How popular is the baby name Altair in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Altair and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Altair.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Altair

Number of Babies Named Altair

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Altair

What Do You Think of the Name Caelum?

A reader named Lisa recently wrote to me about the name Caelum:

So my husband and I named our fist son Rigel and we are looking for a second boy’s name that fits in with the space names. I really like Caelum, but we are having a discussion about the pronunciation. Maybe you can help. The English pronunciation is SEE-lum – but I do not like that. The Latin is either pronounced Kay-luhm or Kye-luhm (rhymes with tie or pie). So do you know which it is? Thanks.

There seem to be two issues here. Or, rather, there’s the question Lisa asked, and there’s a separate issue I’d also like to address.

First let’s look at pronunciation. I’m not a Latin expert, but I consulted a few sources (like Michael A. Covington’s short paper “Latin Pronunciation Demystified” [pdf]) and I believe that caelum would be pronounced KYE-loom in Classical Latin and CHAY-loom in Ecclesiastical Latin. According to modern dictionaries it’s SEE-lum in today’s English, though I think English-speakers trying to sound it out would guess KAY-lum before SEE-lum.

More important than the pronunciation, though, is the fact that Lisa and her husband are having a discussion about the pronunciation. That’s not a good sign.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, they settle on a pronunciation they like and decide to use the name. What then? They’ll still have to explain the name (how to pronounce it, how to spell it, or both) to every person who comes along. After a few years, that burden will be passed down to their son. He’ll have to deal with explaining his name to new acquaintances for the rest of his life.

I think there are better options–names that are space-related, but more intuitive than Caelum. Here are a few ideas: Altair, Castor, Deneb, Draco, Leo, Nash, Orion and Vega. (Actress Danica McKellar named her son Draco a few months ago, incidentally.)

What’s your take on the name Caelum?


Baby Names Needed – Whimsical, Weird Names for Quadruplets

Estelle wrote to me recently with a tall order:

I’m having quads (!!!) in 4 weeks and I need names! I’m having one boy and three girls. My 4 year old son’s name is Cosmo. My husband and I like spacey, whimsical and weird names.

In fact, they “don’t have any limits on how weird a name can be.”

One girl name they’re considering is Ione, which is a family name.

The combination of Cosmo and the adjective “spacey” made me think of star and constellation names right off the bat:

Adhara
Aldebaran
Altair
Aludra
Antares
Antlia
Aquarius
Aquila
Aries
Auriga
Azha
Carina
Corvus
Cygnus
Deneb
Denebola
Hamal
Kastra
Lacerta
Libra
Lyra
Meissa
Musca
Nashira
Norma
Orion
Pavo
Polaris
Rana
Rigel
Shaula
Sheratan
Sirius
Sirrah
Suhail
Taurus
Thuban
Vega
Vela

One nice thing about these is that several together probably wouldn’t scream “star names” to the average person. Unlike, say, a group of flower names. (Though I’m sure stargazers would catch on pretty quickly.)

And here’s what we have for non-galactic suggestions:

Allegra
Althea
Apollonia
Artemis
Aurora
Briony
Calypso
Clio
Danae
Demetria
Echo
Eulalia
Freya
Hestia
Imelda
Imogen
Isis
Lucasta
Luna
Jonquil
Minerva
Olympia
Rhea
Sapphira
Severina
Ursula
Vita
Xanthe
Zelda
Zenobia

Those were the girl names, these are the boy names:

Agni
Aldous
Barnaby
Casper
Cyril
Elan
Evander
Erasmus
Fabio
Gideon
Horatio
Ignatius
Isidore
Jethro
Leander
Loki
Magnus
Milo
Nigel
Odin
Pascal
Peregrine
Reuben
Rémy
Silas
Taliesin
Theron
Tycho
Ulysses
Zenon

What other whimsical names can you come up with for Estelle? And, can you put together any good combinations of 1 boy and 3 girl names?

Update: The babies have arrived! Scroll down to see what names Estelle selected.