You can’t talk Halloween without talking vampires. But while a name like Lestat would surely be a burden to a son, this one might wear quite well on a modern child.
Today’s Name of the Day is Bram.
Traditionally, Bram is short for Abraham. The name’s meaning is usually given as “father of many,” from the Hebrew, and that matches up with the Biblical patriarch’s tale quite well. Besides significance in Christianity, Abraham features in Judaism and Islam, too. When he first appears in the Old Testament, his name is Abram. After his revelation, he takes on the extra syllable. In this case, a subtle alteration carries quite a bit of meaning.
If you’re entertaining Abraham, Bram might feel like a better nickname than honest Abe. Parents might also arrive at Bram through an English surname like Bramwell or Bramley. But Bram could stand on his own, too. He’d be right at home with single-syllable names for boys, like Finn and Gus, Max and Jack.
Some suggest that Bram has a secondary derivation, unrelated to the Bible – the Gaelic word for raven. That makes him even more appealing as a stand-alone appellation – and even more appropriate for Halloween!
Speaking of Halloween, Bram Stoker (yup, he was born Abraham) was born in Dublin back in 1847. He spent years researching folklore before penning Dracula. His novel debuted in 1897 and was popular, but it would take the movie versions to cement the vampire in our popular imagination. In 1931, Bela Lugosi created the Count Dracula that most of us think of when we hear “vampire.” The movie was a hit, and so we’ve seen Bram Stoker’s tale re-interpreted countless times since.
There aren’t many other notable bearers of the name. Sharon, Louis and Bram are a Canadian musical trio best known for singing catchy tunes for children, many of them about elephants. (That Bram started out as a Bramwell.) The creator and CEO of file sharing software BitTorrent is Bram Cohen. South African lawyer Bram Fischer (born Abram) was a notable figure in the anti-apartheid movement, especially celebrated because he turned his back on a privileged life to defend Nelson Mandela.
Bram’s never cracked the US Top 1000, but all of this could change. It’s a fairly popular given name in Belgium and has ranked in the Top Ten in the Netherlands in recent years.
Very few names combine all of Bram’s qualities – he’s short and unusual, vaguely exotic but easy to spell and pronounce. And while he has a Gothic edge that will appeal to some parents, it’s still a reasonably mainstream moniker that won’t burden your child. As a nickname or on his own, Bram could wear very well.
Note: Post Revised December 14, 2009