How popular is the baby name Seraphina 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 Seraphina.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Seraphina


Posts that Mention the Name Seraphina

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

Popular baby names in Casper (Wyoming), 2020

In 2020, the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper welcomed 892 babies. The names of about 620 of these babies were shared online via the hospital’s website. A few days ago, the hospital “mined those announcements for our most popular names list for 2020,” finding that the most frequently occurring names for girls was Paisley and for boys was Jackson.

I don’t usually post rankings from non-governmental sources, but, in this case, there were just so many names in comparison to the size of the city (about 58,000 residents) that I decided to go ahead and publish the full list…

10 babies named:

  • Jackson (Jaxen, Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxxon)

7 babies named:

  • Logan
  • Oliver
  • Paisley (Paizlee, Paizleigh)

6 babies named:

  • Adaline (Adeline, Adalyn, Adalynn, Addilynn)
  • Amelia (Emelia, Emilia)
  • Emma
  • Grayson
  • Reilly (Rieleigh, Riely, Riley, Ryleigh)
  • Sawyer

5 babies named:

  • Cooper
  • Everlee (Everleigh, Everly)
  • Oakleigh (Oakley)
  • Theodore

4 babies named:

  • Addison (Addyson)
  • Asher
  • Ava
  • Benjamin
  • Caysen (Kasen, Kason)
  • Charlie (Charlee, Charles)
  • Everette
  • Isabella (Izabella, Izzabella)
  • Kinsleigh (Kinsley)
  • Nathan
  • Wyatt

3 babies named:

Adrian, Alexander, Ashton (Ashtyn), Aspen, Aurora, Bennett, Blake (Blayke), Bristol, Brixley (Brixleigh, Brixli), Brooklyn, Carter, Christian, David, Declan (Deklynn), Elijah, Elizabeth, Ella, Ellie, Ethan, Ezra, Grace, Hunter, Holden, Jack, Layla, Leo, Liam, Lyla (Lilah), Lincoln, Lorenzo, Lydia, Lyra, Mason, Noah, Olivia, Owen, Richard, Rilynn (Ryelin, Ryelynn), Rowan (Rowen), Ryker, Skyla, Sophia (Sofia)

2 babies named:

Aiden/Aidyn, Allison/Alyson, Amara, Annabelle, Arya, Aubriella, Averie/Avery, Barrett, Bentley, Bodhi/Bodie, Braxton, Bryar/Bryor, Brynlee, Caroline, Carson/Karson, Catherine/Katherine, Colt, Colten/Colton, Damian, Daniel, Daxton, Dayton, Dylan, Eli, Eliana, Elliot, Emerson/Emersyn, Emery/Emory, Evelyn, Finley, Gabriella, Gentry, Harmony, Harper, Harrison, Haven/Hayven, Hayden, Hazel, Hazely/Hazleigh, Henry, Hudson, Ian, Isaac, Isaiah, Islah/Islla, Jasper, Jaxtyn, Jayden, Joel, Julian, Julius, Justin, Kaiser/Kaizer, Kamara, Kaysen/Kayson, Kellen, Kennedi/Kenydee, Kenzlee/Kenzleigh, Kinley/Kynleigh, Kyran/Kyren, Leighton/Leyten, Lenix/Lennox, Levi, Lorelai/Lorelei, Madeline/Madelyn, Malachi, Malaya/Maleah, Maria/Meriah, Maverick, Maya, Mila, Miles, Millie, Naomi, Natalia, Nevaeh, Parker, Paul, Penelope, Rachael/Rachel, Rae/Rey, Raylan, Ronan, Ryder, Samantha, Samuel, Sara/Sarah, Savanna/Savannah, Scarlett, Sebastian, Silas/Sylias, Skylar/Skyler, Spencer, Sydney/Sidney, Tenslee/Tensley, Theo, Weston/Westin, Violet, Zachary, Zoey

1 baby named:

  • Abel, Abraham, Ace, Adam, Adonis, Aeris, Adrian, Aiden, Aksel, Aleassia, Alexandria, Alianna, Allen, Ambrose, Amias, Amiya, Anderson, Angel, Anika, Annalynn, Annie, Anson, Antonina, Archer, Ariella, Ariya, Armando, Arrow, Ashlyn, Athena, Aubree, August, Augustus, Avaianna, Aynslee, Azariah, Azayla
  • Bailey, Baylor, Beau, Becklynn, Bella, Berklie, Bethany, Bonnie, Bradley, Braitton, Branson, Brantley, Braxley, Brayden, Braylee, Brennan, Brexton, Brian, Briggson, Brittany, Brixon, Brock, Broden, Bronx, Brooks, Brylee, Burke
  • Caelan, Cain, Callie, Callum, Calvin, Cameron, Cannon, Carilina, Case, Cash, Charisma, Chasyn, Chloe, Christopher, Ciella, Claire, Cody, Colby, Collyn, Colter, Cree, Crew, Cullen, Cuyler
  • Dailyn, Dakota, Dani, Dean, Delilah, Destin, Diesel, Divine, Douglas, Draco, Draeden
  • Ebony, Eccho, Edison, Eleanor, Elias, Elivia, Ellen, Ellis, Ember, Emily, Emmanuel, Emmie, Emmitt, England, Etta, Evan, Evander, Ezmae
  • Felix, Francis, Fredrick, Freya
  • Genevieve, George, Gideon, Graham, Grey, Griffin
  • Hodassah, Haddie, Hadley, Hailey, Harlan, Harley, Harlow, Harris, Harvey, Hayes, Hendrix, Henleigh
  • Icelynn, Ily, Isabelle, Isaias, Ivan, Ivy, Iylah
  • Jaden, Jaime, Jalin, James, Jameson, Jase, Javier, Jayce, Jaycee, Jayson, Jeremiah, Jessica, Jessie, Jett, JJ, Joanna, John, Jojo, Jolie, Jonah, Jonathan, Josephine, Josie, Joyce, Jude, Julie, June
  • Kade, Kaelyn, Kaiden, Kaii, Kaleah, Kamari, Kambry, Kambryn, Kamdyn, Kane, Karalynn, Kaspian, Kaylee, Kaylynn, Keaton, Keenston, Keira, Kenai, Kendrey, Kevin, Keylin, Khaos, Kieran, Killian, Kimber, Kimora, Kit, Klarke, Kodah, Koen, Kolby, Kole, Korah, Korbyn, Koy, Kyara, Kyden, Kylie, Kyson
  • Lainey, Lakelyn, Lance, Laramie, Laura, Layne, Legend, Lennon, Leopold, Lillian, Lilliean, Lillyanna, Lily, Lola, Londyn, Lorraine, Luca, Lucius, Luke, Lynlee, Lyvie
  • Macie, Macklin, Maddison, Maddox, Mae, Maevelyn, Maggie, Maisey, Mandy, Marceline, Margaret, Mario, Marisa, Marisol, Marleigh, Mary, Mateo, Matthias, Mavis, Maxwell, Mazikeen, Mckenzie, Meadow, Melia, Melody, Merrik, Merritt, Meyer, Mia, Michael, Michelle, Miklo, Milo, Mira, Montana, Myra
  • Nancy, Nash, Natalie, Nathaneil, Naylin, Nehemiah, Nicholas, Nolen, Nora, Nova, Nylin
  • Oaks, Onyx, Oraya, Orian, Orin, Ostara
  • Paxton, Persephone, Presley, Pyper
  • Quincy
  • Rableen, Raeleah, Raven, Reed, Relik, Remi, Remington, Renato, Revi, Rhett, Riatta, Riggs, Rodolfo, Rogan, Roman, Rosalee, Rosemarie, Rowdy, Roxas, Roy, Ruby, Ryann, Ryatt, Ryott
  • Sadie, Sage, Sandra, Saphira, Seraphina, Serenah, Serenity, Shadow, Shelby, Sheridan, Shyanne, Simon, Skadi, Skylynn, Solveig, Sophie, Sorin, Stella, Sterling, Stetley, Storey, Sturgis, Sutton, Sylar, Sylvia
  • Tala, Talia, Tareyn, Tate, Tavin, Taylee, Teagan, Tennyson, Tess, Tessin, Theotis, Thomas, Tillie, Tinlee, Titan, Tobin, Travis, Trenton, Trexton, Tripp, Turner
  • Vada, Vanessa, Vera, Vincent
  • Walker, Watson, Waylon, Westley, Wilder, Wiley, William
  • Xavier, Xia, Xililah, Ximena
  • Yianeli
  • Zachariah, Zaydin, Zayne, Zeppelin, Zinnia, Zoe

Source: Casper’s most popular baby names, 2020 – Wyoming Medical Center (via archive.org)

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.

Sources:

Baby name needed: What do you think of Phineas?

light bulbs

A reader named Virginia is expecting a baby in September. For a boy, she’d selected the name Phineas. She liked “that it was unusual without being bizarre,” and that it started with ph. But now she’s not so sure about the name:

All was fine and dandy until I read an article about violence in the Bible. It vaguely mentioned Phineas as a name from the Bible used as a talisman by white supremacists. What!?!

That was a shock to me too. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Phineas Priesthood is “a violent credo of vengeance that has gained some popularity among white supremacists and other extremists in recent years.” I’d never heard of the Phineas Priesthood before–not even when Julia Roberts named her son Phinnaeus a few years ago.

Virginia doesn’t want to give up her favorite name, but she also “can’t live with such an association,” so she was hoping for some name suggestions. Other names she’s considering include Joel and Samuel (for boys) and Sigrid, Phoebe, Elisabeth, and Anne (for girls). All are family names.

First, a few thoughts:

  • I doubt many people are aware that white supremacists use Phineas as a code word. It’s an odious association, but maybe it’s also obscure enough that it’s not worth worrying about…?
  • I really like Sigrid and Phoebe–they’re both significant and unusual. Especially Sigrid. (Phoebe is being used more and more every year, so it might not be unusual for long.)

And now, name suggestions. Here are some unusual-but-not-bizarre boy names that I think Virginia might like:

Amos
Barnabas
Baxter
Ephraim
Ezra
Felix
Horatio
Humphrey
Lazarus
Matthias
Maximilian
Moses
Peregrine
Ralph
Raphael
Rufus
Silas
Simeon
Ulysses
Zephaniah

And some girl names:

Clotilde
Cybele
Daphne
Dagny
Delphine
Drusilla
Esther
Fabiola
Georgia
Josephine
Lucretia
Ophelia
Penelope
Phyllis
Ruth
Salome
Seraphina
Talulla
Tryphena
Verena

What other names would you suggest to Virginia? (And, what’s your take on the Phineas dilemma?)

Update: The baby has arrived! Click here to learn the baby’s name.

60 Unique female saint names: Belina, Genoveva, Maura, Savina

Theresa, Joan, Monica, Clare…if you’re thinking about female saint names, these are probably some of the first names that come to mind.

But what if you’re looking for a name that’s a little less ordinary?

Well, things get tricky. Many other female saint names range from unstylish (e.g. Agnes, Gertrude) to basically unusable (e.g. Sexburga, Eustochium).

But some lady-saints do have cool, unusual names. To prove it, I’ve gone through the entire Roman Martyrology (and a few other sources) and collected sixty names that I think might appeal to modern parents. Here they are, ordered by feast day:

  1. St. Geneviève, Frankish, 6th century. Feast day: January 3.
  2. St. Talida, Egyptian, 4th century. Feast day: January 5.
  3. St. Genoveva Torres Morales, Spanish, 20th century. Her name is the Spanish form of Geneviève. Feast day: January 5.
  4. St. Marciana, Roman, 4th century. Feast day: January 9.
  5. St. Savina, Roman, 4th century. Feast day: January 30.
  6. St. Marcella, Roman, 5th century. Feast day: January 31.
  7. St. Viridiana, Italian, 13th century. Feast day: February 1.
  8. St. Cinnia, Irish, 5th century. In Irish, the letter C is always hard (i.e. pronounced like a K). Feast day: February 1.
  9. Sts. Maura, various places and centuries. Feast days include February 13, May 3, and November 30.
  10. St. Belina, French, 12th century. Feast day: February 19.
  11. St. Romana, Roman, 4th century. She may be merely legendary. Feast day: February 23.
  12. Bl. Villana de’Botti, Italian, 14th century. Feast day: February 28.
  13. St. Foila, Irish, 6th century. Also recorded as Faile and Faoile (possibly pronounced FWEE-la), her name may mean seagull in certain dialects. Feast day: March 3.
  14. St. Fina, Italian, 13th century. Her full name may have been Serafina. Feast day: March 12.
  15. St. Maria Gemma Umberta Pia Galgani, Italian, 1878-1903. Feast day: April 11.
  16. St. Vissia, Roman, 3rd century. Feast day: April 12.
  17. St. Domnina, Roman, 1st century. Feast day: April 14.
  18. St. Anthia, Roman, 2nd century. Feast day: April 18.
  19. St. Zita, Italian, 13th century. Patroness of maids and domestic servants. Dante wrote her into his Inferno [Canto XXI, line 38] during the early 1300s. Feast day: April 27.
  20. St. Tertulla, Numidian, 3rd century. Feast day: April 29.
  21. St. Henedina, Roman, 2nd century. Feast day: May 14.
  22. Sts. Basilla, various places and centuries. Feast days include May 17, May 20, and August 29.
  23. St. Emmelia, Anatolian, 4th century. Feast day: May 30.
  24. St. Melosa, Greek, unknown century. Feast day: June 1.
  25. Sts. Melania, both Roman, both 5th century. Melania the Elder is the paternal grandmother of Melania the Younger. Feast days: June 8 and December 31.
  26. Sts. Julitta, both Anatolian, both 4th century. Julitta is a diminutive of Julia. Feast days: June 16 and July 30.
  27. Sts. Marina, various places and centuries. Feast days include June 18, July 17, and July 18.
  28. St. Demetria, Roman, 4th century. Feast day: June 21.
  29. St. Lucina, Roman, 1st century. Feast day: June 30. (Several other saints were also named Lucina.)
  30. Sts. Cyrilla, one Egyptian, 4th century, the other Roman, 3rd century. Feast days: July 5 and October 28.
  31. St. Triphina, Breton, 6th century. Feast day: July 5.
  32. St. Sunniva, Irish (but associated with Norway), 10th century. The name has become moderately popular in Norway within the past decade or so. Feast day: July 8.
  33. St. Severa, Frankish, 7th century. Feast day: July 20. (Several other saints were also named Severa.)
  34. St. Liliosa, Spanish, 9th century. Feast day: July 27.
  35. St. Serapia, Roman, 2nd century. She was a slave belonging to St. Sabina (below). Feast day: July 29.
  36. St. Clelia Barbieri, Italian, 19th century. Feast day: July 13.
  37. Bl. Kateri Tekakwitham, Mohawk, 17th century. Kateri is a Mohawk rendering of the name Catherine. Feast day: July 14.
  38. St. Kinga, Polish, 13th century. Also known as Cunegunda and Kunigunda, she is the patroness of Poland and Lithuania. Feast day: July 24.
  39. Sts. Lucilla, both Roman, both 3th century. Feast days: July 29 and August 25.
  40. St. Seraphina, unknown location, 5th century. Feast day: July 29.
  41. St. Serena, Roman, 3rd century. Likely a legendary saint. Feast day: August 16.
  42. St. Sabina, Roman, 2nd century. One of her slaves was St. Serapia (above). Feast day: August 29.
  43. St. Ammia, Anatolian, 3rd century. Feast day: August 31.
  44. St. Verena, Egyptian (but associated with Switzerland), 3rd century. Feast day: September 1.
  45. St. Rosalia, Italian, 12th century. In Palermo, a festino is held every July 15th in her honor. Feast day: September 4.
  46. St. Melitina, Greek, 2nd century. Feast day: September 15.
  47. Sts. Aurelia, one possibly Italian, unknown century, the other Austrian, 11th century. Feast days: September 25 and October 15.
  48. St. Lioba, English (but associated with Germany), 8th century. Also known as Leoba, Liobgetha, and Leobgytha. Feast day: September 28.
  49. St. Flavia, Roman, unknown century. Feast day: October 5th.
  50. St. Flaviana, possibly Frankish, unknown century. Feast day: October 5.
  51. St. Galla, Roman, 6th century. Her name is likely based on the Latin word gallus, meaning either Gaulish (if capitalized) or rooster (if uncapitalized). Feast day: October 5.
  52. St. Saula, possibly British, possibly 4rd century. Or, she could be legendary. Associated with St. Ursula. Feast day: October 20.
  53. St. Cilinia, Frankish, 5th century. Feast day: October 21.
  54. St. Alodia, Spanish, 9th century. Feast day: October 22.
  55. St. Cyrenia, Anatolian, 4th century. Feast day: November 1.
  56. St. Carina, Anatolian, 4th century. Feast day: November 7.
  57. St. Apphia, Anatolian, 1st century. Feast day: November 22.
  58. St. Attalia, Austrian, 8th century. Feast day: December 3.
  59. St. Asella, Roman, 5th century. Feast day: December 6.
  60. St. Anysia, Greek, 4th century. Feast day: December 30.

Of all the names in the series, only four (Maura, Marina, Serena, and Carina…see any trends?) currently rank among the top 1,000 baby names in the nation. Eleven others ranked in previous years, but not in 2007.

Did you see any names you liked?

More importantly, did I miss any good ones?

Update, 2016: Here are a few more…

  • St. Hyacintha Mariscotti (Italian: Giacinta), 17th century. Feast day: January 30.
  • St. Humility, 13th century. Feast: March 22.
  • St. Maravillas de Jesús, 20th century. (Maravillas means “wonders” in Spanish.) Feast day: December 11.