Dulcie, Ruth, and Reese: Names Inspired by Candy

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

Just for fun this Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking about names inspired by candy.

The list of possible names to include was long, and it was tough to narrow it down.  Sugar is too sweet, though a few dozen girls have received the name since the 1950s.  Some candy brands work, but Toblerone is too much.

Does it count as a candy name if the candy is only sold in Norway?  If it is a treat few would recognize in the US?  Is a sweet meaning alone enough to make the list?

In all, there are more wearable names than I ever expected.  Most are best for girls, but a handful could wear well on a son, too.

And while I started out collecting these names just for fun, if you have a sweet tooth, one of these names could be the perfect choice for a future child’s name.

Names Inspired by Candy: Sweet Meanings

Candace, Candice – A New Testament title for a queen of Nubia, Candace has nothing to do with sweet treats – save that Candace shortens naturally to Candy, and so makes this list.  Today’s generation of kids will think of her as Phineas and Ferb’s older sister, intent on spoiling their schemes.

Condoleezza – She’s as singular a name as Uma, and I’d long assumed the accomplished academic and diplomat’s given name was an invention from thin air.  It actually comes from the musical term con dolcezza – with sweetness.  And a few extra letters.  I find it difficult to imagine the name on anyone other than Condoleezza Rice, but her name’s meaning fits this list.

Dulce, Dulcie, Ducibella, Dulcinea – The Latin dulcis means sweet, and it’s the source of dolcezza in Ms. Rice’s name. In various forms, Dulcie and company have been in use over the centuries.  Dulcinea was Don Quixote’s true love, and, years later, a Toad the Wet Sprocket album.

Eglantine – There’s a flowering shrub known as sweetbrier, or eglantine.  While Eglantine feels like a clunky Old English name she’s actually from aiglent – the Old French translation for the plant name.  You might recognize this one from Kathryn Lansky’s Guardians of Ga’Hoole series, where it is worn by a small owl.

Ezti– I’ve come across Esti and Esty as short forms of Esther.  This is different, though.  In Basque, Ezti literally means honey or sweet.  It doesn’t seem to be used as a given name, though with other honey-inspired names, it earns a spot on this list.

Honey – Sugar didn’t make the list, but Honey does.  While Honey has never cracked the US Top 1000, she has a surprisingly long and steady history of use.  73 girls were given the name in 2012, 109 in 2005, and 23 in 2000. The pageant starlet behind Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is actually named Alana, but her nickname is much heard on TLC these days.  There’s also iconic Bond girl Honey Ryder, and an EastEnders character.

Miel – It’s the French word for honey, and miellé means honeyed.  Mielle could be a borrowing of the word, an elaboration of Miel, or a sort of Mia-Brielle mashup.  Both have seen some sparing use in the US.

Pamela – Sir Philip Sidney combined the Greek pan – all – and meli – honey for a poem.  That was the 1500s; in 1740, Samuel Richardson gave the name to the heroine of his bestseller Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded.  His Pamela was a humble maidservant who refused the advances of her employer’s son, until he finally proposed an honorable marriage.  The name caught on in the UK around 1920, and was a smash hit in the US in the 1950s.

Zusa – One last rarity, this time borrowed from Yiddish.  I can’t tell if Zusa was a given name, or more of a term of endearment.  But it does mean sweet.  Sound-wise, Zusa is somewhere between the nickname Zuzu and well-established choices like Suzanne. She could work as a given name in 2014.

Names Inspired by Candy: Famous Brands

Charleston – Combine our affection for Charlie and all of his variants with an ongoing interest in place names, and the Charleston Chew could inspire a baby or three.

Clark – My personal favorite, Clark was my father’s nickname, and I once lived in an apartment that looked out on the iconic CLARK sign in Pittsburgh.  The candy bar was created by DL Clark, an Irish immigrant, and remains in production today, though the company has since been acquired and the bars are now made by NECCO.  As a name, he’s slowly returning to his Clark Kent/Clark Gable associations, which make this name feel rather handsome.

Godiva – There really was a Lady Godiva, wife of LeofricEarl of Mercia, in the 1100s.  Legend tells us that she rode through town on horseback in some state of undress in an attempt to convince her husband to lower taxes.  It’s an unlikely tale, and is first recorded two centuries after her death.  Historians can debate what actually occurred, but Godiva is a household name thanks to the Belgian chocolatier, now available world-wide in its distinctive gold box with a logo inspired by the legendary ride.

Haviland – Until I wrote this, Haviland leaned Hollywood to me – as in actress Olivia de Haviland.  But they’re also a type of mint made by Necco, and the line includes chocolate mints and .  It’s a preppy, even fanciful sound.  But with H surname name for girls so in vogue, could Haviland follow Harper and Hadley into wider use?

Heath – Like Clark, the Heath bar was named after its creator – LS Heath.  After many years as a family business, the candy is now manufactured by Hershey.  Heath strikes me as a true underused gem – rugged but not too cowboy, a nature name that feels solidly established as a given name, too.

Henry – He makes this list because of the Oh Henry! bar, but there are lots of associations with this regal, storied name.  The name might have been named after a real person, or possibly it’s a nod to American writer O. Henry.

Jordan – Strictly speaking, a Jordan almond is a dragée –  a decorative sugar-coated confection.  They may date all the way back to ancient Rome, but it was an Italian candy maker who made them famous.  The Pelino family still makes them today, preferring the name confetti.  Jordan might have come from jardin – the French word for garden, indicating almonds that were cultivated just for use in candy-making.

Kit – It could be short for Christopher or Katherine or Christine.  Kit Carson was a frontiersman.  Kit Kittredge was an American Girl doll who got her own movie.  In candy, the Kit Kat is a well-known chocolate-coverage wafer, easily broken apart.  The name probably evolved from the Kit-Cat Club, an English literary and political club composed of leading figures in 1700s England.

Kat – Another possible short form for Katherine or related names, Kat also brings to mind the Kit Kat bar, though it may read more feline than chocolate.

Mary Jane – These were always a let-down on Halloween – taffy with a peanut butter center that didn’t appeal to my childhood self.  There are so many associations with Mary Jane, it is difficult to imagine that anyone would guess you’d named her for the candy.

Palmer – Like ends-with-r choices and unusual surname names? Palmer is one that might work.  The candy company was founded in Sioux City, Iowa.  It remains home to Palmer Candy Company, more than five generations later – but that’s a pretty subtle tie.

Pixy – Could anything be more appealing than a tube of pure sugar with a little bit of flavor mixed in?  Pixy or Pixie is something of an outlandish name for a child, but

Reese – First there were the peanut butt cups.  Then came the pieces, so famously enjoyed by E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial.  Since then there have been Fast Break bars and Reese’s Puffs cereals, to name just two.  While Reese is strongly associated with all things peanut butter and chocolate, it is also a solidly established given name for boys and girls.

English: A photograph of a heap of candy heart...

Ruth – As in Baby Ruth, the candy bar with the most controversial of names.  Officially, it is named after Ruth Cleveland, the daughter of former US President Grover Cleveland.  Except that the candy bar was first sold in 1921.  That’s three decades after Cleveland left the White House, and some years after Ruth Cleveland had passed away.  So what was happening in 1921?  Well, a baseball played named George Ruth, but better known as Babe, was enjoying quite a bit of popularity.  One more point suggesting that the candy bar was named for the New York Yankee?  The company manufacturing the Baby Ruth was located right down the street from Wrigley Field, and they placed a prominent billboard in view of the ballpark.

Sky – Anyone naming their baby Sky is almost certainly looking up.  But Necco’s Sky Bar, with four separate fillings in four separate compartments – is a candy-coated association, too.

Names Inspired by Candy: Imports & Obscurities

Calisson – We’ve named our children Allison and Ellison, so why not Calisson?  A traditional French candy, made from a mix of oranges and almonds, Calisson has some potential as a cowboy cool name, a long form of Calor as a girl’s name, another in the Carrington category.

Freia – It’s a chocolate brand from Norway.  I’m used to seeing the name spelled Freja, Freya, or Freyja, but this spelling has some appeal, too.

Holly – From Danish chocolatier Toms, but little known in the US.

Lulu – In the 1950s, Smarties were advertised in the UK with the tagline “Buy some for Lulu.”  (See, I promised you obscurities!)  There’s also an Arizona-based chocolatier specializing in organic chocolate by the name Lulu.

Marie – Cadbury’s Sweet Marie is only available in Canada.  The treat was named for a love poem, or so the story goes.

Max – None of this name’s popularity is due to candy.  But if you have a son named Max and happen to be making a trip to Turkey, look for Action Max bars.  There could be no better souvenir.

Orion – Another candy you can’t find in the US is the Orion Bar, manufactured in Prague by a family-owned confectionary for years before being bought by Nestle.

Whittaker – One last entry on our list, this time from New Zealand.  Doubtless I’ve overlooked many smaller, regional, family-owned chocolatiers.  But some of them jump out at me, their names so very wearable that they had to make this list.  File Whittaker in that camp. While the single-t Whitaker seems like the more obvious spelling to me, the famous export is spelled with two.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Would you ever consider a name inspired by candy?  Are there others that should be on this list?

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10 Comments

The Biblical name Keziah means Cinnamon. In the Spanish Bible, the name is Canela.

Keziah was one of Job’s daughters born after all his troubles. Job 42:14

I’ve heard Wrigley used as a middle name more than a few times, but I think the name was inspired by the Chicago Cubs more than the gum brand.

Palmer is one of my favorite names, but it’s also a small candy company from Iowa (Twin Bings.)

Katjes is a German candy company (they make Gummis and Licorice.) Anyways, Katje means “small cat” in Dutch and it pronounced just like Katya/Katia. We used to call my step-kid Katje when she was little.

Whitman’s Sampler (of chocolates) has long been my mom’s go to gift for Valentines day. I had Whitman at the top of my list for a boys name for several years before I decided I preferred it in the middle name spot.

For fun I call my daughter Katharine, Kit Kat. Her older sister, Clare, can of course embrace the éclair. We’ve had lots of fun considering potential sister names for them (though when this baby comes, they’ll now have 4 brothers). Theresa is a long time favorite of mine and I know I’d call her Reese’s Pieces.

As a fun side note, apparently Lady Godiva was the 17th great grandmother of the wife of my 12th great grandfather. Not sure how accurate that is though.

Who would have thought that a list of names based on candy would have so many great options! Eglantine, Whittaker and Haviland would make a gorgeous sibset 🙂

I LOVE Heath. Glad it got a positive blurb because it’s my #1 boy’s name currently and has been for some time.

Dulcie is growing on me. I’m secretly fond of Candace – it irks me that Cadence gets all the trend love.

Others:
There’s a candy down here in Oz called Violet Crumble. I’ve liked Violet for eons anyway, even before I emigrated.

Growing up in Philadelphia, I was introduced to Joyvas via my grandmother. I still love them. Halvah is maybe a weird candy but I adore it. On the other hand there reminds the insecurity that Joyva or Halvah are perhaps best kept to be names for pet bunnies or mini poodles.

I like Minty as a nickname, but like Candy and Honey I wouldn’t use it as a full first name. Araminta, maybe? Bewitching Names featured Peppermint once ages ago and I like it but I wouldn’t be brave enough to really use it.

I’ve heard Taffy used but it has a sort of eccentric-rich-yacht-club feel to me?

Does Penny count? Penny Candy? No? I’ll show myself out…