About Me

Per EVie's suggestion: Here is some information about me: Since personal names currently in use are derived from a multitude of languages and sources, no one can be an expert in all of them. My PhD is in Old and Middle English and Old Icelandic, and I also have had formal training in almost all the Germanic languages (Old and Middle High German, Old Saxon, Gothic, Old Low Franconian, Middle Dutch, Yiddish, Modern German, and Netherlandic/Flemish). In addition I learned Hebrew, Latin, and French before I left high school. Cobbling together my French and Latin, I know something about some of the other Romance languages (including Old French, Anglo-Norman, and Occitan), but I am no expert in Romance philology, although I have had formal training in Germanic philology. So that gives me a better than average background in many of the languages from which our current namestock is derived. However, what I know about Greek and Greek-derived , Balto-Slavic and Celtic names comes from my general knowledge of Indo-European philology, and my general knowledge of Indo-European philology does not really cover names from Sanskrit and other Indian languages and Persian. Knowing Hebrew gives me a bit of insight into cognate Arabic names, but I know nothing about Finno-Ugaric (happily we have our Hungarian sisters for that), Chinese, Japanese, the many indigenous languages of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

My Favorite Names

No favorite names yet.

My Recent Blog Comments
September 27, 2016 11:42 AM

Just to pick a nit, Bryn and Gwyn are masculine names, so at the very least they are unisex.  I know that people use Bryn for girls, but I think that most people use the feminine form Gwen for daughters.

September 25, 2016 10:24 AM

I don't know what you mean by translation, but Abigail is an anglicization of the Hebrew name transliterated as Avigayl/Avigail.

Mayim is the Hebrew word for water and is a Modern Hebrew name, closely associated with the actress Mayim Chaya Bialik.  The initial assumption would be that someone named Mayim is Jewish which may or may not be a concern.

September 24, 2016 11:07 AM

HNG, we can make a long list of things that every elementary and high school teacher gets wrong.  Just yesterday my first-grader grandson had a homework exercise on long and short vowels.  Modern English does NOT have long and short vowels, even though every elementary and high school teacher says it does.   This causes confusion when people learn languages which do have long and short vowels, or when speakers of languages which have long and short vowels learn English.

Frankly, both teacher preparation and school textbooks here in the US leave a lot to be desired.

September 24, 2016 09:48 AM
In Response to Honour names for twins

I noticed in a news article that the new Miss America is named Savvy.  I was curious about that, so I looked it up, and Savvy is a nickname for Savannah.  Interesting because savvy is a descriptor for someone who is in the know.

September 23, 2016 02:26 PM
In Response to Need feedback please

Yes, the dahlia is one of a number of flowers named for people.  Some others are the poinsettia, wisteria, zinnia, and linnea.

September 23, 2016 01:34 PM

"Another name that feels eternally autumnal, Leif...."  And precisely what is autumnal about Leif?  There is nothing about it by way of derivation or association that is autumnal.  Hint:  it is pronounced to rhyme with safe.  It is not pronounced like the tree appendage that in some climates turns color in the fall.

Ms. Cardoza, I am with caseydilla.  Do a better job or quit.  I have lost count of the times I have had to correct your errors in the name of having an accurate site that people can use with confidence.  And I am not the only one who has pointed out your howlers.  Most of the name sites are terrible--this is one site that isn't, and I'd like to see it kept that way.

September 23, 2016 01:19 PM

I was just talking to my son about the names he is finding on his family tree, and I said that given the constant confusion with people with the same name as his, perhaps we should have used Aloysius (another family name) as his middle.  He said, um, no.

September 23, 2016 10:43 AM

Being the mom of an Edward, I can say I have run across very few others his age (37) and younger.  He never met another Edward in his cohort until he got to college when there were two others in his circle.  My six year old grandson has never met a kid Edward either.  My sense is that these days it is more common as a middle.  I would say that with a common surname and a straightforward given name (any straightforward given name), I would go for a baroque middle to avoid being hounding for someone else's debts.

Adding, my son has recently become interested in family history and has been all over Ancestry.  Hw is officially named for my father, but he has found Edward everywhere in his paternal grandmother's lineage repeated in every generation, most often in the form Charles Edward (ancient Jacobite sympathies?).  So, yes, Edward has seen steady use and thus everyone knows how to say it and spell it, but for babies born now, it would be unexpected, as would be John and Mary.

September 23, 2016 10:26 AM
In Response to Need feedback please

Since the only Dahlia I ever met would now be in and around her nineties, I wouldn't call it outlandish or hippy, more "old lady."

September 22, 2016 04:44 PM
In Response to Jayvn cloud moreau ???

In English every syllable needs a vowel, so the second syllable of Jayvn needs one.  Given the middle name Cloud, I am assuming this name is used in an English-speaking contest.

September 22, 2016 04:39 PM

I have met several African-American women named Sanaa, rhyming with Hannah.

September 22, 2016 04:36 PM
In Response to Baby names for my son.

To me Caspian is the sea, and I would group up with other geographical features, like Adriatic, Caribbean, Bering, Aegean.

September 22, 2016 04:30 PM
In Response to Help "matching" a name

Ayalet is another version of the Hebrew "deer" name.  My grandmother was a Tzivya, and she used Celia as her civil name.  My other grandmother was a Tzippa, and she used Cecilia.

September 22, 2016 03:58 PM

If not Edmund then perhaps Edward, both popular at the court of Elizabeth I.  Other than Ted, possible nicknames are Ed (of course), Ned, and Ward.


Jakob-Rhys reminds me of Jacob Riis, the muckraking journalist and social activist/reformer of the late 19th-early 20th centuries.

September 13, 2016 08:25 AM
In Response to Boy name help for #3

Oh, I know Lars is a full name.  I just thought that if Mom likes Lars and Dad likes Laurence, Laurence could be the formal name and Lars the nickname, everybody happy.

September 12, 2016 06:58 PM
In Response to Boy name help for #3

But that is no reason not to use Lars as a nickname for Laurence in an American context, if it suits the family.

September 12, 2016 11:47 AM
In Response to Boy name help for #3

Lars is not only pan-Nordic, it's also Dutch, if that makes any difference.  I will also throw in Lasse, another pan-Nordic form of Laurence, for your consideration.  Lasse is more Scandinavian-y than Lars because it isn't also Dutch :-).  I can see a Laurence nicknamed Lars or Lasse rather than Larry or Laurie.

As for the middle name I still like Alvar better than either Eero or Archer.  I think Lars Alvar sounds good.  Maybe I just like Alvar's dorm better than Eero's.

September 12, 2016 07:11 AM
In Response to Number 5

Your little bunny's name brings to mind the artist/illustrator Maxfield Parrish.  In his case Maxfield was a self-selected family surname.  Since Parrish himself chose to use the name, we know at least one bearer really liked it.  Parrish was one of a coteries of artists and illustrators associated with Drexel Institute (now Drexel University) in Philadelphia where I once worked, so the name is very familiar to me.  Those who don't know the name will almost certainly recognize his influential artistic style.

And I am willing to bet that weaning the big brothers from "Fieldsy" will be a lost cause.

September 11, 2016 07:47 PM
In Response to Opinions please!

If I met a child named Tiberius, my first thought would be parents=serious Star Trek fans.  There has been a wee revival of Roman names like Atticus, Aurelia, Gaius and Maximus, so I don't think Tiberius is so odd.  After all it's not Commodus or Caligula.