Inside a Sibling Name Cloud

Apr 24th 2014

If names of a feather flock together, then this flock should tell you a lot about the name Daisy:

You're looking at the "sibling cloud" from the Namipedia name page for Daisy. It's a visual representation of the name's most common siblings, as reported by users. The bigger the type, the more often the name has been reported as a Daisy sibling.

The sibling cloud suggests that Daisy is a traditional name, since parents who choose it also favor names like Elizabeth, George and James. It looks botanical, as indicated by Willow, Lily and Jasmine. And it has a saucy informality, as shown by Ruby, Molly and Jack. The cloud even points to the name's especial popularity in Britain, the land of girls named Poppy and boys named Finley.

That informative cloud, though, is only a summary. It displays the 25 most common submissions out of almost 700 sibling reports. On more popular name pages, the sibling submissions can total in the thousands. The sibling cloud for Michael is so competitive that a name like Robert, submitted as a sibling by 25 different users, doesn't make the cut.

Let's take a close look at another sibling name cloud:

This cloud paints a picture of a name that's quite formal, but not old-fashioned or stodgy. It's doubtless traditional in English, yet the cloud shows no hint of the heavier English classics (no Edward, George or even Margaret). Meanwhile names like Alexander, Caroline, Sophia and Nicholas suggest a pan-European regal style.

The name is Victoria. The siblings that populate its cloud stand atop a list of 800 different names, totaling nearly 2,000 user submissions. I'm going to zoom out a little now, to show you all of the sibling names entered five or more times for Victoria.

This expanded cloud is more stylistically diverse. Yet the flock's characteristic plumage still shows in new names like Philip, Julia, Emmanuel, Georgia, and Vincent . Now let's zoom out even more and show the 3+ frequency siblings.

At this point, you can see clearly why we limit the sibling clouds in Namipedia. Not only is the visual presentation overwhelming, but the names speak with so many voices that no clear message comes through. Some of those voices, though, are worth tuning into. For instance, this set of sibling names:

Federico, Guadalupe, Jose, Juan.

If your linguistic and cultural orientation is English, Victoria may make you think of a Queen of England. Yet Victoria is also the Spanish word for "victory." Once you see names like Federico and Guadalupe in the sibling cloud, you start to notice how many of the names are Spanish/English crossovers, such as:

Adrian, Ana, Angel, Antonia, Daniel, David, Elena, Eva, Gabriel, Isabel, Julia, Laura, Maria, Monica, Sara, Sofia, Teresa, Veronica, Victor.

To me, that name list is both an interesting angle on Victoria and a notable flock in its own right. My profound thanks to the many thousands of visitors who have shared their sibling knowledge and given us this wonderful window on names.


April 24, 2014 6:17 PM

Azucena is also a botanical name. The word azucena means 'lily' in Spanish. Many of the Spanish-speaking girls in my son's school are named Daisy (or Deisy).

April 30, 2014 9:00 PM

Zinnia is another botanical name. Zinnias and daisies are in the same family, even - they're both from Asteraceae, the aster family.