Choose this name for your daughter and some will say you’ve gone too far – but history will be on your side.
Thanks to Corinne for suggesting one from her family tree. Today’s Name of the Day is Arizona.
Plenty of place names seem rather nouveau, unused until recent years. Dakota and Eden first surfaced in the 1980s; Memphis first charted in 2006. Others were fairly common in the nineteenth century and you can count Arizona among them. She would’ve been about as popular as Zara, Celia, Rosemary or Susan circa 2008.
In 1880, Arizona was the 631st most popular name given to newborn baby girls. By 1911, she was #934. And then she disappeared. She’s yet to resurface, but with Savannah and Brooklyn in the US Top 100, other names from the atlas could make a comeback.
Once upon a time, Arizona was a section of southern New Mexico. The Civil War divided the state. Some say that Arizona is derived from the Tohono O’odham word for meaning small spring. Others suggest that it has Basque origins and refers to oak trees. Either way, the meaning is nicely natural and that’s fitting – the Southwestern state is known for its natural beauty.
Incidentally, Arizona’s last year in the US Top 1000 was the last year before she became a US state. After joining the union in 1912, the name may have lost some of her romantic appeal. Or maybe the fashion for place names simply faded – Tennessee and Florida also left the charts in the early twentieth century.
Since then, songs and movies have taken their titles from the state. Choose this for your daughter and you can download “By The Time I Get to Arizona” by Public Enemy – though it’s not exactly a lullaby – and stream movies called “Arizona” starring everyone from Douglas Fairbanks to John Wayne.
The babies in 1987 comedy classic Raising Arizona were called the Arizona quints – but that was their last name. The cutie kidnapped by a desperate Nicolas Cage was actually named Nathan Arizona Jr., after his daddy, while his brothers answered to Harry, Barry, Larry and Garry.
Name your daughter Arizona and most people will probably ask if she’s named after the character on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. During season five of the popular medical drama, Jessica Capshaw joined the cast as Dr. Arizona Robbins. She’s a quirky pediatrician, but she’s no pushover. It’s easy to imagine parents seeing her character and imagining the name wearing well on a child. Capshaw joined the cast in January 2009, meaning that if she does inspire parents, it will be some time before her influence impacts the rankings.
Some adventurous types have already embraced the name. Former Everclear frontman Art Alexakis named his daughter Arizona in 2007. It’s certainly possibly to imagine Arizona on a boy, too.
Overall, it’s an intriguing place name with a legitimate history of use. If your taste in baby names is decidedly distinctive, Arizona is one that is sure to stand out.
Just don’t name her brother Phoenix.
I love the name Arizona! It’s familiar, but not overused. I probably wouldn’t use it since I live in the state of Arizona, but my best friend wants to name her first daughter Arizona Rose, which I think is lovely. I just love state nemes: Arizona, Dakota, Carolina, etc.
I love the name Arizona! We have a baby on the way and if it’s a girl we are going to name her Arizona Elaine, Elaine after my stepmom. I also have another little girl named Annelyse Rain and i love how unique her name is. Everyone get off the trendy cliche name hype and name your child something unique just for them. Who wants to be named a name that a million other ppl have?
I found this site by doing a random search to see if I could find out how common my daughter’s name is. Her first and middle name is Arizona Raine. We call her Zoey though. I gave my husband three names to pick from and he picked that one. He was born in Arizona and all he could talk about was how beautiful it was there and how he loved it. A lot of people look at me funny when they hear her name, but we love it! I’ve always had a very common name and wanted my kids to have very special, unique names. If I have another daughter her name will be Juneau Skye. Not sure if I have a boy…. but it will be amazing!
Tiffany, I also found this looking to see what ppl thought of the name Arizona. I have a little girl named Annelyse Rain and another one on the way and i also suggested some names to my husband and he chose Arizona. I wasn’t sure about it at first but i have fallen in love with it! I know alot of our friends and family are gonna think it’s crazy but i love how it sounds and how unique it is. I’m so sick of trendy cliche names that everyone has and i want my child to have a name that i don’t know of anyone else (personally) having.
I have always kind of liked Arizona as a female name. I think it has a zazzy appeal and Zona is kind of quirky and sweet. Not something I would use, but definitely an interesting choice.
I chuckled when I saw this because my oldest daughter’s name is Tempe. As in the city in Arizona. We get a lot of strange looks when we tell people her name, but I’m still surprised 4 years later that we get more positive reactions than negative! It’s surprising how many people tell us they love it. Maybe because it fits her to a T 🙂
Cool name, Kate!
I going to be a stick in the mud, but yuck. Despite the -a ending, it screams masculine to me. My dad reads western novels and I could swear there’s a well known character named something like Arizona Slim or Ezra Arizona (neither is right, but it’s something like that.)
You might be right, Julie. In this age of boys called Dakota, I can easily imagine a boy Arizona.
It’s got at least one too many syllables for me to use it. However, it’s not ridiculous, and I could see the nicknames Ari, Zoe or even Sunny. 🙂 “Arizona Sun” might be a perfect name for a boy or girl…imagine how warm you would feel in their presence! 😀
If you add an occupation name (Tanner, Cooper, etc.), with Arizona in the middle, it would be almost like a business card.
While we’re on the subject, wouldn’t Callie be a great nickname for California, likewise Nev for Nevada and Minnie or Mia for Minnesota? Consider Mizzy or Missy for Missouri, and Kent for Kentucky. I live in Texas, and I’ve met boys named Austin, Dallas and Tyler. (Of course, those were surnames before they were place names.)
I love Arizona, mainly because my dad wanted to name me that! He wanted to name me a state name, but my mom wouldn’t let him. I’m glad I’m Eva though, because Arizona sounds weird with my last name. I think it goes well with a simple, common, easily pronounced last name. I like it’s nicknames: Aria, Ari, Zoe, Riz/Rizzy (though that may be too close to Rizzo from Grease).
Charlotte Vera says
I can’t say I’m a fan. For some reason I think of “arid zone” when I hear Arizona.
I’m not a fan. I’m not all down on it, either, but it’s just not something I can fully embrace, whether it was used as a name in the 1800s or not. I’ll concede that there is something appealing about it, but it’s mn material more than a fn candidate. I wouldn’t balk at hearing this as an fn on a child, though… I just wouldn’t be all that excited about it.
Whitney Gigandet says
I’m a fan of Grey’s, and I never even considered Arizona as a name until the character came along. I like it on her: she’s spunky, feisty, sweet and a bit quirky. I can see it fitting on a child with the same type of personality. And, even though it’s just a television show, I can see it aging very well — even on a future doctor. It’s not for me, but I like it 🙂
I like it. I don