How popular is the baby name Ra 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 Ra.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ra


Posts that Mention the Name Ra

Baby names associated with yellow: Sunny, Flavio, Ketut

lemons, yellow

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

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 yellow represents…

Symbolism of yellow

What does the color yellow signify?

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

  • Optimism
  • Cheer
  • Happiness
  • Warmth
  • Caution
  • Energy
  • Intellect

The color is primarily identified with the sun, which is the most important source of energy for life on Earth.

Interestingly, the sun’s light is actually white. It only appears yellow (or, sometimes, orange) from our perspective because particles in the Earth’s atmosphere scatter short-wavelength (e.g., blue) light more efficiently than long-wavelength (e.g., red) light.

Top baby names associated with yellow

Determining the top names in a category isn’t difficult when you’re working with an easily definable category, like gender-neutral names. When it comes to names that have a connection to the color yellow, 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 yellow:

  1. Sunny
  2. Soleil
  3. Sol
  4. Sunshine
  5. Lemon

Unsurprisingly, four out of the five were inspired by the sun.


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

Sunny

The word sunny simply means “having plenty of bright sunlight.” In Middle English, it was spelled sonni. Sunny is also a homophone of the name Sonny, which is based on the English word son.

Sunny is currently the 650th most popular girl name in the U.S.

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

Soleil

The word soleil (pronounced saw-lay, roughly) means “sun” in French.

Soleil is currently the 999th most popular girl name in the nation.

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

Sol

The word sol means “sun” in Latin and in several of the languages that descend from Latin, including Spanish and Portuguese. Sol is also a short form of the name Solomon, which explains why it was a popular choice for baby boys in the early 20th century.

Sol is currently the 1,054th most popular girl name in the U.S.

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

Sunshine

The word sunshine refers to the light (and warmth) of the sun. In Middle English, it was spelled sonne-shin.

Sunshine was given to 69 baby girls in 2021.

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

Lemon

The word lemon — which can be traced back (via Old French limon and Arabic limun) to the Persian word limu — refers to the citrus fruit of the lemon tree (Citrus limon). By extension, it also refers to the yellow color of this fruit.

That said…most of the U.S. babies named Lemon during the 20th century (and earlier) were not named after the fruit. Instead, their names were inspired by the surname Lemon, which was derived from the Middle English word leman, meaning “sweetheart, lover” (from the Old English elements leof, “dear, beloved,” and mann, “person, man”).

Lemon was given to 50 baby girls in 2021.

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

More names associated with yellow

Ready for the rest?

All the names below are associated with the color yellow. 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.

aspen trees in autumn, yellow leaves
Aspen trees in autumn
  • Antu, the Mapuche word for “sun,” is the name of the Mapuche god of the sun.
  • Arevik is an Armenian feminine name based on the word arev, meaning “sun.”
  • Aspen trees (in particular the North America species Populus tremuloides) are famous for their golden-yellow autumn foliage. The word aspen is derived from from the Old English word for the tree, æspe.
  • Beryl is a mineral that can be yellow. The name of the stone ultimately comes from the ancient Greek word beryllos.
  • Blaine comes from a Scottish surname that can be traced back to the Old Irish word blá, meaning “yellow.”
  • Bowie comes from a Scottish surname that can be traced back to the Gaelic word buidhe, meaning “yellow.”
  • Buff is a light brownish-yellow color — the hue of buff leather, which was often obtained from the European buffalo.
  • Buttercup flowers are yellow. “Buttercup” is the common name of several species of flowering plants in the genus Ranunculus.
  • Canna flowers are sometimes yellow. The genus name Canna is derived from the Latin word canna, meaning “reed.”
  • Chrysanthemum flowers are commonly yellow. 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 often yellow. The adjective citrine can be traced back to the Latin word citrus.
  • Daffodil flowers are frequently yellow. “Daffodil” is the common name of plants in the genus Narcissus.
  • Dahlia flowers are sometimes yellow. The genus Dahlia was named in honor of Swedish botanist Anders Dahl.
  • Dandelion flowers are yellow. “Dandelion” is the common name of the plant species Taraxacum officinale. The common name is derived from the Latin phrase dens leonis, meaning “lion’s tooth” — a reference to the shape of the leaves.
    • Fífill is the Icelandic form of Dandelion.
  • Diell is an Albanian masculine name based on the word diell, meaning “sun.”
    • Diellza is the feminine form of Diell.
daffodils, yellow
  • Flavius was an ancient Roman name derived from the Latin word flavus, meaning “yellow, golden.”
    • Flavian was an ancient Roman name based on Flavius.
    • Flavia was the feminine form of Flavius.
    • Flavio is the modern Spanish and Italian form of Flavius.
  • Forsythia (commonly pronounced for-SITH-ee-uh) flowers are yellow. The genus Forsythia was named in honor of Scottish botanist William Forsyth.
  • Fulvio (masculine) and Fulvia (feminine) are the modern Italian forms of the Roman family name Fulvius, which was based on the Latin word fulvus, meaning “deep yellow, reddish-yellow, gold-colored, tawny.”
  • Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) often has yellowish flesh. The word ginger is ultimately derived from the Sanskrit word sringavera.
  • Gladiola refers to Gladiolus, a genus of plants with flowers that are sometimes yellow. The genus name, meaning “little sword” (a diminutive of the Latin word gladius, “sword”) refers to the shape of the leaves.
  • Haetbit is a Korean feminine name meaning “sunlight.”
  • Haru is a Japanese gender-neutral name that can mean “sun,” or “sunny,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
    • Haruki is a Japanese name that can include the element Haru.
    • Haruna is another Japanese name that can include the element Haru.
  • Helios, the ancient Greek word for “sun,” was the name of the Greek god of the sun.
    • Helius is the Latinized form of Helios.
    • Helio (masculine) and Helia (feminine) are the modern Spanish forms of Helios.
  • Helen is part of Helenium, a genus of plants with flowers that are sometimes yellow. The genus was named in honor of Helen of Troy.
  • Heulwen is the Welsh word for “sunshine.”
  • Honey can be yellow. The Old English word for “honey” was hunig.
    • Meli is the ancient Greek word for “honey.”
  • Inti, the Quechua word for “sun,” was the name of the Incan god of the sun.
  • Jonquil flowers (which, like daffodils, are part of the genus Narcissus) are frequently yellow. The species name, jonquilla, means “little rush” (ultimately derived from the Latin word iuncus, meaning “rush, reed”) and refers to the shape of the leaves.
  • Ketut is a Balinese gender-neutral name associated with the word kitut, which refers to a small banana.
  • Khurshid (also spelled Khorshid) is a Persian gender-neutral name derived from the word xorshid, which means “sun.”
  • Lillesol is a Swedish feminine name meaning “little sun.”
  • Marigold flowers are sometimes yellow. “Marigold” is the common name of plants in the genera Tagetes and Calendula.
  • Mehr is a Persian gender-neutral name meaning “sun.”
  • Meyer lemons are a cross between citron and hybridized mandarin/pomelo. They were named after Dutch-American agricultural explorer Frank N. Meyer (born Frans N. Meijer), who discovered the cultivar while in China in 1907. The occupational surnames Meyer and Meijer are both derived from the Middle High German word meier, meaning “administrator, steward.”
  • Mzia is a Georgian feminine name meaning “sun.”
  • Naran is a Mongolian gender-neutral name meaning “sun.”
  • Nou is a Hmong feminine name meaning “sun.”
  • Nurit (pronounced noo-REET) is a Hebrew feminine name meaning “buttercup.”
  • Nyima is a Tibetan gender-neutral name meaning “sun.”
  • Orchid flowers are sometimes yellow. Orchids are all members of the Orchidaceae family of plants.
  • Oriole is a type of bird that often has yellow 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.”
  • Ra, the ancient Egyptian word for “sun,” was the name of the Egyptian god of the sun.
sun, yellow
  • Seqineq is a Greenlandic gender-neutral name meaning “sun.”
  • Sequssuna is a Greenlandic masculine name meaning “egg yolk.”
  • Shams is an Arabic gender-neutral name meaning “sun.”
  • Shimshon is a Hebrew masculine name meaning “sun.”
    • Samson is the Biblical (Late Latin) form of Shimshon.
  • Solaris comes from the Latin word solaris, meaning “of the sun” or “pertaining to the sun.”
    • Solar is a modern word (used in English, German, Portuguese, Spanish, and other languages) based on solaris.
    • Solara is an elaboration of Solar.
    • Solaria is another elaboration of Solar.
  • Sunflower petals are usually yellow. “Sunflower” is the common name of plants in the genus Helianthus, particularly the species Helianthus annuus. The common name is a reference to the sun-like flower heads.
  • Surya, a Sanskrit word for “sun,” is the name of the Hindu god of the sun.
    • Ravi, another Sanskrit word for “sun,” is one of Surya’s alternate names.
  • Susan is part of “black-eyed Susan” — the common name of the plant species Rudbeckia hirta, which has flowers that are typically yellow.
  • Taeyang is a Korean masculine name meaning “sun.”
  • Tonatiuh, the Nahuatl word for “sun,” is the name of the Aztec god of the sun.
  • Topaz is a mineral that comes in several different colors, most notably golden-yellow. Its name is based on the Middle English word topas, which referred to any yellow-colored gemstone (not just topaz). The earliest known form of the word, the ancient Greek topazion, referred to a specific yellow gemstone (possibly yellowish olivine).
  • Tulip flowers are sometimes yellow. The name of the flower can be traced back to the Ottoman Turkish word tülbent, meaning “turban.”
  • Xanthos was an ancient Greek name derived from the word xanthos, meaning “yellow.”
    • Xanthus is the Latinized form of Xanthos.
    • Xanthe (pronounced ZAN-thee) is a feminine form of Xanthus.
    • Xanthia is an elaboration of Xanthe.
  • Zinnia flowers are sometimes yellow. 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 yellow?

Sources:

Images by Richard John from Pixabay, Intricate Explorer from Unsplash, RitaE from Pixabay, and xuuxuu from Pixabay

Baby names from Egyptian gods

Recent posts have mentioned both Isis and Anubis, and these names made me wonder — which other ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses are hiding in the U.S. baby name data?

After some searching, here’s what I came up with:

  • Aker, a god of the earth and underworld.
  • Amun or Amon, king of the gods; later combined with the sun god Ra to become…
  • Amunra (Amun-Ra), chief deity of the Egyptian Empire.
  • Amunet, a primordial goddess.
  • Anat, originally a Semitic war goddess.
  • Ash, the god of oases and vineyards.
  • Aten, a solar deity represented by “the solar disk emitting rays terminating in human hands.”
  • Atum, a god of creation.
  • Horus, the falcon-headed god of the sky; symbol of kingship.
  • Imhotep, a priest of Heliopolis who was later deified.
  • Khepri, the scarab-headed god of the morning sun.
  • Maat (Ma’at), the goddess of truth, justice, and cosmic order.
  • Meret (meaning “beloved”), a goddess associated with rejoicing.
  • Osiris, the (often green-skinned) god of fertility; ruler of the underworld.
  • Ptah, a god of creation.
  • Ra, sun god.
  • Set or Seth, god of storms, disorder, warfare — “in general, a trickster.”
  • Shai, a god of fate.
  • Tayt, goddess of weaving.

Which Egyptian god/goddess name makes the best baby name, do you think?

Sources: List of Egyptian Deities, Egyptian Gods – The Complete List, Aton – Egyptian god – Britannica, Seth – Egyptian God – Britannica

Numerology & baby names: Number 1

Baby names with a numerological value of 1

Here are hundreds of baby names that have a numerological value of “1.”

I’ve sub-categorized them by overall totals, because I think that some of the intermediate numbers could have special significance to people as well.

Within each group, I’ve listed up to ten of the most popular “1” names per gender (according to the current U.S. rankings).

Beneath all the names are some ways you could interpret the numerological value of “1,” including descriptions from two different numerological systems.

1 via 10

The following baby names add up to 10, which reduces to one (1+0=1).

  • “10” girl names: Eda, Dea, Ebba, Ade
  • “10” boy names: Ade

1 via 19

The following baby names add up to 19, which reduces to one (1+9=10; 1+0=1).

  • “19” girl names: Mae, Ema, Abbie, Alea, Acadia, Aela, Mea, Jace, Aide, Gabi
  • “19” boy names: Adam, Jace, Dan, Jed, Fahd, Bob, Ra, Beka, Amad, Addai

1 via 28

The following baby names add up to 28, which reduces to one (2+8=10; 1+0=1).

  • “28” girl names: Eva, Eden, Lana, Ari, Nala, Andi, Adalee, Dani, Vada, Jael
  • “28” boy names: Alan, Ari, Eden, Case, Mack, Ira, Jael, Ash, Om, Adin

1 via 37

The following baby names add up to 37, which reduces to one (3+7=10; 1+0=1).

  • “37” girl names: Elena, Cora, Alina, Rebecca, Kate, Ariah, Alani, Liana, Amalia, Mina
  • “37” boy names: Luca, Baker, Axl, Jamal, Coen, Van, Brice, Niam, Nick, Ajay

1 via 46

The following baby names add up to 46, which reduces to one (4+6=10; 1+0=1).

  • “46” girl names: Hannah, Zoe, Gianna, Reagan, Lucia, Daniela, Adaline, Zara, Vera, Raegan
  • “46” boy names: Elias, Ivan, Juan, Zane, Leon, Damien, Arlo, Erick, Cesar, Malik

1 via 55

The following baby names add up to 55, which reduces to one (5+5=10; 1+0=1).

  • “55” girl names: Nevaeh, Hadley, Iris, Joanna, Camille, Freya, Aspen, Gabriela, Heaven, Mariam
  • “55” boy names: Edward, Jorge, Jett, Edwin, Grady, Davis, Conrad, Kellan, Vihaan, Grey

1 via 64

The following baby names add up to 64, which reduces to one (6+4=10; 1+0=1).

  • “64” girl names: Emily, Piper, Makayla, Tessa, Sabrina, Mercy, Miley, Frankie, Natasha, Azariah
  • “64” boy names: Jaxon, Brody, Zion, Peter, Knox, Lukas, Israel, Arjun, Ronald, Roland

1 via 73

The following baby names add up to 73, which reduces to one (7+3=10; 1+0=1).

  • “73” girl names: Brynn, Carolina, Kaylani, Jazmin, Elliot, Calliope, Karter, Jurnee, Bexley, Nataly
  • “73” boy names: Jackson, Joseph, Ezekiel, Elliot, Karter, Nicolas, Jayceon, Sergio, Sincere, Alberto

1 via 82

The following baby names add up to 82, which reduces to one (8+2=10; 1+0=1).

  • “82” girl names: Allison, Julianna, Kamryn, Meredith, Addyson, Clarissa, Kaisley, Lizbeth, Kaelynn, Charlize
  • “82” boy names: Maverick, Zachary, Hendrix, Phillip, Mitchell, Crosby, Thaddeus, Kamryn, Alfonso, Dimitri

1 via 91

The following baby names add up to 91, which reduces to one (9+1=10; 1+0=1).

  • “91” girl names: Katherine, Taylor, Everleigh, Sawyer, Payton, Phoenix, Braelynn, Kensley, Liberty, Lauryn
  • “91” boy names: Sawyer, Giovanni, Phoenix, Johnathan, Matthias, Taylor, Cassius, Yousef, Payton, Agustin

1 via 100

The following baby names add up to 100, which reduces to one (1+0+0=1).

  • “100” girl names: Presley, Vivienne, Clementine, Brynleigh, Joselyn, Austyn, Yaritza, Jordynn, Temperance, Lillyanna
  • “100” boy names: Maximus, Ezequiel, Quentin, Quinten, Presley, Everette, Shivansh, Austyn, Ignatius, Yunus

1 via 109

The following baby names add up to 109, which reduces to one (1+0+9=10; 1+0=1).

  • “109” girl names: Sutton, Brittany, Raylynn, Joslynn, Zipporah, Hennessy, Sunshine, Kimberlyn, Rowynn, Faithlynn
  • “109” boy names: Kingston, Sutton, Westley, Tristin, Khristian, Rigoberto, Montrell, Rayshawn, Justyn, Stryder

1 via 118

The following baby names add up to 118, which reduces to one (1+1+8=10; 1+0=1).

  • “118” girl names: Rosalynn, Westlyn, Shaylynn, Jesslynn, Kynzley, Sharlotte, Krystiana, Christyana, Isabellarose, Timberlyn
  • “118” boy names: Demitrius, Oluwatobi, Braxxton, Anastasios, Barrington, Stanislaw, Bryxton, Braxtynn, Youness, Jatavious

1 via 127

The following baby names add up to 127, which reduces to one (1+2+7=10; 1+0=1).

  • “127” girl names: Quetzaly, Karrington, Rosselyn, Roselynne, Lillyrose, Onyinyechi, Terralynn, Annavictoria, Torilynn
  • “127” boy names: Stratton, Odysseus, Kristoffer, Maksymilian, Augustino, Ozymandias, Theophilos, Chukwuebuka, Jaxxston, Kingarthur

1 via 136

The following baby names add up to 136, which reduces to one (1+3+6=10; 1+0=1).

  • “136” girl names: Kourtlyn, Oyinkansola, Brookelynne, Rosslynn, Tanitoluwa
  • “136” boy names: Jaquavious, Xzayvion, Oreofeoluwa

1 via 145

The following baby names add up to 145, which reduces to one (1+4+5=10; 1+0=1).

  • “145” girl names: Montgomery, Maryelizabeth, Elizabethrose, Peneloperose
  • “145” boy names: Montgomery, Sylvester, Quantavius, Constantinos

1 via 154

The girl name Summerlynn adds up to 154, which reduces to one (1+5+4=10; 1+0=1).

1 via 163

The boy name Constantinos adds up to 163, which reduces to one (1+6+3=10; 1+0=1).

1 via 172

The girl name Trinityrose adds up to 172, which reduces to one (1+7+2=10; 1+0=1).

What Does “1” Mean?

First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “1” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “1” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.

Numerological Attributes

“1” (the monad) according to the Pythagoreans:

  • “The Pythagoreans called the monad ‘intellect’ because they thought that intellect was akin to the One; for among the virtues, they likened the monad to moral wisdom; for what is correct is one. And they called it ‘being,’ ’cause of truth,’ ‘simple,’ ‘paradigm,’ ‘order,’ ‘concord,’ ‘what is equal among greater and lesser,’ ‘the mean between intensity and slackness,’ ‘moderation in plurality,’ ‘the instant now in time,’ and moreover they called it ‘ship,’ ‘chariot,’ ‘friend,’ ‘life,’ ‘happiness.'”
  • “They say that the monad is not only God, but also ‘intellect’ and ‘androgyne.’ It is called ‘intellect’ because of that aspect of God which is the most authoritative both in the creation of the universe and in general in all skill and reason”
  • “They consider it to be the seed of all, and both male and female at once”
  • “They call it ‘Chaos’ which is Hesiod’s first generator, because Chaos gives rise to everything else, as the monad does. It is also thought to be both ‘mixture’ and ‘blending,’ ‘obscurity’ and ‘darkness,’ thanks to the lack of articulation and distinction of everything which ensues from it.”
  • “They call it ‘Prometheus,’ the artificer of life, because, uniquely, it in no way outruns or departs from its own principle, nor allows anything else to do so, since it shares out its own properties.”

“1” according to Edgar Cayce:

  • “One indicates strength, power, influence” (reading 261-15).
  • “All activities emanate from the one” (reading 5751-1).
  • “As in numbers…all are formations or divisions or multiples of units of one, so the universe and the expressions of all natures within same are the manifestations of that one force, one power, one spirit, one energy known as or called a Universal Force, Creative Energy, or God.” (reading 1462-1).
Personal/Cultural Significance

Does “1” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 19, 55, 64, 109) — have any special significance to you?

Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. Maybe your favorite song is “When I’m Sixty-Four” by the Beatles, for example.

Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.

If you have any interesting insights about the number 1, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!

Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).

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?

P.S. Did you know that Cleopatra gave her twins the middle names Selene and Helios?

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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Where did the baby name Thembi come from in 1971?

The Pharoah Sanders album "Thembi" (1971)
Pharoah Sanders album

The name Thembi first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1971:

  • 1973: 6 baby girls named Thembi
  • 1972: 7 baby girls named Thembi
  • 1971: 10 baby girls named Thembi [debut]
  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: unlisted

Why?

Because, in mid-1971, free-jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders released a song called “Thembi” on an album also called Thembi. The title track was “named in honor of his South African wife.”

The name Thembi (pronounced TEM-bee) is typically short for Zulu and Xhosa names like Thembisa, Thembisile and Thembekile.

Thembi came out several albums after Pharoah Sanders’ most successful album, Karma (1969), which was likely the thing that gave the baby name Karma a boost in 1970.

Pharoah Sanders himself was born in Arkansas in 1940 with the name Farrell Sanders:

Mr. Sanders assures me that the myths about his nickname “Pharoah” […] are false — it didn’t come from space traveler Sun Ra or from the music criticism of poet/playwright Amiri Baraka. “It was just a matter of paperwork. When I joined the union in New York City, they had a space for the artist’s name, so I just put [Pharoah] down.”

Because he altered the spelling of the Egyptian word pharaoh, it’s pretty easy to attribute the 1970s usage of the baby name Pharoah to him. (The traditional spelling, Pharaoh, didn’t emerge in the data until the end of the decade.)

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