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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Apollo


Posts that Mention the Name Apollo

Name quotes #113: Oscar, Mackenzie, Bailey

double quotation mark

It’s time for another batch of name quotes!

From a recent Daily Mirror article about schoolteachers Lainey Clarke and Ben Hubbard, who live in Buckinghamshire with their newborn…plus two spirits named Dave and Andy:

Dave even helped them when it came to deciding baby names.

“Every name we liked we’d then remember a naughty school kid we’d taught — it was a nightmare,” laughs Ben.

“We did a spirit box session [one person asks questions and another sits blindfolded with headphones on and relays messages from the spirit world] and the word Apollo was spoken. We listened back after he was born and were stunned to find that Dave had named our baby.”

From a Today.com article published earlier this year about like-named twins who married like-named twins:

Identical twins Briana and Brittany, 35, married identical twins Josh [Joshua] and Jeremy Salyers, 37, and now they’re introducing the world to their babies, who are so genetically similar that the cousins are more like brothers.

[…]

The Salyers are parents to Jett, who turned 1 in January, and Jax, who will turn 1 in April, and the cousins share more than the same first initial. Their unique situation makes them genetic brothers.

(Many U.S twins born in the early 2000s were also given similar names.)

From an article about British politician Penelope “Penny” Mordaunt (b. 1973):

It was a position she was well cut out for, given her strong military background — her father was a parachuter and she was a member of the Royal Navy from 2010 to 2019, making her the only woman MP currently who is a navy reservist. … (Fun fact: Penny was named after the Royal Navy frigate HMS Penelope.)

American actress Amandla Stenberg on the pronunciation of her name [vid], via TikTok:

Most of the time I introduce myself as ah-man-dluh … which, a lot of Westerners, Europeans, they think, “Oh, you’re parents took Amanda and slipped an l in there.”

[…]

No, it’s ah-maan-dluh as in Amandla! Awethu!, which means “power to the people” in Zulu and Xhosa. And this was an understanding that I grew up with that this had significant weight in history, that Amandla! Awethu! was a rallying cry that was utilized during the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, that amandla means “power,” and that my mom gave me this name because she wanted me to aspire towards embodying this concept, right? Which I’m so grateful for.

The thing is, she Westernized my name because she didn’t want me to struggle in school. So, she named me ah-man-dluh not ah-maan-dluh because she thought people would be able to say it more easily, and I would have to struggle less. So she kinda like, in this diasporic way, was trying to help me assimilate.

(As we learned in Name quotes #67, though, Amandla wasn’t named for the rallying cry directly. Instead, she was named for the 1989 Miles Davis album Amandla.)

From a recent Morley Kert woodworking video, part of a discussion between Morley and a male client named Mackenzie who he’d just met in-person:

Morley: “So I have something I need to tell you.”

Mackenzie: “Oh?”

Morley: “I fully assumed from your name that you were female.”

Mackenzie: “I think a lot of people do. Technically, technically, 52% of Mackenzies are female now. Which is — we’re losing the battle.”

(I’m curious where Mackenzie found that number, because the balance between male and female babies named Mackenzie hasn’t been close to 50% since the mid-1970s.)

Graph of the usage of the baby name Mackenzie in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Mackenzie

From a mid-October episode of the Merloni, Fauria & Mego podcast, Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (born in 1999) answering a question about whether or not his mom had a crush on Bailey Salinger from Party of Five when she chose to name him after the character:

Her and my dad I guess were together, so I can’t — I don’t think she’ll publicly say she had a crush on him. … I think she said that she liked that he was the main character, I guess she was pregnant with me at the time, so … I guess that’s how I got the name.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Baby names associated with blue: Indigo, Gentian, Ao

blueberries

Looking for baby names that are associated with blue — including baby names that mean “blue”?

If so, you’re in the right place! I’ve collected dozens of ideas for you in this post.

Before we get to the names, though, let’s take a quick look at what the color blue represents…

Symbolism of blue

What does the color blue signify?

In Western cultures in particular, blue can be symbolic of:

  • Trust
  • Calm
  • Sadness
  • Peace
  • Loyalty
  • Depth
  • Authenticity

It can also be associated with melancholy. “To have the blues,” for instance, is an expression meaning “to feel sad.”

Top baby names associated with blue

To determine the top blue names, I first took into account the fact that certain names have a stronger connection to the color than other names. (I also did this for the top purple names and orange names.)

With this in mind, here are the top baby names that have an obvious association with the color blue:

  1. Ocean
  2. Navy
  3. Sky
  4. Indigo
  5. Sapphire

Now here are the same five names again, but this time around I’ve added some details (including definitions, rankings, and popularity graphs).

Ocean

The word ocean refers to the vast body of salt water that covers over 70% of the earth’s surface — or to any of the five large bodies of water (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Antarctic, or Arctic) into which it is divided.

Ocean is currently the 711st most popular boy name and 877th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Ocean in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Ocean

Navy

In the mid-18th century, officers in Britain’s Royal Navy began wearing uniforms that were dyed blue with indigo. The pigment was particularly colorfast (i.e., able to withstand exposure to sun and salt water), so, over time, other countries began to use it for naval dress as well. The dark shade of blue eventually came to be known as “navy blue.”

The word navy refers to a country’s collective sea force. It comes (via French) from the Latin word navigia, meaning “vessels, ships, boats.”

Navy is currently the 452nd most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Navy in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Navy

Sky

The word sky refers to the upper atmosphere, which is bright blue on clear days. It’s based on the Old Norse word ský, which meant “cloud” (ironically).

Sky is currently the 717th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Sky in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Sky

Indigo

The word indigo refers to flowering plants of the genus Indigofera — particularly the species Indigofera tinctoria — or to the dye made from the leaves of these plants. By extension, it also refers to the purplish-blue color of this dye.

The name of the plant can be traced back to the ancient Greek word Indikón, meaning “Indian,” as the plant is native to India. (It’s no coincidence that the British Royal Navy began using indigo dye extensively during the years that the British East India Company was gaining control over the Indian subcontinent.)

Indigo is currently the 906th most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Indigo in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Indigo

Sapphire

The word sapphire refers to the blue variety of the mineral corundum. By extension, it also refers to the blue color of these crystals.

The name of the stone can be traced back to the ancient Greek word sappheiros, which is thought to have referred to lapis lazuli originally (not to sapphire as we know it today).

Sapphire is currently the 1,103rd most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Sapphire in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Sapphire

More names associated with blue

bluebird

All the names below have an association with the color blue. The names range from traditional to unusual, and their associations range from strong to slight.

Those that have been popular enough to appear in the U.S. baby name data are linked to their corresponding popularity graphs.

  • Aciano is the Spanish word for cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), a species of plant with flowers that are usually blue.
  • Afina is a Romanian feminine name meaning “blueberry.”
  • Alice is part of “Alice blue” — a shade of blue named after Alice Roosevelt (the oldest daughter of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt) in the mid-1910s. It was inspired by either the blue of Alice’s eyes or the blue of one of her dresses, sources disagree. The name Alice ultimately derives from the Germanic name Adalheidis, meaning “nobility.”
aliceblue
(The web color aliceblue, hex value #F0F8FF, is considerably lighter than the original “Alice blue.”)
  • Ao is a Japanese name that can mean “blue,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
    • Aomi is a Japanese name that can include the element Ao.
    • Aori is another Japanese name that can include the element Ao.
  • Aqua is a greenish-blue color. The name of the shade comes from the Latin word aqua, meaning “water.”
  • Asuman is a Turkish feminine name meaning “sky.”
  • Azure is a sky-blue color. The name of the shade ultimately derives from the Persian word lazaward, which referred to lapis lazuli.
    • Azul is the Spanish word for Azure.
    • Azur is the French word for Azure.
    • Azzurro (masculine) and Azzurra (feminine) are the Italian words for Azure.
  • Beryl is a mineral that can be blue. (Blue beryl is often called “aquamarine.”) The name of the mineral ultimately comes from the ancient Greek word beryllos.
  • Blue, of course, refers to the color blue. :)
  • Bluebell flowers are blue. “Bluebell” is the common name of plants of various genera (including Hyacinthoides).
  • Bluebird is a type of bird with predominantly blue plumage. “Bluebird” is the common name of birds in the North American genus Sialia.
  • Bluejay is another type of bird with predominantly blue plumage. “Bluejay” is the common name of the bird species Cyanocitta cristata.
  • Caelum is the Latin word for “sky, heaven.” (Though it’s used as a name in modern-day America, it was simply a vocabulary word in ancient Rome.)
    • Cielo is a modern Spanish feminine name based on caelum.
  • Cerulean is a sky-blue color. The word may ultimately be derived from caelum.
  • Chicory flowers are typically blue. “Chicory” is the common name of the plant species Cichorium intybus.
  • Chóro is a Hopi name meaning “blue-bird.”
    • Chórzhoya is a Hopi name meaning “little blue-bird.”
  • Cobalt is a vivid shade of blue. Cobalt pigment was originally made from the metallic element cobalt.
  • Cyan is a greenish-blue color. The name of the shade comes from the ancient Greek word kyanos, meaning “dark blue.”
  • Darya (pronounced dar-YOH) is a Persian feminine name meaning “sea, ocean.”
  • Denim fabric is traditionally blue, as it was originally dyed with indigo. The name of the textile is derived from the French phrase serge de Nîmes, which referred to fabric produced in Nîmes, a town in southern France.
  • Deniz (pronounced deh-neez) is a Turkish gender-neutral name meaning “ocean.”
  • Fayruz is an Arabic feminine name meaning “turquoise (the stone).”
  • Gentian (pronounced jen-shun) flowers are often blue. According to Pliny, the genus Gentiana was named in honor of Illyrian king Gentius, who is said to have discovered the plant’s medicinal properties. The name Gentian is traditional in Albania, the territory of which was inhabited by Illyrian tribes during ancient times.
    • Gentiana is the modern Albanian feminine form of Gentian.
  • Glory (besides being a vocabulary word) is part of “morning glory” — the common name of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae. Morning glory flowers are sometimes blue.
blue sky
  • Haneul is a Korean gender-neutral name meaning “sky.”
  • Hyacinth flowers are sometimes blue. The genus Hyacinthus was named for the plant’s association with the myth of Hyacinthus (who was one of the lovers of Apollo in Greek mythology).
  • Jurate (pronounced YOO-rah-teh) is a Lithuanian feminine name based on the word jura, meaning “sea.”
  • Kekai is a Hawaiian gender-neutral name meaning “the sea.”
  • Kallfu is a Mapuche feminine name based on the word kallfü, meaning “blue.”
    • Kallfuray is a Mapuche feminine name meaning “blue flower.”
  • Kyanite is a mineral that is usually blue. The name of the mineral is based on the ancient Greek word kyanos, meaning “dark blue.”
  • Lafken is a Mapuche name meaning “sea, ocean.”
  • Larimar is a light blue variety of the mineral pectolite. Its name, coined in the 1970s, is a combination of Larissa (the name of the daughter of one of the stone’s discoverers) and mar, the Spanish word for “sea.”
  • Lazuli is part of “lapis lazuli” (pronounced LA-piss LA-zuh-lee) — the name of a deep-blue gemstone. The word lazuli can be traced back (via Latin lazulum and Persian lazaward) to the place-name Lajward — a region in central Asia where the stone was mined. (The Latin word lapis simply means “stone.”)
  • Livia (feminine) and Livio (masculine) are the modern Italian forms of the Roman family name Livius, which is thought to derive from the Latin word lividus, meaning “bluish.”
  • Lobelia (pronounced loh-BEEL-ee-uh) flowers are often blue. The genus Lobelia was named in honor of Flemish botanist Matthias de l’Obel.
  • Lupine flowers are sometimes blue. The genus name Lupinus is derived from the Latin word lupinus, meaning “wolfish” (from lupus, “wolf”).
blue water
  • Mayim is the Hebrew word for “water.” (Though it’s used as a name among English speakers, it’s simply a vocabulary word among Hebrew speakers.)
    • Maya is a Hebrew feminine name based on mayim. It also happens to be a Zuni word meaning “crested blue-jay.”
  • Moana is a gender-neutral name meaning “ocean” in Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan, Tongan, and other Polynesian languages.
  • Myosotis (pronounced my-oh-SOH-tiss) flowers are frequently blue. The genus name Myosotis, meaning “mouse’s ear” in Latin, refers to the shape of the petals.
    • Miosotis is the Spanish form of Myosotis.
  • Nila (also spelled Neela) is a Hindi feminine name based on the Sanskrit word nila, meaning “dark blue” or “blue.”
  • Nilam (also spelled Neelam) is another Hindi feminine name based on the Sanskrit word nila.
  • Nilgün is a Turkish feminine given name based on the Persian word nilgun, meaning “indigo (the color).”
  • Safira is the Portuguese word for “sapphire.”
  • Sagar is a Hindi masculine name meaning “sea, ocean.”
  • Shyam is a Hindi masculine name based on the Sanskrit word shyama, meaning “dark blue”.
  • Sini is a Finnish feminine name meaning “blue.”
  • Sora is a Japanese gender-neutral name meaning “sky.”
  • Sunil is a Hindi masculine name derived from the Sanskrit word sunila, meaning “very blue.”
  • Tchelet is a Hebrew feminine name meaning “sky blue.”
  • True (besides being a vocabulary word) is part of “true blue” — an expression that means “loyal, faithful.” The association between the color blue and the idea of loyalty or constancy may been inspired by the unchanging blue of the sky.
  • Turquoise (pronounced TUR-koyz) is a mineral that is typically greenish-blue. The name of the stone can be traced back to the Old French term pierre tourques, meaning “Turkish stone.” Though it was mined in Persia, the stone was introduced to Europe in the 13th century by Turkish traders.
  • Umi is a Japanese feminine name that can mean “sea,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
    • Umiko is a Japanese name that can include the element Umi.
  • Zafiro is the Spanish word for “sapphire.”

Can you think of any other names that have a connection to the color blue?

Sources:

Images by borislagosbarrera, Naturelady, Pexels, and Eiji Kikuta from Pixabay

Baby names associated with purple: Violet, Tyrian, Zi

plums

Looking for baby names that are associated with purple — including baby names that mean “purple”?

If so, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve collected dozens of options for you in this post.

Before we get to the names, though, let’s take a quick look at what the color purple represents…

Symbolism of purple

What does the color purple signify?

In Western cultures in particular, purple can be symbolic of:

  • Royalty
  • Nobility
  • Wisdom
  • Luxury
  • Imagination
  • Mystery
  • Spirituality

The color came to be identified with royalty and nobility during ancient times. In those days, creating purple dye for fabric was laborious and time-consuming, so the dye was very expensive. As a result, only the wealthy could afford to wear purple-colored clothing.

Top baby names associated with purple

Determining the top names in a category isn’t difficult when you’re working with a well-defined category, like PH names. When it comes to names that have a connection to the color purple, however, we need to account for the fact that certain names have a stronger connection than others.

With that in mind, here are the top baby names that have an obvious association with the color purple:

  1. Violet
  2. Iris
  3. Violeta
  4. Violette
  5. Amethyst

Now here are the same five names again, but this time around I’ve added some details (including definitions, rankings, and popularity graphs).

Violet

The word violet refers to any flowering plant of the genus Viola — particularly the fragrant species Viola odorata — or to any similar-looking flowering plant. By extension, it also refers to the bluish-purple color of these flowers.

Violet is currently the 35th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Violet in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Violet

Iris

The word iris can refer to several things, including flowering plants of the genus Iris, the name of which comes from the ancient Greek word for “rainbow.” The showy blooms of these plants come in a variety of colors (as the name suggests), though we often think of irises as being shades of purple.

For instance, did you know that all of the irises in Vincent van Gogh’s various paintings were once purple? His irises now appear blue only because the red pigment he used to create the purple has faded over time.

Iris is currently the 107th most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Iris in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Iris

Violeta

The name Violeta is a form of Violet used in Spanish, Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and other languages.

Violeta is currently the 893rd most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Violeta in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Violeta

Violette

The name Violette is a form of Violet used in French.

Violette is currently the 1,033rd most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Violette in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Violette

Amethyst

The word amethyst refers to a purple variety of the mineral quartz. (The ancient Greeks thought that amethyst — perhaps due to its wine-like color — would prevent drunkenness, so they called it amethustos, meaning “not intoxicating.”) By extension, the word also refers to the purple color of these crystals.

Amethyst will only form in quartz that: (a) contains trace amounts of iron, and (b) is exposed to low-level gamma radiation. The radiation will oxidize the iron, and thereby change the crystal’s color from clear to purple.

Amethyst is currently the 1,148th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Amethyst in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Amethyst

More names associated with purple

Ready for the rest?

All the names below are associated with the color purple. The names range from traditional to unusual, and their associations range from strong to slight.

Those that have been popular enough to appear in the U.S. baby name data are linked to their corresponding popularity graphs.

purple flowers (Aubrieta)
Aubrieta
  • Amaranth flowers are sometimes purple. The genus name Amaranthus is derived from a combination of the ancient Greek words amarantos, meaning “unfading,” and anthos, meaning “flower.”
  • Aster flowers are often purple. The genus name Aster, derived from the ancient Greek word aster, meaning “star,” is a reference to the shape of the flower head.
  • Aubrieta flowers are commonly purple. The genus Aubrieta was named in honor of French botanical artist Claude Aubriet.
  • Banafsha is a Persian feminine name meaning “violet.”
  • Betony flowers are usually purple. “Betony” is the common name of plants in the genus Stachys.
  • Bíbor (pronounced BEE-bor) is a Hungarian masculine name based on the word bíbor, meaning “purple.”
    • Bíborka is a feminine form of Bíbor.
  • Bora is a Korean feminine name meaning “purple.” (Though the name has appeared in the U.S. data, this probably reflects the usage of the identical Albanian name, which means “snow.”)
  • Fjóla (pronounced FYOH-lah) is an Icelandic and Faroese feminine name meaning “violet.”
    • Fjólar is the masculine form of Fjóla.
  • Gladiola refers to Gladiolus, a genus of plants with flowers that are sometimes purple. The genus name, meaning “little sword” (a diminutive of the Latin word gladius, “sword”) refers to the shape of the leaves.
The Jimi Hendrix album "Are You Experienced" (1967)
Jimi Hendrix album
  • Haze (besides being a vocabulary word) is part of “Purple Haze” [vid] — the title of the song by Jimi Hendrix. “Purple Haze” was the opening track of the iconic album Are You Experienced (1967).
  • Heather flowers are usually purple. “Heather” is the common name of plants in the genus Calluna.
  • Honesty (besides being a vocabulary word) is the common name of the plant species Lunaria annua, which has flowers that are frequently purple. The common name is likely a reference to the translucence of the seed pods.
  • Hyacinth flowers are often purple. The genus Hyacinthus was named for the plant’s association with the myth of Hyacinthus (who was one of the lovers of Apollo in Greek mythology).
    • Giacinta is the Italian feminine form of Hyacinth.
    • Giacinto is the Italian masculine form of Hyacinth.
    • Jacinta is the Spanish and Portuguese feminine form of Hyacinth.
    • Jacinto is the Spanish and Portuguese masculine form of Hyacinth.
  • Ianthe, which means “violet flower,” is derived from a combination of the ancient Greek words ion, meaning “violet,” and anthos, meaning “flower.”
    • Iantha is a variant of Ianthe.
  • Iole (pronounced IE-oh-lee) is based on the ancient Greek word ion, meaning “violet.” In Greek myth, Iole was one of Heracles’ many objects of desire.
    • Iola is a variant of Iole.
  • Ione (pronounced ie-OH-nee) is also based on the ancient Greek word ion, meaning “violet.”
    • Iona could be considered a variant of Ione, though more often it’s a reference to the Scottish island of Iona.
  • Jacaranda flowers are purple. The genus name Jacaranda is derived from a Tupi-Guarani word meaning “fragrant.”
  • Lavender flowers are typically purple. “Lavender” is the common name of plants in the genus Lavandula. The genus name is derived from the Latin word lividus, meaning “bluish,” and/or the Latin word lavare, meaning “to wash” (due to aromatic lavender being used in washing and bathing).
  • Lilac flowers are frequently purple. “Lilac” is the common name of plants in the genus Syringa.
    • Lila is the Swedish form of Lilac, though the name also has other possible meanings (e.g., “play” in Sanskrit, “night” in Arabic).
    • Liila is the Finnish form of Lilac.
  • Lupine flowers are often purple. The genus name Lupinus is derived from the Latin word lupinus, meaning “wolfish” (from lupus, “wolf”).
  • Magenta is a reddish-purple color. A French chemist first synthesized magenta-colored dye in the late 1850s, and the color was eventually named “Magenta” in honor of the French-Sardinian victory at the Battle of Magenta (1859).
  • Murasaki is a Japanese feminine name meaning “purple.” Originally it referred to the gromwell plant, the root of which was used to make purple dye.
  • Orchid flowers are sometimes purple. Orchids are all members of the Orchidaceae family of plants.
  • Phoenix refers to the mythical bird, but the name of that bird was based on the ancient Greek word phoinix, meaning “purple” or “crimson.”
  • Plum fruits are commonly purple. Plum trees are part of the genus Prunus.
  • Porphyrios was an ancient Greek name derived from the word porphyra, meaning “purple dye, purple.”
    • Porphyrius is the Latinized form of Porphyrios.
    • Porfirio is the modern Spanish masculine form of Porphyrius.
    • Porfiria is the modern Spanish feminine form of Porphyrius.
    • Porfiriy is the modern Russian masculine form of Porphyrius.
  • Purple, which can also be traced back to the ancient Greek word porphyra, is rarely used as a given name…though I did spot a girl named Purple in Los Angeles’ baby name data a few years back.
rebeccapurple
  • Rebecca is part of “rebeccapurple” — the name of the shade of purple with the hex value #663399. The color name pays tribute to Rebecca Meyer, the daughter of web design pioneer Eric Meyer. Rebecca, whose favorite color was purple, passed away on her 6th birthday (in mid-2014). The biblical name Rebecca is ultimately derived from the Semitic root r-b-q, meaning “to tie” or “to secure.”
  • Sigalit is a Hebrew feminine name meaning “violet.”
  • Sumire (pronounced soo-mee-reh) is a Japanese name that can mean “violet,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
  • Temenuzhka is a Bulgarian feminine name meaning “violet.”
  • Thistle flowers are usually purple. “Thistle” is the common name of various prickly plants, most of which are in the Asteraceae family.
  • Twila may be based on the English word “twilight.” During twilight, the sky can turn various shades of purple.
    • Twyla is a variant of Twila.
  • Tyrian (pronounced TEE-ree-uhn) is part of “Tyrian purple” — the name of the expensive purple dye used during ancient times that I mentioned earlier. The source of the dye was a type of sea snail found in the Mediterranean, near the city of Tyre (now part of Lebanon). The city name can be traced back to the Hebrew word tsor, meaning “rock,” as the settlement was originally built upon a rocky formation.
twilight
  • Verbena flowers are sometimes purple. The genus name Verbena is derived from the Latin word verbena, which referred to the leaves, twigs, and branches of specific plants (like laurel, olive, and myrtle) that were used during religious ceremonies.
  • Vernonia flowers are typically purple. The genus Vernonia was named in honor of English botanist William Vernon.
  • Viola is based on the Latin word viola, meaning “violet.” In fact, the genus Viola includes many (though not all) violet flowers.
    • Ibolya is a Hungarian form of Viola.
    • Violia is an elaboration of Viola.
    • Violanda is another elaboration of Viola.
    • Viorica is a Romanian form of Viola.
  • Violett is a variant of Violet.
  • Violetta is an Italian and Hungarian form of Violet.
  • Wisteria (pronounced wuh-STEE-ree-uh) flowers are frequently light purple. The genus Wisteria was named in honor of American physician and anatomist Caspar Wistar.
  • Yolanda may have been derived from the medieval European feminine name Violante, which was based on the Latin word viola, “violet.”
    • Yolande is the French form of Yolanda.
    • Jolanda is the Dutch form of Yolanda.
    • Iolanda is the Portuguese and Italian form of Yolanda.
    • Iolanthe may be a variant of Yolanda influenced by the name Ianthe.
  • Yukari is a Japanese feminine name that can mean “purple,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
    • Yukariko is a Japanese name that can include the element Yukari.
  • Zi (third tone) is a Chinese name that can mean “purple,” depending upon the character being used to write the name.
    • Ziming is a Chinese name that can include the element Zi.
    • Ziyang is another Chinese name that can include the element Zi.
  • Zinnia flowers are sometimes purple. The genus Zinnia was named in honor of German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn.

Can you think of any other names that have a connection to the color purple?

Sources:

First, second, and last images by congerdesign from Pixabay, Hans from Pixabay, and Chapman Chow from Unsplash

Baby names with PH: Phoenix, Ophelia, Joseph

pheasant

Looking for baby names that feature the appealing letter-pair PH?

I’ve collected a hundreds of options for you in this post!

Before we get to the names, though, let’s get one big question out of the way…

Why does PH sound like “F”?

In English, PH is a digraph, which means that it’s a pair of letters that make a single sound. (It’s interesting that the word “digraph” contains a digraph, isn’t it?)

Most of the English words that have PH were derived from Greek — specifically, from Greek words that included the Greek letter phi:

Greek letter phi (uppercase)
Phi (uppercase)

In ancient times, the Greek letter phi made an aspirated p-sound. (The unaspirated p-sound, on the other hand, was made by the Greek letter pi.)

When Greek was transliterated into Latin, the letter phi was written as “ph” to denote this aspiration — that is, to signal that the letter “p” was accompanied by a brief puff of air.

So, what happened?

In the first several centuries A.D., the pronunciation of the Greek letter phi changed. It slowly evolved from an aspirated p-sound into an f-sound.

As a result, the letter-pair “ph” underwent a corresponding (though somewhat illogical) pronunciation change. It, too, came to represent an f-sound — and still does to this day.

Now, back to the names!

Top baby names with PH

Let’s begin with the most popular names with PH (including a few names that start with PH):

Top girl names with PHTop boy names with PH
Sophia
Josephine
Sophie
Phoebe
Daphne
Phoenix
Ophelia
Stephanie
Murphy
Persephone
Joseph
Christopher
Phoenix
Memphis
Philip
Phillip
Raphael
Kristopher
Ephraim
Murphy

Now here are the same names again, but this time around I’ve added some details (including definitions, rankings, and popularity graphs).

Christopher + Kristopher

The name Christopher was derived from a pair of ancient Greek words: christos, meaning “Christ” or “anointed one,” and phoros, meaning “bearing” — hence, “Christ-bearing.”

Graph of the usage of the baby name Christopher in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Christopher

Kristopher is a slightly simplified form of Christopher (perhaps influenced by the Scandinavian spelling, Kristoffer).

Graph of the usage of the baby name Kristopher in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Kristopher

Christopher is currently the 52nd most popular boy name in the nation, and Kristopher ranks 936th.

Other forms of the name include Christoph (German) and Christophe (French).

Daphne

The name Daphne was derived from the ancient Greek word daphne, meaning “laurel.”

In Greek myth, Daphne was a naiad who was saved from the advances of the god Apollo by being transformed into a laurel tree.

Daphne is currently the 288th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Daphne in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Daphne

One variant form of the name is Daphna. The name is also sometimes spelled Daphnie, Daphney, or Daphni.

Ephraim

The name Ephraim is the Biblical Greek form of a Hebrew name meaning “fruitful.” It’s pronounced a variety of ways: EHF-rum, EEF-rum, EHF-fray-um, etc.

Ephraim is currently the 978th most popular boy name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Ephraim in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Ephraim

The name is also sometimes spelled Ephram or Ephrem.

Joseph + Josephine

The name Joseph is based on Ioseph, the Biblical Greek form of a Hebrew name meaning “he adds.”

Graph of the usage of the baby name Joseph in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Joseph

Josephine comes from Joséphine, the French feminine form of Joseph.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Josephine in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Josephine

Joseph is currently the 28th most popular boy name in the U.S., whereas Josephine ranks 72nd for girls.

The Dutch form of Joseph is Josephus. Other feminine forms include Josepha (German) and Josephina.

Memphis

Memphis was the Greek form of the ancient Egyptian city-name Men-nefer, which meant “his beauty.” (The nefer element is also evident in the Egyptian name Nefertiti.)

The Egyptian city is long gone, but a city in Tennessee was named Memphis in the 1820s.

Memphis is currently the 404th most popular boy name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Memphis in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Memphis

Murphy

The Irish surname Murphy was derived from a medieval Irish given name comprised of the elements muir, meaning “sea,” and cath, meaning “battle.”

Murphy is currently the 716th most popular girl name in the U.S. (It’s also sitting just outside the top 1,000 for boys.)

Graph of the usage of the baby name Murphy in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Murphy

The name is also sometimes spelled Murphie, Murphee, or Murphey.

Ophelia

The name Ophelia was derived from the ancient Greek word opheleia, meaning “aid, help, succor.”

It’s not a name found in Greek myth, but William Shakespeare used it for a character in his play Hamlet around the year 1600. And, much more recently, the Lumineers featured the name in their 2016 song “Ophelia” [vid].

Ophelia is currently the 321st most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Ophelia in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Ophelia

The French form of the name is Ophélie.

Persephone

The etymology of the Greek name Persephone (pronounced per-SEH-fuh-nee) isn’t known for certain, but one modern theory suggests that it means “she who threshes ears of corn.”

In Greek myth, Persephone was the daughter of Demeter (the goddess of agriculture) and Zeus.

Persephone is currently the 778th most popular girl name in the U.S. (It entered the top 1,000 for the first time in 2019.)

Graph of the usage of the baby name Persephone in the U.S. since 1880.
Usage of the baby name Persephone

The name is also sometimes spelled Persephonie or Persephony.

Philip + Phillip

The name Philip was derived from a pair of ancient Greek words: philos, meaning “beloved, loving,” and hippos, meaning “horse” — hence, “lover of horses.”

Graph of the usage of the baby name Philip in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Philip (one L)

Phillip-with-two-L’s is a common variant of Philip.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Phillip in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Phillip (two L’s)

Philip is currently the 451th most popular boy name in the nation, and Phillip (two L’s) ranks 523rd.

Both spellings are typed entirely with the right hand on a standard QWERTY keyboard, which is interesting.

Other forms of the name include Philipp (German) and Philippe (French). Feminine forms include Philippa and Phillipa.

Phoebe

The name Phoebe was derived from the ancient Greek word phoibos, meaning “pure, bright, radiant.”

Many characters in Greek myth had this name, including a Titaness who was the daughter of Uranus and Gaia. This particular Phoebe was the grandmother of the sun god Apollo and the moon goddess Artemis.

Phoebe is currently the 247th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Phoebe in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Phoebe

The spelling Phebe (used in certain translations of the Bible) was more prevalent in previous generations. Among the babies born in the city of Providence in 1868, for instance, we find four girls named Phebe, but none named Phoebe.

Phoenix

The name Phoenix was derived from the ancient Greek word phoinix, meaning “crimson” or “purple.

In Greek and Egyptian myth, the phoenix was a bird that periodically self-immolated and then rose again from its own ashes.

In fact, the capital of Arizona was named “Phoenix” because early settlers, in the 1860s, noticed archaeological evidence of the previous Native American inhabitants and recognized that “the new town would spring from the ruins of a former civilization.”

Phoenix, a relatively gender-neutral name, currently ranks 248th for boys and 308th for girls.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Phoenix in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Phoenix

Raphael

Raphael — the name of a Biblical archangel, Renaissance painter, and a Ninja Turtle — is based on a Hebrew name meaning “God heals.”

Graph of the usage of the baby name Raphael in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Raphael

Raphael is currently the 538th most popular boy name in the nation.

Feminine forms of the name include Raphaela (German) and Raphaëlle (French).

Sophia + Sophie

The name Sophia was derived from the ancient Greek word sophos, meaning “wisdom,” “sound judgment,” “skilled.”

Graph of the usage of the baby name Sophia in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Sophia

Sophie is the French form of Sophia.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Sophie in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Sophie

Sophia is currently the 6th most popular girl name in the U.S., and Sophie ranks 76th.

Stephanie

The name Stephanie was derived from the ancient Greek word stephanos, meaning “crown” (or, more precisely, “that which surrounds”).

Stephanie is currently the 455th most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Stephanie in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Stephanie

One variant form of the name is Stephania. The name is also sometimes spelled Stephany or Stephani.

More names with PH

So, what other names have PH in them?

Here are some less-common choices (that are still seeing usage in the U.S. these days):

  • Aleph
  • Alpha
  • Alphonse, Alphonso
  • Aphrodite
  • Apphia
  • Asaph
  • Cephas
  • Cypher
  • Delphi
  • Delphina, Delphine
  • Gryphon
  • Hephzibah
  • Humphrey
  • Japheth, Japhet, Yaphet
  • Morpheus
  • Mustapha, Moustapha
  • Naphtali
  • Nephi
  • Ophira
  • Phaedra
  • Pharaoh
  • Pharrell
  • Phelan
  • Philemon
  • Philo
  • Philomena
  • Philopateer, Philopater
  • Phineas, Phinehas
  • Prophet
  • Phyllis
  • Ralph, Ralphie
  • Randolph
  • Rapha
  • Rudolph
  • Saphina
  • Saphira, Sapphira, Saphyra
  • Sapphire
  • Sephira
  • Sephiroth
  • Sephora
  • Seraph
  • Seraphim
  • Seraphina, Saraphina, Seraphine
  • Shiphrah
  • Sophina
  • Sophonie
  • Sophronia
  • Sophus
  • Sylphrena
  • Sypha
  • Symphony
  • Theophilus
  • Triumph
  • Zephaniah, Zephan
  • Zephyr, Zephyra, Zephyrus

Finally, here are some very rare names with PH — some of which haven’t seen any usage in the U.S. in recent years, others of which never appeared in the U.S. data at all.

Girl names:

Alpharetta, Amphirho, Amphithea, Aphaea, Alphonsa/Alphonsine, Aphra (e.g., Aphra Behn), Cleopha/Cléophée, Christophine, Delpha/Delphia, Dymphna, Elpha, Elaphia, Eugraphia, Euphrasia/Euphrasie, Glaphyra, Iphigenia, Nephele, Nephthys, Ophrah, Orpha/Orphia, Phaenna, Pharaildis, Philia, Philena/Philene, Philina/Philine, Philinda, Phillis, Philomela/Philomel, Philotera, Phoenicia, Photina/Photine, Phronsie, Phryne, Phyllida, Ralphine, Seraphia, Sophilia, Sophonisba, Theophila/Theophilia, Theophania, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Zelpha, Zephyria/Zéphyrine, Zilpha/Zilphia

Boy names:

Alphaeus, Alphonsus, Amphion, Caliph, Cephus, Cleophas/Cleophus, Delphin/Delphinus, Demophon, Dolph/Dolphus, Eliphalet/Eliphelet, Eliphas/Eliphaz, Ephesius, Epiphanius, Eugraphius, Euphemius, Euphranor, Euphrasius, Hephaestus, Ildephonse, Jehoshaphat/Josaphat, Jephthah/Jephtha, Naphtali/Nephtali, Nicéphore, Onuphrius, Ophir, Orpheus, Pamphilus, Phaedrus, Phanuel, Pharamond, Pharez, Phelan, Phelim, Philbert/Philibert, Phileas, Philemon, Philetus, Philon, Photius, Porphyrius, Rodolph, Rolph, Seraphin, Sophron/Sophronius, Télesphore, Theophanes, Theophilus, Tryphon, Xenophon

Options that work for both genders include Alphie, Iphis, and Seraph.


Which of the PH names above to do you like most? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. If you’d like to see popularity graphs for any of the more common names in this post, just check below for the long list of tags. Each tag is a name, so find the name you’re interested in and click through. The graph will take a moment to load — it’s grabbing a lot of data — but it will allow you to see at a glance the name’s current and historical U.S. usage.

Sources:

Image by Jan Temmel from Pixabay

What made the name Napoleon popular in the Faroe Islands?

Nólsoyar Páll (1766-1808/9) on a Faroese 50 krónur banknote
Nólsoyar Páll (on a Faroese banknote)

Did you know that “Napoleon has been a common given name in the Faroe Islands since the 1800s”?

Neither did I, until I began researching Napoleon’s influence on names.

Apparently, it all has to do with Faroese national hero Nólsoyar Páll (“Paul from Nólsoy”).

Nólsoyar Páll — born as Poul Poulsen on the island of Nólsoy in 1766 — was a seaman/trader/farmer/poet who helped improve his country in various ways:

One of his most impressive achievements was his attempt to develop direct trade between the Faroe islands and the rest of Europe. To develop this trade, he bought and rebuilt a wrecked schooner. The ship was named Royndin Fríða (The Free Enterprise), and was the first seagoing ship built in the Faroe Islands and the first Faroese-owned vessel since the early Middle Ages.

Nólsoyar Páll had a strong admiration for Napoleon — who, at that time, was in the middle of trying to conquer Europe — and he wanted to name a son after the French leader.

His second child turned out to be a girl (his first child was also a girl), but that did not deter Nólsoyar Páll. He asked to name his daughter Napolonia, but the priest disapproved. Instead, she was named Apolonia after the Greek god Apollo.

Soon after, Nólsoyar Páll convinced his brother, Jákup Nolsøe, to name his son Napoleon. His brother agreed, calling him Napoleon Nolsøe. This is most probably the first Faroe Islander to be named Napoleon. Napoleon Nolsøe went on to become the first native certified doctor in the Faroe Islands.

Nólsoyar Páll’s nephew was born in 1809 — around the time Nólsoyar Páll himself was lost at sea.

I’m not sure how many Faroese Napoleons have been born since then, but my source noted that the Faroe Islands had 29 Napoleons and several Apolonias as of early 2018.

“Napoleon” didn’t pop up in the Faroe Islands baby name rankings for 2020, but if I look through the Faroese baby name data (2001-2020) for Napoleon and Apolonia specifically, I find…

  • Napoleon, b. 2002
  • Bárður Napoleon, b. 2004
  • Hanus Napoleon, b. 2006
  • William Napoleon, b. 2006
  • Sofus Napoleon, b. 2007
  • Ella Apollonia, b. 2008
  • Apolonia Ró, b. 2012
  • Napolion, b. 2013
  • Reimar Napoleon, b. 2019
  • Andrew Napoleon, b. 2020

It’s a short list, but the Faroe Islands only welcomes about 600-700 babies per year, so — proportionally speaking — these numbers are actually pretty impressive.

Sources: National hero inspired to name son after Napoleon Bonaparte, Nólsoyar Páll – Wikipedia, Statistics Faroe Islands, Births – Hagstove Foroya, FamilySearch.org