Number names

[I apologize to all the people waiting for an email back from me! This is the first week of school and I’m just now starting to catch my breath. Soon!]

Happy Birthday Mother Mary!! My bishop tweeted the greatest thought today: “Mary’s birth is the dawn of hope, humanity’s second chance.” A perfect thought not only for Our Lady’s birthday, but also for the Year of Mercy! ❤

Ages ago (like, back in January) Krista asked for a post about number names, and it’s been on my mind ever since. I’d had a rough idea of doing so around the first day of school — you know, ‘rithmetic and all — and then Abby at Appellation Mountain and I tweeted a bit the past few days (in response to a Haley Stewart tweet) about number names, so it’s definitely time to do this.

I was thinking of all the number-named people I know of and came up with a good few (both real and fictional):

I pretty much love all of these! As I told Abby, I like number names, and really, as soon as they’re used as a name, they become really namey to me. It reminds me of something name expert Cleveland Kent Evans was quoted as saying in Joal Ryan’s 1999 book (one of my favorite favorites) Puffy, Xena, Quentin, Uma:

Science fiction likes to tell the grim tale of a world so dehumanized that names are eschewed with numbers and serial codes [Stranger Things y’all!]. Cody, say hello to your new classmate: THX 1138.

Well, the future is here and the question is: Do baby names really stand a chance of becoming obsolete? 

No, says Bellevue University psychology professor Cleveland Evans, a longtime student and chronicler of the history and trends of American given names.

‘People are never going to use their social security number as their name,’ Evans says. ‘I’m sure there may be some numbers that become names — I wouldn’t be surprised if I started hearing of Seven of Nines (after the Star Trek: Voyager TV character). But once you do that, it’s not a number — it becomes a name.'” (pp. 367-368)

“But once you do that, it’s not a number — it becomes a name.” Right! Like, in our world, Sixtus — popes and saints! (Actually, funny enough, apparently it doesn’t even mean “sixth”! Except that it does, through usage and intention.)

So what other number names/nicknames are there? This is a selection of what I found (I searched by meaning on Behind the Name — lots of names in unfamiliar languages that mean “seventh son” and so forth, so if you want something really unusual be sure to search!) or have heard/came up with:

Mona, Primo/Primus, Primrose, Proteus, Winona; Onesimus could also maybe work (because of “one” contained within, though it doesn’t mean one/first), or Una (also doesn’t mean one), any “I” name

Duet (my own idea — sounds pretty, right? Like any of the -ette names? Do you think it works?), Secundus/a

Hirune (Basque for trinity!), Tercero, Tertia (I like this one — reminds me a bit of Teresa), Tertius, Treasa (used as an Irish form of Teresa), Tri, Trey, Trip, Tripper, Trinity

Cuatro, Four (a la Divergent), Quattro, Ivy (because of IV)

Pompey/Pompeius, Pontius (yikes), Quint, Quintus, Quintella, Quinten, Quentin, Quincy, Quintillian, and other Quin- names that don’t actually have anything to do with five/fifth except in appearance: Quin(n), Quinlan, and V names (or the name Vee)

Six, Sixt, Sextus/Sixtus (I definitely think Sixtus is more wearable), and those that contain “six” but don’t mean six: Sixte, Sixten, Sixtine (I really love Sixten!), and VI initials

September (yes! a sneaky seven, that!), Septimus/a, Seven

Keightlyn/KVIIIlyn (!), Octavia/Tavia, Octavius, Octavian, Tavian

Nona, Nonus, Nuno/a, November (see September!), and unrelated to nine: Nonie, Nonna

December, Dixie, Declan (because of the dec- — I saw this somewhere once and thought it was so clever), Tennyson (because of the ten-), Decimus/a, any X- name (Xavier, Xenia)

Eleven/El/Elle, XI initials

What do you all think of these? What else can you add? I’m especially interested to hear what else you’ve heard in real life!


19 thoughts on “Number names

    • Ohmygosh! On the one hand, I’m so sorry for hijacking your idea!! I didn’t even consider that! On the other, I’m delighted to have you take any ideas you see here! Seriously, add them in if you want! Also, I can’t wait to see what you came up with!


  1. Love this! I had a science teacher growing up who was the fifth child so her parents named her Chanel because of the perfume Chanel number 5, or at least that’s what she told us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to work with a lady who was married to a man named Trace, or so I thought. Years later, I saw his name written as Tres and she explained that he was named Something Something the Third, but he’d always been known as Tres (the spanish #3). I thought that was fun! (They were not Spanish…)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for this post, love it!! So fun to see all the ideas compiled. Pretty sure I will be referencing this with each future child for extra name-list inspiration! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Sancta Nomina and commented:

    Abby at Appellation Mountain posted a piece at Nameberry today on number names (I should’ve realized that her tweets likely indicated the topic was brewing in her mind, but I didn’t even think of it) — definitely check it out, she has a lot of better ideas than mine!


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