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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Nash

Number of Babies Named Nash

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Nash

The Baby Name Tash

baby name tashMany of the earliest English surnames referred to places: places of birth, places of residence, workplaces, and so forth. These location-based surnames ranged from very broad descriptions (e.g., a cardinal point) to very narrow ones (e.g., a tree, a field).

Tash is one of the latter. It was derived from the Middle English phrase atten asche, meaning “at the ash (tree).”

The Middle English word asche comes from the Old English word æsc, which mainly referred to the tree, but in certain contexts also meant “spear.” Ash wood was a particularly popular wood for spear-shafts, as it’s both strong and flexible.

(This strong-but-flexible quality also made ash an in-demand construction material during the early days of automobiles and airplanes. The very first airplane, the 1903 Wright Flyer, was made of ash and spruce.)

Here’s an early example of “atten Asche” being used as a surname: in 1326, a man named William atten Asche received one-and-a-half acres land in Walton (now part of Aylesbury) from a man named John atte Grene.

Surnames became hereditary in England during the centuries following the Norman Conquest. As the phrase “atten Asche” was passed down to successive generations, it evolved into diverse forms.

Modern surnames that can ultimately be traced back to “atten Asche” include not only Tash but also Ash, Ashe, Nash, Nashe, Nayshe, Naish, Tashe, Tasch, Tasche, Tesh, Tesche and Tosh.

Of these, Nash is the one that occurs most frequently in the United States. It’s followed by Ash and Ashe. Tash, in comparison, is much less common.

So has the surname Tash ever been used as a first name?

Yes, but rarely. The baby name Tash has only appeared on the national list a handful of times: exactly 3 times as a girl name and 3 times as a boy name. And only one of those appearances has happened since the turn of the century:

  • 2014: unlisted
  • 2013: unlisted
  • 2012: 5 baby boys named Tash
  • 2011: unlisted
  • 2010: unlisted
  • 2009: unlisted
  • 2008: unlisted
  • 2007: unlisted
  • 2006: unlisted
  • 2005: unlisted
  • 2004: unlisted
  • 2003: unlisted
  • 2002: unlisted
  • 2001: unlisted
  • 2000: unlisted

This means that the name Tash is usually given to fewer than 5 baby boys and fewer than 5 baby girls per year in the U.S.

The rarity of Tash as a standalone first name (as opposed to a nickname for Natasha, Latasha, etc.) possibly reflects its rarity as a surname. In other words, parents may be opting for Tash less often than Nash, Ash and Ashe simply because they aren’t aware that it exists.

This makes me think there’s some untapped potential here, as -ash names in general have become trendy within the last few years. Right now there are four -ash names in the boys’ top 1,000:

  • Cash, ranked 275th
  • Nash, ranked 364th
  • Kash, ranked 371st
  • Dash, ranked 951st

Other -ash names on the SSA’s list right now include Crash and Flash. As fringe as these may sound, they’re still more popular than Tash!

The name Tash is snappy, stylish, and totally unexpected. And it’s associated with nature — a big plus for many people.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Tash?

Sources:

Image: Adapted from Magnificent Ash tree Higher Wraxall by Nigel Mykura under CC BY 2.0.


Letter by Letter: Popular Baby Boy Names, 2013

popular baby boy names, letter by letter, in 2013

Wondering what the most popular J-names for baby boys are? How about Q-names?

Below are the 10 most popular boy names for each letter, A through Z. (The parenthetical notations show how the current rankings differ from the 2012 rankings.)

The two new #1 names that emerged in 2013 were Hunter, which replaced Henry, and Thomas, which replaced Tyler.

A-Names

1. Alexander, 14771 baby boys
2. Aiden, 13527
3. Anthony, 12164
4. Andrew, 11568
5. Aaron, 7246
6. Adrian, 6802 (was 8th)
7. Austin, 6441
8. Angel, 6320 (was 6th)
9. Ayden, 6035
10. Adam, 5193

B-Names

1. Benjamin, 13373 baby boys
2. Brayden, 7384
3. Brandon, 6180
4. Blake, 5601
5. Bentley, 5344
6. Brody, 4302
7. Bryson, 3783
8. Bryce, 3335
9. Brantley, 3171 (was 13th)
10. Braxton, 3078

Out of the top 10: Bryan, now ranked 11th.

C-Names

1. Christopher, 10765 baby boys
2. Carter, 9512 (was 4th)
3. Caleb, 9500 (was 2nd)
4. Christian, 9261 (was 3rd)
5. Connor, 7058 (was 6th)
6. Charles, 6955 (was 7th)
7. Cameron, 6809 (was 5th)
8. Colton, 6442
9. Chase, 5504
10. Cooper, 4843

D-Names

1. Daniel, 14140 baby boys
2. David, 12226
3. Dylan, 10058
4. Dominic, 6277
5. Damian, 3945
6. Declan, 3097 (was 7th)
7. Diego, 2905 (was 6th)
8. Derek, 1865 (was 9th)
9. Devin, 1828 (was 8th)
10. Damien, 1603

E-Names

1. Ethan, 16127 baby boys
2. Elijah, 13626
3. Eli, 7867
4. Evan, 7070
5. Easton, 4615
6. Elias, 3472 (was 7th)
7. Eric, 3233 (was 6th)
8. Ezra, 2708 (was 10th)
9. Edward, 2679 (was 8th)
10. Emmanuel, 2377 (was 9th)

F-Names

1. Francisco, 1688 baby boys
2. Finn, 1440 (was 3rd)
3. Fernando, 1424 (was 2nd)
4. Felix, 1171 (was 5th)
5. Fabian, 1091 (was 4th)
6. Frank, 996
7. Finnegan, 605
8. Finley, 562 (was 10th)
9. Frederick, 549
10. Franklin, 545 (was 8th)

G-Names

1. Gabriel, 11112 baby boys
2. Gavin, 7379
3. Grayson, 5500
4. Giovanni, 2964
5. Greyson, 2630 (was 9th)
6. George, 2522 (was 7th)
7. Grant, 2401 (was 6th)
8. Gael, 2296 (was 5th)
9. Gage, 2131 (was 8th)
10. Graham, 1876 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Garrett, now ranked 12th.

H-Names

1. Hunter, 8887 baby boys (was 2nd)
2. Henry, 8802 (was 1st)
3. Hudson, 4628
4. Hayden, 2933
5. Harrison, 2491
6. Hector, 1248
7. Holden, 1198
8. Hugo, 653
9. Hayes, 411 (was 13th)
10. Harvey, 399 (was 15th)

Hunter became the new #1 H-name in 2013.

Out of the top 10: Harley, now ranked 11th, and Harper, now 14th.

I-Names

1. Isaac, 10005 baby boys
2. Isaiah, 7754
3. Ian, 5374
4. Ivan, 2846
5. Iker, 1612
6. Israel, 1457
7. Ismael, 741
8. Izaiah, 634
9. Ibrahim, 631 (was 10th)
10. Issac, 585 (was 9th)

J-Names

1. Jacob, 17976 baby boys
2. Jayden, 14656
3. James, 13416
4. Jackson, 12488 (was 6th)
5. Joseph, 12095
6. Joshua, 11680 (was 4th)
7. John, 10588
8. Jack, 8506 (was 9th)
9. Jonathan, 8478 (was 8th)
10. Jaxon, 7479 (was 13th)

Out of the top 10: Jordan, now ranked 12th.

K-Names

1. Kevin, 5892 baby boys
2. Kayden, 4386
3. Kaiden, 3076 (was 6th)
4. Kaleb, 2833 (was 3rd)
5. Kaden, 2606
6. Kyle, 2563 (was 4th)
7. Kenneth, 2159
8. Kingston, 2114 (was 9th)
9. King, 2085 (was 11th)
10. Kai, 1956 (was 8th)

Out of the top 10: Keegan, now ranked 11th.

L-Names

1. Liam, 18002 baby boys
2. Logan, 12270
3. Lucas, 11451
4. Luke, 9497 (was 5th)
5. Landon, 8679 (was 4th)
6. Levi, 7339
7. Lincoln, 4010 (was 8th)
8. Luis, 3976 (was 7th)
9. Leo, 3473
10. Leonardo, 2891

M-Names

1. Mason, 17591 baby boys
2. Michael, 15366
3. Matthew, 13226
4. Micah, 3631
5. Maxwell, 3607 (was 7th)
6. Mateo, 3547 (was 9th)
7. Max, 3492 (was 5th)
8. Miles, 3385 (was 6th)
9. Miguel, 2874 (was 8th)
10. Marcus, 2497

N-Names

1. Noah, 18090 baby boys
2. Nathan, 9620
3. Nicholas, 7078
4. Nolan, 4715 (was 5th)
5. Nathaniel, 4461 (was 4th)
6. Nicolas, 2109
7. Nehemiah, 919
8. Noel, 774
9. Nash, 596 (was 10th)
10. Nico, 561 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Nikolas, now ranked 11th.

O-Names

1. Owen, 8702 baby boys
2. Oliver, 7209
3. Oscar, 2225
4. Omar, 1873
5. Orion, 743
6. Orlando, 465
7. Odin, 447
8. Otto, 338 (was 10th)
9. Omari, 318 (was 8th)
10. Oakley, 288 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Osvaldo, now ranked 11th.

P-Names

1. Parker, 5622 baby boys
2. Preston, 2636
3. Patrick, 2566
4. Paul, 2017 (was 5th)
5. Peter, 1833 (was 6th)
6. Peyton, 1833 (was 4th)
7. Paxton, 1346
8. Pedro, 922
9. Phillip, 858
10. Phoenix, 775 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Pablo, now ranked 13th.

Q-Names

1. Quinn, 875 baby boys
2. Quentin, 722
3. Quinton, 479
4. Quincy, 416
5. Quintin, 248
6. Quinten, 161
7. Quinlan, 59
8. Quade, 34 (was 15th)
9. Quadir, 32 (was 10th)
10. Quran, 31 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Quincey, now ranked 11th, and Quin, now 13th.

R-Names

1. Ryan, 9808 baby boys
2. Robert, 6641
3. Ryder, 3750
4. Roman, 2858 (was 6th)
5. Richard, 2770 (was 4th)
6. Riley, 2531 (was 5th)
7. Ryker, 2462 (was 8th)
8. Rylan, 1882 (was 7th)
9. Ricardo, 1421
10. Reid, 1364 (was 12th)

Out of the top 10: Raymond, now ranked 11th.

S-Names

1. Samuel, 10957 baby boys
2. Sebastian, 7495
3. Silas, 3367 (was 7th)
4. Sawyer, 3142 (was 6th)
5. Santiago, 3015 (was 4th)
6. Steven, 2850 (was 3rd)
7. Sean, 2180 (was 5th)
8. Simon, 1592 (was 12th)
9. Seth, 1578 (was 8th)
10. Spencer, 1440

Out of the top 10: Stephen, now ranked 11th.

T-Names

1. Thomas, 6708 baby boys (was 2nd)
2. Tyler, 6590 (was 1st)
3. Tristan, 3970
4. Timothy, 3016
5. Theodore, 2397 (was 7th)
6. Tucker, 2220
7. Tanner, 2029 (was 5th)
8. Travis, 1571 (was 9th)
9. Trevor, 1520 (was 8th)
10. Trenton, 1319

Thomas became the new #1 T-name in 2013.

U-Names

1. Uriel, 567 baby boys
2. Uriah, 488
3. Urijah, 298
4. Ulises, 270
5. Ulysses, 164
6. Umar, 94 (was 7th)
7. Unknown, 85 (was 6th) [not a name; used when a name is unknown]
8. Uziel, 77
9. Uzziah, 51 (was 10th)
10. Usman, 39 (was 15th)

Out of the top 10: Usher, now ranked 11th.

V-Names

1. Vincent, 3829 baby boys
2. Victor, 2715
3. Vihaan, 426
4. Valentino, 329 (was 6th)
5. Vicente, 317 (was 4th)
6. Vincenzo, 285 (was 5th)
7. Van, 252 (was 8th)
8. Vaughn, 247 (was 9th)
9. Vance, 244 (was 7th)
10. Valentin, 237

W-Names

1. William, 16495 baby boys
2. Wyatt, 8490
3. Wesley, 2819
4. Weston, 2473
5. Waylon, 1190
6. Walter, 930
7. Walker, 833
8. Warren, 577
9. Wade, 483
10. Winston, 390 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Wilson, now ranked 11th.

X-Names

1. Xavier, 4933 baby boys
2. Xander, 1687
3. Xzavier, 420
4. Xavi, 217
5. Xavion, 81
6. Xaiden, 76
7. Xavian, 63
8. Xavior, 55
9. Xayden, 53
10. Xzander, 43 (was 12th)

Out of the top 10: Xavien, now ranked 11th.

Y-Names

1. Yahir, 570 baby boys
2. Yusuf, 414
3. Yosef, 328
4. Yousef, 249 (was 5th)
5. Yael, 243 (was 4th)
6. Yair, 206 (was 10th)
7. Yadiel, 202 (was 8th)
8. Yisroel, 179 (was 9th)
9. Yehuda, 174 (was 6th)
10. Youssef, 173 (was 12th)

Out of the top 10: Yandel, now ranked 14th.

Z-Names

1. Zachary, 5685 baby boys
2. Zayden, 2097 (was 3rd)
3. Zane, 1719 (was 2nd)
4. Zander, 1586 (was 5th)
5. Zion, 1514 (was 4th)
6. Zaiden, 956
7. Zachariah, 744
8. Zayne, 576 (was 9th)
9. Zackary, 463 (was 8th)
10. Zain, 360 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Zechariah, now ranked 11th.

Here are the 2012 rankings, if you want to check them out.

U.S. Baby Names 2013: Most Popular Names, Top Girl Name Debuts, Top Boy Name Debuts, Biggest Girl Name Changes, Biggest Boy Name Changes, Top First Letters, Top Lengths, Top Girl Names by Letter, Top Boy Names by Letter, Top 1-Syllable Names

Iowa Baby Named Nash for Nashville, Gets Gifts

The first baby born in central Iowa (including Des Moines) in 2014 was Nash David Eddie, son of Lance and Christine Eddie.

The name “Nash” was chosen in honor of Nashville, Tennessee. It’s where Lance and Christine went on their first road trip together.

When the president/CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. learned about baby Nash, he sent the Eddie family a bunch of “Nashville-themed gifts, including a CD with music from the TV show “Nashville,” a guitar-shaped chocolate bar, the “Lisa Loeb’s Silly Singalong” children’s book and a four-foot-tall stuffed Gnash — the Nashville Predators hockey team mascot.”

The family will also get free passes to local attractions the next time they visit Nashville.

(Some of the other locational baby names I’ve blogged about over the years: Brighton, Endellion, Julian, Sonora, Kennedy, Aquinnah, Georgian, Washington, Boston, Newark, Florence, Cape Cod, Bronx, Montana, Helsinki.)

Sources: New parents bring in first baby of 2014, Des Moines’ first baby named for Nashville

Popular Baby Names on Prince Edward Island, 2013

Prince Edward Island’s top baby names of 2013 were announced recently.

According to provisional data from PEI’s vital statistics office, the most popular baby names in the province are Brooklyn and Liam.

Between January 1 and December 6, a total of 1,255 babies were born on the island and 746 different baby names were registered. Here are several hundred of those names, grouped by usage:

Girl Names Boy Names
  • Given to 9 baby girls: Brooklyn (#1)
  • 8: Olivia
  • 7: Ellie, Madison
  • 6: Claire, Ella, Emma, Lydia, Sophia
  • 5: Alexis, Callie, Julia, Lauren, Mackenzie, Sophie
  • 4: Abigail, Amelia, Ava, Charlotte, Layla, Lily, Sadie, Summer, Victoria
  • 3: Alexa, Anna, Annie, Aria, Aubree, Danica, Elizabeth, Felicity, Grace, Hannah, Harper, Jessica, Jordyn, Keira, Kinsley, Lexi, Lucy, Madelyn, Molly, Mya, Paisley, Peyton, Piper, Quinn, Sarah, Scarlett, Stella, Tessa, Violet
  • 2: Aaralyn, Adalyn, Aleah, Alice, Alyson, Amy, Anabelle, Averie, Avery, Ayla, Brooke, Brooklynn, Casey, Charlie, Elle, Elly, Emersyn, Evelyn, Fiona, Georgia, Gracie, Hailey, Isabella, Isla, Izabella, Jaelyn, Kate, Katherine, Kathryn, Kayla, Kyleigh, Leah, Lylah, Macie, Maggie, Marley, Mary, Meredith, Mila, Nevaeh, Paige, Rebekah, Ruby, Ryleigh, Samantha, Savannah, Selena, Serena, Serenity, Taylor, Zoey
  • 1 (a small selection): Adalay, Aislinn, Arista, Avalon, Avurri, Bonnie, Brae-Lynn, Brantley, Breagh, Brenya, Carling, Daelynn, Dawsyn, Ellavine, Elliet, Ellowyn, Erda, Felix, Georgie, Iola, Iona, Ivy, Jayla, Jozee, Keiannah, Khloey, Lewyn, Maeryn, Mataya, Meah, Merleah, Misk, Myrissa, Nahala, Naiomee, Penny, Primrose, Reenie, Rilynn, Ronnie, Rora, Soraya, Theia, Zadie
  • Given to 11 baby boys: Liam (#1)
  • 10: Hunter
  • 9: Connor, Jack
  • 8: Cohen, Jaxon, John
  • 7: Landon, Owen, William
  • 6: Benjamin, Caleb, Henry, Lucas, Mason, Noah
  • 5: Alex, Alexander, Carter, Charlie, David, Jackson, James, Jase, Joseph, Wyatt
  • 4: Austin, Camden, Cameron, Emmett, Griffin, Harrison, Hudson, Jace, Jonah, Kingston, Lincoln, Marcus, Nash, Nathan, Oliver, Parker, Ryan, Ryder, Seth, Xavier
  • 3: Charles, Clark, Cooper, Daniel, Drake, Dylan, Edward, Eli, Elijah, Emerson, Evan, Felix, Gabriel, Gavin, Gus, Isaac, Isaiah, Jacob, Jax, Jonathan, Joshua, Kai, Kaiden, Malcolm, Michael, Nathaniel, Riley, Sawyer, Thomas, Tristan
  • 2: Antonio, Beau, Beckett, Brayden, Caden, Casey, Cash, Clarke, Dawson, Declan, Dominic, Drew, Elliot, Elliott, Ethan, Ezra, Gage, Grayson, Hayden, Jaxson, Jayden, Kole, Levi, Logan, Luke, Matthew, Morgan, Nate, Nicholas, Nolan, Peter, Ryker, Rylan, Sebastian, Simon, Tanner, Taylor, Theo, Turner, Ty, Tye
  • 1 (a small selection): Abel, Aeros, Attwood, Blaiz, Boe, Canaan, Clive, Davud, Draeson, Fynn, Hadwin, Haitao, Jaece, Jedrek, Kessel, Montgomery, Neeko, Odell, Reethym, Rigon, Sudta, Toffer, Tylan, Wesdon, Zyler

I’m not sure when the finalized version of PEI’s 2013 list will be released, but I’ll be on the lookout for it. (Update, 1/8/2015: The 2014 list for PEI just came out, and it included a link to the 2013 data…which is exactly the same as the above. So it looks like PEI doesn’t release finalized lists.)

Sources: Brooklyn, Liam 2013’s most popular baby names in Prince Edward Island, The Most Popular Baby Names in P.E.I. for 2013

Danger Is My Baby’s Middle Name

Danger - Baby's Middle Name

A pair of real-life “Danger is my middle name” babies have been featured in the news lately:

  • Rafferty Basil Danger Wills, born in January to Felicity and Sam Wills of England.
  • Stephen Danger James, born in January to Telita and Dean James of Australia.

But these aren’t the first dangerously named babies to make headlines. Here are some earlier examples:

  • Nash Edward Danger Gray, born in 2011 to Jon and Ruth Gray of Nevada.
  • Bodhi Danger Huxhagen, born in 2011 to Rowan and Belinda Huxhagen of Australia.
  • Billie Danger Lampard (girl) and Ridley Danger Lampard (boy), twins, born in 2010 to Amy and Glenn Lampard of Australia.
  • Radley Danger Chapple, born circa 2008 to Peppa and John Chapple of California.
  • Maxwell Danger Rogers, born in 2006 to Chloe Maxwell and Mat Rogers of Australia.
  • Broderick Danger Scott, born in 2006 to Sarah Wilner and Kevin Scott of California.
  • Jakob Danger Armstrong, born in 1998 to Adrienne and Billie Joe Armstrong of California.

And I’ve come across a few other examples that never made the news.

So, just how common is the middle name Danger?

The SSA doesn’t publish middle name data, so there’s no official set of numbers we can look at. Fellow baby name blogger Laura Wattenberg claimed last year that Danger was a “really popular middle name for boys right now.” I disagree — Danger is still uncommon/bizarre enough to be newsworthy, after all — but it does look like Danger has been picking up steam lately.

Would you ever consider (I mean seriously consider) giving your baby the middle name Danger?

Sources: Billie and Ridley Lampard given ‘Danger’ as middle name, Danger is his middle name, Danger is my middle name…no really, it is, Developer suing ‘Baywatch’ star, Real parents can give their children weird baby names just like the celebs, The boy with danger as a name, The new year brings first local baby, What’s in a (middle) name? Simple or creative, the choice challenges parents

P.S. There’s a guy in Florida named Danger Dangervil.

Baby Name Needed – Boy Name for Carol & Todd

A reader named Carol is expecting her first child next month. Here’s what she writes:

We are having our first child, a boy, in February. We’ve decided his middle name will be Philip, after my Dad.

With the middle and last names already being kind of wordy and long (Philip Underhill) I’m leaning towards a simple first name. I like Kyle probably the best so far. Cole is nice and simple. Or Carter, Carson, Owen, Nathan, Nolan, Gavin.

I don’t want a name too weird, or too common. Something in between.

Any other names to suggest? Thanks for your help :)

In her email, Carol mentioned that she’s active and outdoorsy, and that she and her husband Todd love “anything to do with nature – and getting out there and enjoying it.” Her site, Tarol’s Webpage, features sections on backpacking, fire lookouts, even bear encounters (!). She works for the U.S. Forest Service (and she notes: “No, we aren’t going to name our boy Forest, lol”).

I like all of the names on the shortlist, especially the one-syllable options (Kyle, Cole). In fact, I think Carol’s favorite is my favorite as well.

Carol mentioned she wanted something not “too weird, or too common.” None of the current favorites are weird, but I did want to point out that a couple (Nathan, Gavin) are pretty popular right now, and others (Owen, Carter) could be headed that way:

Name 2008 2009 2010
Nathan 13,214 babies 12,077 babies 11,269 babies
ranked 21st ranked 26th ranked 27th
Gavin 11,727 babies 10,710 babies 9,551 babies
ranked 30th ranked 33rd ranked 37th
Owen 7,788 babies 8,115 babies 8,136 babies
ranked 58th ranked 51st ranked 47th
Carter 7,051 babies 8,157 babies 8,101 babies
ranked 65th ranked 50th ranked 48th
Carson 5,121 babies 4,981 babies 5,064 babies
ranked 89th ranked 86th ranked 80th
Cole 5,378 babies 5,258 babies 4,562 babies
ranked 85th ranked 82nd ranked 89th
Nolan 3,147 babies 3,427 babies 3,666 babies
ranked 131st ranked 122nd ranked 104th
Kyle 4,688 babies 4,157 babies 3,539 babies
ranked 97th ranked 100th ranked 107th

I don’t want to dissuade anyone from using the names Nathan and Gavin — on the contrary, I like both very much — but I didn’t want the names’ current popularity to come as a surprise later on.

As far as suggestions go, I wrote up a long list and then boiled it down to these five favorites:

Chase (rank: 66th)
This was the very first name that came to mind. It’s simple and youthful, and it just sounds active. Which is what I imagine the son of two nature-lovers will turn out to be. :)

Lance (rank: 445th)
I like this one for the same reasons I like Chase, and I also like the consonance of the L’s in “Lance Philip Underhill.”

Sawyer (rank: 173rd)
Again, a youthful feel, thanks no doubt to Tom Sawyer. Plus, surname-names are stylish right now.

Reed (380th) or Reid (291st)
A simple name with an outdoorsy association, though the fact that there are two popular spellings could cause confusion.

Nash (rank: 612th)
A bit quirky, but it’s simple and strong-sounding, and its etymology connects it to nature (it originally denoted someone who lived near “an ash” [tree]).

Some runners-up: Glenn, Jack, Keith, Kevin, Max, Tate, Roscoe, Wyatt.

Which of the names above are your favorites for Carol and Todd’s firstborn son? What other names would you suggest?

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?