Word Names No One Uses (from Shakespeare and Beyond)

Once in a while, I’ll come across a word and think, “that’d make a great name!” It happens a lot when I read older material with antiquated language, especially Shakespeare. The once common words he used have become rare and exotic sounding. I’ve rarely heard any of them actually used as names, but I’d definitely cheer any parent brave enough to (especially in the middle).

Moiety- My favorite of Shakespeare’s works is Winter’s Tale, and this word stuck out to me during Hermione’s beautiful monologue in Act III Scene 2. The word means “a piece” or “a part,” but it’s the three syllable, ends in -y structure that made me think it might work as a name.

Pyrrhic- It sounds like Piers or Eric and comes from the name of the Greek king Pyrrhus of Epirus. Pyrrhic means “won at too great a cost” and is often combined with victory, as in “a Pyrrhic Victory.” It can also be a linguistic term describing two short, unaccented syllables. The sound is interesting and could fit in with a lot of more popular boy’s names (plus Py is a great nickname), but the meaning probably isn’t what most parents would want for their child.

Talisman- An item that produces miraculous or fortuitous effects, Talisman could be a nod to lucky or against-the-odds circumstances that lead to a child’s birth. The name sounds like a surname, though it isn’t, and it reminds me of the Welsh name Taliesin.

Morrow- One of my favorites on the list, Morrow is an archaic word for morning or tomorrow. The name sounds so simple and familiar-it’s a lot like Marlo, Barrow, and Mauro. It conjures visions of a bright, hopeful future- a definite positive for a new baby.

Merrily- Merrily means “happily” and it sounds a lot like many other names. I’ve actually heard this one used for girls, albeit very rarely.

Verily- A rhyme to Merrily, Verily means “truly.” Truth seems to be catching on as a concept in naming- though True, Truly, and Truth don’t officially rank in the top 1000, I hear them tossed around a lot on naming boards, especially for a middle. Verily also makes for a very slight variant on the long-used Verity.

Aviatrix- Aviatrix combines the super popular Ava with the rising Beatrix. It’s a term for a woman who flies planes (a female Aviator). The similarity to “dominatrix” may give some parents pause, but it could work in the middle spot.

Elysian- Elysian relates to the Elysian fields, the blissful home of the righteous and heroic in the Greek mythological afterlife. Elysian makes for a novel and more unisex spin on Elysia.


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