Apple, Clementine, Plum … how ’bout this one from the orchard?
Thanks to Racheli for suggesting Peach as our Baby Name of the Day.
If you named your daughter Peach, she wouldn’t really be the first. High-profile starbaby turned model/television personality Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof got there first. Peaches and sibs Fifi and Pixie often pop up on lists of crazy baby names, but that’s been happening for so long that all three names feel less daffy than they did once upon a time.
Other notables include:
- Fashion designer Peach Carr, a Season Eight Project Runway alum. Her Etsy shop is empty, but it sounds like she’s doing well;
- If you happened to see the 2003 Amanda Bynes vehicle What a Girl Wants, you might recall aristocratic debutante twin sisters called Peach and Pear, played by real-life twin sisters Connie and Cassie. (The actresses also played twins Sophie and Mel on Hollyoaks.)
- Another fictional figure is Princess Peach Toadstool of the Mushroom Kingdom in the Mario video game universe. In recent years, she’s graduated from the predictable damsel requiring rescue to a playable headline character in Super Princess Peach.
But let’s get back to the fruit.
We’ve been calling them peaches for ages, since the 1100s. The word was pesche in Old French; that ultimately derives from the Latin pessica and persica, words borrowed from the phrase Persian apple.
Peaches originally come from China, but the first ones arrived in Europe via Persia – Persis. Persis pops up in the New Testament, and appears in Colonial America, too. There are plenty of types to choose from, available all over the world.
Other meanings have attached over the years:
- Here’s my favorite quirky peach fact: the Middle English peche meant sin. In French, péché still means sin, while the fruit is pêche. So the surname probably implied something between all-out-roguishness and a certain tendency towards less-than-choirboy behavior;
- That’s not a well-known reference these days, but you might hear a woman described as a peach, and a “peaches and cream” complexion is another compliment.
Despite their exotic origins, today it is tough to hear peach and not think of the American South – specifically Georgia. The state is home to Peach County. In the days before corporate sponsorship, the big football game was The Peach Bowl. On New Year’s Eve, New York City drops a ball, but Atlanta counts down with a peach. There’s a Georgia Peach Festival, and, naturally, a Miss Georgia Peach. But peaches flourish in many parts of the US. Thomas Jefferson planted dozens of varieties in the orchards at his Virginia home, Monticello.
The name has some history of use, too. While she’s never cracked the US Top 1000, there are plenty of Peaches in US Census records. More of them are female, but there’s a healthy helping of men who answered to Peach, too, likely inspired by the surname.
All of this makes Peach a sweet name, the kind of wacky, unconventional choice that can grow on you over time. There’s an innocence to her, and a certain blending of the exotic and the familiar. Be prepared for questions aplenty if you put Peach in the first spot, but she’s a fun, unexpected middle name choice.