Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry Welcome Baby Girl!

The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, have welcomed their second child, a baby girl. They named her Lilibet Diana. Lilibet is Queen Elizabeth's childhood nickname, and Diana is of course for Prince Harry's late mother, the Princess of Wales. Their first child is a boy named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.


Bituin Escalante

Origin: Tagalog
Gender: Female
Meaning: "Star"
Pronunciation: bee-too-EEN
Other Forms: N/A

I've discovered quite recently just how many beautiful Filipino names there are! I love how beautiful the meanings are, with some of my favorites being Dalisay (Pure), Marikit (Beautiful, Pretty), Diwata (Goddess), and, of course, today's name, Bituin!

Bituin means "star" in Tagalog. The Tagalog people make up a quarter of the Filipino population, and a standardized version of the Tagalog, simply called Filipino or Pilipino, is the national language. Before colonization, from places such as Spain, Japan, Britain, and not shockingly, America, the study of stars by the native people were integral to life. For example, when the constellation Orion, called Balatik by certain peoples, for it's resemblance to a hunting trap they used, appeared in the December sky, they knew it was time to start preparing the land for farming. Stars helped with so many things, like knowing the best time to fish, or set out to sea. 

For a modern namesake, there is award-winning singer and actress Bituin Escalante, who has played the character Becky in the Filipino version of the musical "Waitress", and Effie White in the Filipino "Dreamgirls".

As an aside, I'd like to talk a little about what the "Beauty of Names" means to me. I think one of the things that has always drawn me to names is how much one can learn about a culture, just by the people or the elements that they name their children after. It's a glimpse into what's important, and oftentimes, is a gateway to understanding the differences, and the similarities, between us all. It is a lesson we could all stand to learn, sometimes, and my greatest hope with this blog is that I might bring people together in that way. 

I hope you liked my Asian and Pacific Islander name posts this month, and I hope that you learned something with me!


Princess Likelike, photographed circa 1868 by Menzies Dickson

Origin: Hawaiian
Gender: Female
Meaning: Unknown
Pronunciation: lee-KAY-lee-KAY
Other Forms: Rikériki

(Note: As with all of my names, if you are a native speaker or know more information about this name, please don't feel shy with correcting me in the comments!)

I've recently decided I need to make a more concerted effort towards showing more Royal names outside of the usual European suspects, and today I've chosen to profile the name of a fascinating Hawaiian Princess.

Princess Likelike was born Miriam Likelike Kekāuluohi Keahelapalapa Kapili on January 13th, 1850, in Honolulu on the island of O'ahu, to Hawaiian Chieftess and Chief Analea Keohokālole and Caesar Kapaʻakea. Her parents were political advisors to the then King Kamehameha III (and the next one, Kamehameha IV). Analea was the daughter of ʻAikanaka, High Chief of Hawaii and the Grandfather of two of its monarchs, and Caesar was the son of Kamanawa II (half-brother of ʻAikanaka) and Kamokuiki, who herself was Grandmother to two monarchs. 

Likelike was the youngest daughter of her family, and because she was sickly as a child she was sent to live in the dryer climate of Kona, on Hawaii island. She was raised by her hānai (hānai is the Hawaiian word for an informal adoption; Likelike's were likely extended family) parents, and little is known of her early life. At age six, she returned to Honolulu, where she was educated firstly at the Sacred Hearts Convent and School, and later, by American missionary Maria Ogden, and a seminary where American proestant missonary Lydia Bingham was her teacher.

Though betrothed at one point to Albert Kūnuiākea, King Kamehameha III's illegitmate son and hānai son of Queen Dowager Kalama, she would go on to marry a Scottish businessman, Archibald Scott Cleghorne, who was almost twice her age. Living in a mansion on Emma Street, Honolulu, Likelike blossomed in her new home, was well liked by almost everyone, and said to be a gracious host. However, she was also quick-tempered, having once struck a groom with a whip for not keeping a carriage properly cleaned. She gave birth to the couple's only child, the famous Princess Kaʻiulani, who would go on to be the last heir apparent to the Hawaiian throne. 

Marriage to Cleghorn was tempestuous. He was a man of his time, believing himself to the master of the household, and of course, his wife. But Likelike wasn't just some Victorian woman -- she was a member of the Royal Hawaiian family, and was brought up to rule. Several times they fought, with Likelike running off to Hawaii and refusing to come home until they reconciled.

Likelike was a entrancing figure; she traveled to Australia and the United States and was involved in several philanthropic ventures, showing she was more than worthy of her title. Sadly, Likelike died suddenly at the age of thirty-six from an unknown illness. There were two interesting legends attributed to her death -- one says that in Mid-January of 1887, a large school of red āweoweo fish were seen off the coast of Hawaii. In Native Hawaiian beliefs, to see them is an omen which foretells the death of a member of the Royal family. Likelike died on February 2nd of that year. 

Another claims that Likelike called Kaʻiulani to her bedside, and prophesized that she would leave Hawaii for a long time, would never marry, and would never become Queen, all things which eventually did come to pass.

I wish I could find more information about this name. I would absolutely love to know the meaning behind it, if anyone knows. It's beautiful, like many Hawaiian names are, and would be lovely and strong choice for someone with ties to the island.

Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli Welcome Baby Girl!

Samira and Lauren

Actress Samira Wiley and her wife, Screenwriter and Director Lauren Morelli, have welcomed their first child together, a girl who they named George Elizabeth.

On My Mind: 5-8-21

Amita Suman

Albatross Names - The Department of Conservation in New Zealand recently set out to name a new albatross chick! The theme was "kaitiaki", the Māori concept of guardianship over the land, sea and sky. While the voting has since closed, if you would like more information, follow this link

Out of the options there were:

Mahara, which means to "think about, consider, or remember".

Ururaki, which means "winds of the sky", and is the name of a star in the star cluster. It's appearance over New Zealand marks the Māori New Year.

Tiaki, meaning to "protect, preserve, and care".

Kaihautū, meaning "navigator".

And finally Ataraki, which means "morning sky".

I personally chose Ururaki!

Amita and Inej - I'm currently watching (and loving and obsessing over) Shadow and Bone on Netflix! The character of Inej is a favorite of mine, and I can easily see the name catching on. It's pronounced "EE-nezsh". The actress that plays Inej is Amita Suman, who is Nepali, and whose name is not only beautiful but has a really wonderful meaning of "immeasurable, infinite" in Sanskrit. There are a plethora of names that I could see people picking after reading the books or watching the show: Kaz, Genya, Zoya, Jesper, Wylan and many more.

Seol - I'm reading the excellent The Silence of Bones by June Hur (check back on my book blog for a review!), set during the Joseon era in Korea. It follows the young damo Seol, as she tries to solve the politically charged murder of a Noblewoman. Damos are indentured servants to the Police Bureau, and at the time it was against the law for a man to touch a woman he was not related to, even a corpse. Seol, to my understanding, means "snow", depending on the hanja.

Edit: In the book, when Seol introduces herself to a man, he inquires after her name.
"As in snowflake?" He asks.
She corrects him and says "As in storyteller."

Ellie Goulding Welcomes Son!

Caspar and Ellie

English Singer Ellie Goulding has just welcomed her first child with husband Caspar Jopling. She had a boy, who she named Arthur Ever Winter Jopling.


Kiko Mizuhara as Midori in "Norwegian Wood"

Origin: Japanese
Gender: Female
Meaning: "Green"
Pronunciation: MEE-DOH-REE
Other Forms: N/A

Today's name is long-standing guilty pleasure of mine - Midori!

Midori comes from the word midori, which first came into the Japanese language during the Heian period (794 AD-1185). Before that, there was no word for green in Japanese, and the word ao, which is used for blue or a blue-green color, is often used to refer to green plants and vegetables and even the green light at an intersection! Midori originally represented the "freshness" of newly grown things, and people who are young and inexperienced are called "blue" instead of green, like we say. In fact, students weren't taught the word midori as something separate from ao until WWII!

I think it is very pretty, especially once you know the history behind it. Midori brings to mind the character from Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, as seen in the photo above from the 2010 adaption of novel. But there is a wealth of namesakes, from violinist Gotō Midori to Itō Midori, who won Silver at the 1992 Olympics for figure-skating, and the young actress Midori Francis. 

For most English-speakers Midori is probably recognized as a type of green liqueur with a melon taste, which I've noticed some count as a mark against the name. Personally, I never even heard of the stuff until after becoming interested in the name, so I wouldn't let that keep you from using it!