Saturday, May 25, 2013


I did not just make this one up, although I don't blame you for thinking that. I have actually seen this used on a person. Her parents were scientists, so I suppose it was a meaningful choice for them. I find it intriguing.

Chrysalis (pronounced "KRIS-uh-lis") is a scientific term that refers to the pupa stage of a butterfly, the time in which the caterpillar wraps itself in a cocoon and changes into it's adult form. The word comes from the Greek khrysallis, and roughly means "golden sheath." This name comes from the metallic gold coloration that many butterfly pupae have. Butterflies in this stage of development could also be referred to as an aurelia or a nympha.

The process that a chrysalis goes through is actually pretty gross. Once the cocoon is formed, it liquidizes it's whole body. A chrysalis is literally a bag of fluid filled with growing cells that create the butterfly's body parts. Many people confuse the cocoon as being a part of the chrysalis (even dictionaries make this mistake), but it is protecting it separately.

Outside the world of insects, chrysalis has another meaning. It could be used to describe a project or idea that is in development. The name does appear in literature and films and there is a decidedly science fiction slant to the namesakes. It's the name of a story be Ray Bradbury, a French science fiction film, and an alien species in a computer game to name a few. And I had to laugh when I saw that it was the name of a character from My Little Pony.

Chrysalis has never been a common name in the United States. I think it works great for both genders but it might read as feminine to most people. First because of the nickname Chrystie or Chrysta, second because of the connection to butterflies.

Chrysalis has a beautiful sound and would be an interesting name to use for a person born in the springtime.


Image Credit:
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  1. It's actually a really beautiful sounding word name, even more so when you know it means 'golden sheath'.

  2. That's quite stunning, and very science fictiony sounding.

  3. The name sounds like the name you would give to a baby that looks elvish or way different from any person in your family.


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