And you thought Nevaeh was over the top!
Thanks to Joy for suggesting daring noun choice Temple as Baby Name of the Day.
The current US Top 100 includes the classic Grace, the much-maligned Nevaeh and the modern spiritual name Trinity. Not everyone agrees on which styles of meaningful moniker are appropriate – or not – as a given name, but what’s certain is this: you’ll be meeting more girls called Genesis and Verity, Journey and True.
There’s a hint of virtue name about Temple, but she also has much in common with nouveau noun names like Autumn and Serenity.
Of course, Temple also shares sounds with Temperance, a Plymouth Rock-ready appellation popularized by hit TV show Bones, featuring the brilliant anthropologist turned super-sleuth Dr. Temperance Brennan. And both names can use Arizona place name Tempe as an appealing short form.
But back to the meaning of Temple. The word comes from the Latin templum, and has referred to a place consecrated for worship for centuries. Yet there’s something more there – templum is also the origin of our word template. Somehow temple implies an idea that goes beyond the structure of a building and touches on the structure of belief itself. It’s a subtle undercurrent, but I think it is one reason Temple seems like a possible given name, while Basilica seems outlandish.
Of course, this could be my cultural bias at work. Christians gather in churches (and basilicas, cathedrals, chapels and meeting houses). Men and women of other faith traditions gather in temples, including Jews, Hindus and Buddhists. A Christian parent might consider it for a child, but I’m guessing that’s not true if your weekly worship takes place in one.
Is it appropriate? Cohen can set some of us on edge. Others blanch at Trinity.
If you’re not religious, Temple might seem like an architectural reference, relating to the structures built by the Romans and the Greeks. If we travel to see ancient ruins and visit sites like the Pantheon, then perhaps there’s room for a secular reading of Temple.
Let’s step away from the wonders of the ancient world to, once again, consider the impact of the small screen. The driving force behind Temple’s possible adoption as a given name might be a recent HBO biopic. Dr. Temple Grandin is on the faculty at Colorado State University as a renowned expert in animal sciences. She’s also autistic, and has become a leading advocate for neurodiversity – the idea that some forms of autism are not disorders to be cured, but differences to be embraced. Claire Danes played Gradin in the film.
Count Temple as an extreme baby name, one that won’t go unnoticed. Whether you’re thinking of her spiritual side, referencing architecture or taking a queue from Dr. Grandin, there’s much to raise an eyebrow over. But she’s surprisingly pleasing, both in sound and meaning.