April is Keep America Beautiful Month. Our Land of the Free is not only home to the brave, but also home to staggering amounts of natural beauty from sea to shining sea. From the lush temperate rain forests in Eastern Washington, to the endless painted sunsets of the Southwest; from the sparkling southern beaches, to the rocky northern coasts, the wonders of our home have been an inspiration for so many over the years. It could also be of some inspiration for new parents looking for that perfect name.
Aspen—Quaint, yet ritzy ski town in Colorado
Cascade—Mountain range running inland along the western coastline
Niagara—The world famous fall between the US and Canada
Faith—As in old’ Faithful geyser
Catalina—Gorgeous island of the coast of California
Canyon—the GRAND daddy of them all
Denali—Alaskan National Park
Joshua—Joshua Tree in California
Rainier—Majestic mountain in Washington, part of the Cascade Range
Clark—A lake in Alaska surrounded by four active volcanoes
Looking for a hip name? Throughout Brooklyn and Austin, black plastic glasses wearing hipsters are beginning to procreate. The generation is growing up, and that inevitably, for many, means parenthood. But there is no reason to “sell out”, and use a traditional name. It’s all about being different for that sake of being different. Just like the coffee shop that was “cool” until everyone knew about it, here are some names that are being resurrected by the current culture/counter culture movement. Be warned though, these names will probably fall for favor by the time you read this.
Matilda (German)—Might, strength
Piper (English)—Flute player
Tallulah (Native American)—Leaping water
Leonora (Greek)—Shining Light
Hazel (English)—Light Brown
Hopper (Welsh)—Son of Robert
Duke (Latin)—“As you like it”
Roscoe (Norse)—“From deer forest”
Everyone has different inherent perceptions of the same names. For one person a certain name may invoke a subtle or strong fondness, while the same name for a different person may reflect some slight distaste. Sometimes these feelings can come from personal experience; however there are also some instances of really great names that have a deeper negative connotation. For example, in English, the name Mallory can mean unlucky, amongst other meanings. If you’d like to start your child off on the right foot; here is a list of some wonderful names with surprising meanings you may want to avoid when choosing for your child.
Deidra (Gaelic)—Sorrow, grief
Lola (Spanish)—Lady of sorrows
Gideon (Hebrew)—A stump for a hand
Cameron (Celtic)—Crooked nose
Brendan (Gaelic)—Stinky hair
With the theatrical release of 42 a film about famous ballplayer and racial pioneer Jackie Robinson set for today, coinciding with the actual breaking of the color barrier, which Robinson accomplished by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 11th 1947, I thought it would be educational to look at the names of some other, maybe less famous examples of, people who broke through in spite of their skin. What better way to honor equality and these heroes, then passing their names and legacy on to a new generation.
Oscar Wayman Holmes—Broke three color barriers in the early 1940s, first in 1941 when he became the first African American air traffic controller, and two more a year later when he became the first black officer in the US Navy, and the first black Navy pilot.
Kenny Washington—Often lost in the shadow of Jackie Robinson; Washington actually broke the color barrier in the NFL a full year before Robinson did the same in the MLB.
Carl Burton Stokes and Robert C. Henry—Both Ohioans, Stokes was the first African American elected to the position of mayor of a major US city, when in 1967 he was elected to that post in Cleveland. Henry was the first African American elected to mayor in any US city, when he was elected as mayor of Springfield in 1966.
Mae Jemison—Became the first African American female astronaut in 1992
Gwendolyn Brooks—Won the Pulitzer Prize for her poetry in 1950, becoming the first African American to be honored with that award.
If you have twins on the way, there are so many creative ways to synch up two names to complement one another. Sometimes similar sounding names or names that begin with the same letter may be a good choice. Or maybe using two names with an inherent theme, like Faith and Hope. Regardless of your naming intentions, here are a few lists of some of the most popular names bestowed onto twins, with some silly ideas thrown in for good measure.
Ella and Emma
London and Paris
Chloe and Zoe
Kayla and Kylie
Mia and Sophia
Laverne and Shirley
Taylor and Tyler
Isaac and Isabella
Peaches and Herb
William and Mary
Royce and Mercedes
Daniel and David
Chase and Tag
Jacob and Joshua
Liam and Logan
Burt and Ernie
Some names are just a mouthful. If you’ve ever had to stop and take a breath before completing someone’s name, you know what I mean. And while complicated long names have their charm and staying power once committed to memory, a short, one syllable name can be just as effecting, but in a more accessible package. With a one syllable name, your kid won’t have to spend their childhood spelling and pronouncing their names continually for curious people. And if you’re a parent who doesn’t like nicknames, a brief name is one of your best defenses against unwanted shortening. Here are 10, for each gender, of some interesting one syllable names.
Mauve (French)—Purplish color
Gwen (Welsh)—White; fair
Tess (Greek)–Late summer
Neil (Gaelic)—Cloud or passionate
Van (Dutch)—Equivalent of “of”
Troy (French)—Curly haired
Dane (English)—Dweller in the valley
Cole (Greek)—Of triumphant people
Saul (Hebrew)—Asked for
On April 9th, 1970, over forty years ago, Paul McCartney, one-fourth of one of the most influential bands of all-time, The Beatles, announced his departure from the band, effectively ending their short, yet prolific run to the top of the music charts, and the public consciousness. Many, many people have been influenced by the legendary band. If you’re a Beatle maniac, there are a whole host of songs that could be an appropriate inspiration for a name for your incoming treasure. In honor of the music and dissolution of the Beatles let’s look at some name ideas straight from song titles.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Poetry speaks directly to the soul. It can evoke any emotion, strongly, poignantly, and directly. And since April is National Poetry Month; a celebration of thousands of years of wonderful storytelling, it is a great time to look at some unique names, which have served as inspiration for, or inspired by famous works of some of the most noteworthy poets, from Shakespeare to Dylan, and everything in between.
Here are names inspired by characters:
Lenore—The title character in one of Edgar Allan Poe’s seminal works, the name also appears in several other Poe poems
Evangeline—Popularized in Longfellow’s poem of the same name
Ariel—A collection of works by the great Sylvia Plath
Leila—A name used frequently in the poetry of Lord Byron
Beatrice—The main character’s guide and redemption in The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Here are some names inspired by poets:
Many cities and towns throughout the world were named for or after someone, as a sort of tribute. Jamestown, Raleigh, Victoria, even Wilkes-Barre was named for two men, John Wilkes (not the presidential assassin) and Isaac Barre who were members of British parliament supportive of the American case for independence. But instead of naming a town after your new baby, why not think about possibly naming your baby after a town, although if given the opportunity you should totally name a town after your child. Here’s a list of some great cities and towns, big and small, which may make a winning baby name.
Wichita (Kansas, US)
Boise (Idaho, US)
Denver (Colorado, US)
Trenton (New Jersey, US)
Helena (Montana, US)
Abilene (Texas, US)
Baseball season is upon us. Whether you’re a fan of the game or not, nothing can beat hot dogs and crackerjacks, the warm summer air and the crack of the bat. No sport is more American, and baseball’s long and rich history has including some of the greatest, most unique names ever. And with the influx of talent from all over the world there are even more interesting names playing today. Honor your favorite legends with a namesake
Babe Ruth—Legendary Yankees Slugger
Mickey Mantle—Also a legendary Yankee, or go with the George Costanza way of honoring the “Mick” with the name Seven, his number. Just don’t let him know you stole it.
Sparky Anderson—Hall of Fame manager
Willie Mays or Stargell—The two greatest Willies in sports, one a Giant and one a Pirate.
Sandy Koufax—Hall of Fame Dodger pitcher
Or look to present day players for inspiration,
Hunter Pence—Giants Outfielder
Chase Utley—Phillies Second baseman
Milton Bradley—Also applicable if you’re a fan of board games
Adrian Gonzalez—Dodger First baseman
Cole Hamels—Phillies Pitcher
Or, how about, forget the actual player names and drawn inspiration for the sights and sounds that are inherently baseball,
Diamond—alternate name for the playing field
Fenway—Iconic Boston stadium
Shea—Iconic New York stadium
Wrigley— The Cubs field
Ivy— Covers the fences in Wrigley