Rose is the middle name of the moment, whether you’re talking about the neighbors’ new baby girl or celebrity parents like Nicole Kidman’s Sunday Rose or Jimmy Fallon’s Winnie Rose. All three of Sylvester Stallone’s daughters share the botanical middle.
But what about Rose as a first name, à la the fictional daughter of Charlotte York Goldenblatt of Sex and the City fame? There’s also Rose Tyler, the loyal companion of television’s Doctor Who, and Kate Winslet’s lovely character in mega-blockbuster Titanic.
It’s that rare choice that manages to be feminine, elegant, and strong, while requiring just one simple syllable.
Don’t count her out yet, though. Rose is on the move. In 2010, she ranked a relatively frosty #337, so she’s climbed nearly one hundred spots in just two years.
There’s much to recommend Rose on her own, but how about names that include Rose? If you like the idea of this lovely botanical, but want something with a few more syllables, read on.
There are easily two dozen Rose names – far less than in botany, where over 100 species are found. But it’s enough that they range from the classic to the dated to the newly fashionable and potentially appealing.
Rose Names: The Classics
Rose: The timeless original. Like Mary, Jane, Anne, or Grace, Rose’s style stems from her effortless and timeless simplicity. The name is feminine but never frilly. Rose could be a ballerina, a district attorney or the little girl next door.
Rosa: The Latin version of the classic. Picture the same little girl, but somewhere in the Spanish-speaking world. While Rosa has been quite fashionable in the US, she’s never eclipsed her single-syllable cousin. As of 2012, she ranked #614 in the US – falling, while Rose climbs.
Rosanna: Just as she appears, Rosanna is a mash-up of Rose and Anna, and was a smash hit song for Toto back in 1982. While the names aren’t related, you might get the tough girl nickname Roxy from the ladylike Rosanna. As of 2010, she was not in the Top 1000. Neither was alternate spelling Roseanna or still-tied-to-television-funnywoman Roseanne.
Rosemary: She’s a double flower power hit – there’s not only the bloom, but the herb, too. As Ophelia memorably told us, Rosemary is for remembrance. The short form Romy comes from the Germans, and is occasionally bestowed as a given name. This is my personal favorite, thanks to the haunting Interpol song from 2005. (Yes, their Rosemary references the twisted serial killer Rosemary West. Let’s overlook that tiny hiccup.) As of 2012, Rosemary ranked #603 – gaining more than 100 spots in just two years. There’s also Rosemarie.
Rosamond, Rosamund: In use since at least the 12th century, and probably a few hundred years prior, this name has more in common with the equestrian-tinged Rosalind than the botanical Roses. Still, it’s tempting to translate this as “rose of the world” – in fact, the 12th century mistress of England’s King Henry II was named Rosamund Clifford and nicknamed precisely that. These Roses last appeared in the US Top 1000 in the 1930s, making them true throwbacks.
Rose Names: The Imports
Rosalba: Used mainly in Italian, this one means “white rose.” It has the romantic feel of Arabella, but she’s far less expected. The name has never ranked in the US Top 1000.
Rosario, Rosaria: The term “rosary” literally translates to rose garden, but refers to a Catholic devotional prayer practice counted out on beads. Rosario is feminine in Spanish and masculine in Italian; Rosaria is the Italian feminine. Despite the success of actress Rosario Dawson and the lively sound of this name, neither version has recently charted in the US Top 1000.
Rosetta: This is an Italian pet form of Rose, most famous as the Rosetta Stone – the ancient steele that provided the key to reading Egyptian hieroglyphics. It was discovered in 1799 by the French, who had conquered Egypt under Napoleon the year before. The port city was called Rashid, but the French referred to it as Rosetta – and so this name sounds not only dated, but carbon-dated. It has not ranked in the US Top 1000 since 1973.
Róisín: Pronounced ro SHEEN, this is the Celtic version of the name. Technically, it means “little rose.” Róis – rosh – is the literal translation for the flower. Once an immigrant would’ve abandoned this name in favor of Rose minutes after arriving in the US. Today, it’s likely to be bestowed by parents who’ve never seen the Emerald Isle but are longing for a heritage choice – a sister for Niamh and Saoirse. Despite her authenticity, the “een” ending brings to mind Arlene, Darlene and Maureen – names slightly out of step today. It has never charted in the Top 1000.
Rose Names: Literary Roses
Rosalie: In the 1920s, she was a princess in disguise in a Gershwin musical. In 1937, the musical became a movie and propelled Rosalie into the US Top 100. After several years out of favor, Rosalie is back again, thanks to another story adapted for the big screen – she’s Bella’s vampire sister-in-law in the Twilight franchise. Supernatural romances aside, she’s also quite stylish circa 2014. Rosalia was an ancient festival, celebrated into the year 500, and probably for many centuries prior. Rosalia entered common use and was the name of a 12th century Sicilian saint. The -ie ending is the more popular of the two.
Rosalind: Shakespeare used Rosalind for a character in As You Like It, as well as Romeo’s love interest before he met his Juliet. Besides Rosie, Rosalind offers the nickname option Lindy, as well as serving as a graceful way to honor women named Rose and Linda – statistics suggest that many of us have both names hanging on our family trees. It’s tempting to translate Rosalind as “beautiful rose,” but in fact there’s no botanical basis for this name. It’s from Germanic elements for horse – hros and soft – linde – meaning that the name suggests a biddable horse. Let’s not on dwell on that. Rosalind was not in the Top 1000 as of last year.
Rosmerta – The Harry Potter name was borrowed from an ancient fertility goddess. JK Rowling made her the proprietress of The Three Broomsticks, Hogsmeade’s favorite watering hole.
Primrose: Yes, it’s a valid botanical choice. But it’s terribly, well, prim and prissy for a real live girl, never charting in the US Top 1000. Thanks to The Hunger Games character, a young woman who demonstrates tremendous bravery, that could change.
Rose Names: Smooshes & Elaborations
Rosalynn, Rosalyn, Roslyn, Roseline, Roselyn: A compound name that seems slightly dated circa 2014, and yet could be at home with Evelyn, Adalyn, and Gracelyn. In metro DC, Rosslyn, Virginia is just across the Key Bridge from Georgetown. None of these choices appeared in the US Top 1000 in 2007, but by 2012, Roselyn ranked #849.
Rosina, Rosena, Rosella, Roselle, Rosalita: Like Rosetta, these are pet forms of Rose and Rosa, sometimes bestowed independently. Some might favor them for family or personal reasons. For example, Rosina appears in the Rossini opera The Barber of Seville. The song Rosalita was a 1973 hit for Bruce Springsteen. Like the Roslyn cluster, they’re not exactly on trend, but they’d fit in just fine.
Rosabel, Rosabelle, Rosabella: Yet another mash-up, this time used in Italian and Spanish, as well as English. It’s a relatively new name, dating to the 18th century. Given the popularity of Isabella and Annabel, why not Rosabel?
Anna Rose, Mary Rose: These have been popular through the ages, but are likely recorded in official records as Anna and Mary. Smooshing them together as Annarose and Maryrose is an option, too, and other smooches, like Ellarose and Emmarose also work.
There you have it – plenty of reasons to rescue Rose from the middle spot and promote her to first.