Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 26, 2008, and substantially revised on June 11, 2012.
The official start of summer is just around the corner, and if you’re expecting a special delivery in the next dozen weeks, perhaps you’re dreaming of a name that celebrates the season.
The choices are plentiful for girls, but there are a handful of options for boys, too. Read on for some names that bring to mind the best of the warm and sunny months.
First off, you might consider the names of the months themselves:
- June: A simple and sweet name with a long history of use, suitable for a girl. Juno, the Roman Queen of the Gods, inspired the month’s name; you might also use the mythological moniker for a daughter.
- July: A spunkier and more innovative choice for a daughter, but likely to be misunderstood as Julie. The month was named after Julius Caesar, making Julia and Julian attractive options.
- August: A great idea for a boy that could leap over the gender barrier and be used for a daughter, too. Or stick with the traditional Augusta, which has an interesting throwback vibe.
The gemstones and flowers associated with the summer months offer some possibilities:
- Pearl, Ruby, Peridot: The gems are associated with June, July and August. While Peridot might go too far, Pearl and Ruby are unassailable names with long histories of use. The Italian and Spanish Perla is a Top 500 name in the US right now, but beware – La Perla is also a famous Italian lingerie designer.
- Rose, Lily, Poppy: June’s flower, the rose, is a simple and enduring choice for a daughter. The water lily is associated with July. And August is the month of the Poppy, a promising botanical option for daughters.
- Margaret, Margo, Margot, Megan, Greta, Gretchen, Mairead: While it’s a subtle link, the name Margaret – and its infinite variants – all mean “pearl.”
Summer was the 173rd most popular given name for girls in 2011. She’s been slipping in recent years, perhaps because she feels just too sunshiny to bestow on a real, live kid. Determined to barrel ahead anyhow? Consider a foreign variant.
- Natsu, Natsuki, Natsumi: Japanese girls’ names that mean summer. They’re said NAT soo, NAT soo kee and NAT soo mee.
- Seika: Another option from Japan, this time meaning “pure summer.” It is said SEH ee kah. Realize that this is quite close to the watchmaker Seiko, and likely to be confused.
- Soleil: The French word for sun makes an interesting name for a summer-born daughter. Pronounced so LAY, it is not used in France, where all names must come from an approved list.
- Suvi: A Finnish girls’ name meaning summer. The pronunciation is soo vee.
Finally, the star signs, planets and mythological stories associated with the zodiac offer some ideas:
- Gemma: While the name means jewel, it is similar to Gemini, the sign for children born from May 21 through June 21.
- Artemis, Diana, Luna: Babes born from June 22 to July 22 are ruled by Cancer, the Crab – but don’t call your baby Crusty. The sign is associated with the moon, so Luna feels like an appropriate choice. The goddesses Diana (in Roman mythology) and Artemis (from the Greek) are also linked to all things lunar, so their names earn a spot on the list.
- Chandra, Ayla, Selena: This trio of slightly more exotic names all mean moon. They’re from Sanskrit, Turkish and Greek, respectively.
- Leo, Leonardo, Leonidas: Late July into August is ruled by Leo the Lion and the Leo names make for an appealing choice for a son. Leo stands alone, or choose an elaboration.
- Leonie, Leodora: If your little cub is a daughter, there are a few Leo choices that work nicely for her, too. Or take some creative license and choose the classic Leah or the obscure saint Leocadia.
- Persephone: Should your daughter arrive at summer’s end, she’ll be a Virgo (August 23 through September 23). Persephone signals the change of the seasons, as in her myth she must annually return to the Underworld and bring an end to fruitful summer.
Lastly, you might consider the classic Theresa or Teresa or the diminutive forms Tess and Tessa. While the name’s origins are debated, the Greek word theros, meaning summer, often prompts baby name guides to list this as yet another summertime name.
So break out the sunscreen, take me out to the ballpark and maybe consider one of these choices for your summer-born child.