Monday, January 08, 2007

Namely Ten

Ten Things About Names

1. Need 20,000 names from around the world with meanings and etymology? Here you go.

2. has a quizilla-style baby name generator that produces multiple girl, boy and unisex names, as well as a random single boy or girl name generator.

3. has a nice online random name generator that allows you to choose the number of given names, gender and surname as well as the etymology.

4. Choosing a Name & Creating a Persona by Modar Neznanich is geared for SCA folks, but may also be of interest to writers with applicable historical settings.

5. My favorite online naming resource,'s Random Name Generator uses data from the U.S. Census and allows you to choose male, female or both, up to 30 names, with an obscurity factor you preset from 0 to 99 (1=Common, 50=Not so common, 99=Totally obscure.)

6. Get a name for your character's bird, cat, dog, dragon or horse.**

7. Douglas Harper's Online Etymology Dictionary gives you some background and history on why lots of things were named what they were.*

8. Seventh Sanctum has an entire page of name generators for writers to play with.

9. Links 2 History's Surname directory gives helpful origins, history and variations on many medieval last names.

10. Naming twin characters can be tricky, especially when you want a non-rhyming connection; has some good ideas; Social Security Admin Online has a list of the 112 most popular names given to twins born in 2004; get some insight on naming twins from this interview with the Founder and President of Twin Services, Pat Malmstrom.

Finally, if you're looking for a way to keep track of all your characters' names, brief details, titles of the stories in which they appear and so forth, you might try organizing the info with something like Tolon Data Solutions' NoteKeeper freeware.*** Or, if you'd rather handwrite the info, use a blank address book with enough space for each entry to jot down some notes.

*Link swiped from author Joe Clifford Faust.

**Most of these links filched from Catherine Tudor's place.

***Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.


  1. Anonymous11:54 PM

    Ooh, thanks! I often have names that don't sound good, or they're names that nearly everybody in the world has, so this is helpful, thanks!


  2. This is very timely, PBW, since I'm starting a new WIP and currently my characters are Hero, Heroine and Heroine's Father, LOL. Thanks!

  3. Anonymous9:32 AM

    Yes! I love looking up names. There's some new sites on here I haven't seen before. Thank you!

  4. Anonymous12:31 PM

    Great links, thanks so much! I like the random name generators.

  5. Great resources, thanks. The names I come up with usually wind up sounding pretty generic, so maybe these will help.

  6. Anonymous7:12 PM

    A generally useful list, but if you are using an online name database like nr 1 I would double check the name before pinning it on an important character.

    Just for fun I read through the male Norwegian names list.

    Most of them are ok but there are several traps for the unwary:

    6: Bjørg is a common norwegian name, for a GIRL.
    11: Gjurd is not a norwegian name.
    26: knute is norwegian for knot. Knut is a common name.
    41: According to SSB there are 17 norwegians who spell their name Sjurd. There are rather more who spell it Sjur, but even so it is not very common.
    56: Varg is a norwegian name, but it's a very rare one and most norwegians will probably associate it primarily with private investiagtor Varg Veum, protagonist of a series of novels written by Gunnar Staalesen.

  7. Anonymous7:20 PM

    Ohmigosh, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  8. Great list, PBW! Even including pet names! Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. Oh gosh, I could waste entirely too much time with these. *grin*

  10. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Great List Thanks

  11. Wow. This is a fantastic list of links. I'll be checking these out immediately. Thanks a bunch.


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