Written by Pamela Redmond Satran for Nameberry
Think there are no new names? Think again. Among the newest of the 50,000 baby names in Nameberry's database are ancient religious names ripe for modern revival, fresh nicknames for old favorites, and nature, word, and surnames transformed into firsts. One may be right for your 2013 baby.
Bellamy: The up-and-coming Bellamy is a surname-y riff on the trendy Bella genre of names. While the Bella connection makes Bellamy feel more popular than it really is -– there were only 53 girls named Bellamy in the most recent year counted, vs. nearly 20,000 named Isabella -– we see it rising through the ranks in the coming year.
Bizzy and Zibby: Elizabeth is a name that keeps on giving, maintaining her centuries-long usability while inspiring new nicknames for each generation. Our two newest: Bizzy and Zibby, both fresh, adorable, right for our fast-paced times.
Chrysanthemum: This rare flower name is a symbol of the sun in Japan. The heroine of a children's book called Chysanthemum by writer and illustrator, Kevin Henkes, loves her distinctive flower name until classmates tease her about it, making it an excellent storybook choices for any child with an unusual name.
Elowen: Elowen is a Cornish nature name that means "elm," a relatively new entry to the lexicon thanks to the revival of the Cornish language. Two other Cornish names new to Nameberry are the saints’ names Keverne for boys and Merrin for girls.
Eos: Eos -- pronounced with a long e at the beginning and two syllables -- is the Greek corollary of Aurora, goddess of the dawn. This ancient name with a sleek, modern feel might be an innovative way to honor grandma Dawn.
Eyre: This lovely name -- the Old Norse surname Eyre sounds just like air -- is best-known as the surname of eponymous Bronte heroine Jane, and would make an appealing and distinctive middle name for the daughter or son of fans of that book.
Hallam: British surname Hallam was used as a first by the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who named his son after his dear friend Arthur Henry Hallam. Tennyson, whose own surname was used as a first for his son by Russell Crowe, wrote one of his greatest poems for Hallam.
Kilala: Sanskrit name Kilala, which means "ambosia," comes to our attention via the princess heroine of a manga series. Kilala is a fresh way to get to the stylish double-L sound also heard in Lily, Lola and Delilah. Indian place name Kerala is another new entry on Nameberry.
Maro: Maro, an ancient saint's name as well as a Japanese name meaning myself, is given to a figure who rings the bell in the European city of Dubrovnik. The name Maro may stem from the Roman Marcellus, related to Mars, the god of war, or it may be a feminine form of Maria, connected with Mario.
Mazarine: The charming French Mazarine is a color name also used for a butterfly that bears the deep blue hue. It was originally used as a first name in honor of Cardinal Mazarin, a leader of France in the 17th century.
Senara: Senara is the name of a saint who also figures in a mermaid myth. The church of St. Senara in Cornwall houses the mermaid chair made famous in the novel by Sue Monk Kidd. The name Senara is related to the Breton name Azenor, itself a variation of Eleanor and Helen meaning “bright.”
Spartacus: Spartacus is the famous name of an ancient Roman slave -- and star of his own eponymous TV series! -- who led a slave revolt and became a renowned gladiator, only to die in the ring. Not considered baby-appropriate for centuries, Spartacus just might rise again along with the names of his fellow gladiators.
Tupelo: Author Tupelo Hassman turned this name of a Mississippi town, best known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley, into a contemporary first name. Tupelo might also be considered a nature name, as it’s the name of a southern tree with soft, light wood.
Whimsy: Whimsy is a, yes, whimsical word name, sibling to Pixie and Bliss. While it has an undeniable offbeat English aristocratic charm (maybe we're thinking of Dorothy Sayers' fictional detective Lord Peter Wimsey, whose middle name was Death?), we see this as more fitting for a middle than a first name.
Plus, here are Nameberry’s predictions for baby names in 2013.