Variations of Classic Baby Names - FamilyEducation

Variations on a (Classical) Theme

Read how you can apply variations to a classic name to make it stand out.

John, the most common given name in the English language, is also a popular first name in many other languages. So, too, are classic names like Mary, which also appears as Maria in such languages as German, Dutch, Russian, and Italian; Marie in French; Marija in Czech; Marja in Polish; and Maire in Gaelic.

Other popular forms of classic and traditional names from various languages include:

  • Catherine: Ekaterina (Russian), Catriona or Catrina (Scottish), Katarzyna (Polish), Katharina (German), Caitríona (Gaelic), Catarina (Italian).
  • Elizabeth: Elisheba (Hebrew), Elisabeta (Hawaiian), Elisabetta (Italian), Elzbieta (Polish), Elisabet (Scandinavian).
  • Edward: Édouard (French), Eduard (German), Eadbhard (Irish), Eduardo (Italian), Edvard (Scandinavian).
  • Christopher: Christoph (German), Cristoforo (Italian).

Another way to make a classic or traditional name stand out from the others is the fashion of giving it an unusual spelling, such as Aimee or Ami for Amy and Kolin for Colin. Here are some other examples, gleaned from a sample of names given to newborns in 1997:

Girls' Names

  • Jessica: Jessika
  • Catherine: Cathryne
  • Victoria: Victorya
  • Christina: Krysteena
  • Margaret: Margret
  • Amy: Amey
  • Kathleen: Kathlen (this name, spelled Kathlyn, was given to the first-born daughter of Annette Bening and Warren Beatty)

Boys' Names

  • Christian: Kristjan
  • Timothy: Timmothy
  • Caleb: Kaleb
  • Jeremy: Jereomy
  • Chase: Chayse
  • Eric: Eryk
  • Zachary: Zakery, Zackari, Zacherie
  • Michael: Miykael
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