by Pamela Redmond Satran
New year, new names.
Let’s usher in baby names 2014 with the 14 newest names on Nameberry, drawn from ancient places and fresh words-turned-names, new-fangled spellings and refashioned surnames.
Betsan, a Welsh pet form of Elizabeth, is little-known outside of the U.K. but it could provide an intriguing alternative to Liz, Beth, Betsy, Betty, and Libby. Bethan is another Welsh diminutive of Elizabeth.
You don’t need to choose a longer name like Cable or Cabot to arrive at Cabe, brother of Gabe and Abe, cousin of Cade and Gage. This earthy, unusual, friendly nickname-name was given to a handful of boys last year and can make an intriguing choice. But be warned: It will forever be mistaken, at least at first hearing, for the more familiar Gabe.
Part Cameron, part Amber, Camber may be a new name but it feels right for our times. As a word, camber means a slightly arched surface or a tilt as of a wheel. Another new name to the site that’s a smoosh of two more established choices is Annesley: part Anne, part Ashley. Variations Ansley and Ainsley have both hit the Top 1000 in recent years.
The fashion for using surnames as firsts has extended beyond the familiar Morgan and Parker to more ethnic-sounding choices such as Cohen and O’Brien to — why not? — this quintessentially Irish name with the friendly o ending. Costello’s meaning is given by various sources as “from England” or “son of Jocelyn” or “resembling a deer.”
Detroit, the name of the down-on-its-heels Michigan city, has a so-far-out-it’s-gotta-be-cool quality. A handful of boys were named Detroit last year, and if you have ties to the Motor City — familial or musical or spiritual — you may want to consider it, especially as a middle name.
With the popularity of Isabella, you might think of Isabelline as a further elaboration. But Isabelline is the name of a pale cream-yellow color supposed to have been inspired by Queen Isabella of Catile, who vowed not to change her underwear until her husband broke a siege. The color is usually used to describe horses or birds.
Kaius is a K-ization of the Latin Caius, which means “rejoice” and is the name of an ancient poet as well as one of Twilight’s more exotic-looking vampires. The K version was introduced to the lexicon by style maven Rachel Zoe, who used it for her newborn son. Nickname Kai makes the variation make sense….almost.
Kipling calls to mind writer Rudyard (b. Joseph) Kipling, author of the stories familiar to schoolchildren Gunga Din and The Jungle Story. Certainly, Kipling is a friendlier name than Rudyard these days, complete with cute short form Kip.
Legacy is proof that any attractive-sounding word can be turned into a name, and this one has the added attractions of an inspirational meaning and a cool creative namesake — hot young artist Legacy Russell.
The Mc and Mac surnames are asserting themselves as first names and this is among the most usable. MacArthur or McArthur makes a perfect honorific for an ancestral Arthur and leads directly to the nicknames Mac or Art. General Douglas Macarthur was a World War II hero and, more recently, the unrelated Macarthur Foundation awards the famous “genius grants.”
Mackson and Macsen may sound alike, but we see Mackson as more of a modern smoosh of Jackson and Maxon, while Macsen is the Welsh variation of Maximus. Both do have antecedents as patronymic surnames but also have a synthetic feel. If you like the nickname Mack or Mac, one of these names can be an original starting point.
A simple but unusual name with roots in disparate cultures, Neri appears in the Bible as a male name and is still sometimes used for boys as well as girls. The appeal of Neri are its deep roots combined with its simple, upbeat, modern feel, ala Peri and Rory. In Hebrew, Neri means “burning light” and in Greek, it means “ocean spirit.” Neri is a blue fairy, the spirit of wisdom, in the Legends of Zelda.
Sender has an attractive modern sound. Though given to only a handful of baby boys in the most recent year counted, it nevertheless is in step with the brotherhood of occupational names fashionable today. Sadler and Driver are two other similar choices new to Nameberry.
The Vale of Tempe is an important place in Greek mythology as well as a real place in Greece. The ancient poets wrote of it as the halcyon dwelling of Apollo and the Muses. The modern cities in Arizona and Australia are named for the Greek Tempe, which is pronounced tem-pee and makes an appealing first name.
(Via Name Berry)