Tag Archives: unique names

Alabama Baby Names

alabamababynames

Do you find yourself looking at place names when you travel? I recently moved to a new state and I love taking in all the potential local baby names. My love of the U.S., travel, and names has come together in this new series where I’ll be talking about some great names inspired by each state. Let’s look at some great names from the heart of Dixie inspired by the state of Alabama.

Alabama
Why not pull inspiration from the state itself? Alabama comes from a Choctaw Native American name which when broken down means plant-cutters and to clear. Celebs Travis Barker Shanna Moakler named their daughter Alabama Louella. Writer William Faulker also used Alabama for his daughter. Alabama would be a cool way to get to the nickname Ally/Allie. Only 14 girls were named Alabama last year.

Auburn
Auburn is a college town, home of Auburn University. One of Alabama’s largest cities, Auburn’s nickname is ,“The Loveliest Village On The Plains.” Auburn is also a lovely red-brown color name and lends itself easily to the nickname Aubrey. Auburn has never ranked in the US Top 1,000 and was only used by 34 girls and 6 boys last year.

Birmingham
Birmingham may be suited best as a middle name or a name reserved for a brave namer. You could get creative with nicknames like Bing or Barry for Birmingham. One of the most recognizable cities in Alabama, Birmingham is packed full of history. Birmingham comes from an Old English surname meaning homestead of the people. Birmingham is so rarely used that less than 5 babies were named Birmingham last year.

Camelllia
Camellia became the state flower of Alabama in 1927. If you like the rising name Amelia, you may enjoy Camellia. Camellia is a rarely used “Cam” name that was only given to 78 baby girls last year. Camellia is an uncommon name with lovable recognizable nicknames like Cam, Cami, Mellie, Mia, and Millie.

Cotton
Located right in the center of the Cotton belt, one of Alabama’s nicknames is fittingly “the Cotton state.” Cotton played a huge role in Alabama’s history and economy. A word name, Cotton was more popular among Puritans and early settlers. 18 baby boys were named Cotton last year. Cotton may also remind you of the folk song “Cotton-eyed-Joe” or the 2014 film Cotton.

Crimson
“Roll Tide!” The Alabama Crimson Tide refers to the 21 beloved sports teams at the University of Alabama. Crimson is a cool color name for a brilliant deep red hue. 69 girls and 44 boys were given the first name Crimson last year. A recognizable but rare name choice, Crimson could be an alternative to Scarlett which continues to rise.

Dixie
Alabama is known as the “heart of Dixie.” Dixie is a nickname for the South which is derived from the Latin word “dix” meaning ten. Dixie peaked in the late 1930s when it reached spot Number 167.  Last year 254 girls were named Dixie. When I think of Dixie I think of actor Dixie Carter who played Julia Sugarbaker on the TV show Designing Women or the musical trio The Dixie Chicks.

Harper
Writer Harper Lee who is remembered for her iconic book, To Kill A Mockingbird, was born in Monroeville, Alabama. One of Alabama’s most celebrated residents, Lee was born Nelle Harper Lee.  Harper first entered the Top 1,000 in 2004 and has quickly rose to the Number 10 spot where it has been the past two years. Harper is a English surname and occupational name for a harp player.

Montgomery
Montgomery is the Capital city of Alabama. The second largest city in Alabama, Montgomery was named after Richard Montgomery. Montgomery is a distinguished sounding Norman name meaning man power. 14 girls and 115 boys were given the first name Montgomery last year. I have a soft spot for Montgomery because of author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Rocket
Brave parents may take a page from Pharell Williams who has a son named Rocket. Alabama is known as the rocket capital of the world. Hunstville, Alabama is home of the US space and rocket center. A fun word name with equally fun nicknames like Rock or Rocky, only 23 boys were named Rocket last year.

The most popular names in Alabama last year were:

1 William (#3 in the US)
2 James (#5 in the US)
3 John (#28 in the US)
4 Mason (#4 in the US)
5 Elijah (#9 in the US)
6 Noah (#1 in the US)
7 Jackson (#17 in the US)
8 Michael (#8 in the US)
9 Liam (#2 in the US)
10 Samuel (#21 in the US)

1 Ava (#3 in the US)
2 Emma (#1 in the US)
3 Olivia (#2 in the US)
4 Elizabeth (#13 in the US)
5 Harper (#10 in the US)
6 Madison (#15 in the US)
7 Amelia (#11 in the US)
8 Caroline (#56 in the US)
9 Isabella (#5 in the US)
10 Ella (#17 in the US)

 

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Lovely Names Ending in L

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There’s something feminine and sweet about the letter L.  Lily, Lillian, Layla, and Leah are all currently ranked in the Top 50 for girls.  If you love the luring L sound you may consider one of these great names ending in the letter L.

Nature Names

Coral
A great alternative to the rapidly rising Cora, Coral was only used as a first name by 199 baby girls last year. Disney fans will also recognize Coral as the name of Nemo’s Mom in Finding Nemo.

Hazel
People are really enjoying the vintage vibe of this color and plant name. Hazel currently ranks at Number 63, the highest it has ranked since the late 1920s.

Laurel
A lovely tree name, Laurel is a great way to honor a Laura, Lauren, or even a Laurence.  Laurel currently ranks at Number 772.

Gem Names

Beryl
Beryl peaked in popularity in 1920, falling out of the Top 1,000 in the late 1950s.  Last year this green gemstone name was only used by 9 little girls.

Crystal
Originally a male name, Crystal peaked for girls in the early 1980s.  Today Crystal is Number 550, right in the middle of the charts for popularity.

Jewel
A pretty, sweet, one-syllable name, Jewel is a lovely and fresh way to honor someone with a name beginning in Ju- (Julia, Julian, Juliet, etc..)  Jewel is currently Number 887.

Opal
The birthstone of October, Opal has a strong vintage vibe and hasn’t been in the Top 1,000 since 1960.  Only 229 baby girls were named Opal last year.  Could Opal be the next Ruby?

Pearl
This little vintage name is making a comeback.  Currently ranked at 628, Pearl jumped 331 spots in the last 5 years. Pearl is one of June’s birthstones.

Celebrity Names

Ariel
Modern Family actress Ariel Winter is one of the bearers of this name.  Ariel may also remind you of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Disney’s Ariel gave this name a huge boost in the early 1990s.  Today Ariel ranks at Number 137

Avril
Singer Avril Lavigne is probably the first person who comes to mind when you hear the name Avril.  A French variation of April, Avril was only used by 129 little girls last year.

Bristol
Bristol Palin, spokesperson and daughter of politician Sarah Palin, helped bring this name to the public eye.  Bristol first entered the Top 1,000 in 2009 and currently ranks at Number 447.

Meryl
Legendary actress Meryl Streep was born Mary Louise Streep. Olympic Ice dancer Meryl Davis also shares this iconic name. Meryl was only given to 50 girls last year.

Traditional Names

You may recognize some of these names from your family tree:

Abigail
Annabel
April
Carol
Ethel
Gail
Rachel

Lovely International Choices

These names would be a great way to honor your heritage and are easily usable in the US:

Amabel
Gretel
Isobel
Liesl
Marisol
Raquel
Soleil

A few more great Names to Consider

These lovely names all rank below 500 in popularity:

Chanel
Mabel
Mehetabel
Muriel
Sybil
Teal
Xochitl

What are your favorite names ending in L?

Going for Gold

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The 2016 U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team was announced late Sunday evening.  Since childhood I’ve been fascinated with the mental and physical strength of these remarkable athletes. Let’s look at the names of the talented young women that will represent the U.S. in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

The U.S. Women’s Olympic Team

Simone Bilessimone
Simone Biles is the reigning three-time world all-around champion.  Biles is dynamic to watch and is favored to win the individual all-around gold medal.  Simone is a French feminine form of the name Simon meaning he has heard. Simone peaked in popularity in 1988 and has steadily declined ever since. Currently ranked at Number 821, I’m curious to see if Biles’ presence will help revive the name Simone. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson used the name Simone Alexandra for his daughter born in 2001.

Gabby Douglasgabbyd
Gabrielle Christina Victoria “Gabby” Douglas made Olympic history in 2012 as the first African American woman to become the individual all-around champion.  Gabrielle is a French feminine form of the name Gabriel meaning God is my strength. Renowned designer Coco Chanel’s given name was Gabrielle. Gabrielle peaked in the late 1990s climbing up to spot Number 46 and today ranks at Number 205. Gabriella has soared in recent years, coming in ahead of Gabrielle at Number 54.

Aly Raismanalyrais
Alexandra Rose “Aly” Raisman was the captain of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team in the 2012 Summer Olympics.  Alexandra is a Greek feminine form of the name Alexander, meaning defender of man. Alexandra was in the Top 100 from 1984 to 2014 and just fell to Number 101 last year.  Alexandra has many attractive nicknames including Aly, Alex, Alexa, Alexia, Andy, Lex, and Lexi. Actors Sean Astin and Daniel Baldwin each have daughters named Alexandra.

Madison Kocianmadisonc
Madison Taylor Kocian was the 2015 world champion on the uneven bars. Madison is an English surname meaning son of Maud. Madison first entered the Top 1,000 in 1985 following the release of film Splash, in which the main character is named Madison.  A Top 10 name from 1997 to 2014, Madison just fell out of the Top 10, currently ranked at Number 11.  Musician Melanie Brown and actor Johnny Knoxville each have daughters named Madison.

Laurie Hernandezlaurieh
Lauren “Laurie” Hernandez preformed two nights of nearly-flawless beam routines during the Olympic trials. Lauren was the 11th most popular girls name in 2000 when Laurie Hernandez was born.  Today Lauren ranks at Number 119. Lauren is a variation of Laura meaning bay laurel. Lauren first entered the charts in 1945, the year after Lauren Becall’s first film appearance.

The Replacement Gymnasts

MyKayla Skinnermykayla
Mykayla Brooke “Mikki” Skinner competed in the 2014 World Championships, helping the U.S. team win a gold medal. Mykayla is one of the many spelling variations of Michaela, meaning who is like the Lord. Mykayla is not currently ranked however, Makayla, Mikaela, Mikayla and Michaela are all in the Top 1,000. Last year 42 baby girls were given the name Mykayla with this spelling.

Ragan Smithragan
Ragan Elisabeth Smith is one of the youngest members of the team and is expected to compete again in the 2020 Tokoyo Olympics. Ragan is a spelling variation of the Irish Reagan, meaning little king. While Ragan is not in the Top 1,000, Reagan is currently Number 99 and rising in the charts. The name Reagan may also remind you of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Ashton Locklearashtons
Ashton Locklear is the 2014 US Champion on the uneven bars. Ashton is currently Number 141 for boys and isn’t in the Top 1,000 for girls. An English name meaning ash tree hill, 189 girls were named Ashton last year. Ashton is often associated with actor Ashton Kutcher.

Which of these athletes’ names do you enjoy?

Surf’s Up – Beachy Baby Names

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Summer is officially here! Warmer weather lends itself to some pretty cool names.  Check out these beachy names for your little dude or dudette!

Ripley
A sweet surfer name that works on a boy or a girl, Ripley may remind beach-lovin’ parents of rippling waves. Ripley is an Old English surname meaning strip clearing. A cool alternative to the much more popular Riley, Ripley was only used by 97 little girls and 29 little boys last year.

Marina
Marina is a beautiful, melodic choice for your little water baby. A Latin name meaning from the sea, Marina is currently Number 656 in popularity. Former Friends star Matt LeBlanc gave his daughter the enchanting name Marina Pearl.

Sailor
Sailor is an occupational nautical name that may take off in the years to come. In the last year Bristol Palin used the name Sailor Grace for her daughter and Liv Tyler selected Sailor Gene for her son.  Kristin Cavallari chose the alternative spelling Saylor for her daughter, Saylor James, who was also born last year.  There were 234 girls and 42 boys named Sailor last year. Saylor is actually more popular, ranking at Number 608 for girls.

Coral
In addition to being a pretty summertime color, coral is a word name for underwater skeletal deposits which often form beautiful reefs. You may recognize Coral as the name of Nemo’s Mom in Finding Nemo. Last year 199 baby girls were given the first name Coral.

Morgan
Morgan is derived from a Welsh name meaning sea and circle, the perfect meaning for a little beach babe.  Traditionally a male name, Morgan currently ranks at Number 674 for boys and 120 for girls. Morgan le Fay was a powerful enchantress in Arthurian legend.

Reef
Reef not only has a cool sound, it’s also a great beach baby name for a bar of rock, sand, or coral beneath the water. Only 51 little boys were given this aquatic name last year. Reef is also the name of a popular sandal and clothing company that sells beach gear and active wear.

Ocean
If you’re a fan of the water and of word names, why not consider Ocean? A cool sound that brings to mind a lovely image, Ocean can easily work on either sex.  Last year 80 boys and 65 girls were given the first name Ocean. Other great similar names include Oceanus, Oceana, and Oceane.

Waverly
Waverly is one of my favorite names to say with its easy-breezy flow. Waverly has the word wave in it and has a smooth, laid-back sound. An English surname, Waverly means meadow of quivering aspens. Waverly hasn’t broken into the Top 1,000 yet. It was used by 120 girls and 6 boys last year.

Kai
Kai is a short and sweet name that is on the rise.  Kai not only has a cool sound, it’s also a name used in many cultures.  The Hawaiian meaning of Kai is sea, perfect for a sweet little swimmer.  Kai is currently Number 145 for boys and Number 895 for girls.

Finn
Finn is a great choice for your little fishy. Finn is derived from an Irish name meaning white or fair. Fin is currently Number 209 for boys. Several celebrities including Tori Spelling and Christy Turlington have used the name Finn for their sons.

Dylan
Dylan is a popular Welsh name meaning tide, flow, or son of the wave. A less obvious beach baby name, Dylan currently ranks at Number 27 for boys and Number 397 for girls. Dylan has many great namesakes including writer Dylan Thomas and singer-songwriter Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman).

Cove
If you’re looking for a smooth, underused nature name, than Cove may be it. A cove is a small bay or coastal inlet.  Only 53 little boys and 5 little girls were named Cove last year.  I can definitely picture this name on a little sun-kissed tike.

What are your favorite beachy baby names?

Best Names for Boys from the bottom of the charts

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Last week we explored some gorgeous girl’s names ranging between 900 and 1,000 in the charts. This week let’s find some inspiring choices for the fellas at the bottom of the Social Security Administration’s Top 1,000 chart.

Thatcher
Thatcher is an English surname and occupational name meaning a roof thatcher. Thatcher just entered the US Top 1,000 in 2013 and currently ranks at Number 902. Thatcher makes for a fresh choice and alternative to similar sounding occupational surnames like Carter or Sawyer. Thatcher always reminds me of Becky Thatcher, the leading lady in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Grey
Any fans of Grey’s Anatomy out there? Grey is a smooth color name that just entered the Top 1,000 in 2013.  Currently Number 916, Grey is one of my favorite middle names, and sounds good with many longer first names. Grey is also being used as a nickname for Greyson, which currently ranks at Number 111.

Keenan
Keenan may remind you of comedians Keenan Ivory Wayans and Kenan Thompson. An Irish name meaning ancient, Keenan currently ranks at Number 931. Keenan peaked in 1997 when it reached Number 354, but has steadily declined every year since.

Boone
Boone first entered the Top 1,000 last year and is currently the highest it has ever ranked at Number 940. Boone is an English surname derived from a French name meaning a blessing.  Boone has a cool cowboy feel and may conjure up images of frontiersman Daniel Boone.

Cairo
Cairo gets double cool points for being a place name and ending in the smooth letter o. Cairo is the capital city of Egypt and means victorious in Arabic.  Cairo first entered the Top 1,000 last year, when it peaked at Number 941.

Seamus
There are many high-ranking handsome Irish names.  If you’d love to honor your Irish heritage, but want something a bit less used, you may consider Seamus.  Seamus is an Irish form of James meaning supplanter that currently ranks at Number 948. Seamus is the name of a Pink Floyd song and a character from Harry Potter.

Anton
Anton is a German and Scandinavian form of Anthony, meaning priceless.  Anton is Number 960, much less popular than Antony at Number 25. Anton may remind you of Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno or writer Anton Chekhov.

Wilder
People are wild about Wilder! Wilder was one of the fastest rising names last year, jumping 360 spots and making its debut in the Top 1,000 at Number 964.  Wilder is a surname and a word name that could be associated with the lovable namesakes Laura Ingalls Wilder or Gene Wilder.

Truman
Truman is an English surname meaning loyal or trusty man.  Truman peaked in 1945, the year Harry S. Truman, the 33rd US President took term.  Currently Number 981 in popularity, Truman has been declining in popularity.  The hip nickname True may make Truman feel fresh to modern parents.

Gilbert
My love of the name Gilbert stems from my love of the character Gilbert Blythe in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved Anne of Green Gables book series. Gilbert is a German name meaning shining pledged, currently ranked at Number 983. Gilbert peaked in 1930, but has dropped several spots in recent years.

What are your favorite names ranking from 900 to 1,000?

Great Girls Names from the bottom of the charts

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Looking for a familiar but not overused name for your little lady? You may find some inspiration at the bottom of the Social Security Administration’s Top 1,000 chart.  Check out these underused gems for girls ranging from 900 to 1,000 in popularity.

Paloma
Paloma, pronounced pah-LO-mah, is a Spanish name meaning dove.  Currently Number 906 in popularity, Paloma dropped 37 spots in the last year.  Actors David Caruso and Ana Ortiz both used the name Paloma for their daughters.  Perhaps one of the most recognizable namesakes is Paloma Picasso, jewelry designer and daughter of Pablo Picasso.

Louisa
Louisa peaked in 1900 at Number 271.  Today Louisa ranks at spot Number 908. A feminine form of Louis, meaning renowned warrior, Louisa comes with a slew of sweet vintage nicknames.  Love Lulu, Lulie, Lou, or Louie? Louisa is a great way to get to “Lu” nicknames.  Louisa is also a cool alternative to Lucy, which has continuously risen the past 10 years and ranks at Number 55.

Arden
Arden is one of the two names on my list here today that doesn’t end in the letter a.  Arden is an English surname stemming from a Celtic word meaning high. Arden is a unisex name and has a similar sound to popular names like Aiden, but ranks at Number 912 for girls. Shakespeare’s fans may recognize Arden as the name of the forest in As You Like It.

Wendy
Wendy made a significant drop last year, falling 154 spot to Number 936. Wendy peaked in 1970 and though it isn’t popular now, it doesn’t quite give off a granny vibe yet either. Sir James Barrie invented the name Wendy for the kind, motherly, old sister in his iconic play Peter Pan. Prior to the play Wendy may have also been used as a nickname for Gwendolen.

Tabitha
Tabitha is an Aramaic name meaning gazelle currently ranked at Number 947.  You may recognize Tabitha as the mother from Bewitched or the free-spirited girl in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  Tabitha is also the Biblical name of a New Testament woman who was restored to life by Saint Peter.  Tabby, Tibby, and Bitty are a few cutesy nicknames Tabitha lends itself to.

Cordelia
If you love vintage names and Anne of Green Gables as I do, you may consider Cordelia. Cordelia is the name Anne Shirley would have renamed herself.  Cordelia may be Celtic meaning daughter of the sea, or have Latin roots meaning heart.  Cordelia fell out of the Top 1,000 in 1951, just returning in 2014, and currently ranks at Number 948.

Lilia
A Russian form of Lily, Lilia is the perfect choice for people who love Lily but want something less popular.  Lilia is currently Number 958, while Lily comes in at Number 25. Lilia has never been very popular, peaking in 1928 when it reached Number 752.  Lilia is also great alternative to other more popular repeating L names for girls like Layla, Lila, and Liliana.

Elora
I recently posted about the name Elora on my Instagram account (@tulipbyanyname) and it received an overwhelmingly positive response.  Elora was the name of the darling infant in the fantasy film Willow. Possibly derived from Eliora or Eleanora, Elora would be a great way to honor a Laura or Laurence.  Elora first entered the Top 1,000 last year at Number 963.

Lyra
A Greek name meaning lyre, Lyra is the name of a constellation in the northern sky containing the star Vega. Lyra just entered the Top 1,000 for the first time last year at Number 984. Lyra is the name of the main character in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series and film The Golden Compass.

Rhea
Mythology fans will recognize the name Rhea, a Greek name meaning flowing down.  In Greek mythology Rhea was a Titan and mother to Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon, and Zeus.  In Roman mythology Rhea Silvia was the mother of Romulus and Remus.  At Number 989 Rhea was given to just 270 little girls last year.

What are your favorite names ranking from 900 to 1,000?

Boys Names that end in -i

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The Social Security Administration released data on the most popular names for 2015 earlier this month.  Name enthusiasts around the world have been pouring over this much anticipated list.  The high-ranking boy’s names from last year are mostly classic, timeless choices, still a few new trends are emerging. In recent years we’ve seen cool names ending in –s, like Silas and Elias, rise for the fellas.  We’ve also seen a rise in smooth –o ending names like Milo and Leo. I’ve also taken notice of another fun trend, names that end in –i increasingly used for boys.  From Eli to Kenji, there’s a lot of variety in –i ending names to explore!

The Most Popular Boys Names that end in –i

Levi
Levi is the most popular boys name right now that ends in the letter –i.  Currently ranked at Number 42, Levi is up over 100 spots in the last 10 years.  Levi is a Biblical name with a cool cowboy edge, in part due to the Levi Strauss jeans association.  Sheryl Crow and Matthew McConaughey both used this cool name for their sons.

Eli
Eli comes in next and ranks at Number 53 in popularity. Eli is a Hebrew name meaning ascended.  Popular on its own, Eli is also commonly used as a nickname for Elijah and Elias, both of which are also in the Top 100.  A few other cool names that you can get the nickname Eli from include Elian, Eliezer, and Elisha.

Giovanni
Giovanni is a handsome Italian form of John, meaning God is gracious. Giovanni comes in at Number 130, making it usable but not overly used name. Giovanni easily pairs with Italian names for girls like Isabella that is still topping the charts. Fashion designer Gianna Versace’s given name is Giovanni.

Kai
Kai is definitely a name to watch, up 60 spots in the last 5 years.  Currently ranked at 145 for boys, Kai is number 895 for girls. In addition to its cool sound, one of the things that I love about Kai is that it’s used in several different cultures and therefore has many meanings.  The Hawaiian meaning of Kai is sea.

Malachi
Malachi is a Hebrew name meaning my messenger. Malachi re-entered the Top 1,000 in 1987 at Number 992 and currently ranks at Number 162. There are numerous Malachi’s in film and literature, including the evil Malachi Boardman in Children of the Corn.

Quickly rising -i ending Names

Omari and Jabari are two of the 10 names that had the biggest increase in popularity last year

Omari is currently Number 510 – up 198 spots from 2014 to 2015
Jabari is currently Number 945 – up 194 spots from 2014 to 2015

A few more great names that end in -i

Bodhi
Bodhi first entered the charts in 2010 and quickly rose in popularity. Bodhi is currently the most popular it has ever been at Number 499. Bodhi is a tree name and a Sanskrit name meaning awakening and enlightenment.

Esai
Esai is a Spanish name possibly derived from Esau or Esaias.  Actor Esai Morales, who pronounces his name EE-sye, helped introduce many people to this great name.  Esai has never been in the Top 1,000.

Dimitri
Dimitri is a Russian form of the Greek name Demetrius, meaning follower of Demeter.  Dimitri has never been too popular, peaking in 1992 when it reached Number 502.  Today Dimitri ranks at 905 for boys.

Kenji
Kenji is a Japanese name meaning second son.  Kenji is a name I think more people would use if they knew about it. Kenji Kishimoto is one of the lead characters in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me book series.

Nikolai
Nikolai peaked last year at Number 478, the most popular it has ever ranked.  Nikolai is one of the many attractive forms of the name Nicholas, meaning people of victory.

What are your favorite names for boys that end in the letter –i?