She’s a frills-free mythological choice with a certain flair.
Thanks to Taylor for suggesting Calyx as our botanical Baby Name of the Day.
File Calyx with Doris and Clio. Their roots are Greek, but you probably don’t know much about the original bearer of the name.
There’s more than one Calyx early days, and you might be more familiar with a different version of her name: Kalyke, Calyce, or even the Latinized Calycia.
One of the first figures was mom to Endymion, a handsome mortal. Depending on the story, he was a prince or a shepherd, possibly the son of Zeus, and in most accounts, father to fifty daughters with Selene, a moon goddess.
There’s also a nymph who helped nurse the young Dionysus. One more Calyx appears, too – she had an affair with Poseidon, and their son went on to become a king.
Thanks to all of these references, Calyx has been borrowed by astronomers. Eleven years ago, the name was given to a moon of Jupiter, though they preserved the spelling Kalyke, pronounced kal EH kee.
From the heavens to terra firma, there’s a second reference. The Greek kalyx became the Latin calyx – a term to describe the husk of a flower bud. There’s no connection to the first figure; instead, calyx comes from the Greek kylix – drinking cup – as well as kalyptein – to veil.
Whether you’re thinking of the botanical reference or the mythological one, the question is whether it will wear well on a child.
Alexander is a staple for boys. We all know girls who answer to Alex, and Alix has history as a valid variant of Alice. Girls’ names like Callie and Calla share her first syllable, as do Calvin and Caleb.
But has anyone ever answered to Calyx?
In 2009, fewer than five boys or five girls received the name, but Calyx does surface in US Census records. Most of the bearers appear to be male, but I’m at a loss to explain how he came into use.
It’s easy to imagine a parent dreaming it up these days. In fact, it does surface in news reports – but tied to a grisly murder of a teenager in early 2011. And you’ll find her on message boards, too. (My favorite: the question was “What do you think of Calyx?” and the reply was “Try a real name, like Calyce.”)
A calyx is also part of the kidney, and quite the popular name for companies – flowers and jewelry to software and business consulting. It’s a perfume from Prescriptives, and at Washington and Lee University, Calyx is the name of the yearbook.
All in all, it seems like it would wear well – like Alex, but a little different – and probably seems better suited for a girl, though it is so rare that I wouldn’t quibble with a boy called Calyx. Actually, given the rise of Felix, maybe Calyx is just right for a son.
The only trouble is that the pronunciation isn’t like Alex with a C in front; apparently it sounds like KAI licks. I don’t love that sound – and, frankly, I think you’d have to resort to a sci-fiesque spelling like Kylix to ensure that pronunciation.
Calyx is risky, but not completely outlandish. I’ll be curious to hear if anyone has ever met a Calyx!
Crystal D says
I named my daughter Calyx. People say it with a short A instead of a long A but it’s all good! I love her name and it fits her perfectly!
My name is Calyx (pronounced Caalicks) I was born in 2008. I love my name and never met another me before, its good to know there are more of me!
I named my son Colby Calyx. Botanical reference . Born in 2016
Calyx D says
My name is Calyx and I’m a girl. I can only picture this name being for girls not boys. I’ve also never met another Calyx which is cool.
I named my son Calyx Ryan. He was born in September 2014. Everyone loves his name but it is indeed often mispronounced as “Calex,” instead of with a long A.
Mom E says
I named my son Calix (kah-liks), initially I wanted Alex or Alexander (alltimelow and arcticmonkeys haha). I think it’s unique, but I call him Lex sometimes
My sons name is Calyx Dean. I’m really close to my father and he has a rare kidney disorder that involves the calyx of his kidney. I’ve yet to meet a person with the name Calyx. We pronounce it like Alex with a c in front of it!
Michelle gonzales says
My son’s name is Calyx Matthew
B Calyx says
My last name is actually Calyx (I pronounce is kay-lix), though I’m open to other pronunciations.
Kaiylix B says
My name is Kaiylix and I’m a girl, it’s pronounced Kay-Lix. My parents couldn’t decide between Kaylin and Alex so they put them together. The weird thing is I actually go to school with another person with the same name who’s a guy but he spells it Caylex.
Calyx C. says
hello. I am a girl with the name Calyx, but I pronounce it like “Kay-Lee”. I love my name but everyone that reads my name always says “Kalics” and it used to bother me, but at least ik they are talking to me.
My name is Calyx. I live in the Western United States and I pronounce it with a long a. Many local people tend to want to pronounce it with a short a, which is also fine. That said, whilst living in England, I became accustomed to the majority of British using the short a pronunciation, as well as to hearing my name pronounce Kell-EEKS (like, “here comes Kelly—eeks!”) mostly from French and Asian folks. My name comes from an old French family surname spelled Calix, pronounced with the latter inflection; although when I acquired it, it was for the botanical reference. Long story short: I’m easy going with the various pronunciations I hear.
Calyx is male & sounds cool..
We named our son after intially seeing the name Calyx but we put any confusion aside when we altered its spelling giving him the name Kaylx. The switch to K is to correspond with the first letter of my name which is Keith. Being from East Tennesssee his mother and I abandoned the C version for fear of being pronounced cow-licks and modified it to the K version hoping to get it to be pronounced Kay-Lex!
my names is calix, i pronounce it like alex with a c
My daughters name is Calyx
I have a neighbor named Calyx, she must be around 7 now, lovely girl and big sister to Twila. I was unsure of the names at first, but they’ve grown on me.
I named my Son Kalyx and we pronounce it as KAY-LIX.
Haha, I found this page while studying for anatomy and before you go naming your baby Calyx you should know that specfically it is the one of the 1st tubes urine passes through in the kidney. Sounds like a cool name, but I wouldn’t want my name to also be a word for a urine tube.
Emmy Jo says
I know a Calyx! She pronounces her name KAY-lix. She is lovely and quirky. Because of her, I like the name a lot. I see it as a completely workable-but-offbeat botanical choice, and it seems 100% feminine to me.
Oh wow – that’s fabulous!
I also pronounce the fragrance CAY-licks. Seems like it should be related to Calixto and Calista. Definitely has a sci-fi feel with any spelling.
The American Heritage Dictionary lists the pronunciation as ka’liks and kal’iks, no KAI-licks pronunciation listed (http://www.wordnik.com/words/calyx) It may be a case of Greek vs. English pronunciations.
I like the sound of Calyx, but it’s seems odd to me to name a child after the outer part of a flower. If a was a child named Calyx, I’d probably wish my name was Petal instead.
It also reminds me of cowlick and why I can never wear bangs in my hair. 😉
C in DC says
There’s a character in Game of Thrones (book & HBO) who is the Khalisi (queen). I can see Calisi or other variations showing up. Her given name is Daenerys.
Funny, just last week I overheard a mother introducing her infant son as Calixte, which is a French variant of Calyx pronounced with a short A. Calixa Lavall
I always thought this was a male name too. I’ve read it on one of those blogs with birth names and it was on a boy. For me, it’s very similar to Alex, so I do think it’s useable.
Calyx, hmm. Strikes me as quite masculine, I don’t think I could see this on a girl. Maybe a raised eyebrow if I ever met one too.
I like obscure names, and generally love mythological names but Calyx’s sound gives me pause. Rule #1 for me is that the pronunciation must be a given from the spelling. Calyx, thanks to Daniel Webster, doesn’t work for me. I hate Daniel Webster! Bah! Fabulous name, but not for me.
I’m actually surprised to find myself considering it. I like it. You’re right, she has flair to her, and that’s all I ask 😉
The only association I have is a friend, Alice, who briefly changed her name the Calix when she was 15, thinking her own name was rather dull.
The only I ever heard it on a person is the poor child murdered by their mother. (My husband’s query: “Why is it that only kids with kids with weird names get murdered?”)
Even though that has given it some pretty awful associations now, I can see that this is probably more usable than it first appears, as it sounds so much like other names. The X ending makes it fit in with trendy names like Pax and Maddox. I find the pronunciation issues pretty confusing though.
The pronunciation question threw me, too. I was skipping along assuming it was Alex-with-a-C until it hit me that it probably wasn’t so.
Assuming you like the Alex-with-a-C sound, I cannot imagine anyone else saying, “But isn’t the botanical term pronounced with a KYE sound?”
There were men named Calyx back in the day – but just a handful. I can’t tell if I’m missing something. There have been a handful of families with the surname Calix – same roots – plus there’s the Spanish/Portuguese Calixto, as in the popes.
And yes, the only 21st century bearer of the name that I could find met a truly tragic fate – no words for that.
I guess one of the problems with either pronunciation is that they sound like “Cal licks” or “Kyle licks”.
I actually never thought of this as a male name (there’s so few flower-related masculine names), but now you say it, it does SOUND more male than female.