Posts Tagged ‘ harry potter ’

Bewitching Halloween Baby Names for Girls

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

This really must be the season of the witch—there’s two great witchy new shows, The Witches of East End and American Horror Story: Coven—and now there’s even talk of a Charmed reboot. The cool thing is that many of these witchy characters come with enchanting names that might be worth considering for your daughter.

Fiona is an Scottish name currently worn by the Witch Supreme in American Horror Story: Coven (and played by the ever-amazing Jessica Lange). It means white or fair—though the current Fiona is hardly a white witch. The name’s been on a slow but steady rise since the early 1990s, and currently is nearing the 200th spot in popularity for girls.

Willow’s one of the coolest witchy characters, courtesy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s Buffy’s adorably nerdy best pal who dabbles in witchery, until a tragic death makes her go to the dark side. Willow’s an up-and-coming nature name, currently at #171 for girls.

• If you love Harry Potter, odds are good you love one of two witches featured in the story—Hermione, his brilliant BFF, or Luna, the offbeat pal who joins the crew to help defeat Voldemort. Hermione, which means messenger, still hasn’t broken into the top 1000, but not long after J.K. Rowling introduced Luna to the world, the name took off—it went from #890 to #223 in less than a decade.

• Truth be told, I haven’t had a chance to catch Witches of East End yet, but I’m loving the name Freya. It’s a Scandinavian name that means noble, and was also used for Merlin’s love interest on the BBC’s show.

Wicked turned Glinda the good witch into Galinda, which I like a bit better. No word on the meaning, but I’m guessing it’s something like beautiful, given the “Linda” at the end.

Phoebe was Alyssa Milano’s witchy Halliwell sister on Charmed. It means “shining one,” and it’s currently #303 in popularity here in the U.S.

Sabrina was a Celtic goddess long before she was the teenage witch of 1990s sitcom fame. The name is currently #275 here in the U.S.

• Some might call Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks one of rock’s most bewitching singers, but her song Rhiannon was about a truly bewitching character from Welsh legend. The name means “divine queen,” and it was red hot after the song came out—but it dropped out of the top 1000 names back in 2008.

Anne Rice may be known for her vampire novels, but she also wrote a witch series with a clever heroine, Rowan Mayfair. Rowan is a Scottish name that means red-head, and it’s just about to crack the top 300 in the U.S.

What cool witchy names did I miss? Share your favorites in the comments. And if you want to find out more about a baby name you like, check out our Baby Name Finder!

P.S. Don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names!

Image: Witch baby by Hannamariah/

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Did You Name Your Baby After Your Pop Culture Hero?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Everyone wants a baby with some meaning to them—whether it’s picking a name from within the family, a name that has a cool definition, or even a name they’ve loved since they were naming their baby dolls. But for some people, a good baby name is one chosen from a favorite movie, TV show, book—or even the name of a favorite actress or author.

That explains the meteoric rise of the baby name Luke after George Lucas’s Star Wars hit movie theaters in the late 1970s. And of course, Twilight probably helped Jacob and Isabella rise to the top of the baby naming charts. But what about some more offbeat names that are more clearly associated with certain pop culture creations—names like Katniss or Cinna from the Hunger Games, or Sansa or Tyrion from Game of Thrones? Would you consider choosing something that so clearly delineates you as a fan of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars—even if your son or daughter may not quite share your passion when they get bigger?

Here are a few names that I’m thinking might catch on (but haven’t quite yet) from some of the most popular pop culture phenomena in the past decade—would you consider any of these for your child?

Arwen Lord of the Rings fans might consider this name, which was used for the Elf princess who forsakes her Elven heritage after falling in love with the human Aragorn. (When he’s played by Viggo Mortensen, who wouldn’t?) Arwen is a Welsh name that means “noble lady.”

Arya The bold and brash younger daughter of the Stark family from Game of Thrones sports a Sanskrit name that means noble. I’m thinking it’s going to become immensely popular over the next few years, as the name has jumped nearly 200 spots on the top U.S. baby names list in the last year alone.

Daryl Sure, it’s a common enough name among the middle-aged set right now, but this name fell off the top 1000 baby names list earlier this century. Expect badass zombie survivor Daryl Dixon from the Walking Dead to bring this name back from…well…the dead. (I think Dixon itself may also be a contender for an offbeat surname name!)

Hermione Now that Harry Potter ensured that everyone knows how to pronounce it, expect this classic Greek name, which means “messenger,” to start climbing the charts.

Katniss I’ll be surprised if this offbeat nature name, chosen for the heroine of the ultrapopular Hunger Games, doesn’t make the top 1000 baby names within the next year or two.

Remus Greco-Roman names for boys have become red hot, which may help Remus—the mythological, raised-by-wolves co-founder of Rome, and the heroic werewolf-wizard from Harry Potter—fall into favor.

Sookie Sookie’s billed as a nickname for Susan—and as the fairy-blooded waitress in the steamy supernatural soap opera True Blood, she’s giving this offbeat nickname moniker a fresh new life.

Theon A nice alternative to the typical Theodore, Theon is a Greek name that means “godly,” and comes from the Game of Thrones, where it’s used for the rebellious former ward of the Stark family, who decides to rejoin his birth family and battle the Starks for control of the country.

Thorin Found in Lord of the Rings, this leader of the dwarves is a variant on Thor, the Norse god of Thunder.

Image: Harry Potter cover by catwalker /

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Cool Name of the Week: Gaia

Monday, October 1st, 2012

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, J.K. Rowling has a new (grown-up and decidedly un-magical) book out this week—Casual Vacancy. And as a big fan of both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s elegant prose, I couldn’t help but take a look. Especially because I’d like to see how an author like J.K. Rowling names people in the non-magical realm, where a name like Nymphadora or Draco would be a little less likely to fly.

And lo and behold, there are some intriguing names thus far (eight chapters in), mixed in amongst the blander Barrys and Howards. And my favorite, so far, is Gaia—the teenage girl who’s become an obsession for one of the upper-crust teen boys, Andrew. As you see her through two different characters’ eyes—through Andrew’s adoring sideways glances, and the disdainful view of Gavin, the boyfriend of her mother—you get every glorious wave of her hair described, or you get the sense that she’s an angry banshee of a teen who is (literally) out for blood.

Gaia is a Greek name for the goddess of the earth—which explains why it’s become popular among the environmentally inclined. And surprisingly, only one actor has used it for her daughter—Emma Thompson. Gaia would make a great alternative if you love uberpopular names like Mia, Layla and Maya—and don’t want your daughter to be the third one in her class.

With a name like Gaia, I’d like to keep with the environmental tone with the middle name, and choose a name like Lark, Fleur or Spring. If you have a short surname, you could even go with a longer middle name, like Persephone or Daphne.

Would you pick Gaia for a girl? And if you’re reading Casual Vacancy, what do you think so far?

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/

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