From a recent Daily Mail article about an Englishman named Pele Johnson (who was born in September of 1970 — not long after the 1970 World Cup took place in Mexico):
“[M]y whole life has been shaped by the fact that I’m called Pele. Everywhere I’ve gone, it’s always been about my name first.
“It’s never hindered me in my career or anything, it’s a wonderful thing.”
His father Anthony Johnson wanted to name him after all the forwards and midfield of the Brazilian team in tribute to them winning the Jules Rimet trophy for the third time three months earlier.
It would have made him Pele Jairzinho Tostao Rivelino Clodoaldo Gerson Johnson.
Instead, the couple compromised on using two of the team’s names, meaning he was christened Pele Jairzinho Johnson.
From the 2004 book I’m a Believer: My Life of Monkees, Music, and Madness by Mickey Dolenz:
I have three younger sisters. The oldest of the three is “Coco.” Her real name is Gemma Marie, but somewhere along the line I nicknamed her “Coco Sunshine” and it stuck. I don’t think she has ever forgiven me.
Carroll McComas has done her best to make up to her father, Judge C. C. McComas, for the disappointment she caused him in failing to be born a boy. When he insisted upon going through with his prepared program, notwithstanding her sex, and named her Charles Carroll McComas, her family history records that she dimpled sweetly and never whimpered.
[Stage actress Charles Carroll McComas (1886-1962) and her like-named father were descendants of Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Her three older sisters were named Helen, Alice, and Clare.]
The National Elections Tribunal (TNE) has announced that it will introduce an initiative to the legislature to prohibit the absurd, obscene or grotesque names of people in Honduras. The measure has been taken because in that country the law does not allow Hondurans to change their names.
The president of the TNE, the liberal Lisandro Quezada, has indicated that “the height of the situation is that there are strange names such as Cruz de Cardán, Silvín, Llanta del Milagro, Bujía and Motor Martínez that, without a doubt, cause annoyance to those who owe them take your whole life.”
[Those five names were inspired by automotive parts: Cruz de Cardán means “Cardan cross,” Silvín (created from the English words sealed beam) means “headlamp,” Llanta del Milagro means “miracle tire,” and Bujía means “spark plug.”]
“So special did Lara consider his inaugural Test hundred [at Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia, in early 1993] … [that] when his first daughter was born in 1996 she was christened Sydney. And following a visit to the venue that inspired her naming with her famous father in 2016, she now holds honorary membership at the SCG.”
Elon (b. 1971) “was named after his mother’s grandfather, John Elon Haldeman.”
Kimbal (b. 1972) “was named after the book titled Kim by Nobel Prize-winning author Rudyard Kipling.”
During his 2018 Reddit AMA, Kimbal said: “My name means Warrior Chief. It is the name of an english orphan in Rudyard Kipling’s book called Kim (short for Kimball). My parents mispelled [sic] my name on my birth certificate, so I’m Kimbal, not ‘Kimball’.”
Tosca (b. 1974) “was named after a girl that Musk’s ex-husband [Errol] had a crush on in high school.”
Maye noted: “I didn’t care. I thought the name was pretty. And I liked it and it suited her.”
For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.
To kick off the new year, let’s check out a new batch of name quotes!
First, the story behind Edson — the birth name of late soccer legend Pelé — from the book Why Soccer Matters (2015):
When Dondinho met my mother, Celeste, he was still performing his mandatory military service. She was in school at the time. They married when she was just fifteen; by sixteen she was pregnant with me. They gave me the name “Edson” — after Thomas Edison, because when I was born in 1940, the electric lightbulb had only recently come to their town. They were so impressed that they wanted to pay homage to its inventor. It turned out they missed a letter — but I’ve always loved the name anyway.
(“Dondinho” was the nickname of Pelé’s father, João Ramos do Nascimento.)
…and, regarding the nickname Pelé:
Growing up, I hated that damn nickname. After all, it was a garbage word that meant nothing. Plus, I was really proud of the name Edson, believing it was an honor to be named after such an important inventor.
(The nickname did come in handy, though. He “started thinking of “Pelé” almost as a separate identity” in order to cope with his sudden celebrity. “Having Pelé around helped keep Edson sane,” he said.)
Keyvar Smith-Herold of the class of 2022 at DeMatha Catholic High School smiled as he explained the inspiration for his name, noting that his father Vincent Smith works as a locksmith.
“That’s why ‘Key’ is in our names,” he said, shedding light on the origin of his first name and that of his twin sister, Keydra, and also their older brother Keyden, a 2018 DeMatha graduate.
From the book The Gender Challenge of Hebrew (2015) by Malka Muchnik:
Most Hebrew proper names, especially those used in recent decades, consist of existing words and therefore have specific meanings. This fact helps us see the ideas associated with male or female names, and serves as evidence of what is expected of them.
(The author listed several female names associated with flowers and gemstones — such as Rekefet, meaning “cyclamen,” and Bareket, meaning “agate” — then continued…)
Even more suggestive are female names denoting personal qualities, such as Yaffa (‘pretty’), Tova (‘good’), Aliza (‘joyful’), Adina (‘delicate’), Ahuva (‘beloved’), Metuka (‘sweet’) and Tmima (‘innocent’).
As opposed to them, we find male names which have the form of a future verb, and from this we can infer the expectations from them: Yakim (‘he will establish’), Yarim (‘he will raise’), Yaniv (‘he will produce’), Yariv (‘he will fight’), Yiftax (‘he will open’), Yig’al (‘he will redeem’), Yisgav (‘he will be great’) and Yizhar (‘he will shine’).
Aleta Embrey’s older brother loves to say that her name came from the funny papers. And it did, specifically “Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur,” which still runs in The Washington Post.
“Queen Aleta of the Misty Isles is a major figure in the comic strip,” Aleta wrote. “My dad liked the name.”
It is a lovely name, much better than being named, say, “Olive Oyl.”
From Kenneth Whyte’s book Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times (2017), which describes the naming of Herbert Hoover (who was born in 1874 to Quaker parents Jesse and Hulda Hoover):
Hulda had shown [her sister] Agnes a bureau drawer full of handmade clothes prepared for the baby, all of them suited for a girl, to be named Laura. Several decades later Agnes recalled that the newborn, a boy, was “round and plump and looked about very cordial at every body.”
Naming the child was a problem as Laura, obviously, would not do, and the mother had no alternative in mind. Another sister reminded Hulda of a favorite book, Pierre and His Family, a Sunday school martyrology set among the Protestant Waldenses of Piedmont. The hero of the story is a spirited boy named Hubert who is dedicated to his Bible and longs to become a pastor. Hulda’s sister remembered Hubert as Herbert, and the baby was called Herbert Clark Hoover. He shared his father’s middle name.
Halloween is right around the corner! Has the upcoming holiday made you curious about baby names associated with the color orange?
If so, you’re in luck — I’ve collected dozens of ideas for you in this post.
But, before we get to the names, let’s take a look at what the color orange represents…
Symbolism of orange
What does the color orange signify?
In Western cultures in particular, orange can be symbolic of:
It can also be associated with safety. A vivid reddish-orange — one that contrasts well with the blue of the sky — is used to make clothing and equipment highly visible in certain circumstances (e.g., at construction sites, during hunting season).
In Eastern cultures, orange is considered a sacred color. In Hinduism, for example, orange represents fire and, thereby, purity (as impurities are burned away by fire).
Top baby names associated with orange
To determine the top orange names, I first had to take into account the fact that certain names have a stronger connection to the color than other names. (I did this for the top purple names as well.)
With that in mind, here are the top baby names that have an obvious association with the color orange:
Now here are the same five names again, but this time around I’ve added some details (including definitions, rankings, and popularity graphs).
The word autumn refers to the season during which the leaves of deciduous trees turn various colors, including orange. Halloween — a holiday strongly associated with the color orange — is also celebrated during Autumn (at least in the Northern Hemisphere).
Autumn is currently the 66th most popular girl name in the U.S.
The word ember refers a glowing, slowly burning piece of solid fuel (like wood or coal). It’s often used in the plural to refer to the smoldering remains of a fire.
Ember is currently the 163rd most popular girl name in the nation.
The word amber refers to fossilized tree resin that is commonly used as a gemstone. By extension, the word also refers to the yellowish-orange color of this material.
The fossilized resin, which washes up on the seashore in the Baltic region, came to be called “amber” during the Middle Ages — likely due to an association with ambergris (a material produced by sperm whales that also washes up on the shore).
Amber is currently the 534th most popular girl name in the U.S.
The vocabulary word blaze refers to a fire, particularly one that’s burning intensely. Blaze is also a homophone of the (more traditional) name Blaise, which ultimately derives from the Latin word blaesus, meaning “lisping.”
Blaze is currently the 775th most popular boy name in the nation. (Blaise ranks 999th.)
The word marigold refers to any flowering plant of either the New World genus Tagetes or the Old World genus Calendula. By extension, it also refers to the yellowish-orange color of these flowers.
Marigold is currently the 1,022nd most popular girl name in the U.S.
More names associated with orange
Ready for the rest?
All the names below have an association with the color orange. The names range from common to uncommon, 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.
Aethon (also spelled Aithon) is derived from the ancient Greek word aithon, which means “burning, blazing.”
Alba is a feminine name meaning “dawn” in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, and other Romance languages.
Anatolios was an ancient Greek name derived from the word anatole, meaning “sunrise.”
Anatole is the modern French masculine form of Anatolius.
Anatoliy is the modern Russian and Ukrainian masculine form of Anatolius.
Apricot fruits are yellowish-orange. Apricot trees are part of the genus Prunus.
Aurora, the Latin word for “dawn,” was the name of the Roman goddess of dawn.
Azar is a Persian gender-neutral name meaning “fire.”
Canna flowers are sometimes orange. The genus name Canna is derived from the Latin word canna, meaning “reed.”
Carnelian, a variety of the mineral chalcedony, is frequently orange. The name of the stone ultimately comes from the Latin word cornus, which refers to a type of berry, altered by the influence of the Latin word carneus, meaning “flesh-colored.”
Chrysanthemum (pronounced krih-SAN-thuh-muhm) flowers are often orange. The genus name Chrysanthemum is derived from a combination of the ancient Greek words khrysos, meaning “gold,” and anthemon, meaning “blossom, flower.”
Citrine, a variety of the mineral quartz, is usually orange. The adjective citrine can be traced back to the Latin word citrus.
Clementine fruits are a cross between mandarin orange and sweet orange. They were named after French priest Clément Rodier, who discovered the cultivar while in Algeria. The name Clément is derived from the Latin word clemens, meaning “merciful.”
Copper is a metallic element with a lustrous orange-brown color.
Dahlia flowers are sometimes orange. The genus Dahlia was named in honor of Swedish botanist Anders Dahl.
Dawn refers to the period of time in the early morning (before sunrise) when the sky begins to brighten with daylight. This light at dawn tends to have an orange hue. The word dawn can be traced back to the Old English verb dagian, meaning “to become day.”
Dysis, the ancient Greek word for “sunset,” was the name of the Greek goddess of the hour of sunset.
Eos, the ancient Greek word for “dawn,” was the name of the Greek goddess of dawn.
Fiamma (pronounced FYAM-ma) is an Italian feminine name meaning “flame.”
Fox fur, if you’re talking about the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), is largely orange. The word fox is ultimately derived from a Proto-Indo-European word meaning “tail.”
Gladiola refers to Gladiolus, a genus of plants with flowers that are sometimes orange. The genus name, meaning “little sword” (a diminutive of the Latin word gladius, “sword”) refers to the shape of the leaves.
Helen is a form of the ancient Greek name Helene, which is likely based on the word helene, meaning “torch.” Also, plants of the genus Helenium have flowers that are sometimes orange. The genus was named in honor of Helen of Troy.
Honey can be orange. The Old English word for “honey” was hunig.
Iskra is a feminine name meaning “spark” in Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, and other Slavic languages.
Jack is part of “Jack-o’-Lantern” — a term that, since the 1800s, has referred to a carved pumpkin used as a lantern during Halloween. It originated as “Jack of the lantern” in 17th-century England, where it was used as a generic term for any lantern-carrying night watchman.
June (besides being a month) is part of “Flaming June” — the name of the 1895 painting by Frederic Leighton. “Flaming June” features a red-headed woman wearing a diaphanous orange dress and sleeping by the sea (which reflects the golden rays of the setting sun).
Keahi is a Hawaiian gender-neutral name meaning “the fire.”
Kealaula is a Hawaiian gender-neutral name that means “the light of early dawn” or “the sunset glow.” The literal definition is “the flaming road” (ala means “path, road,” and ula means “to flame”).
Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) have wings that are largely orange. They were named “monarch” in the 1800s, possibly in honor of England’s King William III, who was also the Prince of Orange. The word is derived from a combination of the ancient Greek words monos, meaning “alone,” and arkhos, meaning “ruler.”
Orange, of course, refers to the color orange. :) Orange fruits were introduced to Europe by the Moors in the 10th century. The word for the fruit, which can be traced back to Sanskrit, entered the English language (via French) in the late 14th century. The first recorded use of “orange” as a color name in English didn’t come along until the early 16th century.
This explains why many things that are clearly orange — like red hair, red foxes, and the robin redbreast — are called “red”: They were named long before the color-word “orange” entered the English language.
Orchid flowers are sometimes orange. Orchids are all members of the Orchidaceae family of plants.
Oriole is a type of bird that often has orange plumage. “Oriole” is the common name of birds in the genera Icterus and Oriolidae. The common name is derived from the Latin word aureolus, meaning “golden.”
Peach fruits are typically orange. Peach trees are part of the genus Prunus.
Pele, the Hawaiian word for “lava flow, volcano, eruption,” was the name of the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes.
Pyrrhos, meaning “flame-colored,” was an ancient Greek name derived from the word pyr, meaning “fire.”
Rufus derives from the Latin word rufus, meaning “red” or “red-haired.”
Rufino (masculine) and Rufina (feminine) are the modern Spanish forms of the Roman family name Rufinus, which was based on Rufus.
Rusty is an adjective referring to rust (iron oxide), which tends to be orange-brown.
Saffron is a spice made from the styles and stigmas of Crocus sativus flowers. By extension, the word — which can be traced back to the Arabic name for the spice, za’faran — also refers to the deep yellowish-orange color of fabrics dyed with saffron.
Seville orange is a variety of bitter orange named after the Spanish city of Sevilla.
Shachar is a Hebrew gender-neutral name meaning “dawn.”
Shraga is an Aramaic masculine name meaning “candle.”
Smith comes from a surname that originally referred to a metalworker, such as a blacksmith or a farrier. When heated metal (like iron) comes out of a fire to be forged, it’s often glowing a yellowish-orange color. The smith in “blacksmith” is likely derived from the Old English verb smitan, meaning “to smite” or “to strike” (as with a hammer).
Sunrise and Sunset are times at which the sun appears reddish-orange. Particles in the Earth’s atmosphere scatter more short-wavelength light than long-wavelength light, so when the sun is low on the horizon — and traveling a longer distance through the atmosphere to reach your eyes — you’ll end up seeing less violet and blue, but more red and orange.
Tangerine fruits are orange. Tangerine trees are part of the genus Citrus.
Tawny is an adjective that refers to a brownish-orange color.
Tiger (Panthera tigris), the largest living species of cat, has fur that is mostly orange.
Tigerlily refers to “tiger lily,” the common name of several species of flowering plant in the genus Lilium — particularly the species Lilium lancifolium — that have showy orange flowers.
Ushas, the Sanskrit word for “dawn,” was the name of the Vedic (Hindu) goddess of dawn.
Valencia orange is a cultivar of sweet orange named after the Spanish city of València.
On the original show, Theresa was portrayed by Burnett as a bit overbearing. But, she always brought extra love…and helped them name their daughter Mabel. When Jamie and Paul Buchman (Paul Reiser) couldn’t decide on a name for their baby, Theresa proclaimed that “Mothers Always Bring Extra Love,” an homage to The Dick Van Dyke Show where Rob and Laura explain Ritchie’s middle name. The Buchman’s decide to call their daughter Mabel.
My father tells me that they were on their honeymoon at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, I believe. They were looking at a da Vinci painting, and allegedly I started kicking furiously while my mother was pregnant. And my father took that as a sign, and I suppose DiCaprio wasn’t that far from da Vinci. And so, my dad, being the artist that he is, said, “That’s our boy’s name.”
Looking forward, there’s plenty more space for creativity with highly unique but still highly religious names. Of the 2,606 biblical names I track in my ongoing research, only 811 ever had a year with more than 4 baby boys or girls given that name. We haven’t yet seen kids named Abijam or Paltiel, nor have we seen name fads for Philetus or Berechiah. Even notably faithful biblical figures like Ehud, Elkanah, Habakkuk, Hilkiah, and Jehonadab have been passed over.
For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.