Thursday, September 22, 2011


Zephyr is one of my favorite boy's names. It's appearance in Nick Bantock's book Windflower cemented it's place in my heart (the book isn't a great work of fiction, but it was fun to read). Actually, I've been introduced to a lot of my favorite names through Nick Bantock's work. Maybe I should make a round up.

Zephyrus, sometimes known as just Zephyr (pronounced "ZEHF-er"), is the Greek god of the west wind. And that's exactly what his name means: "west wind." His is a gentle wind that heralds the arrival of spring. Okay, so it's not really the appropriate time of year to profile this name, but hey. My blog, my rules to break.

If his various marriages are any indication, he had a thing for incestuous relationships. Among his wives are his sister Iris, goddess of the rainbow; his sister Cloris, with whom he sired Carpus; and his sister Podarge, who was a harpy. He also plays a large role in the story of Hyacinth.

Officially, Zephyr is an unusual name. It has never appeared in the Top 1,000 baby names in America. But unofficially, Zephyr is used a lot, just not on people. It appears to be a popular name for to vehicles. It's bestowed on planes, cars, trains, and boats. It's also been an inspiration for businesses and sports teams. This is also a botanical name. The genus zephyranthes includes a plant called the zephyr lily. Now there's a cool name for a girl right there.

Zephyrs appear in many works of fiction and song. If you've read the Babar series by Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff, you know that Zephyr is the name of their monkey companion. Zephyr is also a wind spirit in the popular fantasy comic books series Fables. "Zephyr in the sky at night I wonder" is a lyric in Madonna's song "Ray of Light." The Red Hot Chili Peppers were inspired too, they wrote "The Zephyr Song." This name has also been used in many video games, either for characters or for places and abilities. As far as real life Zephyrs go, there is only one I could find. Zephyr is a well known graffiti artist who is considered to be one of the "elders" in the medium.

Different versions of this name include Zefir, Zefirin, Zephiros, Seferino, Sephirio, Zayfeer, and Cefirino. Some parents are considering using Zephyr for thier daughters as well. Other feminine variants include Zephyrine, Zephyra, Sefira, Cefirina, Tzephira, and Zefeera.

Zephyr is cool and, dare I say, breezy. And something I would love to give to a future son.

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  1. Love Zephyr, as a boy's or a girl's name. Great all-round Pagan name. There's also Zephyrina, as well as the French Zephyrine. There was a British actress called Zephyrine 'Zeph' Gladstone (1937-2002).

  2. I think this is an amazing name, which I do think of as a boy's name because of the god (although I realise the name Alexander began as an epithet of the goddess Hera, so obviously the Greeks didn't have an issue with gender-swapping).

  3. I too adore this name, mostly for males although I am open to using it for females.

  4. It's my son's name! Zephyr Kai. Would have used the same name had he been a girl.


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