One of my favorite board games growing up was the murder mystery Clue. I always fought to play as Miss Scarlett, but was occasionally delegated to being Mrs. White or Mrs. Peacock #notbitteratall
Let's take a look at some colorful names inspired by these classic game characters!
Image by John Lambert Pearson on Flickr
Scarlet/t - The obvious choice, but this lovely feminine name is still vivid and vibrant. Scarlett is elegant yet daring, whether it's worn by an O'Hara or a Johansson. It currently ranks at #22 on the top 100, so those looking for uniqueness may want to check out the following options.
Ruby - A sweet and vintage name, Ruby has Scarlett's red color with a rosy blush. It last peaked in popularity in 1911, when it hit #22, but it's always been an all-American favorite. Other crimson stone names include Opal, Coral, and Garnet.
Poppy - While pretty Poppy has taken the UK by storm, the US hasn't responded quite as dramatically - it hasn't even broken the top 1000. Still, Poppy's rarity here could be a selling point for parents with an eye towards the familiar but unique.
Flannery - This energetic Irish surname has literary credibility via its connection with Flannery O'Connor, the twentieth-century American writer. It comes from the old Irish Flannghal, meaning "red valor" - a strong substance inside a flowery form.
Rowan - Attractive and unassuming, Rowan is a handsome pick for any child. It's also a very modern pick, as the name has only been popular in the United States for the past two decades. Rowan comes from the Scottish for "red-head", but it would work beautifully on all kinds of kids.
Violet - Another retro choice with flair, Violet rose from a quirky celebrity pick to a national darling. It's a gorgeous balance between nature connections, vintage vibes, and colorful imagery. While Violet is bound to soar higher, it's certainly earned its acclaim.
Lilac - A botanical alternative to Lily, Lilac is an uncommon floral choice that would fit in well with names like Rosemary, Juniper, and Hazel. The origin of this word name is Persian, though the flower is endemic to Europe. Lilac is pretty and recognizable, but unexpected.
Mauve - With darlings Maeve and Maya on the rise, similar-sounding Mauve may appeal to fans of the romantic. It's soft and old-fashioned, yet incredibly rare - it's never been recorded in US name records. One notable namesake is Anton Mauve, an artist and cousin of Vincent van Gogh.
Indigo - Dynamic and edgy, Indigo is one color name that works especially well for boys - it's got a cool O ending and a built-in cinematic nickname, Indy. The name has some great musical connections, from Duke Ellington to the Indigo Girls, and would work well for an artistic family.
Plum - While Apple is still routinely cited as a "wacky" celebrity baby name, today's parents have begun to embrace Clementine, Kale, and Pepper - why not Plum? It's an accessible and sweet nature name worn with pride by writer Victoria "Plum" Sykes, whose moniker comes from the Victoria plum.
Sky/e - Once a unisex pick, both spellings have been claimed by the girls, as far as popularity goes. But Sky is much bigger than one defined gender or generation - it's inspiring, expansive, and independent, perfect for an adventurous little one.
Cyan - It looks like a modern mash-up of Cyrus and Ryan, but Cyan comes from the Greek kyanos, for "dark blue." It's been used periodically since the mid-1980's, yet it feels especially timely in our CMYK world. Cyan was used for 22 girls and 24 boys last year - let's see if it continues to grow!
Blue - The celebrity baby name (and middle name) du jour, Blue is bound to permeate the popularity charts in the next decade. But is this primary color just a flash in the pan, or does it have more substance under its vibrant surface? Literary and musical connections help Blue stay in the latter category, from "Little Boy Blue" to the blues genre to Island of the Blue Dolphins.
Livia - Though it sounds like a relative of Olivia, Livia actually comes from a Roman family name meaning "blue" or "envious." It has a plethora of positive traits: a melody that fits with modern trends, an origin grounded in ancient history, and a popularity rank below the top 700.
Feather - I first came across this name in Angela Johnson's The First Part Last, a teen-lit book in which the main character names his baby daughter Feather. It's definitely unique and bohemian, but its style is similar to other modern word choices like River and Phoenix.
Reverend (Mr.) Green
Chloe - A popular pick in a number of nations, Chloe is a Greek choice that's become a standard feminine name worldwide. It's simple yet sophisticated, youthful yet timeless. Chloe comes from the meaning of "green shoot," and would be lovely on a spring baby.
Ivy - It's fun and friendly, a name sure to fit all kinds of personalities and preferences. Ivy is also virtually nickname-proof, for fans of the formal. It was fairly popular at the end of the nineteenth century, adding some retro flair to this natural pick.
Moss - While many have used Moss as a short form of Maurice, it deserves some consideration on its own merits - Moss has a history related to the Biblical name Moses, and may work well for multi-cultural families. It's a gentler alternative to Max or Mason, with an organic spin.
Forest - Forrest with two R's has long been a masculine surname-turned-first, but adventurous Forest may appeal to fans of the contemporary - it's an excellent word name that could honor an important place or family tradition, and avoid raising too many eyebrows at the playground.
Sage - Beloved for both boys and girls, Sage is an attractive and intelligent name with a strong sound. It's also a pop culture pick, with dozens of namesakes in television, film, and literature. Both wise and winsome, Sage is a highly recommended choice.
Saffron - Spicy and colorful, Saffron is fairly well-known thanks to Absolutely Fabulous and Firefly, but still underused. Nickname Saffy is thoroughly adorable, but the long form will wear well over time. The saffron spice is one of the most valuable in the world, as well.
Xanthe - Meaning "golden" or "yellow," this dramatic Greek choice will appeal to those who love unusual initials or uncommon sounds. While nickname Xan is another plus, the full name is a wonderful feminine equivalent to Xander, and a worthy successor to Zoe.
Colonel - Alright, so this name might not fit in with King or Prince, exactly, but it's worth noting that Colonel was recorded as a name for boys for over 100 years in the US. If mighty and eccentric is your style, perhaps try a nickname like Cole or Cory?
Topaz - Luxurious and glittering, Topaz is an elegant and mature alternative to pretty Ruby and vintage Pearl. As a gemstone, it's regarded as lucky and healing - not a bad connection - and it's also the birthstone for November. This bright pick is definitely deserving of more use.
Flavia - An ancient name meaning "yellow" worn by members of the Roman imperial family, Flavia has recently risen up the popularity ranks in Italy. Now that Freya, Fiona, and Faith are in the US top 500, perhaps Flavia may appeal to those with a taste for the international.
Bianca - Before Isabella and Sofia reigned supreme, this Italian pick was loved for its Shakespearean links and connection to Mrs. Bianca Jagger. It made the top 100 in the late 1980's and early 1990's, but this name still feels ageless and alluring. Bianca comes from a medieval French name meaning "white."
Albin - A Swedish favorite for boys, Albin would fit in seamlessly with names like Aidan and Abel. It comes from Latin, meaning "white" or "bright," and maintains a masculine sound without feeling overly macho. Cute nickname Albie is just icing on the cake!
Finn - Soaring high and aiming higher, Finn and its many long forms have become cherished standards for boys and girls alike. This handsome Irish name means "fair" or "white," but its long since transcended its original roots - today, Finn is beloved across the globe.
Gwendolyn - A lovely Welsh choice with the feminine -lyn ending, Gwendolyn is an ideal pick for those who like both modern and classic sounds. Nickname Gwen is friendly and familiar - still, the long form is poetic, tenacious, and enchanting.
Snow - Fresh and cool, Snow is a stylish follow-up to warm Summer and brisk Winter - with the bonus connection to a Disney princess. Though it's genderless, Snow has been used primarily for girls, and was bestowed upon fifty-nine baby girls last year.