Are there any connotations of the word "araña" (other than "spider") that would make it unsuitable for a name?
Never heard the word before, so none for me.
The only possible thing I can think of as an English-speaking American is the sort-of sound-alike "I ran ya" or possibly "Iran ya", but those are quite a stretch. Spanish-speaking folks might have other thoughts.
Oh, and the Google and my friends at Wikipedia tell me that this was the original superhero name for Marvel's Spider-Girl, AKA Anya Corazon.
Thanks! Mostly I was thinking along the lines of your first paragraph, but it being the name of a superhero makes it better in my opinion.
Ick! I'm not usually judgmental about names, but naming a child after a much-hated and feared creature seems cruel to me. I just posted on another thread about my daughter's classmate named Javalina. That's bad enough, but naming a child Spider seems wrong. Why would you want people to recoil when they heard your child's name?
The fact that it means spider makes me like it more because I find spiders fascinating. I know I'm in the minority, though. :)
Arachne seems a little easier to live with for computerization reasons, i.e. the ñ will get stripped to n by a lot of data-entry systems; but maybe that's just me and Arana is an OK result for you. It seems like a fine name to me otherwise (but I'm very fond of spiders)!
I like Araña just fine as a name, but I do think that it will make many people think of "spider" very prominently, as people who had high school Spanish will probably remember. Since spiders are less neutral than many other words, in terms of being a common phobia, I'd prefer to use it in the middle name spot.
I'd say "spider" makes it kind of unusable, all by itself... given that people generally hate spiders, they feature in horror movies, and etc. But aside from that, no other connotations came to mind.
I agree with another poster, as well, that the ñ character is unlikely to be rendered correctly in computer systems, since it's not part of the typical English-language keyboard, and so the name will always be "misspelled" in that sense. Then again, that doesn't seem to bother the many people who choose a name like Zoë, then see it spelled Zoe almost all the time... it's not really any different.
Araña is a terrible horrible name precisely because it means Spider, and so many people speak Spanish and will be horrified by it. Please don't inflict this on your baby.
If you just like the sound, for the love of God, name her ARIANA instead.