Baby names inspired by the solar eclipse: Helios, Mahina, Blake

Baby names inspired by the solar eclipse

On August 21, the United States will see its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918. If you’re planning to have (or conceive!) a baby around the time of the eclipse, you might be interested in a name that marks the event (but that perhaps isn’t as obvious as Eclipse itself).

So what are your options?

Names with “celestial” associations

A solar eclipse involves the alignment of three celestial bodies — the sun (a star), the moon, and the Earth — in the sky. You could use a name that is associated in some way with one of these elements, such as…

“Sun” names

  • Haru (Japanese)
  • Helios (ancient Greek)
  • Hina (Japanese)
  • Inti (Quechua)
  • Nou (Hmong)
  • Ra (ancient Egyptian)
  • Ravi (Sanskrit)
  • Shams (Arabic)
  • Sol (Spanish & Portuguese, ultimately from Latin)
  • Solaris (Latin)
  • Soleil (French)
  • Sunniva (Old English)
  • Sunny (English)
  • Surya (Sanskrit)

“Star” names

  • Aster (ancient Greek)
  • Astra (based on the ancient Greek word)
  • Citlalli (Nahuatl)
  • Estelle (French)
  • Estrella (Spanish)
  • Hoshi (Japanese)
  • Najm & Najma (Arabic)
  • Seren (Welsh)
  • Star (English)
  • Starla (based on the English word)
  • Stjarna (Icelandic)
  • Stella (Latin)
  • Tähti (Finnish)
  • Tara (Sanskrit)

“Moon” names

  • Aylin (Turkish)
  • Badr (Arabic)
  • Chandra (Sanskrit)
  • Dal (Korean)
  • Dawa (Tibetan)
  • Ilargi (Basque)
  • Luna (Latin)
  • Lusine (Armenian)
  • Mahina (Hawaiian & Tongan)
  • Máni (Icelandic)
  • Metztli (Nahuatl)
  • Moon (English)
  • Qamar (Arabic)
  • Selene (ancient Greek)

“Earth” names

  • Avani (Sanskrit)
  • Bhumi (Sanskrit)
  • Eartha (based on the English word)
  • Gaia (ancient Greek)
  • Ki (Sumerian)
  • Tierra (Spanish)
  • Tlalli (Nahuatl)

“Sky” names

  • Akash (Sanskrit)
  • Alya (Arabic)
  • Anu (Sumerian)
  • Caelus (Latin)
  • Céleste (French)
  • Ciel (French)
  • Cielo (Spanish)
  • Lani (Hawaiian)
  • Ortzi (Basque)
  • Sky (English)
  • Skyla (based on the English word)
  • Sora (Japanese)

You could even look for a name that contains more than one of these elements. I’ve come across a handful of names that happen to contain both an element meaning “sun” and an element meaning “moon,” for instance. Examples include Ravichandra (Sanskrit), Künnei (Yakut), Aygün (Turkish), and Günay (also Turkish).

Names with “dark” associations

The main event, from an Earthling’s perspective, is the darkening of the sun thanks to the moon getting in the way and casting its shadow over us. So you could use a name associated in some way with darkness, such as…

“Shadow” names

  • Chhaya (Sanskrit)
  • Shade (English)
  • Shadow (English)
  • Umbra (Latin)
  • Zalaph (Hebrew)
  • Zillah (Hebrew)

“Dark” or “Black” names

  • Adham (Arabic)
  • Blake (English surname)
  • Charna (Yiddish)
  • Ciar & Ciara (Irish)
  • Ciarán (Irish)
  • Dubhán (Irish)
  • Duff (Irish surname)
  • Jett (English)
  • Kara (Turkish)
  • Krishna (Sanskrit)
  • Melaina (ancient Greek)
    • Melania (Latin, based on melaina)
    • Mélanie (French form of Melania)
  • Raven (English)
  • Sullivan (Irish surname)

“Night” names

  • Layla (Arabic)
  • Nisha (Sanskrit)
  • Njóla (Icelandic)
  • Noctis (Latin)
  • Nox (Latin)
  • Nyx (ancient Greek)
  • Rajani (Sanskrit)
  • Rajnish (Sanskrit)
  • Tuta (Quechua)
  • Yoalli (Nahuatl)

I think Blake and Sullivan are particularly intriguing choices.

The English surname Blake can come from either of two similar Middle English words that happen to have opposite definitions: blac, meaning “black,” or blac, meaning “wan, pale, white, fair.” So it manages to encapsulate the concepts of both darkness and lightness — two key elements of an eclipse.

And the Irish surname Sullivan, “descendant of Súileabhán,” is based on the Gaelic personal name Súileabhán, meaning “little dark eye” — which sounds a lot like a poetic description of an eclipse.

Name pairings with both “celestial” and “dark” associations

You could combine some of the “celestial” and “dark” names above to get something more specific, like…

  • Layla Soleil: “night” and “sun”
  • Jett Helios: “black” and “sun”
  • Ciarán Sol: “black” and “sun”
  • Mélanie Stella: “dark” and “star” (“Dark Star” is also a Grateful Dead song)
  • Luna Zillah: “moon” and “shadow” (“Moon Shadow” is also a Cat Stevens song)

Names (or name pairings) featuring the letters “S” and “E”

This is as inconspicuous as it gets. Commemorate the solar eclipse simply by using the letters “S” and “E” in combination. You could choose a single name that starts with “Se-,” like…

Sela
Selene (“moon” in Greek)
Selma
Seraphina
Seren (“star” in Welsh)
Serenity
Sean
Sebastian
Sefton
Sergio
Seth
Severino

Or, you could use a pair of names that start with “S-” and “E-,” such as…

Sabrina Eden
Sydney Elise
Sarah Evangeline
Susanna Elizabeth
Simon Elijah
Spencer Ellis
Shane Everett
Samuel Edward

Which of the above names (or combos) do you like most? What other solar eclipse-themed ideas would you add to this list?

Sources:

Update, 5/15/2018: The baby name Eclipse debuted in the 2017 SSA data! The name Moon also more than tripled in usage last year.

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