A reader named Danielle wrote to me the other day. She is searching for a name for her second son. She says:
We love the beach, ocean, boating and water and would like something unique to go with that.
Her first son is named Landon Kai. (Kai is the Hawaiian word for “sea,” among other things.)
Dylan, Welsh for “great sea,” was the first name that came to mind. It’s fashionable, and I think it goes well with Landon. Popular variant spellings of Dylan include Dillon and Dillan.
Murdoch/Murdock and Murphy are also tied to the sea. Both can be traced back to the Gaelic name Murchadh, which means “sea warrior.” (Morgan might also be sea-related, depending on the etymology you trust.)
For something more avant garde, sea gods and goddesses with cool names include Lir/Llyr (Irish), Mazu (Chinese), Moana (Polynesian), Nereus and Triton (Greek).
Branching out to other bodies of water…Lincoln and Lachlan are both lake-related, while Kyle refers to a channel or strait. River has been used as name (so has Rio), and specific rivers have given rise to names such as Clyde, Jordan, Kelvin, Shannon and Trent.
The name Jonah is associated with the biblical tale about a prophet who is swallowed by a large fish. The name Ulysses is associated with the Odyseey, a Homeric poem featuring a long sea journey. (The former means “dove” in Hebrew, while the latter comes from a Greek verb meaning “to hate.”)
Finally, a short note to Danielle: Do you have any favorite beaches or bodies of water? Try taking a look at their names. (None will mean “water” or “beach,” but you’ll personally associate the name with those things.) For instance, beaches in my town have names like Gray, Parker and Wilbur. Beaches in nearby towns include Crosby, Ellis, Fisher, Glendon, Orrin and Ryder. And these don’t even cover all the local ponds, lakes, inlets, bays, and so forth.