Say today’s Name of the Day, and two things immediately come to mind: Paul Frank’s ubiquitous cartoon monkey, and the orange smoothie sold at a shopping mall near you.
But there’s much more to this noble moniker, and we’re indebted to Emmy Jo for suggesting Julius as our Name of the Day.
Less shallow types will, of course, recognize Julius as the family name of a long line of Ancient Roman notables, including Julius Caesar. There have also been a trio of popes called Julius, the last serving in the 16th century and at least one Saint Julius. Since Caesar made his way into his very own Shakespearean work, there’s a literary angle to this name, too.
While the meaning is usually given as “downy-bearded,” from a Greek term, others argue that the name is related to Jupiter. Regardless, it’s an ancient name with some Julius has some serious history.
He’s never been out of the Top 1000 in the US – in fact, the name has almost always been in the Top 500. Today it stands at #302.
In fact, the related name Julian has rarely been out of the Top 300, and today stands at #66. We’re fond of Julian, and the French form Julien, which currently ranks #589. But it must be said that Julius is the most fashion-forward choice. The equally Gallic Jules, as in the wildly imaginative author Verne, seems like it’s been thoroughly borrowed as a feminine nickname for Julia, and so difficult to wear for an American-born boy.
Julius fits in with starbabies Phinneaus and Ignatius. And yet, he’s terribly accessible, too, since we’re all familiar with versions of the name. Plus, while some ends-in-s names might strike some parents as too soft for a son, with a role model like Caesar, that’s a tough case to argue.
As for the monkey and the smoothie? Paul Frank sells millions of dollars in merchandise each year emblazoned with the simple sketch of monkey Julius. If there’s an inspiration for the name, the artist hasn’t mentioned it widely – or perhaps he’s simple never been asked. But you can easily put your baby Julius in a Julius tee, then head over to the mall for an Orange Julius – named in honor of LA orange-juice stand entrepreneur Julius Freed.
For parents seeking a current choice that is familiar but less frequently heard, Julius is one to consider.