Looking for a botanical name for a boy? Here’s an intriguing idea.
Thanks to Bertram Bergamot for suggesting Florin as our Baby Name of the Day.
First things first: Florin has never cracked the US Top 1000. He’s very rare – most years, he’s given to fewer than five boys born in the US.
But he’s got history aplenty, and a surprising set of associations that could make him worth consideration.
Let’s start with the Swiss saint. Florinus lived in the ninth century. He’s popular in the part of the world where he once lived, and you can visit churches named in his honor. Rumor has it that Florin may have been an adult convert to Christianity, but there’s not much more to his story. He also answered to Florin and Florian, and we’re not sure if that was his birth name.
We do know that Florinus was a Roman cognomen – individual nicknames that eventually became hereditary – and along with Florus and Florianus, was in use from ancient days onward. All of the names ultimately came from flos – the Latin word for flower. This makes Florin and company one of the few pan-botanical possibilities for boys.
Translate the names into Italian and you arrive at Fiorino, Fiorello, and Fiorella. They sound fiery, but just like Florin, they come from the word for flower – fiore in Italian.
While we’re in Italy, let’s take a trip to Florence.
Once upon a time, Florence was the banking capital of Europe. Beginning in the 1200s, the Florentine florin – fiorino d’oro – was a gold coin struck in the Republic of Florence. It was an important tool for international trade, and other European states eventually offered their own version of the florin, including Hungary’s forint.
The Florentine coin’s design included a fleur-de-lis – the city’s symbol – on one side, with St. John the Baptist on the reverse. Florins minted elsewhere used different saints and symbols, even as they retained the name.
They’ve long since gone out of circulation, but the coin’s name remains tied to currency. The Aruban florin is the monetary unit for the Caribbean island.
There are also places to use the name – there’s one in California. In The Princess Bride, Buttercup lives in the land of Florin. And then there’s another in London. Florin Court is a 1930s era Art Deco apartment building that you might have seen on Poirot – the television adaptations of the Agatha Christie detective stories used Florin Court as the residence of the famous detective.
Add it up, and Florin is an intriguing possibility – with connections to Switzerland, Italy, currency, and all things botanical.
The only place you’re likely to meet a Florin is Romania, where the name has remained in use.
Sound-wise, Florin rhymes with Lauren and is so close to Florence and Flora that he might feel a little bit feminine.
But that ‘n’ ending is a hallmark of boys’ names in 2014.
If we can call our sons Rowan and Cash, is Florin so out there?