Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence, which I finished reading over the weekend, introduced me to an interesting new name — Tiaré.
While in Tahiti, the narrator of the book meets a half-Tahitian, half-English woman named Tiaré Johnson. She was named for “the white, scented flower which, they tell you, if you have once smelt, will always draw you back to Tahiti in the end, however far you may have roamed” — in other words, the tiare [tee-ah-ray], or Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia taitensis).
Though tiare actually means “flower” in Tahitian, it seems to refer specifically to the Tahitian gardenia most of the time.
I’m not sure if the Tiare is used as a personal name in Tahiti, but it’s more common in the U.S. than I expected it would be. Most of the babies named Tiare were born in Hawaii.
- 2001 – 32 baby girls named Tiare
- 2002 – 24 baby girls named Tiare
- 2003 – 31 baby girls named Tiare
- 2004 – 34 baby girls named Tiare
- 2005 – 56 baby girls named Tiare
- 2006 – 29 baby girls named Tiare
- 2007 – 30 baby girls named Tiare
- 2008 – 20 baby girls named Tiare
- 2009 – 17 baby girls named Tiare
- 2010 – 15 baby girls named Tiare
The name first appeared on the SSA’s baby name list in 1960. This could have been due to a character named Tiare on the TV show Adventures in Paradise that year, or maybe to the song “Tiare” on The Surfers album Tahiti (1960).
So far, the best national showing was 60 baby girls in 1992.