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Popularity of the Baby Name Najla


Posts that Mention the Name Najla

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?

Miss America Names – Caleche, Jillayne, Osjha, Tangra, Venus

Did you know that there have been Miss Americas named Venus (1944), BeBe (1948), Jacque (1949), Vonda (1965) and Leanza (1993)?

Miss America 1926, Norma Smallwood, had the middle name Des Cygne, which she then passed along to her daughter as a first name (paired with the middle name L’Amour).

In 2000, the Miss America pageant included delegates named Brandee (from New Hampshire), Brandi (from New York) and Brandy (from Arkansas).

Other interesting names I spotted skimming over lists of delegates include…

  • Acacia Courtney (2015)
  • Adria Elaine Easton (1970)
  • Alansa Rounds Carr (1960)
  • Aloha Eugenia Porter (1926)
  • Ami Vice (2005) – just two letters away from Miami Vice!
  • Aniska T. Tonge (2013)
  • Annalou Johnston (1949)
  • Annyse Diane Sherman (1942)
  • Armelia Carol Ohmart (1946)
  • Arron Racheal Wendel (2001)
  • BaShara Crystelle Chandler (1994)
  • Bee Jay Johnston (1949)
  • Bethlene Pancoast (2007)
  • Bindhu Pamarthi (2014)
  • Brantlee Corinne Price (1970)
  • Burma Ann Davis (1969)
  • Caleche Manos (2008)
  • Charlavan Baker (1955)
  • Chardelle Hayward (1953)
  • Che’Vonne Dalora Burton (2001)
  • Chuti Lynn Tiu (1995)
  • Clark Janell Davis (2016)
  • Cloris Leachman (1946)
  • Coline-Helen Kaualoku Aiu (1975)
  • Cullen Johnson (1995)
  • Dakeita Tania Vanderburg (1984)
  • Dalyce Gail Smith (1956)
  • Daphne Jean Cochran (1981)
  • Darby Lynn Moore (1975)
  • Daureen Podenski (1980)
  • Delight Michelle Scheck (1999)
  • Dell-Fin Kala’upaona Po’aha (1951)
  • Dellynne Cole Catching (1969)
  • Delta Burke (1975)
  • Denby Annette Kwai Foong Dung (2002)
  • Devanni Partridge (2010)
  • Djuan Keila Trent (2011)
  • Dusene Alee Vunovich (1961)
  • Du Sharme Le Shette Carter (1993)
  • Dustin-Leigh Konzelman (2006)
  • Echo Layne Rost (1974)
  • Edithea Lois Wilde (1923)
  • Eisa Megan Krushansky (1998)
  • Eldrida Fisk (1922)
  • Ethelda Bernice Kenvin (1923)
  • Eudora Leola Mosby (2006)
  • Eugenia Alexandra Primis (2002)
  • Fairfax Bushnell Mason (1948)
  • Ferol Amelia Dumas (1941)
  • Fianna Marie Dickson (2004)
  • Florine Holt (1939)
  • Freita Fuller (1973)
  • Galen Aubrey Giaccone (2009)
  • GiGi Marie Gordon (1997)
  • Glenna Marie Pohly (1953)
  • Glynnelle Hubbard (1958)
  • Gordean Leilehua Lee (1960)
  • Gunnel Ragone (1969)
  • Gussie Short (1937)
  • Guylyn Elaine Remmenga (1979)
  • Haunani Asing (1977)
  • Hela Yungst (1971)
  • Helmar Liederman (1922)
  • Herma Loy Elliott (1963)
  • Honey Castro (1986)
  • Iora June Victor (1944)
  • Irmgard Dietel (1937)
  • Itha Duerrhammer (1944)
  • Jade-Romejii Smalls (2000)
  • Jalee Fuselier (2011)
  • Jaleigh Jeffers (1983)
  • Jeffie Lorraine Ventling (1998)
  • Jenileigh Avriel Sawatzke (2007)
  • Jere Wright (1957)
  • Jillayne Ann Mertens (2002)
  • Jini Boyd (1946)
  • Jinx Burrus (1951)
  • Junnie Young Cross (2001)
  • Kalyn Evel Chapman (1994)
  • Kama Katherine Boland (2000)
  • Kanoe Aberegg (1994)
  • Kanoelehua Kaumeheiwa (1974)
  • Kapri Allyse Rose (2002)
  • Karissa Carol Rushing (1991)
  • Karlyne La Rae Abele (1951)
  • Kehaulani Tiffanie Naleialoha Christian (2003)
  • Kendi Lynn Brown (1979)
  • Keone Cook (1981)
  • Keungsuk Kim (1982)
  • Kiaraliz Medina (2013)
  • Kinila Latia Callendar (2005)
  • Kippy Lou Brinkman (1966)
  • La Bruce Sherrill (1940)
  • LaFrance Boyett (1935)
  • LaRue Wilson (1935)
  • Lencola Sullivan (1981)
  • Lenena Ruth Holder (1994)
  • Lennie Josephine Nobles (1946)
  • Ligaya Stice (1990)
  • Loveta Chera-Lyn Cook (1999)
  • Luna Lynn McClain (1947)
  • Madonna Kimberly Emond (2004)
  • Marlinda Mason (1960)
  • Marshawn LaToya Evans (2002)
  • Mattigene Palmore (1939)
  • Melanne Pennington (1985)
  • Merissa Starnes (1998)
  • MerriBeth Cox (2013)
  • Merrilee Gay Miller (1965)
  • Mifaunwy Dolores Shunatona (1941)
  • Mikka Lynn Darby (1989)
  • Mineola Graham (1944)
  • Molla Barnett (1926)
  • Monnie Drake (1940)
  • Monta Anne Maki (1980)
  • Mozelle Ransome (1927)
  • Najla Ghazi (1988)
  • Naylene Vuurens (1979)
  • Nelle Xerminia Owens (1942)
  • Neva Jackson (1923)
  • Noralyn Olsen (1971)
  • Onalee Louise Olson (1966)
  • Osjha Michelle Anderson (2000)
  • Othelia Mitsch (1935)
  • Pennisue Largent (1982)
  • Pepper Donna Shore (1947)
  • Pilialoha Kalai Gaison (2007)
  • Ramsey Carpenter (2015)
  • Rana Beth Jones (2004)
  • Ra Nae Petersen (1977)
  • Rashida Tulani Jolley (2001)
  • Raven Malone (1947)
  • ReJean Ann Bowar (1962)
  • Renelle Kimberly Richardson (2001)
  • Ronnee Brunk (1968)
  • Sabrian Olena Rubin (2005)
  • Savvy Shields (2016)
  • Scarlotte Lee Deupree (2003)
  • Semmelle Shantae Ford (2001)
  • Seva Celeste Day (1976)
  • Shandi Finnessey (2003)
  • Sherrylyn Patecell (1961)
  • ShonDrell Latasha Hunter (2004)
  • Soncee Brown (1992)
  • Stuart Fraser Johnson (1959)
  • Tangra Lea Riggle (2003)
  • Tanssia Zara (1922)
  • Timmy Weston (1945)
  • Tippe Emmott (2013)
  • Titilayo Rachel Adedokun (1994)
  • Tosca Carolyn Masini (1951)
  • Toula Hages Straton (1943)
  • Toyia Tynae Taylor (2000)
  • Trelynda Kerr (1984)
  • Urania Judith Nicholaides (1946)
  • Valli Suzanne Kugler (2003)
  • Vanadora Baker (1940)
  • Veena Michelle Goel (2005)
  • Velva Irene Robbins (1954)
  • Wayring Smathers (1937)
  • Wilda Georgine Bowman (1946)
  • Wildeana Withers (1925)
  • Wren Prather (1973)
  • Yanci Jane Yarbrough (2000)
  • Yetta Haber (1925)
  • Ysleta LaVerne Leissner (1949)
  • Yun Tau Zane (1948)
  • Zasada Lord (1926)
  • Zulma Caballero Lopez (1938)

Which of the above do you like best?

For more beauty queen names, check out these posts on Miss Teen USA Names and Miss USA Names.

Sources: Miss America, Norma Smallwood – Wikipedia

[Latest update to this post: Aug. 2017]