Heptune presents:

Heptune's Baby Names for January, 2000

Akhenaten, Isa, Shelby, Sunil

by Brenna Lorenz

    The names for this month are selected according to the wedding formula, "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue."

Our old name comes from ancient Egypt. The Pharaoh Akhenaten reigned during the 1300s BC, and is renowned for having established the world's first monotheistic religion (although it was overturned shortly after his reign ended), initiating a revolution in Egyptian art, and for reforming Egypt's written language. He was the husband of the famous beauty Nefertiti, and was the father-in-law (and possibly the father) of the boy-king Tutankhamen. He was born with the name Amenhotep, but changed it to Akhenaten when he initiated his new religion, the worship of the Aten, or sun-disc. Akhenaten's name means "bright spirit of the Aten" or "useful to Aten."

Our new name, Isa, comes from modern Guam. The word means "rainbow" in the Chamoru language. For the last couple of centuries, most of the given names used on Guam were Spanish names imposed by the Spanish colonial power. The United States took over Guam in 1898, but American names didn't begin to catch on in Guam until after World War II. In the 1980s, the people of Guam began to take an interest in reclaiming their linguistic and cultural heritage, and Chamoru given names came into use for the first time since the 1700s. Isa, used for girls, is one of the most popular of these new names.

Given names are often borrowed from other naming systems, such as surnames, place names, and even brand names. Our borrowed name is the surname Shelby, a name becoming increasingly popular for baby girls. It also has been used for boys . The name can come from a number of sources, including the Old Norse roots selja and byr, meaning "willow farm" or from the Middle English roots schele and by, meaning "hut settlement."

Our blue name is the popular modern Indian boy's name, Sunil, which comes from the Sanskrit roots su and nila, meaning "very blue."


Variations: Akhenaton, Akhnaten, Akhnaton, Echnaten, Ikhnaten, Ikhnaton, Khuenaten, Khuenaton


Variations: Isalyn, Ysa


Variation: Shelbie

Go to last month's names: Lucretia, James, Arabella and Zebulon.
Go to next month's names: Archy, Mehitabel, Freddy, and Cleopatra.
Return to Heptune's Journal of Lore and Levity!
Return to Heptune's Baby Names Central.
Check out Names from the Ocean!
Read about A Tragedy Told in Names.
Check out Names in Early Jazz and Blues.

Published 12/31/99.