Cora seems destined for a comeback. And vampire series Twilight is propelling Rosalie to popularity. Smoosh ’em together and what do you get?
Thanks to Nessa for suggesting the lovely Coralie for Name of the Day.
Coralie is big news in France, where she ranks in the Top 100, along with Amelie and Elodie. In French-speaking Canada, Coralie has broken into the Top Ten.
But in the US, she’s practically unknown. In 1880 and 1929, Coralie peeked into the Top 1000. Today, however, she has a number of advantages:
- If French names for girls gain, Coralie would fit right in – easily pronounced in English, but undeniably imported;
- Coraline is hitting the big screen next month, suggesting that Cora and her variants might just take off;
- She’s ultimately a nature name, a category that continues to appeal.
Coralie is derived from the Latin coralium, from the Greek korallion – what we call coral, as in the tiny organisms that band together and form reefs. Originally, coralium only referred to the reddish variety of coral; that’s why you’ll probably find a sort of pinky-orange hue classed as coral in your spring J. Crew catalog.
The name’s first use eludes me, but there have been a number of Coralies in the spotlight in recent years:
- Coralie Clement is a young French singer. She contributed to the soundtrack for 2003 movie Something’s Gotta Give.
- Coralie Balmy swam for France at the Beijing Olympics last summer.
- Coralie Simmons won a silver medal for the US in water polo at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
There’s also Coralia. It’s a place name in the comic strip Flash Gordon. The inhabitants breathe water and live under the sea, so it’s no surprise the writers chose the name.
Coralia was also used for a ballet adaptation of the nineteenth century novel Undine – and this could be the source of the name’s popularity. Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué wrote the story in 1811, a tale reminiscent of the little mermaid. (Though she has to resume her fishtail and avoid her beloved every Saturday.) It was a runaway hit. The March sisters read it in Little Women.
Undine or Ondine is a water sprite from German mythology, so it’s a logical name for the heroine. But when Paul Taglioni adapted the story for a ballet in 1847, he opted to use the name Coralia.
Coralia is not unknown, but appears to be even less common than Coralie.
Overall, Coralie could be a great choice for parents hoping for something truly uncommon, but still easy to wear. The only danger is that if Cora, Coraline and company do become the next big thing, Coralie would sound less rare – but no less lovely.