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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Zeus

Number of Babies Named Zeus

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Zeus

Names Collected in the Czech Republic

Earlier this month, husband and I spent a couple of weeks in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.

old town, prague
Old Town Square, Prague

Here are some of the names we spotted:

Wenceslas

Our hotel was located in Wenceslas Square, which was named in honor of Duke of Bohemia Wenceslas I (907-935).

His name is a Latinized form of the Slavic name Veceslav, which is made up of the Old Slavic words veche, meaning “more, greater,” and slava, meaning “glory, fame.” (The name Václav is a contracted form of Veceslav.)

Mikulas

We didn’t spend much time checking out Wenceslas Square (which was mainly for shopping) but did hang out a lot in Old Town Square (which was more historical). One of the big attractions there is the astronomical clock:

Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square, Prague
Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square, Prague

The oldest part of the clock was created by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň in 1410, making this the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world (and the oldest one still working).

The name Mikuláš is simply the Czech form of Nicholas, which can be traced back to the Greek words nike, meaning “victory,” and laos, meaning “people.”

Tyge & Tycho

Also in Old Town is a Gothic church called the Church of Mother of God before Týn. (The church is in the center of that top photo of Old Town Square.)

Danish nobleman and astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), who relocated to Bohemia toward the end of his life, is buried here. Tycho’s birth name was Tyge (pron. tee-geh), but he Latinized it to Tycho (pron. tee-ko) as a teenager.

According to the site Nordic Names, Tyge is a form of Tyki, which is the Danish form of Týki, which has several possible derivations. Tycho, on the other hand, is based on the Greek word tyche, which means “luck.”

Karel & Deniska

A short walk from Old Town Square is the Vltava river. From the early 1400s until the mid-1800s, the only way to cross the Vltava was the Karlův most (Charles Bridge; literally, “Karel’s bridge”) which was named in honor of 14th-century King Charles IV.

A gold-colored cross on the bridge parapet marks the spot where, in 1393, St. John of Nepomuk was thrown into the river and drowned. Behind the cross decorative railing on which people like to put love locks:

Love Locks on Charles Bridge, Prague
Charles Bridge, Prague

A couple of the locks:

Love locks on Charles Bridge, Prague
Love locks on Charles Bridge, Prague

I don’t know about the origins of Buka and Makc, but Deniska is a diminutive of Denisa, the feminine form of Denis, which comes from Dionysius, which is based on the name of the Greek god Dionysus, whose name is made up of elements referring to Zeus (dios) and the legendary Mount Nysa.

Dalibor

In that photo with the bridge with the railing, there’s a cluster of spires off in the distance. That’s the Prague Castle complex, which includes the Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, Rosenberg Palace, and Daliborka Tower.

Daliborka Tower, a former prison, was named after early prisoner Dalibor of Kozojedy (d. 1498). According to a legend that arose after his death, Dalibor learned to play the fiddle during his imprisonment and “people came from far and wide and listened, enraptured, to his soul-stirring playing.”

But an informational sign inside Daliborka debunks this myth:

The reality of Dalibor’s musical talent was, however, quite different: “the fiddle” was a nickname for an instrument of torture, a sort of rack on which the convicted man was stretched till […] the victim began “to fiddle” (change his tune, confess).”

Torture devices inside Daliborka Tower, Prague
Torture devices inside Daliborka Tower, Prague

The name Dalibor is made up of the Old Slavic words daleko, meaning “far, distance,” and bor meaning “war, fight.” (Daliborka is also the feminine form of the name.)

Svatopluk

Getting back to the river…one of the other bridges over the Vltava is the art deco Svatopluk Čech Bridge, named after Czech writer Svatopluk Čech (1846-1908).

Svatopluk Bridge, Prague
Svatopluk Bridge, Prague

The name Svatopluk is made up of the Old Slavic words svetu, meaning “blessed, holy,” and pulku, meaning “people, folk.”

Avigdor

You guys know I love graveyards, but sadly I didn’t get a chance to see Prague’s famous Old Jewish Cemetery. (We walked by it a few times, but always on our way somewhere else.)

I do remember reading, though, that the oldest stone there belongs to a rabbi named Avigdor Kara (d. 1439). The name Avigdor may be based on the phrase Avi Gedor (I Chron. 4.18), which means “father of Gedor,” with the name Gedor meaning “wall” or “fence.”

Now let’s wrap things up with this gratuitous shot of St. Vitus Cathedral:

St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague
St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague

Have you ever been to the Czech Republic? Do you remember seeing/hearing any interesting names while there?

Sources:

  • Behind the Name
  • Cohn, Rella Israly. Yiddish Given Names: A Lexicon. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2008.
  • Thoren, Victor E., John Robert Christianson. The Lord of Uraniborg: A Biography of Tycho Brahe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Popular Baby Names in England and Wales, 2013

The top baby names in England and Wales were announced last week.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, the most popular baby names last year were Amelia and Oliver.

Here are England and Wales’ top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Amelia, 5570 baby girls
2. Olivia, 4598
3. Emily, 4049
4. Ava, 3575
5. Isla, 3526
6. Jessica, 3507
7. Poppy, 3422
8. Isabella, 3246
9. Sophie, 3013
10. Mia, 2993
11. Ruby, 2948
12. Lily, 2883
13. Grace, 2799
14. Evie, 2767
15. Sophia, 2764
16. Ella, 2722
17. Scarlett, 2643
18. Chloe, 2401
19. Isabelle, 2287
20. Freya, 2266
1. Oliver, 6,949 baby boys
2. Jack, 6,212
3. Harry, 5,888
4. Jacob, 5,126
5. Charlie 5,039
6. Thomas, 4,591
7. Oscar, 4,511
8. William, 4,268
9. James, 4,236
10. George, 4,202
11. Alfie, 4,138
12. Joshua, 3,973
13. Noah, 3,830
14. Ethan, 3,572
15. Muhammad, 3,499
16. Archie, 3,265
17. Leo, 3,264
18. Henry, 3,248
19. Joseph, 3,225
20. Samuel, 3,188

There were some big moves on the boys’s side: Oscar rose from 17th to 7th, while Riley plummeted from 8th to 21st. (Here are the biggest moves overall for boy names and girl names.)

New to the top 20 are Scarlett, Archie, Henry and Joseph. They replace Charlotte, Riley, Daniel and Max.

One thing I found interesting? Freya wasn’t on the England top 20. It also wasn’t on the Wales top 20. And yet still it managed to rank 20th on the combined top 20. Very sneaky, Freya.

Here are some of last year’s rare baby names, each given to between 3 and 10 babies (inclusive):

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Akvile, Alaska, Alphonsa, Andromeda, Arena, Arizona, Atlantis, Belinay, Bellatrix, Blousey, Boadicea, Boglarka, Bonnie-Blue, Boo, Boux, Charm, Cressida, Crystal-Rose, Daenerys, Delphie, Disney, Duru, Edwina, Ellery, Eloghosa, Enfys, Enlli*, Eos, Ernestine, Esila, Evan, Frayer, Freshta, Fausta, Garance, Gelila, Gemini, Gerda, Glorious, Halo, Honour, Io, Iole, Ionie, Iseult, Isla-Belle, Izna, Lava, Lleucu, Llinos, Llio, Loveday, Loxy, Mafalda, Man, Maple, Miami, Migle, Milda, Misk, Mirabella, Mirren, Myfi, Myrtle, Nandi, Nephele, Nma, Ottoline, Pebbles, Popi, Purity, Quorra, Quratulain, Rory, Ruby-Tuesday, Salsabeel, Sehrish, Sequoia, Sibel, Sobia, Solveig, Sundus, Tiggi, Tiggy, Tirion, Tulsi, Vespa, Vogue, Yiyi Alaric, Bramwell, Cavalli, Ceirion, Denley, Diesel, Diggory, Drin, Eesaa, Eyoel, Fiachra, Finlo, Fyfe, Ghyll, Greatness, Gruff, Hanzala, Haoyu, Heathcliff, Henley-John, Ho, Hocine, Innis, Iori, J, Jai-Jai, Jay-J, Jaygo, Johnboy, Jonjoe, Kebba, Kelly, Khizr, King-David, Klevis, Lebron, Liutaruas, Llyr, Lochie, Messi, Mortimer, Nebi, Nimrod, Noman, Olti, Omarion, Orpheus, Osgar, Oska, Perseus, Ptolemy, Qi, Rhythm, Rozh, Rhon, Sandor, Shady, Shaquille, Sheriff, Shko, Soul, Swayley, T, Tiger, Tirath, Tobenna, Toprak, Tuguldur, Tylah, Tyrion, Ugnius, Viggo, Wentworth, Winter, Wolf, Wolfgang, Wren, Yanky, Yug, Zeus, Zsombor

*Enlli, which debuted last year, comes from the name of the Welsh island Ynys Enlli (called Bardsey Island in English). The island name is usually translated as “island of the current,” with ynys meaning “island,” and enlli meaning “current.” You can hear the proper pronunciation of Ynys Enlli at Forvo.

Finally, all of my previous posts on the popular (and unique) baby names in England and Wales: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.

Source: Baby Names, England and Wales, 2013 – ONS

The Baby Name Io

Several days ago, NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day was the impressive “Io: Moon Over Jupiter.”

At left is a portion of photo, which was taken by the Cassini spacecraft.

Jupiter’s moon Io [EYE-oh] was discovered by Galileo in 1610. He named it for Io the mythological character — a nymph who was seduced by Zeus, then turned into a cow.*

The name Io doesn’t have a known meaning, and it’s rare in the U.S.:

  • 2010: 6 baby girls named Io
  • 2009: 8 baby girls named Io
  • 2008: 5 baby girls named Io
  • 2007: 5 baby girls named Io
  • 2006: 5 baby girls named Io

Nevertheless, I’ve always found it intriguing. There aren’t many two-letter girl names out there, and this is the only one I know of from Greek myth.

Do you like the name Io? Would you give it to your baby girl?

*The name of the Bosphorus, which comes from ancient Greek and means “ox passage,” commemorates Io-the-cow’s crossing of the strait.

1 Baby, 26 Alphabetical Names

I’ve found long names, and alphabetical sibling names, but this could be the first alphabetical single name I’ve seen.

A baby girl born on December 19, 1882, in West Derby, Liverpool, to Arthur and Sarah Pepper was named Ann Bertha Cecilia Diana Emily Fanny Gertrude Hypatia Inez (Iug?) Jane Kate Louisa Maud Nora Orphelia Quince Rebecca Starkey Teresa Ulysis Venus Winifred Xenophen Yetty Zeus Pepper.

Regarding the name, the Boston Evening Transcript quipped, “Apparently the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has little power in London”:

Ann Bertha Cecelia

For more names like this one, check out my copy of Wikipedia’s list of unusual personal names.

Sources:

Babies Named After the Song “Dardanella”

Dardanella
Dardanella

In 1919 — years before radio broadcasting became a means of popularizing music — the song “Dardanella” was published as sheet music with lyrics. The song tells the tale of a “lonesome maid Armenian” named Dardanella. Here’s the chorus:

Oh sweet Dardanella, I love your harem eyes,
I’m a lucky fellow, to capture such a prize,
Oh Allah knows, my love for you,
And he tells you to be true,

Dardanella, oh hear my sigh, my Oriental,
Oh sweet Dardanella, prepare the wedding wine,
There’ll be one girl in my harem when you’re mine.
We’ll build a tent, just like the children of the Orient.

Oh, sweet Dardanella, my star of love divine.

“Dardanella” became so trendy that it inspired dozens of expectant parents to name their baby girls Dardanella in the early 1920s:

  • 1925: unlisted
  • 1924: 6 baby girls named Dardanella
  • 1923: unlisted
  • 1922: 6 baby girls named Dardanella
  • 1921: 15 baby girls named Dardanella
  • 1920: 23 baby girls named Dardanella [debut]
  • 1919: unlisted

In fact, Dardanella was the top debut name for baby girls in 1920. The spelling variant Dardenella also appeared for the first and only time on the list that year.

The name in the song is derived from the word Dardanelles, which is one of the Turkish Straits that separates European Turkey from Asian Turkey. The word Dardanelles can be traced back to the mythological figure Dardanus, son of Zeus and Electra.

If you’d like to hear “Dardanella,” check out this 1920 recording by Gladys Rice and Vernon Dalhart [vid].

What do you think of the name Dardanella? Usable nowadays?

P.S. One of the songwriters was Fred Fisher, who’d scored a big hit a decade earlier with “Come Josephine In My Flying Machine.”