Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I can see CLARE-ly now

Greetings, readers!

As some of you may know, today is the feast of the Catholic Saint Clare. No, I don't know saints' feast days by heart - but Clare just so happens to be the name of my favorite (and only) sister!

The family story goes that my parents once again couldn't decide on a name for their second child, so finally my dad - who had been holding out for Angela - caved and let my mom name my sister Clare Elise. At one point Anna Clare was thrown out as a possibility, but they nixed it because it sounds like the old song "On a Clear Day," or "Anna Clare Day."

As a consolation prize for caving, my dad was allowed to pick the spelling of Clare, and he chose the less common version, for the saint. Incidentally, this has meant that my sister has never been able to find her name on a souvenir mug or keychain, so there are tradeoffs for originality.

So, here are some beautiful Clare-related names - all stemming from the same meaning, "clear":

Clare: The original spelling of a beautiful name. My personal favorite, though I'm biased. The name is currently at number 723 for girls. It was used for boys as well, until the early 1940s when it dropped off the top 1000. Short with a long A like Blaine and Chace, this name could come back for boys, I think.

Claire: The French version of the name and the most popular, currently at number 44. It's been steadily rising since the 1970s, so don't expect your child to be the only Claire in the room. Excellent for parents who want a name that crosses Europe and North America easily.

Clara: Currently at number 108 and climbing fast, this name is getting popular for its cross-cultural appeal and vintage feel. There are quite a few famous Clara's in history - check them out on Nameberry!

Clarissa: Incidentally another family name, Clarissa is a fantastic alternative to the popular Melissa, Marissa or Vanessa. It also has a great literary connection - Clarissa Dalloway is the main character in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, later played by Meryl Streep in The Hours. Clarissa is currently at number 765.

Chiara: The Italian version, and the name Saint Clare went by, isn't even on the top 1000 (those of you looking for something unusual, consider this name). Pronounced kee-AR-ah, it may be difficult to explain in the US. Spelling variation Kiara (of Lion King 2 fame) is on the list at number 353. Italian names are trending - Isabella, Mia, Sofia - so this name might just be ahead of the curve.

Sinclair: Meaning "from the town of St. Claire", this unisex name is literary and almost unheard of - almost. Definitely preppy, but very cute.

Final Clare factoid - my sister believed for most of her childhood that her middle name was Bear, as in Clare Bear. It wasn't until she was around double digits that she was taught her true middle name - Elise. How cute is that!

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