Maci, Juli, Kari – no, no, no. Macy, Julie, Carrie – yes, yes, yes.
Except that I do find myself completely in love with names that conventionally end in i, perhaps because it is rather rare – at least in English. And so this week’s list is all about girls’ names that end with the letter i, stylishly.
Naomi – Maybe the best example of an enduring appellation that ends in i, the Biblical Naomi has been quietly on the rise for years, reaching #96 in 2010. Looking for something similar, but less popular? The French Noemi is an option, but Noemie is the more common spelling. And now there’s the Scandinavian Noomi, worn by Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, known for her roles in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the new Sherlock Holmes movie.
Eleni – I’m dazzled by Eleni’s, the New York cookie company known for their elaborately decorated sweets. Eleni Gianopulos is the baker behind the business. Like many famous bearers of the name, she’s Greek – but then, there was also a sixteenth century Empress of Ethiopia called Eleni, so the name has international cred. And, of course, Eleni has impeccably classic roots – she’s derived from Helen. With Elena, Eleanor, and Helena all feeling current at the moment, Eleni is both striking different and appealingly familiar.
Kateri – The Mohawk version of Catherine, popularized by a seventeenth century convert to Christianity, is something of a puzzle. The pronunciation is debated, and I’m not sure if any one else answered to Kateri until Catherine Tekakwitha came along. She’s scheduled to be canonized shortly, possibly encouraging more Catholic parents to consider Kateri for their daughters. Still, I think she could work for parents of other faiths. First, she’s considered the patron of environmental causes. Second, Kate names are mainstream.
Iolani – If non-Catholic parents hesitate to embrace Kateri, perhaps those without a connection to Hawaii will pause before considering Iolani. But I love her meaning – it translates roughly to “heavenly bird” – and the former royal palace in Honolulu is the ‘Iolani Palace. Iolani also reminds me of Iolanthe – the Violet-variant first used by Gilbert and Sullivan.
Anjali – She’s an Indian import that could wear well circa 2012. Her sound is close to the evergreen Angela and yet her look is worlds away. Like Iolani and Kateri, she might be too much of a risk for some parents. But if you dare, Anjali could be that rare name – attractive, unusual, and cross-cultural without requiring constant explanation.
Do you have any strong feeling about ends-in-i names? Are any of these daring enough to make an exception?