If You Like Noah, Then You'll Love...

"The Entry of the Animals into Noah's Ark" by Jan Brueghel the Elder

Hello! I'm back with more alternatives to popular names and this time we're talking about Noah. Biblical, classic, and catchy, there's no surprise Noah shot up the charts all the way to #2. For the US, Noah has featured in the Top 1000 since its inception in 1880, when it sat comfortably at #126, and only ever dipped as low as #696 in 1963. When I think of Noah I think specifically of how it has an ending which is most often found in girls names, and of a wholesome, quiet sort of strength.

Noble - Noble has to be my favorite virtue name for boys (#2 being Valor!), and I think it's just a great alternative to Noah. It comes from the Latin nobilis, meaning "well-known, excellent, superior, of high-birth", which in turn came from the earlier gnobilis, "knowable". Originally used mostly to refer to a well-known, well-to-do family during Ancient Rome, the later meaning of "superior" or "excellent" is first thought to have been used as far back at the 13th-century. It hasn't ranked since 1954, making it ripe for revival.

Ike - This diminutive of the Biblical Isaac, which means "he will laugh, he will rejoice", has always been one I've been surprised hasn't been used more. It's short, has a strong sound, and a sort of homespun handsomeness that I think is adorable. Dwight D. Eisenhower's nickname was Ike, based on the first syllable of his last name, and it was even worked into his campaign with the famous "I Like Ike" slogan. Funnily enough, his mother chose the name Dwight so he wouldn't have any nicknames! Ike's last appearance in US's Top 1000 was in 1957, when it ranked #861.

Hosea - Coming from the Hebrew Hoshe'a, meaning "salvation", Hosea is a perfect choice for parents looking for an unusual name from the Bible! Hosea is the name of one of the twelve minor poets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Hosea, and in the form of Hoshea, was the name of the 8th-century BC King of Israel who was the ruler before it was conquered by Assyria. It also does double duty as being a nature name; Hosea lobbii is a flowering plant endemic to Borneo. Hosea last ranked in 1963 at #970.

Saul - Another lovely, soft, Biblical name, Saul is derived from Hebrew Sha'ul, which means "asked for, prayed for". The most famous Saul from the Bible is King Saul, who eventually fell out of favor with God and was succeeded by David. A lesser known Saul is actually the Apostle Paul, who was originally called Saul of Tarsus until Jesus changed his name. Paul is widely regarded as one of the most influential people of Apostolic Age, which lasted from 33 AD-100 AD, and founded several Christian communities in Asia Minor and Europe. Thirteen of the twenty-seven books of The New Testament are also attributed to him. Saul currently ranks at #530.

Asa - I love the meaning of this name, "healer", and I expect to see it being used more and more, especially since British actor Asa Butterfield, currently starring in Netflix's "Sex Education", but probably best known as the protagonist of the movie "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", is becoming more well-known. In the Bible Asa was the third King of Judah, a man who at his death was respected by his people and regarded as a righteous man. Welsh Saint Asaph, is sometimes called Asa. Story goes Saint Kentigern, also known as Saint Mungo, founded the Celtic Monastery of Llanelwy in Wales, and among the many disciples was the young Asaph. Kentigern would often pray in the icy river Elwy, and one day requested Asaph bring a brand of burning wood to warm him. Asaph went above and beyond and brought him back live coals which he held in his apron, which would not burn. Later Asaph would become the first Welsh Bishop of the see. Asa ranked #510 as of 2019.


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