12 Names That Convey Class and Character in 8 Letters or More

I was surprised to find an  article about baby names in Travel and Leisure. It was called “25 names that make character count.” Although Laura Woods’ commentary about the names she selected focused more on popularity rank than character, I found 12 names on her list worth considering for parents looking for dignified names likely to make a positive impression. (Sorry to say I was more impressed by the girls’ names Wood’s suggests than the boys’ names.)

If you want to consider all 25 suggestions, use this link to find them.

Girls’ Names

Katherine is a name of English origin that means “pure.” Several saints and members of the royal family have held this distinguished name that is currently ranked No. 83 for baby girls in the U.S. Give your daughter a name that’s fit for a queen!

Alexandria is a form of Alexandra, which was originally based on the Egyptian city that was founded by Alexander the Great in 322 BC and named in his honor. Beautiful, elegant and historical.

Elisabeth means Sabbath and is etymologically defined as “God is my oath.” It is the spelling of Elizabeth that’s used in the Authorized Version of the New Testament and in most modern European languages. The name was also held by many biblical characters.

Jacqueline is a French name that originated as the female form of Jacques, but became very popular in the 1960s due to the glamourous Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Give your baby girl this elegant name that simply exudes class.

Gwendolyn is of English and Welsh origin. It was most popular in the 1950s, when it had an average rank of 126, but has been trending up during the last decade. This is yet another name that offers an easy nickname, if you decide to take that route.

Evangeline is a fanciful name derived from the Latin word for Gospel “evangelium.” It means “good tidings” and is also the title of a narrative poem by the famed American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. There’s nothing sweeter than giving your baby girl a poetic name!

Boys’ Names

Christopher is derived from the Greek name Khristophoros and was commonly used by early Christians, as it means to bear Christ in your heart. It is the 30th most popular name for baby boys in the U.S.

Maximilian is derived from the Latin name Maximilianus, which was the name of a 3rd-century saint who was noted as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. The name is very popular in the U.S. and has also made the top 200 lists in England and Wales, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden.

Francisco is the Spanish and Portuguese equivalent of Francis. It is occasionally used in reference to the U.S. city of San Francisco, similar to a host of other city names, including Brooklyn, Chelsea, and Rio.

Broderick is a transferred use of the surname, which is derived from the Welsh personal name Rhydderch. It has been trending up over the last decade in the U.S., earning the rank of 973 in 2014.

Zachariah reached peak popularity at a rank of 338 in the 1990s and has maintained steady popularity over the last decade. This is another name that offers plenty of options, as you can nickname your son Zach or keep things more formal.

Demetrius is the Greek form of Dēmētrios, meaning follower of Demeter, the classical goddess of fertility. The name is hugely popular in Eastern Europe, but has been trending way down in the U.S.

 

 

 

Pick a Name That Will Inspire Your Child–Like Maya Angelou Has Inspired the WNBA’s Maya Moore

Maya Moore is currently leading the WNBA in scoring. Her team, the Minnesota Lynx (two-time WNBA champions), are undefeated in their first six games of the 2014 season. It seems that there’s almost nothing Moore can’t do on the basketball court. So on Friday, May 29, two days after Maya Angelou, Moore’s namesake, had passed away at the age of 86, Maya Moore did the unexpected. She announced:

“Tonight, I will play in celebration of the life of my namesake –Thank you for the beauty you brought into the world. #DrMayaAngelou”

To describe Maya Angelou as a great woman is almost an understatement. If you read what Wikipedia has to say about her, you’ll learn that she was a noteworthy author, poet, playwright, movie scriptwriter, director, producer, singer, actor, dancer,  professor, civil rights activist and journalist (to name just a few of her accomplishments). When she set her mind on something, there wasn’t anything Maya Angelou couldn’t do.

And that’s why Maya Angelou was a great namesake and inspiration for Maya Moore–which explains why Maya Moore, who was Rookie of the Year in 2011 and MVP of the WNBA Finals in 2013 dedicated herself to out-doing her previous accomplishments on and off the basketball court before the start of the 2014 season.

Moore’s gracious tribute to Maya Angelou demonstrates what a great gift parents can give their children when they name their kids after namesakes who can inspire and serve as role models for their children. It’s often a mistake to name children after pop culture stars whose images are subject to “trainwrecks” due to mistakes that are easily made when “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” combine with too much money to cloud their judgment–sometimes before they are even out of their teens and twenties.

Consider making a list of your heroes and reading about them to help you decide which of your heroes could motivate your child to do great things.

P.S. In addition to being a name with literary, athletic and historical connections, Maya is also on my top-20 list of “Cool Names for Girls.”