Thanks to Diana for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
HUNGARIAN HERITAGE CHOICE
Landlocked in Central Europe, Hungary is the kind of place we all recognize, but probably haven’t visited.
The language, also known as Magyar, is unlike most others in Europe. It boasts just two linguistic cousins: Finnish and Estonian. All three ultimately trace their roots to a language spoken by people from the Uralic Mountains, in western Russia at the edge of Asia.
Still, many of the most popular given names in Hungary today feel broadly European: Emma, Bella, Lili; Peter, Mark, Adam.
Among the expected choices, some surprises await. There’s Boglárka, the Hungarian word for buttercup, or Zsombor, which means bison.
A few manage to be both distinctive and feel like they’d import well to English. Laszlo is one, a Hungarian form of the Slavic Vladislav.
The baby name Aladar fits there, too.
MEANING OF THE BABY NAME ALADAR
It looks like a cousin for Alexander and Alasdair, but that’s not the case.
Instead, it likely comes from names with Germanic roots:
- Aldemar and Adalmar, from elements meaning old and famous, or noble and famous. If it’s the latter, that connects Aladar to a huge family of names, today more popular for girls.
- Aldric, another Germanic name. The familiar ric means power, while the first element is old.
There are a handful of famous Aladars beginning in the nineteenth century.
Nearly all are Hungarian, a mix of politicians, musicians, artists and athletes.
Competing in the Olympic games over an impressive 28-year span, Aladar Gerevich, won six gold medals in sabre. His first gold medal came in Los Angeles in 1932, when he would have been just 22 years old. He won his final medal in Rome in 1960, at the age of 50.
In the 1970s, a series of animated television shows made for Hungarian television featured the adventures of the Mezga family, including super-smart teenage son Aladar.
Romance novelist Barbara Cartland gave the name to a fictional prince in a 1976 novel.
Chances are that most people will recognize the baby name Aladar thanks to something completely different: Walt Disney Pictures released Dinosaur, released in the year 2000.
The mostly CGI film Dinosaur was a financial success – though it’s not exactly The Little Mermaid.
The story is simple: an Iguanodon mom is attacked by a big, bad carnotaur, destroying the nest. Her egg is lost in the predator’s attack.
By a stroke of good fortune, a lemur finds the egg, and raises the dinosaur as part of the lemur family. He becomes known as Aladar.
When their island is destroyed by a meteor, the survivors set off on a journey to find a new home. Things go well for a while, but danger is on their trail.
They meet up with another herd of dinosaurs, though the leaders – Kron and Bruton – are unwilling to sacrifice the weaker dinosaurs in their group.
Aladar proves himself brave and determined, helping the weaker members of their group, in defiance of Kron’s ways.
Ultimately there’s a happy ending for all of the surviving dinosaurs, and the lemurs, too. They smash through a seeming dead-end in a cave to arrive at the promised haven of the Nesting Grounds, eventually finding more lemurs, too.
The names featured in the movie are an intriguing group.
The names don’t follow an obvious pattern. They include Yar, Plio, Zini, and Suri – all lemurs. Other dinosaurs answer to Neera, Baylene, and Eema.
The names are imaginative, unlike anything that we know as names in the US today. It’s a very different approach than 2002’s animated Ice Age and its many sequels, which named its wooly mammoth Manny, and other creatures called the contemporary Diego, Zeke, and even Jennifer.
BY the NUMBERS
Most Americans who recognize the name will likely think of the movie Dinosaur.
And yet, the name is almost entirely unknown in the US. There have never been even five boys given the name in a single year – the minimum required for a name to register in the Social Security baby names database.
A handful appear in other US public records, but only a handful.
BRAVE and DETERMINED
And yet that doesn’t mean the baby name Aladar is unwearable. On the contrary, it sounds like a given name for a boy in this era, fitting right in with Alexander and Arthur and Alaric.
The protagonist of Disney’s movie makes the name feel brave and determined, as do the possible Germanic roots – noble, power.
If you’re after a truly distinctive, but very wearable, Hungarian heritage choice with a heroic vibe, the baby name Aladar could be one to consider.
What do you think of the baby name Aladar?
Originally published on September 9, 2015, this post was revised and re-published on January 4, 2023.