems to be a variant on the Roman name Lavinia. There is not much more on the name other than that and while it seems that not many, if any, babies were given the name last year, with 39 girls given the name Lavinia in 2011, maybe we might start to see some more Lavonia’s.
Mignon – (pronounced: meen-YAWN) is a name of French origin that means ‘cute, darling’ or ‘delicate and dainty’. Its first coinage was in literature that was first coined by poet and novelist Goethe and was later the name of a character in Ambroise Thoma’s Opera ‘Mignon’ in 1866 (based on Goethe’s work). It was given to less than five, if any, babies in the last year.

Mozella – (pronounced: moh-zell-AH) is a variant of the Hebrew name Moselle that means ‘saviour’. I could see this name being used today, or it variant form Mosella, both which did not even accumulate 5 babies with the name in the last year. I could see it fitting in with all the Isabella’s and Stella’s.
Parthenia – (pronounced: par-THEE-nee-ah) is a name derived from Greek Mythology that means ‘maiden, virgin’. It conjures up a sweet image as well as a powerful one in the form of the Parthenon in Greece. It was given to less than five, if any, baby girls last year which is a shame. This is a name for anyone who likes Penelope, Pandora, Persephone or even Aphrodite.

Tennessee/Texas – I have put these two name together, as they are in the same category so to speak, of place names being baby names. These are interesting place names that you don’t hear often. Tennessee’s best known bearer is actually male, Tennessee Williams who was an American playwright who wrote ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ among others. In 2011, 10 boys were given the name Tennessee and 12 girls were given the name. Texas did not have more than five, if any, female wearers but 7 boys were given the name.
Vertie – (pronounced: VER-tie) is a charming nickname-name that is hard to pin down with an exact origin. It is similar to Verdie which is a Russian/Slovak variant of Vera which has the meaning of ‘faith’. Less than 5, if any babies, where given the name last year.

Arvid – (pronounced: AHR-vid) is a Scandinavian name meaning ‘eagle-tree’. While not popular currently in the US and hasn’t charted since 1946, it is currently a top 20 name in Sweden, currently ranked #18.

Blaine – (pronounced: BLAYN) is an Irish name that means ‘slender, angular’. Currently sitting at number #572 on the US charts, I could see this name getting even more use thanks to popular shows like Glee where Blaine Anderson is a favourite among fans.
Ceylon – (pronounced: say-LON) is a place name from Sri Lanka. It makes for an interesting choice for a boy but it could also work for a female. If it was given to any babies last year, it would have been less than five for either gender.

Eliseo – (pronounced: e-lee-SI-oh) is a Spanish/Italian name that is a variant of the Hebrew Elisha that means ‘my God is my salvation’.  It is currently sitting on the US charts at #967 with 202 boys given the name last year.
Hardie - (pronounced: HAHR-dee) is a variant on the English name Hardy. It means ‘brave, hardy’ and in 2011, less than five or no boys were given the name last year. Could see it rising due to the popularity of actor Tom Hardy, whose surname Hardy was given to 20 boys last year.

Kit – (pronounced: KIT) is a diminutive of Christopher (and Katherine for females) that is of English origin that means ‘bearer of christ’. This name has been getting a bit more love recently as a fully fledged first name. Jodie Foster used it for her son and in 2011, Kit was given to 9 females and 13 boys. British Actor, Kit Harington (whose real name is Christopher) best known for his work on ‘Game of Thrones’ may increase the popularity of this name.
Merida – (pronounced: meh-ri-DAH) is now known as the feisty Pixar Princess in Brave but it seems to be like Vivien and Marion which were originally boys names that turned to female use. It was given not given to even five babies of either gender last year but that looks likely to change with its current exposure. It is of Latin Origin and means ‘one who has achieved a high place of honour’. I think this would be hard for parents to use on a male now, especially when kids are likely to see the movie. Disney likes to use old boys name on girls, look at Ariel.

Tilmon – (pronounced: TILL-mon) was a rare gem that was given to five boys in 1800. It has never gained popularity, which is quite a shame, and there is not much information on the name in general though it is similar to Timon (which is Greek for ‘reward, honour’) and Tillman (of Old English origin that means ‘one who plows the earth’). I would love to see this used on more little boys in the future.
Unknown – (pronounced: UHN-nown) was truly a name given to 5 boys in 1800. It has actually been found on the charts for both boys and girls and well, I am baffled by this name. I wouldn’t give it to a child but each to his own I suppose. Its peak popularity in boys was in 1953 and for girls it was 1951. In 2011, it was given to 67 females and 75 boys. According to Nameberry, for boys, it is a variant for Declan or Stellan. Join me in being a bit overly confused with this name.

Winston – (pronounced: WIN-sten) is a name of English origin that means ‘wine’s town’ though the name itself was derived from the Old English name Wynnstan which means ‘joys stone’. It has surprisingly never found itself on the British charts as far as I can tell, despite its most famous bearer being British Prime Minister Winston Churchill but in America first made it on the charts in 1833 but was most popular in 1941, in the middle of WW2. It has been given ‘celeb-cred’ thanks to Billie Piper (Doctor Who) and her husband Laurence Fox (Lewis) naming their first son Winston.


All I have to say is don't knock the name Enoch. Enoch (pronounced: EE-nok) is a Biblical-Hebrew name that means 'dedicated'. Personally, I think that it is a wonderful meaning for a rather unheard of name but by the looks of things, that might be changing.

The name Enoch is mentioned in the bible as a major figure in the Old Testament and was the son of Jarod, the father of Methuselah and the great-grandfather of Noah (who has a book, the Book of Enoch, that is important to the Jewish mysticism) and there also happens to another Enoch in the Bible that is the son of Cain. This might have been where the initial popularity of the name came from, it was just outside the top 200 in 1800, at #202 with 60 boys given the name. On the charts, this was its peak.

Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson as portrayed by Steve Buscemi
on Boardwalk Empire
But it seems that Enoch might be having a resurrection as the last time it was on the charts was 1976 at #983 but in 2011 it made its first reappearance on the charts at #933 with 211 boys given the name. I don't think this has as much to do with the biblical connotations (though I am sure there are a few that selected it for that reason) but more to do with the fact that the name has reamerged in popular culture thanks to the fantastic show 'Boardwalk Empire' whose main character is Enoch Thompson (based on the real Enoch Johnson). The character is of course a 'gangster' but he is a fantastically complex character but I do take expection to the fact that when, in the first season, Margaret says she will name her unborn child after him, he says that she shouldn't, that the kid should be so unlucky as to receive the name. The name might even rise higher on the charts if Miss Peregrine's Home For Perculiar Children (where Enoch is a character) is definately made into a film, and with Tim Burton reportedly at the helm, this will make the film a natural box-office success.

Overall, this name is a winner in my opinion and with the fantasic nickname 'Nucky' attached to it, I can see it quite at home with other vintage names such as Edith and Wallis.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

All The Ways You Can Say: Lily

Stargazer Lily
Ever been interested in a name or meaning but don’t like the sound of it for a name or that it is just too popular for your tastes. How about saying the word in another language? This is what this segment is all about. I will usually show you my top ten favourites for each name but this first name has quite a few I want to mention. If there is a name you wish for me to do, feel free to enter it into the comments.

First name is.... Lily.
  • Lelie (Afrikaans/Dutch) – pronounced: LEEL-li
  • Shushan (Armenian) – pronounced: SHOO-shun
  • Zanbaq (Azerbaijani) – pronounced: zan-BACK
  • Nalina (Bengali) – pronounced: na-LEE-na
  • Iliri (Catalan) – pronounced: -il-LI-ri
  • Liryo (Filipino) – pronounced: LEER-ee-oh (also: Lírio [Portugese & Spanish])
  • Lis/Lys (French) – pronounced: lees
  • Krínos (Greek) – pronounced: KREE-nos
  • Liliom (Hungarian) – pronounced: LEE-li-om
  • Giglio (Italian) – pronounced: GEE-loo
  • Yuri (Japanese) – pronounced: U-ree
  • Lilium (Latin) – pronounced: LEE-li-um
  • Lilija (Latvian) – pronounced: LEE-li-ah (also: Liliya [Belarusian]; Liilia [Estonian]; Leilja [Lithuanian])
  • Teretai (Malay) – pronounced: TEAR-a-thai
  • Crin (Romanian) – pronounced: CREEN
  • Kuvalai (Tamil) – pronounced: koo-VAH-lai

Friday, September 14, 2012


Ah, poor old Wallis never seems to catch a break. Wallis is a rare English name that means 'a welshman' or 'a celt'. It is also a variant of the name Wallace. A unisex name that swings more to the male side than to the left, this spelling seems the more feminine of the two due to its connection with the infamous Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson.

Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
Like Aphrodite, I think Wallis gets a bad stigma due to the person that it is most associated with. I have to say, I do not think that Wallis Simpson was a bad person, she just happened to have bad luck on her side. Her life would surely have been easier if she and the Duke had married in the 21st century where divorce does not have as much stigma attached and foreigners aren't considered evil forces for the throne, look at the Australian Princess Mary of Denmark, she is beloved by the people of Denmark. Also, the fact that people claim Wallis was a Nazi probably doesn't help (though I don't think she was but that is a matter of personal opinion).

I can understand why the name might not be popular in England, despite the clunky-vintage feel that it gives off people still don't have great feelings towards the woman who took the King from the throne. I am surprised that more girls in America don't have the name as it is the 'fairytale' story of the American commoner marrying the Prince.

It has never charted in either country, nor has it charted anywhere. Not even five girls in 2011 where given the name which is a shame. I know many don't like the name for what it is but I find it charming and if you give a really feminine middle name it should balance out the first. Male names like Eliot are now popular on girls so this name doesn't go off the grain. The variant Wallace however was given to 83 boys in 2011, which really isn't many considering the number of babies born in the US.

For people that like unisex names, this could be another to put on that potential baby name list. I think that it also has a chance with those who like those vintage names like Edith and Sybil. For more information on this name I would recommend reading Upswing Baby Name's article on Wallis.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

In Retrospect: 1880 – The Top of the Charts

Lists of names are always great fun to look at, especially to see what was popular – or not so popular. This segment is dedicated to taking a look back at the SSA stats which go back to 1880. We will take a look at the most popular names to the names that only five children were called which I am sure will lift a lid on many names that are not being used today.

This first instalment is taking a look at 1880 and seeing the names that made the top 10 of that year.

Mary – (pronounced either MAR-ee or MER-ee) was given to 7,065 baby girls in 1880, five thousand more than the next name. The meaning is not known for certain, but it is of Hebrew origin and is believed to mean ‘bitter’. Not a very flattering meaning but if taken from the Egyptian name that it is also derived from, it means ‘beloved’ or ‘loved’. It became popular in the Christian world due to the Virgin Mary and currently rests at #112 on the charts and was given as a name to 2,671 baby girls in America in 2011. It is not ranked at all however in England/Wales or Australia though it is ranked #60 in Ireland.
Mary E. Harding, English
Anna – (pronounced AN-a) was given to 2,064 in 1880. Still a popular name today, resting at #38 in 2011 with actually more baby girls given the name (5,601 to be exact). It is a sweet name of Hebrew origin with the meaning ‘grace’. I would say that it is also a popular middle name as well. It is ranked #63 in England/Wales and #58 in Australia and is interesting #1 in Austria.
Emma – (pronounced EM-ah) was given to 2,003 baby girls in 1880 and is funnily enough also resting at #3 in the charts in 2011 after a dip in popularity during the 70s and 80s. Though nearly nine times as many babies were given the name (18, 674 in total) now than in 1880 [considering the number of babies born then to now as well and the wider variety of names we have now as well] is still an extremely popular though timeless name of German origin meaning ‘universal’. It is also ranked #48 in England/Wales and #17 in Australia.
Elizabeth – (pronounced i-LIZ-a-beth) is a timeless name that has been given to Queens and movie stars alike. 1,939 baby girls where given that name in 1880 and it is still a popular name today, resting at #11 in US, #49 in England/Wales and #44 in Australia. It is of Hebrew origin and means ‘pledged to God’.
Minnie – (pronounced MIN-ee) is a diminutive of Wilhelmina and does not currently rank in the United States but in 1880 it was ranked #5 with 1,746 babies given the name. A German name that means ‘resolute protection’ it is a shame that this name does not get more use. It was not even given to five babies in the US in the last year and with diminutive names taking a rise in the charts, hopefully this name will pop up again though there might be some connotations with the beloved Disney character Minnie Mouse that may stop parents from using the name. It was last seen on the US charts in 1971.
Margaret – (pronounced MAHR-grit) is the name of a Saint and has been the name of Queens and in 1880 it was given to 1,578 baby girls as their first name. The name is still popular today, ranked at #187 with 1,681 girls given the name, which is not a wild difference considering the difference in the times. It is of Greek origin and means ‘pearl’.
Ida – (pronounced – IE-dah) was a popular name back in the 1880s with 1,472 baby girls given the name but nowadays it does not have a place on the charts at all, not having been there since 1984. However, unlike Minnie, 92 baby girls were given the name in 2011 so maybe there is still hope for this name of German origin, which means ‘industrious one’.
Alice – (pronounced AL-is) is a name that most people team up with the heroine in the Alice in Wonderland series but Alice has been a popular and sweet choice for a long time and has even been thrust upon a member of the British royalty in the past. In 1880, it was given to 1,414 baby girls and now it currently rests at #142 in the US (2,181 baby girls), #43 in England/Wales and #48 in Australia. It is also currently ranked #1 in Sweden and #8 in Italy. It is of German origin as well and means ‘noble’.
Bertha – (pronounced BER-thah) is a name of German origin that mean ‘bright, glorious’. Back in the 1880s, it was given to 1,320 baby girls as their first name but in 2011, only 45 girls were given the name and it does not currently rank in the top 1000. This is one of those clunky, vintage names that are chic right now and I think she would fit in with any little Edith’s or Sybil’s (let’s bring her onto Downton Abbey).
Sarah – (pronounced SER-ah) is a name that I hear quite a lot as is the year of my birth it was ranked in the Top 5 but in 1880 it was ranked 10th with 1,288 girls given the name. It is of Hebrew origin with the meaning ‘princess’. It is currently ranked #39 in America with 5,472 babies given the name and is also ranked #83 in England/Wales, #21 in Canada, #31 in Australia, #2 in Austria behind Anna and #4 in Ireland.


John – (pronounced JAHN) is a name that has never broken the Top 30 in America since 1880 and in that year, it was number 1 with 9,655 baby boys given the name. There is a timeless quality of the name that is of Hebrew origin and means ‘God is Gracious’. It currently sits at #27 in the US with 10,934 boys given the name. In England/Wales it is ranked #94, Canada #56, Ireland #22 and Australia #77.
John Singer Sargent c.1880-83
William – (pronounced WIL-ee-am) is a name that has been engrained in popular culture ever since the time of William the Conqueror. In 1880, it was ranked #2 with 9,533 baby boys, only falling short by just over one hundred names to take top spot. The name’s origin is England from German and means ‘resolute protection’. The name is currently ranked #3 in the US with 17,151 boys given the name and this seems to be on the rise thanks to the Duke of Cambridge. In England/Wales it is ranked #7 and in Australia, Denmark and Sweden it is currently #1 and in Norway it is #2.
James – (pronounced JAYMZ) is a classic name that was given to 5,927 baby boys in 1880.  It is of Hebrew origin and it means ‘supplanter’. In the US, it currently sits at #17 with 13,133 baby boys born in 2011 while in England/Wales it sits at #10, Australia #12 and Northern Ireland and Scotland both have it at #3.
Charles – (pronounced CHAHR-lz) is a French name derived from the German name Karl. It was given to 5,348 baby boys in 1880 and is now ranked at #62 in the States with 6,898 boys given the name. It has the meaning of ‘free man’ and is currently ranked #62 in England/Wales and #73 in Australia.
George – (pronounced JORJ) is a Greek name meaning ‘farmer’ and in 1880, 5,126 boys were deemed worthy of the name. Nowadays, it sits at #165 with 2,296 boys given the name in States. In England/Wales it is ranked #9 and in Australia it is ranked #57.
Frank – (pronounced FRANGK) is probably the least popular nowadays of the 1880 top 10 boys names but in 1880 it was popular and was the name of 3,242 new baby boys. Today it sits at #308 with 1,038 boys given the name. It is not ranked in England/Wales or Australia. It does have some charm though and I can see sometime in the future it inching its way back up the charts thanks to its Old Hollywood street flare, thanks to Frank Sinatra, which is a popular thing now, and also has the clunky, vintage vibe about it.
Joseph – (pronounced JO-sef) is of Hebrew origin and mean ‘Jehovah increases’. With the standard no-nonsense nickname Joe, in 1880, it was given to 2,632 baby boys as their first name. Nowadays, it sits at #22 in America with 12,798 boys given the name. In England/Wales the name is ranked #15 and in Australia it is ranked #43.
Thomas – (pronounced TAHM-es) is an Aramaic name meaning ‘twin’. In 1880, it was given to 2,534 baby boys as their first name and in 2011, it sits at #63 with 6,853 boys given the name. It is currently ranked #6 in England/Wales, #8 in Australia, #4 in Belgium and #8 in the Netherlands.
Henry – (pronounced HEN-ree) is a name that has staying power and it has real power behind the name as well, with eight Kings of England going by that name as well as four French Kings who went by the French version of the name Henri. It is of German background and means ‘estate ruler’ and was given to 2.444 baby boys in 1880. Today it sits at #57 with 7,166 boys given the name. It is also ranked #34 in England/Wales and #39 in Australia.
Robert – (pronounced RAH-bert) is an English name derived from German that means ‘bright flame’. It has been a long standing name throughout history with Kings of France and Scotland both bearing the name. A favourite nickname for me of this name is Robin, this was the pet name of Elizabeth I favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. It was given to 2,415 baby boys in 1880 and currently sits at #61 with 6,904 boys given the name. It also just makes the top 100 in Canada at #100, in England/Wales it is #90, Australia it does not rank and is currently #58 in Scotland.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I remember when we studied the Ancient Greeks for History class back in my first year of high school, it started my love of history, though it didn't fully fledge out until we studied the wonderful Tudor Dynasty the following year, but it also started my slight love of this figure - the Greek Goddess, Aprhodite.

The Ancient Greeks did have some marvelous names and many of them are popular today with the Kardashian-endorsed Penelope, Cassandra, Echo, Athena and Persephone (at least in the blogosphere) but Aphrodite (pronounced a-fra-DIE-tee) has never been endorsed as a baby name. I think though that it has more to do with the myth surrounding the iconic figure rather than anything else.

Image Credit:
Aphrodite was the Greek Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation (and the Roman equivalent in Venus). Considered the most beautiful woman of all, it would be a lot for any little girl to, it is true, but I love the name Bathsheba and I think that has equally as much to live up to, and possibly even has a worse stigma attached to it. Aphrodite features in a lot of the myths, including her love affair with Adonis (who she was also surrogate mother to) as well as the infamous judging of Paris which, thanks to her being the chosen one, led to the Battle of Troy.

She is often depicted as vain, ill-tempered and easily offended in later myths and she is actually one of the few Greek Gods and Goddesses to actually be married, though that doesn't stop her having affairs. I wouldn't see this as a deterent to using the name. Plenty of babies are born to the name 'Scarlett' after Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, and though I love the character, she could easily be described as having these attributes as well.

Aphra also makes for an interesting nickname for her (or could even be another choice for a baby name if you don't want to outwardly state your love of Aphrodite) and that name has a positive role-model in the form of 17th century writer, Aphra Behn, the first woman in England to be a published author.

Aphrodite is one of those names that falls into the lines of Bathsheba, Cleopatra and Neferiti I suppose as infamous beauties of their time that need no other name but then all your have to say is Monroe and everyone automatically thinks of Marilyn Monroe and plenty of people are calling their child after her, and that is definately a big thing for little girls to grow up into. It might be seen as famous for one namesake but it isn't until others start to use the name as well that it will be seen as just a name - a rather beautiful name.


The names Arya and Theon have reportedly taken a rise in the charts with parents taking inspiration from the wonderful 'A Song of Ice and Fire' book series, better known to TV audiences in its adaptation form, 'Game of Thrones'. While both of these names are lovely, the series is actually filled with excellent real-life potential. One of my favourites happens to be the sister of Arya, Sansa.

Sansa Stark as played by Sophie Turner
in 'Game of Thrones'
Sansa (pronounced SAHN-suh) is not a made-up name like I originally thought when I first read the books but instead is of Sanskrit origin and means 'praise, invocation, charm'. The name is also similar to the Latin name Sancia which means 'sacred'. George R.R. Martin drew a lot of inspiration for the names of his characters from history and it could very well be that he was inspired by a member of the infamous Borgia Family, Sancia of Naples, who was married to Gioffre Borgia (Sansa's first love interest in the fantasy series is named Joffrey, an alternative spelling to Gioffre).

I also happen to find Sansa as an alternative to Sarah. While neither Sansa or Sancia has been popular in the charts, Sarah is currently #39 on the US Charts and #36 in Australia and despite the different meanings (Sarah means 'princess' but considering Sansa is a Princess of the North in the book series) I think that Sansa could make a perfectly good tribute to any Sarah namesake. And for anyone who likes the connotations derived from the name Apple, Sansa is a variety of the fruit.

This happens to be one of my top names and I would very willingly use it on any child. It evokes sweetness and like its meaning, it has a ton of charm. With Arya on the rise, I would very much like to see the same happen to this name.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Ingrid Bergman as 'Ilsa Lund'
in Casablanca
Ilsa (pronounced IL-sah) is a German variant to the No. 11 name in the US, Elizabeth. Other variants of the name include the Hebrew Elsa and the German Ilse. Ilsa means “God’s promise; God is my oath; pledged to God”.

The name has never been popular in the US itself. This may be due to the fact that its most notable namesake was Ilsa Lund in ‘Casablanca’ which was released during WW2 and unlike Scarlett, an earlier counterpart for name recognition from a movie, Ilsa never caught on despite the popularity of the film, most likely due to its German origin.
After watching ‘Casablanca’ for the first time tonight (it was a long time coming), I have to say that Ilsa is quite a charming name and interesting variant to the ever classic Elizabeth. It has never charted in the US nor has it been in the Top 10 Female Names in Germany between 1957-2000. It is easy to say that this classic sounding name has never found popularity but with an interest in Old Hollywood Cinema arising in baby names, it would be a delightful choice that would work on both a little kid and a fully fledged romantic lead.
Nicknames: Lissie; Lizzie; Ilsie etc.

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