Poppy

Gender: Feminine
Origin: English

Are you loving Lily? Maybe the popularity has gotten to you. There is this spunky floral moniker that has already reached outrageous popularity in Great Britain. Poppy is a sweet little floral that has been in usage since at least the 19th century. The name may seem a bit too insubstantial for some, hence is why it is sometimes listed as a nickname for such names as Parthenope, Penelope, Persephone, Pippilotta, Philippa, Pomeline and Perpetua.

The associations with the flower are beautiful! Who wouldn’t want to be named for a deep red, eye popping flower (no pun intended). Then again, its symbolisms with death and sleep can be a bit of a turn off for others.

In Ancient Rome and Greece, the poppy was a funerary flower, they were usually placed on graves. The poppy got the association of death and sleep, since opium, (which is extracted from poppy seeds), was such a strong barbiturate. In fact, it was so strong, that the ancients used it as an anesthetic while conducting surgeries. However, Poppy does have the redeeming qualities of being associated with resurrection, since after being put under a death like sleep from opium during an operation, the patients always seemed to awaken as if they had come back to life. Its symbolism for dead soldiers comes from a poem written by John McCrae, entitled in Flanders Fields (1915). McCrae writes how he witnessed his friend perish amidst a field of poppies during WWI, and he compares the field of poppies to all the fallen dead soldiers. The name could be a nice way to honour a relative that has perished in a war.

As of 2010, Poppy was the 16th most popular female name in England/Wales. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:
  • # 47 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 52 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 66 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
In the United States, it doesn’t even rank in the top 1000. However, with its growing popularity in Britain along with its similar appeal to other red hot climbers such as Scarlett and Ruby, she just might be making her way into the top 1000 by next year.
Another interesting side note is that Poppy is the flower of the month of August. Not a bad choice for an August baby.
A famous American bearer is CNN news anchor and reporter, Poppy Harlow (née Katharine) b.1982
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Despoina, Despina

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek/Romanian
Meaning: “miss; damsel; lady.”
(des-PEE-nah)

This popular Greek name started off in Greek Mythology as both an epithet for Persephone as well as the name of a separate goddess who was considered the sister of Persephone and second daughter of Demeter. According to legend, after Persephone had been kidnapped by Hades, Demeter went out to look for her when she caught the attention of the god Poseidon. Poseidon was completely enamored with Demeter. In order to avoid him, Demeter transformed herself into a mare while Poseidon followed suit by transforming himself into a stallion. Demeter could not fight off his advances and she ended up conceiving and giving birth to twins: Despoina, and a beautiful stallion by the name of Arion. Demeter was very angry and took the name Erinyes, meaning raging. In some renditions of the myth, the name of the child is not mentioned and was only revealed to the initiates of Demeter, and Despoina was just a generic term to describe the girl child as in “the Lady”. Despoina was worshipped in the Arcadian region, her temple being in the town of Lykosoura, where she became an even more important goddess than her mother. The name is also borne by a saint and a Romanian queen. It is the name of one of the moons of Neptune. The designated name day in Greece is August 15. In Romanian, it is often rendered as Despina.