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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Buttakuz


Posts that Mention the Name Buttakuz

More on Maha & Najla

A few months ago, in the Visionary Baby Names for 2020 post, I mentioned the names Maha, Najla, and Butta-kuz. Each of these names refers to the eyes of a specific animal, yet most books and websites define them only in the extended sense: “beautiful eyes,” or “wide eyes.”

This is frustrating if you’re aiming to find more detailed definitions — something I learned while writing that post, and something memoirist Najla Said learned the day she met a woman named Maha.

In Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family (2013), Najla recounted that Maha (of Syrian descent) asked her what “Najla” meant. She replied:

“It means ‘big black eyes like a cow,'” I told her with the “I am so proud of my special name, isn’t it exotic and beautiful” smile I had now perfected.

Then Maha surprised Najla by claiming that her name meant the exact same thing.

Najla, somewhat upset by this, asked her mother about the unlikely coincidence. Her mother confirmed that “[the names] are similar. But they are different.”

So Najla — like the rest of us — turned to the internet. There, she found a site about Arabic baby names.

I looked up “Najla” and I looked up “Maha” and sure enough, I found them to mean essentially the same thing. But what is weirder is that […] there were also about twenty other names that mean “big black eyes like a…something” — “big black eyes like a cow,” “big black eyes like a donkey,” “big black eyes like a horse,” “big black eyes like a monkey”…

Finally she consulted her younger brother Wadie, who’d taken Arabic in college. He told her that “Maha” meant “‘big black eyes like an ibex…or rather, an oryx, I believe?”

…I’ve seen conflicting information about both Najla and Maja, so I can’t quite tell if either one refers specifically to a wild cow, or to an oryx, or to something else entirely.

I am very curious about those other animal eye-inspired Arabic names Najla mentioned, though. So far, I haven’t found any of them. If you know of one, please leave a comment!

P.S. Najla is the daughter of scholar Edward Said.

Visionary Baby Names for 2020

Most of the babies conceived during 2019 will be delivered during 2020 — a year that happens to mirror “20/20,” the term we use for perfect vision. It’s such a strong association that, just for fun, I put together a list of vision-related baby names for all those parents anticipating the arrival of 2020 babies…

  • Aisling, Irish, “vision” or “dream.”
  • Basar, Arabic, “sight.”
  • Butta-kuz, Mongolian, “camel eyes.” Implies “wide, beautiful eyes” like Maha and Najla, below.
  • Charopus, ancient Greek, “glad-eyed” or “bright-eyed.” Also spelled Charops.
  • Daisy, from Old English dægeseage, “day’s eye.” Daisies open during the day and close at night.
  • Drishti, Hindi, “gaze.”
  • Hawkeye, originally a character in The Last of the Mohicans (1826).
  • Hitomi, Japanese, “pupil [of the eye].” Can mean other things as well, though, depending on the kanji.
  • Lochan/Lochana, Hindi, “eye.”
  • Maha, Arabic, “wide, beautiful eyes.” Refers to either wild cow eyes or oryx eyes specifically.
  • Maka, Hawaiian, “eyes.” Also: Namaka, “the eyes,” and Makanui, “big eyes.”
  • Mantius/Manto (masc./fem.), from ancient Greek mantis, “seer, prophet.”
  • Najla, Arabic, “wide, beautiful eyes.” Refers to either wild cow eyes or oryx eyes specifically. Also spelled Nagla.
  • Nayan, Hindi, “eye.”
  • Nayra, Aymara, “eye,” “sight,” or “past.”
  • Nazir, Arabic, “observant” or “spectator.” Can mean other things as well, though.
  • Panope/Panopea, ancient Greek, “all-seeing.”
  • Rana, Arabic, “eye-catching.”
  • Ruya, Arabic, “vision” or “dream.”
  • Sibyl, ancient Greek, “prophetess.” Also spelled Sybil.
  • Sullivan, Irish, “descendant of the little dark-eyed one.”
  • Tarisai, Shona, “look at, behold.”
  • Vision, which began appearing in the U.S. baby name data nearly 20 years ago.

And, finally, a few Esperanto words that could potentially be used as baby names:

  • Vidi, “see.”
  • Vidinda, “worth seeing.”
  • Vido, “sight, view.”
  • Vizio, “vision.”

Which of the names above do you like best?

If you’re expecting a baby in 2020, will you consider using a vision-themed baby name?

Mongolian Names – Bilguun, Nergui, Sazug

Around the time I spotted the names Wicahpi and Wakinyan on the SSA’s list, I also noticed a few Mongolian names:

Bilguun means “sage” or “wise,” and both Temuujin* and Temuulen were derived from the Mongol word temür, meaning “iron.” I’m not sure about the definition of Sodbileg, though. (Anyone know?)

While looking up these definitions, I found some other interesting Mongolian names, like these super-long ones:

  • Dorjsurenjantsankhorloonerguibaatar
  • Ochirbaynmunkhdorjsurenjav
  • Olzmedekhkhuukhenbaatar
  • Naimanzuunnadintsetseg, “eight hundred precious flowers”
  • Enkhtuguldurbaysgalan
  • Mongolekhorniiugluu, “Mongol country’s morning”
  • Uuliinyagaantsetseg, “pink flower of mountain”
  • Ulamundrakhtuya

And these super-short ones:

  • Az, “luck”
  • Od, “star”
  • Ur
  • Ya
  • Ish
  • Och, “sparkle”

Many older Mongolians have apotropaic names, which were meant to ward off evil spirits. Examples include Enebish, “not this one,” Khunbish, “not human,” and Nergui, “no name” (!).

Apotropaic names have since fallen out of favor, but many modern Mongolian baby names have similarly odd definitions. Writer Louisa Waugh, who spent time teaching English in Mongolia, had students named Buttakuz, “camel-eyes,” and Sazug, “smelly.” She asked fellow teacher Gansukh (“steel axe”) about the names:

‘Why would anyone call their child “Camel-eyes”?’

‘Have you ever looked at a camel’s eyes?’ she replied. ‘They’re beautiful’.

It’s true – Tsengel is full of long-lashed, coy-eyed camels. So Butta-kuz is really quite a compliment. As for Smelly, that took a bit more unravelling. ‘It’s affectionate,’ said Steel Axe. ‘No-one thinks it is offensive. As a name, in Mongolia, it actually implies that he smells quite nice.’

Do you known of any other Mongolian names? Have any favorites?

*Temuujin, “iron-worker,” was Genghis Khan’s birth name. I typically see it spelled Temujin.

Sources: N.Khurelbaatar: There are 1000 people with extraordinary and unusual names living in Mongolia, In the eye of the beholder, Mongolian Name – Wikipedia, Mongolian Names