We’re talking seasonal baby names today – but not necessarily summer names. These are names that work for a coast-loving and ocean-going family, whether you welcome your baby in July or January.
This list is thanks to Kristina. When I put out the call for Lurker Week suggestions, one of the most intriguing was her suggestion of Tide, as a nature name, that “relate(s) to cycles, seasons, and phases.”
Since nature names and seasonal baby names are a big category, this seemed like a fun one to explore. (And Kristina, my apologies if I’ve strayed from your original intent!)
Seasonal Baby Names: Bodies of Water
Bay – Bay is a short, modern possibility that brings to mind the body of water – think of the San Francisco Bay – but also the slang term BAE – before anyone else, i.e., a girlfriend or boyfriend. It could be short for names starting with the letter B, but it got a boost as an independent name thanks to a character on ABC Family’s Switched at Birth, Bay Madeline Kennish.
Cove – If you know your outdated slang, you might know that cove is an archaic word for fellow or chap or dude. But it makes this list because a cove is also a small sheltered bay. It’s seldom used as a given name, but 53 boys were named Cove in 2015 – a new high.
Harbor – A harbor is a sheltered, safe place for ships to dock. They can be natural or manmade. Harbor is also a verb meaning to provide a safe place. It fits in nicely with modern word names like Haven, a sort of nature-virtue name. It might be easily confused for the very popular Harbor. Maybe that’s why it’s more popular for girls than boys – though it’s quite rare for both.
Ocean – Ocean sounds like it could be a name, and in fact Oceane – pronounced oh SAY ahn – has seem some use in French-speaking countries. The Greeks and Romans both used Oceanus for the god who personified the sea. Oceanus Hopkins was the name of the baby born to Pilgrim parents on the Mayflower. And yet, just 80 boys and 65 girls were named Ocean in 2015, many fewer than the next body of water name.
River – Rivers aren’t exactly seasonal baby names – it’s a nature name that works inland as well as on the coast. But I wanted to include it because, well, it’s the name that makes me think Ocean and Bay and Harbor could work so beautifully as baby names. River ranked #244 for boys and #350 for girls in 2015 – proof that bodies of water can make great baby names.
Sea – The first time I heard Sea, I misheard it as the initial C. Kay and Jay and Elle are names, so maybe Cee could be, too. Except Sea is very different, a nature name, not an initial. Real Housewives of New York alum Kelly Bensimon has a teenaged daughter named Sea Louise. It’s also the rarest name on this list, given to only a handful of children in the past twenty years.
Seasonal Baby Names: Coastal Terms
Breaker – Breaker makes me think of truck drivers. (Breaker is the equivalent of hello in CB slang. Or so I’m told.) Except it’s also a piece of reef against which waves break. The Breakers was the Vanderbilt family’s Gilded Age mansion on the Atlantic, in Newport, Rhode Island. Breaker fits in with rough-and-tumble names for boys like Ace and Rogue, but it’s ties to seasonal baby names by the seaside is there, too.
Crest – Crest might be all toothpaste to some, but a crest is also the highest point of a wave. It also means the top or the summit – or, as a verb, to reach the top. That makes Crest a modern virtue name, as well one of the seasonal baby names by the sea.
Delta – Delta strikes me as a Southern belle name, all Designing Women, even after Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell chose it for their younger daughter. It’s also the name of the area where a river meets the ocean, and sediment deposits build up. Deltas can be inland, so like River, it’s not exclusively a beachy name – but it fits the vibe.
Dock – Doc is short for doctor, and has been worn by everyone from legendary Old West lawman Doc Holliday (born John Henry) to one of the Seven Dwarves. But a dock is a platform where a ship can park – or dock. The word’s origins are debated. And while Doc is slightly more common, I find Dock intriguing in our age of Jack. It’s also musical, thanks to Otis Redding’s enduring “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.”
Dune – Frank Herbert’s novel makes this a sci-fi choice, but it’s also a hill of sand built by wind and water, a formation that protects from storm surges, found close to the ocean. In other cases, they’re ancient dunes, left behind from where water flowed thousands of years earlier. It’s rarer than even Dock, but I think it has potential.
Gale – Gale might make you think of Dorothy or Abigail or The Hunger Games‘ Gale Hawthorne, but at sea, a gale is a wind. At sea, one red pennant is a small craft warning; two is a gale warning. Weather names, from Sunny to Rain, have a history of use. Gale is particularly intriguing, because, along with Gale Hawthorne, it makes me see the name as potentially masculine.
Key – I first thought of Key as a name when I was dreaming up ideas for the new Kardashian-West baby. (They named him Saint, but I was all about Key West instead.) Key brings to mind Francis Scott (of “The Star-Spangled Banner” fame), locks, pianos, and, of course, Key West, Florida. In the last case, the word comes from two separate words, one meaning wharf and the other meaning reef or small island. Both put Key on the list of seasonal baby names. I think it would be a great, bold middle name.
Pier, Piers – Piers is a form of Peter, used back in the day. It’s the source of our surname Pierce, which is also used as a given name. Head spinning yet? Pier is simply a word that originally referred to a support for a bridge, and later came to refer to a structure in a harbor, used for docking boats or fishing or the like. It makes me think of the Santa Monica Pier, with its ferris wheel. So picturesque!
Tide – Kristina acknowledged that it’s hard to say Tide and not think about the laundry detergent. But she also wrote that Tide reminds her of “the rhythms of the ocean and the pull of the moon.” She called it “earthy and serene” and I totally get that. Of course, is college football is your thing, it might also bring to mind Alabama’s Crimson Tide. It’s an interesting option that I’ve never really thought of until now.
Reef – Reed, Reese, and even Reeve have all seen use for children in recent years, so how about Reef? A reef is a bar in the sea. Coral reefs are the most famous, but there are plenty of types. It’s a short, edgy, intriguing possibility for parents after seasonal baby names borrowed from the ocean.
Ridge – Ridge is the name of a soap opera character, and it brings to mind mountains more than the sea. But there are ridges hiding deep in the ocean – that’s what they call the places where the tectonic plates meet – and you can have sand ridges on dunes, too. Ridge entered the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2015, at #932. It’s the kind of rugged nature name that could catch on.
Wave – Surname Waverly has had some history as a given name, but if we’re talking seasonal baby names inspired by the sea, it’s definitely all about Wave. It’s almost non-existent as a given name, but it could make an intriguing middle name pick.
Any seasonal baby names you would consider? Which names did I miss? Do you think Tide is all laundry?