Think American parents are the only ones combing the dictionary for novel names?
Thanks to Laney McDonald for suggesting the Welsh Seren as Name of the Day.
Just like the white hot Stella, Seren means star. While Stella is Latin, Seren comes to us from Wales, where she’s currently spending time in their Top Ten, along with Emily, Olivia, Sophie and Ella.
Seren is a twentieth century discovery, akin to Brooke or Skye in the US. You’ll find a sprinkling of Serens in old census records, but they appear to be unrelated – and mostly male.
I can’t find her earliest use, and the only famous Seren I discovered is in her twenties. (Though it might be a stretch to consider her inspiration for a daughter’s name – Welsh-born aspiring model Seren Gibson posed for racy Page Three pictures for the UK’s Sun tabloid.)
A quick trip to the University of Wales, Lampeter’s handy online dictionary confirms the translation, but pronunciation could be a hassle. Some suggest that she rhymes with Karen, but Karen is equally subject to the vagaries of regional accents. The safest sound is probably seh ren or SEH ren.
In any case, you may soon be hearing more of her. Between all of those Welsh Serens toddling around the UK, plus her attractive meaning and frills-free style, she’s sure to catch the attention of more and more American parents. Consider:
- Equally astronomical names like Stella (#186 in 2008), Luna (#399) and Skylar (#191 in 2008) as well as Skyler, Skyla and Skye rank in the US Top 1000;
- Lunar-leaning appellations are just part of the nature craze, with parents choosing everything from ladylike floral monikers à la Lily (#24) to the seasonal Autumn (#89 – and now worn by a daughter-in-law to Queen Elizabeth II herself);
- Plenty of the current girls’ Top 100 consists of neatly tailored names. Besides trendy choices like Madison (#4) and Addison (#12), frills-free classics are in vogue, like Claire (#62) or Allison (#32);
- The fashion for nouveau noun choices with a spiritual twist has given us Trinity (#70), Genesis (#95) and Serenity (#111);
- There’s also Serena, from the Latin for calm. At #374, she’s popular enough to prompt parents to consider similar sounding names, even if they are unrelated.
There aren’t many downsides to Seren. If you’re into role-playing game RuneScape, you might recognize her as an elf goddess. There’s the Page Three girl referenced earlier. And yes, she sounds a bit like serum, and would probably spend much of her childhood saying, “No, it’s not Sarah. It’s Seren. S-E-R-E-N.”
But those are pretty minor drawbacks. She’s as tailored as Lauren and as nickname proof as Piper. She’s a subtle way to nod to your love of the night sky or your Welsh heritage. Seren could be a sister for Carys or Rhys – and an intriguing choice for a daughter.