Again, I must start off a post with my apologies for not keeping up. I hate doing this, but we’re bearing down on finals week and all of yesterday was devoted to a math project.
Well then, let’s talk about florals. It’s only December and I’m already missing the wildflowers that accompany the other seasons. To cheer myself up a little, let’s talk about the names that remind us of greenery year round.
As usual, this will be a post about girl’s names, and only ones I find interesting enough to post on. Let’s get started, after the jump.
The Common (or common-sounding)
- Lily: Currently the most popular flower name, Lily has spearheaded the revival of old-fashioned florals. However, I don’t particularly like it. I think the overall sound of the name is weak and insubstantial. This, along with veritable Lily overload, makes me say I don’t have much fondness for the name left at all. I like it only as a nickname for Lillian or Elizabeth, especially Elizabeth, where it’s unexpected and lively. Another reason I don’t really like it is a weird one; I can’t stop thinking of the phrase “lily-white” and its “dead body” feeling.
- Violet: I think Violet has a really pretty sound and look without sacrificing all of its strength. However, it needs to be paired with a strong middle to keep from looking twee. I prefer Viola over Violet any day, but I like seeing it, and I think it’s got potential to rise even more than it already has. Maybe it’s too trendy for me to use, but hey, it’s not Mc Maddisyne!
- Rose: Classic, simple Rose. I think this is a fantastic name. It’s feminine without being princessy, timeless and comfortably uncommon. Of course, Rose also works as a nickname for the myriad of Ros- names out there, but I think it works equally well on its own. There’s not really too much I can say about Rose: It’s feminine-not-princess, short-but-substantial, familiar-but-uncommon. It hits the right spot every time.
- Heather: So many people forget that Heather is a floral name, probably due to the Heather overload in the 80s-90s. I grew up knowing a ton of Heathers, but I can still see the appeal of the name. Like Rose, it’s got a definitive feminine feel without being too over the top. The sound is soft and really very pleasing, objectively. The only problem is the lack of nicknames; Heth isn’t the nicest sound in isolation, and Heath, besides being a man’s name, is not intuitive at all. I think that Heather is actually a surprising and slightly daring choice today, like other 80s cohorts Stephanie or 70s counterpart Jennifer. I mean, when’s the last time you’ve seen a baby Heather? Just give her a distinctive middle name and you’re all set.
- Jasmine: I like Jasmine, I really do. I know that a lot of people think it’s trashy but I beg to differ; I think it’s a sensual sound, but the meaning is so innocuous I can’t get too bothered. It’s too common for me but very pretty, and frankly, I don’t see any real problems with it.
Slightly More Uncommon
- Ivy: Although Ivy is actually more common on babies than Heather and Rose, more people have a tendency to see it as slightly less common, probably because they’ve known 15-35 year old Heathers and elderly Roses. Ivy is definitely a nice sounding name, although some people have problems with the I.V. connection; the problem is that that sound is super trendy. V’s are red-hot right now (See Ava, Vivian, Eva), especially in the middle. So, while Ivy may seem sweetly old-fashioned now, it has a definite possibility of becoming dated as part of this V trend. So I would give this name a cautious thumbs up; while it is still relatively uncommon, it has the potential to skyrocket, or, barring that, become a part of a larger trend. If you’re looking for something timeless, I would look elsewhere.
- Dahlia: Spelled Dalia, this is a very “Jewish” name, as well as an “old lady” one. I can’t really corroborate this, and have only heard it on baby name boards, but if you live in a heavily Jewish community, this may be perceived as an old lady name, so there’s my disclaimer. Personally, I love Dahlia. I think the sound is gorgeous and the flower interesting. Currently Dahlia and Dalia sit in the mid-late 800s, but it made it’s way on just this year, and might become more popular as a part of the floral trend. It’s also got the popular ia/a ending which might contribute to increased popularity in the next few years. Honestly, though, I don’t see this name reaching dizzying heights of popularity a la Lily and think it’s a pretty safe choice if you want to be distinctive. A lack of nicknames might put you off, but I have encountered a Dahlia “Dolly”; I think that’s a good compromise, although it probably won’t last past childhood. During younger years, though, I think Dolly is darling and unexpected from Dahlia; I’d expect a Dolores or *shudder* no full name. Dahlia gets the double thumbs up from me!
- Daisy: Cute, but if it’s in the front, nickname only, please; I think that any girl would want a full name as to not be “cute” their entire life. As a middle name, though, I think it can stand alone and work to lighten up a heavier full name. The traditional full name is Margaret or any of its forms, like Marguerite, my personal favorite at this juncture, so please, go that route; it may not be intuitive, but options are good and your daughter will appreciate not being a businesswoman named Daisy.
- Flora: Obviously a flower name. I hear that this is the name of a brand of margarine in the UK, which presents some problems for anyone there; I would recommend against it for any of our British readers. In the US, however, I think it’s completely usable, either on its own or as a nickname for Florence. I like it for others but can’t like it for myself due to the color perception I have: salmon. Fish grosses me out and it’s the general color of vomit. Like that, but slighty more yellow. Ugh.
- Lavender: Lavender has a pretty sound, but it’s a little too close to lavatory for my comfort. It reminds me of the little girl from Matilda, though, which is definitely a good thing.
- Fern: This is one of my absolute favorite botanical names. It’s short, crisp, and unusual, while keeping a femininity that doesn’t depend on vowels. There’s also the protagonist of Charlotte’s Web to think about, which just adds a layer of girlish charm. The best thing about Fern is that it’s incredibly unlikely to become popular; it’s short, consonant packed and starts with the desperately unfashionable F. The last time it was in the top 1000 was in the 50s, and it never hit top 100. I think it’s timeless and surprising with the right amount of spunk. I also love ferns, the plants: They’re just beautiful to me, maybe because they don’t have flowers and are just that beautiful green. Green is my favorite color, in case you couldn’t gather. I’ve also got the boyfriend around on this one, so it’s a win all around! I’d tell you to use it, but it’s mine, I say!
- Iris: Iris is another floral I love. It’s one of the first names I chattered about to my boyfriend, and he is really enchanted with it too, so that probably colors my perception. However, I find it pretty and strong with a large streak of individuality. I’ve been seeing it on a lot of baby name boards, though, and that often precludes a huge jump in popularity out in the non namenerd world. Honestly, if you use it, you can’t go wrong, even if it does rocket; it’s just so nice.
- Poppy: Really, all my comments about Daisy apply here, but with an added layer of “be careful!” I think it works really wonderfully as a nickname for Penelope.
- Lilac: Sure, it’s unconventional. But it’s such a pretty sound and beautiful flower. The sharp ending really lends a crispness that Lila and Lily lack, and I like that; it’s very brisk sounding while taking full advantage of the flower connection. I toy with this one for my mom, since lilacs are her favorite flower. I think this is really the individualist of this family of names; it just seems to go its own way. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.
Not For The Faint of Heart
- Juniper: I think Juniper is nice but a little goofy. I don’t know, it just makes me think of an ungainly sort of giraffe-person. Of course, this has no bearing on whether or not I’d recommend it, which I do. I think it is quite unexpected and rather sprightly. Easy nicknames June and Juno (although with the movies, I don’t know) lighten it up wonderfully, and makes it much easier for a young girl to wear.
- Marigold: I would not recommend Marigold as a first name. It’s so unusual and weird that it would probably make people look a little askew. In fact, I think you even need to tread with caution in the middle. Marigold needs one hell of a grounding name to keep from sounding saccharine and cartoony. A thumbs up in the right combo, but emphatic thumbs down in the wrong one.
- Magnolia: Steel. All I can think of. Maggie makes this easier, but it’s so Southern US that I don’t know if it’d work anywhere else.
- Celandine: One of Lola’s over at Onomastic Fits, Celandine is pretty but nigh unusable. Maybe in the middle, but only in the right combo. Also, it reminds me of Celadon City from Pokemon. Nerdery for the win!
The Unrepentantly Nerdy
- Elanor: Sam’s daughter in Lord of the Rings. This competes with Elinor for my favorite spelling of the name. I like the look of Elinor better, but LOTR means more to me than Sense and Sensibility. I might use this somewhere in the middle as a reference, just because I love the books that much.