Some calendar baby names seem so mainstream we don’t notice them. Think of May or June. But many – maybe most – names drawn from dates and times of year feel distinctive and different. They often feel more like words than given names.
That’s changing, though. In the last few decades, we’ve seen celebrities choose names like Sunday for their children – that’s the daughter of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. January Jones put her calendar name on parents’ radar. And word names have become more common overall, making choices from Evening to Winter feel more wearable than ever before.
There are plenty of good reasons to be inspired by calendar baby names, too. Consider:
- If you’re stumped for a middle, they might make meaningful choices related to your child’s season or time of birth.
- Calendar baby names can honor an important person or event in your life – a wedding anniversary or a birthday.
- They work for the same reasons many noun names appeal – they’re easily spelled and pronounced, but relatively rare.
Whether inspired by months, seasons, days, holidays, or even times of day, calendar baby names combine style and layers of meaning, too.
INSPIRED BY MONTHS
January Jones put this name on the map for girls; her mother found it in a novel by Jacqueline Susann. It fits with three-syllable, ends-in-y names for girls, from Dorothy to Emily to Avery. Plus, we all think of Jan as a given name.
The French form of January, Janvier sounds a little like this: zhahn vee ay. That might challenge English speakers. Still, it fits with Genevieve and Juniper, and French names for girls have always been popular with American parents.
It brings to mind the enduring March sisters, of Little Women fame, but maybe this one is best for boys. March ultimately comes from Mars, the Roman god of war. It’s also the root of our word martial, which lends it an aggressive vibe – and yet, March – the first month of spring – has a gentle side, too.
APRIL, MAY, JUNE
Call these three the old reliable calendar baby names. April ranked in the Top 50 during the 1970s; parents of the 1920s loved June; and May was big in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – though the spelling Mae often ranks higher on the popularity charts.
Take gentle April, factor in names like Ava and Avery, then add a dash of pop punk style, and you’ll have Avril. The French form of April was made familiar by Canadian singer Avril Lavigne. French artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec immortalized Moulin Rouge dancer Jane Avril, lending it an artistic vibe, too.
All of the Jul- names have had their moments, from Julia and Julian to Julianna and lately, Juliette. But July – despite sharing the same roots – is seldom heard, a warm weather name less expected than Summer.
Venerable August boasts a long history of use, from the ancient world to modern times. August Wilson makes it literary, but August feels like a modern virtue name, too. It’s far more common for boys, along with Augustus and other August- names.
OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER
We often dismiss the last few months of the year as less wearable. But maybe that’s not right. Possible short forms abound: Toby, Nova, Dex, and Demi all come to mind.
INSPIRED BY SEASONS
Summer and Autumn came first, but Winter is rising in use, too. Some credit goes to Nicole Richie’s daughter, Harlow Winter Kate, born in 2008. The possibility of nickname Winnie also helps.
It’s easy to imagine that no one ever used the season name Spring. Except Oscar-nominated actor turned early sitcom star Spring Byington proves that wrong.
Summer peaked just outside of the US Top 100 a few years ago. It’s warm and breezy, and it’s been around long enough that notables Summers come to mind. There’s Olympian Summer Sanders; actor Summer Glau; and 2009 rom com 500 Days of Summer, starring Zooey Deschanel as the title character.
Autumn entered the Top 100 in the 1990s and remains there still. While it feels a little 1960s, Autumn has been mainstream for ages. So much so that Autumn Kelly became the granddaughter-in-law to the Queen of England when she married Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne.
Can’t decide if you like Summer better than Autumn? How about embracing them all by naming your child Season? Girls Gone Child made a great case for the sound and significance of this name.
INSPIRED BY DAYS OF THE WEEK
MONDAY and SATURDAY
Two more day names that both count as scarcely-heard rarities.
Actor Tuesday Weld – born Susan – put the name on the map, and the Moody Blues’ “Tuesday Afternoon” gives the day a soundtrack. But this name has yet to crack the US Top 1000.
The Addams Family names were chosen for laughs. Wednesday Addams’ mom answers to the delightfully unwearable Morticia. The old Mother Goose rhyme tells us that “Wednesday’s child is full of woe,” which explains why it was the right choice for Miss Addams. And yet, Wednesday does have an intriguing sound. The television show debuted in 1964, and in 1965, fifteen girls were given the name. It continues to be used in small – but steady – numbers, especially because reboots of the original series won’t quit. The latest Netflix hit promises to make Wednesday the next big thing.
Jasper Fforde has written seven novels about literary detective Thursday Next. Despite the success of 2001’s The Eyre Affair, as well as the books that followed, Thursday remains rare as a given name in the US.
Robinson Crusoe dubbed his companion Friday, for the day of the week they met. Daniel Defoe’s novel was published way back in 1719. While seldom heard as a given name in recent decades in the US, it’s not unknown.
Nicole Kidman named her first daughter with Keith Urban Sunday, inspired by an Australian arts maven. It might be a subtle spiritual choice for some parents.
DOMENICA and DOMINGO
The Italian word for Sunday, Domenica, makes an intriguing alternative to romantic names like Francesca. Meanwhile, Domingo, the Spanish word for the day, makes for a masculine choice, a substitute for Santiago.
Dominic means “of the Lord.” Originally, the name was bestowed on children born on Sunday.
Doris Day lends this short, simple name a little bit of Hollywood glam. And if Kay and Jay succeed as given names, why not Day? Leighton Meester and Adam Brody have a daughter named Arlo Day.
TIMES OF DAY
Ev- names continue to catch on for girls, from Eva and Evelyn to rarer possibilities. Evening fits right in.
This name would be the opposite of Evening, and every bit as gorgeous – though without an obvious built-it nickname. maybe it’s more of a middle name contender.
Nicole Richie leads the calendar baby names trend! Harlow Winter Kate’s little brother is Sparrow James Midnight.
Of course, Night is just as appealing an option as Midnight. With names like Stella and Luna so in vogue for our daughters, perhaps Night would be a great alternative for a son? Latin form Nyx is another possibility.
SUNRISE and SUNSET
Names like Sunny and Sunshine have seen some use, but Sunrise and Sunset specifically relate to times of day.
When actor Rob Morrow named daughter Tu, it raised a few eyebrows. But Tomorrow makes an optimistic name – though perhaps better tucked in the middle.
INSPIRED BY HOLIDAYS
Christmas was rare, but not unknown, in medieval Europe. And also in a James Bond movie – Denise Richard starred opposite Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Christmas Jones in 1999’s The World is Not Enough.
Sheryl Crow sings about “a daughter he calls Easter” in her song “Everyday is a Winding Road.” (Except “she was born on a Tuesday night.”) It might work.
In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly’s full name was Holiday. At least Truman Capote called her Holiday in his novella; it never comes up in the movie. Holiday feels like a big, bold name, but it’s also a common surname – probably originally given to someone born on a major religious festival, or holy day.
There’s no shortage of Christmas-inspired names for our children, both the expected and the rare. But Noel – the French word for Christmas – is a particularly appealing option – for a son or a daughter.
Would you consider calendar baby names related to a day or season? Are there other calendar baby names that should be on this list?
First published in January 2012, this post was substantially revised and re-posted on August 24, 2016, updated again on July 25, 2019, and again on August 27, 2020.
My daughter’s middle name Aviv means “Spring” in Hebrew. Aviv was the masculine form (with Aviva being the feminine form) but is now gender neutral. But I guess it’s weird that she was born in the summer though. I blame it on the baby brain I had going on at the time.
Aviv is lovely!
Author/blogger Heather Armstrong has a sister named September. “Mo” could be a cute nickname for Morning. I know Dawn is out of fashion currently, but it’s certainly an established name! I imagine it’ll be one that comes back into style when my kids/grandkids are naming babies and I’ll be the shocked old lady taking issue with naming trends
French Mama says
Fun topic! I just wanted to clarify that the accent is on the last syllable for Janvier (indeed, rhyming with JonBenet). And the name Octave for a boy is not uncommon in France, as is Sixtine for a girl (there are examples of each in my children’s school).
Thanks, French Mama. I think I must not hear janvier right, and I should have checked it. I’ve corrected it above, and here’s a link to a French-speaking saying the word: http://forvo.com/word/janvier/
Someone mentioned the similarity between JonBenet and Janvier, which reminded me: I was in high school, taking French, when JonBenet Ramsey was killed. I heard about her murder for the first time when I tuned in late to a Dateline-esque special. Because there were no text graphics showing her name – the audience only heard it – I assumed they were saying “Janvier.”
I really like Janvier, with one drawback: I look at it and see “Javert” – the Les Miz antagonist!
My brother’s best friend in elementary school was called Vernal. I believe he was named after his father, not the equinox, but I’m not sure. I also know a Tuesdi (not Tuesday, Tuesdi.) she’s a friend of my dad’s.
I really like the month-ember names, especially November. I also really like Solstice.
In my church (I am Anglican) the Easter feast lasts for a week Easter Sunday – Easter Saturday. The day between Good Friday and Easter is called Holy Saturday not Easter Saturday. All written to tell you that in my tradition there is no contradiction between being born on Tuesday night and being born at Easter.
I like Paschal better than Easter though as names go.
OH – an excellent point, Maree!
Maree, that’s a good point!
Hmm, I pronounce January with four syllables, not three!
When it comes to holiday names, four more to add include Natalie (from “dies natalis” = “day of birth”, but referring almost exclusively to the birth of Christ), Christmas (a rare but used English name in the 16th C), Valentine/Valentina, and Tiffany (i.e., Theophania, i.e., Epiphany).
I just wish we still had lovedays!
The Mrs. says
M. Night Shamalan has made Night seem reasonable. The spelling of Knight has been given as a middle to a couple of my friends’ children.
Love this whole idea!
Very good point about M. Night!
I’m surprised no one mentioned Vern or Verna for the vernal equinox in March.
I knew a Vernal growing up.
I like May, Autumn, & Winter for girls. Rosamundi suggests “Mundi” which sounds exactly like how many people here say “Monday” but I would never use Monday as a legal name even though I wouldn’t dislike it as a nickname.
I like August, December, Harvest, Pesach and Pascoe for boys. Pesach was one of my granddad’s Hebrew names, it relates to the Jewish holiday known in English as Passover. Pascoe is Cornish via the Latin Pascha (“Easter”).
The idea of “Harvest” as a name made several of my relatives’ hair fall out.
Solstice and Equinox are among my favourites, but also Harvest, Morning, Morrow, Evening, Midday, Sunrise, Mardi, Aeon/Eon, Afternoon, Noon, Christmas, Easter/Eostre, Daybreak, Dusk, Era, Midwinter, Night/Nightfall, Twilight, Tide, Tonight and Yesterday.
I also remember Bewitching names mentioning pagan holidays like Litha and Beltane which would be wonderful, but I don’t remember all of them and don’t really know enough to say more right now.
Century might also be an option along with Millenium. And maybe Time/Thyme?
Of actual month names, November is my favourite for a girl (nn Nova) and October for a boy (nn Toby). December is a good unisex option, nn Dex for a boy and Desi/Deci for a girl. I’ve also found Decembra which is even more intriguing. July is also nice, but I’m not so into the more ordinary names 🙂
I love the medieval Italian name Setembrina, a derivative of “September”.
The Name Station says
I’ve seen a few Daes recently, and a Daethan.
There’s also Solstice, which I think has it’s charms 🙂
We named our youngest Maria with the full intention of calling her Mae… but it didn’t stick. She has a million other nicknames, Marika, Mia, Mamie, but she just isn’t Mae.
I’m surprised no one else mentioned Thursday as a possibility. I used to be obsessed about Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, in the confines of a book where another character is named Braxton Hicks, Thursday seems perfectly usable.
What about Ekua, the African name for girls born on a Wednesday?
However, in general, I am not a big fan of calendar names. They seem a bit silly to me.
Janvier is interesting!! i never considered it as a name, but I like it. I think March and Day sounds so fresh and lovely. I love July as a nickname for Julia / Juliet.
October (nn Tobie) was on my “so wild and crazy it just might work” list for my October baby. Probably more likely as a middle name, though.
Interesting you think Day is masculine, though, especially with the recent release of Marie Lu’s LEGEND, starring a male Day and a female June as leads.
YA always has the stylish names going on. There’s a Tomorrow in my next book. And I may have to come up with a Janvier — LOVE that name. I’m a January baby myself.
Charlotte Vera says
I’ve considered using Mae in the middle spot since Mae was the name I gave to a doll my grandma owned, so, in a roundabout way, it would be a tribute to my grandmother. However, my sister has since used Mei (pronounced the same) in the middle spot for her youngest daughter, so Mae is no longer really an option. I have an aunt whose middle name is June, a name that I’ve found to be not unusual in the Asian-American/Canadian communities.
Another Canadian Avril is Avril Ph
C in DC says
I have a friend who’s daughter is Wednesday.
A while ago a girl named Tomorrow called a radio show and one of the hosts asked her, “Were your parents procrastinators?” That made me laugh.
There’s also Maia, the Roman goddess of spring for whom the month of May was named.
Blogger Molly Piper (http://mollypiper.com/) has an adorable little boy called Morrow. All of their children have English word names: Orison, Felicity, Morrow, Cadence and Whitsun, but Morrow’s name is my favorite. He was born about a year after his big sister was stillborn, and his name comes from the Bible verse “…but there is joy in the morrow.” I’ve always loved their naming style!
I love love love Calendar names. October is my all time favorite and I would use it in a heartbeat if my last name didnt end in -er.. In a recent conversation I asked my husband if our last name was different if he would let me name a girl October.. he said yes!. December and Winter are runners up for me as well. I feel like January is super posh now that there is an actress with this name. I do feel that calendar names fall to the more feminine side for me with the exception of August. I knew a girl in high school named Tuesday, and I was in love with her name. I actually like Wednesday better though. Sunday to me is too cutesie, too close to Sundae or like naming someone Cupcake. Mondays are just horrible all around, so I think it would be like naming a kid Smelly if you used Monday.. and I could just hear ” does somebody have a case of the Mondays” being said over and over again. My husband has mentioned Aurora in many conversations, but I feel its too Disney for me. Holiday is not on the list! I absolutely love Holiday (also Husband approved) and will probably use if we have a girl between Thanksgiving and New Years, not to mention the Breakfast at Tiffiny’s reference that makes it all the more glam for me. I wrote about Holiday on my baby blog http://suchstuffasdreamsaremadeonblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/baby-name-of-month.html
Great Fetching names post.. these are becoming my favorite days here on AM
Just makes me think of this!
I think several of these names are quite wearable…
Day>I know a little girl named Adai/Adae (not sure on spelling) pron. (ah DAY) her older brothers are Stephen and Jess(e) and I love that her name stands out from the crowd.
Like the idea of Tu Morrow’s name. Tu as a nn for Tomorrow or even Tuesday would fit right in with a few of my favorites..True & Rue!
I’ve also had a fasination with the name Avril ever since Avril Lavigne came on the scene. It is very Hermoine-esq in my opinion.
Janvier, however sounds much to similar to JonBenet…Will we ever forget her name?
And I can’t get over how July sounds a bit like YOU LIE!
Sunday was recently used on a celeb boy, forgot his name. Not really a fan of weekdays as names though.
I think all of these are unisex names, neutral.
For girls I like April, May and June.
For boys I like August, October and especially July – my favorite month name.
Not a fan of season names, but I like Winter for either gender.
What about Octavia, August, Augustus or Augusta?
I love August!
I was going to ask the same thing! My husband *really* wanted Augustus (even though we were due in May) with the nickname of Gus. I just couldn’t get past the “Augustus Gloop” in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory association or the GusGus mouse in Disney’s Cinderella. 😉
Don’t forget Billy Dee Williams! His name is actually William December Williams, Jr. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? 😀
I love this entry! For some reason, I’ve found myself drawn to calendar names, especially when done well. I’ve never thought of July on a boy and I love it! It’d be nice on a girl as well. A few years ago, I was reading something–an article, I think–and a young girl was mentioned in it and her name was October Sunshine Sayonne (not sure if I’m spelling her last name correctly). I can’t remember the article but the name stuck with me.
Sarah A says
There are a lot of names I’m not exactly in love with but are on our shortlist simply because they also work in Arabic. May/Mae and Summer are two such names. I prefer the Mae spelling because I think it’s spunkier and May looks like it belongs on a calendar….though of course that isn’t a bad thing 🙂 Summer is lovely but not as exciting as Winter, unfortunately. I must say, I think I like a lot of these names better than some of the more direct ‘word names’ (a la Clover, Fisher, True, etc.)
My favorite of your suggestions is actually December. My husband and half his family have December birthdays and we started dating and got married (different years of course!) in December. There is something almost somber yet beautiful about the end of the year that would make December a really striking name. I prefer it for a boy and absolutely love the suggestion of the nickname Dex!! I could also see September, November, and December being easily shortened to the unisex Ember.
Oooo I love the thought of Dex for December
I second Ember.
Ember is the current favourite girls name for the fiance and me <3
I am looking for names that also work in arabic too, my husband is syrian and it’s been tough to find a name that works for both of us. We are having a boy this month.
Sarah A says
Denise, congratulations on your impending arrival!
If you want to go with biblical names, there are a ton of great options; pretty much every name from the Old Testament translates into Arabic. Abraham, Adam, Moses, and Gabriel come to mind. Adam in particular is a great choice, especially if you don’t want a name that’s too strongly religious.
Some non-biblical choices that work in Arabic and English, which I love, are Malik, Ali, Omar, Ennis (a variant transcription of Anas), Mazen, Ayman, Bilal (can easily shorten to Billy or Bill), Ferris, Dean, Rayan, Tarek, and Zane.
Hope I could help and good luck 🙂
July! Love it!
How about Vesper (one of the daily services in the Catholic Church).
Or Thor/a (since Thursday is named after Thor) for a baby born on Thursday
Frey/a would be a fun choice for a Friday’s child etc. (and Freya is charting in England while Frey would make a neat middle name for a boy)
October Daye is the main character of a series of novels (4 and counting) in the fantasy/horror genre and she goes by Toby as a nickname 🙂
Sarah A says
Catherine, I love the Thursday names: Thor, Thora, Thorsten. And Freya? Swoon! Though those choices are more subtle as day names to most people.
Our daughter’s name is Vesper and it is extremely wearable. She was names for the Catholic “evening prayers.” She goes by Ves, Vessie or Vesper. We get a lot of comments on how beautiful it sounds. We have only had one person say “Did you know that is Latin for evening” (Of course there is also the James Bond connection-but only one person has ever openly said “Oh, like in James Bond.”)
Can’t wait to find out what you come up with names for Vesper’s sibs 😀 love your taste 😀
Vesper is actually her middle name. Her first name is Catherine! The women in my family go by their middle names so she is following tradition. We have an older son name Aaron purely from my husband’s first born son naming tradition (otherwise, honestly it is not a name we would have chosen). We also have a younger son named Alastair.