I don’t usually base my posts on prompt questions. Today, however, I encountered a one-word prompt by the Daily Post that intrigued me, on the word saga. My mind immediately wandered towards the subject of names. I pondered about the usage of “saga” and other related words as human names. I then turned to the extended data published by the Social Security Administration, which includes almost every first name bestowed on as few as five babies in a given year.
As it turns out, there are several names within the American data that suggest storytelling or poetry, including Saga itself. These were the names I could find that were used at least 5 times in 2015:
- Saga: 6 girls. This is an extremely rare name without much of a saga (hehe), with her first appearance in the data in 1996.
- Poet: 11 girls, 8 boys. This unisex name has an even shorter history, only managing to accrue at least 5 uses a year since the mid-2000s. It’s more common among females.
- Poetry: 9 girls in 2015, but one year she had a variant! Poetri appeared once in the data back in 2008, with 5 uses. Possibly the clearest marker of any word being name-ified is the proliferation of alternative spellings.
- Lyric: 1103 girls, 224 boys. Lyric has a much longer history as a name than any of the others, spanning decades,. Though exponentially more popular than the others, popularity declined between 2014, and 2015, so it might not be too common for long. Still, it’s given rise to the appearance of Lyrics (6 uses in 2015), Lyrical (15), and French Lyrique (10).
- Story:* 67 girls. This name has given rise to a number of other versions; Stori (28) and Storie (22) both appear in the 2015 data.
- Sonnet: 12 girls. As far as I can tell, Sonnet and Story have been used as names for about the same time (since the early 1970s), but Sonnet has remained much rarer.
- Epic:* 8 uses. I think usage probably has more to do with the adjective than epic poetry, but we can hope.
What do you think? Do you know of any other poetic or storied names?
*I color-coded based on the current data, and not sets for earlier years. Story and Epic have indeed enjoyed some unisex usage in the past, but in 2015 they only appeared as either male or female.
3 thoughts on “Saga, Epic, and Lyric: Poetic Names”
Saga is also a figure in Norse mythology, the Norse goddess of poetry and history, and that coupled with the meaning of the word in the English language makes it one of my favorites. There’s also Prose, which would make a great name for either gender. I used it for a male character of mine in a fantasy/dystopic setting. Bard is another great name but I don’t know if anyone’s ever used it as a name before.
Great post, I really like it.
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Huh, did not know that about Saga…cool! 😀 I know so much about Greek and Roman mythology…even majored in Classical Studies, among other things…but know so little about Norse mythology. I’ll really have to delve into that now. Thanks!
As to Prose and Bard – as far as I can tell, Prose has never been used and Bard was a mid-century name that hasn’t been used since the 1970s. I’m very surprised that neither of them is used right now – especially Prose. I know that Poem was also used as a name a few years back, but not in 2015.
I’m the same as you. I know a lot about Greek and Roman mythology but I know only a little of Norse mythology. I only came across it because I read a book- a compilation of Norse myths- by Kevin Crossley-Holland in high school.
It’s cool you majored in Classical Studies. I took a class in Greek mythology when I was in college and I really enjoyed it.
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