Thursday, August 11, 2016

Island Names - Europe

Hello, readers!

Part 4 today! Let's get to the names, shall we?

Ireland (Ireland and the United Kingdom)
The Emerald Isle, known for its unique culture and breathtaking scenery, still has an effect on many US families today - more than 10% of Americans identify themselves as being part Irish. So why not honor your ancestral home by choosing the name Ireland? It's at the bottom of the top 1000, so it's relatively unpopular, but it's still quirky and friendly.

Skye (United Kingdom)
While the etymology of the island name is unclear, Skye has the feeling of exploration and possibility. It's been used for both boys and girls, but is currently trending feminine at #385 on the girls' list. This largest island in Scotland has long been celebrated in film and literature - only time will tell whether its brisk sound and attractive aura will climb the charts even higher.

Elba (Italy)
"Able was I ere I saw Elba" goes the famous palindrome often (mistakenly) attributed to Napoleon. The island itself was ruled by numerous empires over its history, and now belongs to Italy. Elba jumped on the top 1000 three unique times between 1881 and 1909, but has few fans now - nine girls were named Elba in 2015. It could be an uncommon route to the nickname Ellie!

Arran (United Kingdom)
Popular in Scotland, Arran is an energetic boys' name with individuality and history. It may be confused with Aaron (okay, it will definitely be confused with Aaron), but its murky etymology points to a different kind of origin - either "kidney" or "altitudinous", depending on your preference. Still, Arran is a great choice for fans of creative spellings and Scottish accents.

Sicily (Italy)
Names like Cecilia and Cicely have been around for decades - why not add in a place name with a similar sound and spicy vibe? Sicily is one of the most famous (and infamous) regions of Italy - trying to sum up its culture in four lines would be folle! Sicily was given to fifty-seven girls in 2015, and Sicilia to twelve.

Rhodes (Greece)
Nameberry lists the meaning of Rhodes as "where roses grow", though I've yet to find that definition elsewhere. Aside from its meaning, the name is strong, masculine, and polished - it sounds like the name a successful Ivy League graduate would have. The island of Rhodes is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as well as a World Heritage site.

Cyprus (Cyprus)
Looking for an unusual alternative to Cyrus or Silas? Check out Cyprus, a handsome Greek name given to eleven boys last year. It's another name with sketchy origins, but most possibilities relate to plants or minerals, and its sound is like the cypress tree - perhaps an addition to nature name lists? It offers the retro nickname Cy, too.

Margaret (Hungary)
When we visited South America earlier this week, we looked at the Spanish variation, Margarita. However, the classic English name Margaret has an equally rich history and tons of admirable namesakes (too many to list here). The Hungarian island was named after thirteenth-century Saint Margaret, who lived on the island for a period of time.

Milos (Greece)
Though it's traditionally pronounced MEE-lowsh, the name may be mistaken for either Miles or Milo in the United States. Still, it's a lovely option for those thinking outside the top 300! Milos' etymology links it to "gracious" or "good", and it has been popular in many Slavic nations. The island is famous for the statue of the Venus de Milo, as well as its many archaeological sites.

Jersey (United Kingdom)
It's not just a state anymore - the island of Jersey has a fascinating history dating back to the Neolithic era, with thousands of years of intrigue and excitement following. The name itself fits in with Kelsey and Journey, which is probably why over 100 girls were named Jersey in 2015. Still, there are a few drawbacks - New Jersey jokes, Jersey cows, and football jerseys.

Tell me your favorites in the comments!

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