Xanthe as a baby name - how many do you know?

(93 Posts)
VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 11:27:52

Having discussed ancient Greek names ad nauseam on various American naming sites/blogs (has everyone discovered Nameberry? Amazing place) I wondered if I could turn to Mumsnetters for an opinion on this name in England?

I really want an ancient Greek name (various reasons but also to go with my elder daughter's (Iris)) and have something of a hitch with my last name which has a vowel beginning (thus not ideal to have a first name ending in a vowel - rules out a LOT of girls' names!).

I always loved Xanthe, husband did not. We settled on Artemis but as due date is 1 month off we've both got slightly cold feet (feel it's a bit pretentious though I'd still use it as I love it) and he's coming round to Xanthe. BUT... but... I'm getting the impression that the name is really gaining popularity. I know it's not going to get to the next Ava, Olivia or Sophia level but what do you think?

I went round an expensive prep school yesterday and saw FIVE Ottilies (and there are two at my elder daughter's nursery) - a name that I know isn't going to be nation-wide popular but I can see similarities with Xanthe in being v. popular within a small part of society which, I have to confess, my daughter will probably move within being privately educated and living where we do.

Has anyone met a young or baby Xanthe? Anyone heard the name discussed a lot by expectant mothers?

Really grateful for your feedback!

MrsBucketxx Thu 25-Apr-13 11:28:59

I know one, she is about 3 months old now,

lovely name btw.

musickeepsmesane Thu 25-Apr-13 11:30:20

Sounds like the name of a food additive. Sorry.

VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 11:34:31

Sorry - that sounded a bit snotty at the end! I live in the middle of a fairly wealthy rural area where names like Jemima, Ottilie and Willoughby (for a boy) are oddly common. Just don't want to name our daughter Xanthe if it is going to be a posh girl cliche name...

I feel Iris avoids that by also surfing the vintage/botanical trend and being so widespread-popular for babies born in the 1920's-1940's.

VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 11:37:01

Thank you MrsBucketxx!
Sorry you don't like it musickeepsmesane - I know it might be a bit of a marmite name.
I'd pronounce it Zanthe (though this isn't the Greek pronunciation).

ChasingStaplers Thu 25-Apr-13 11:39:19

I know 3 in various parts of the country but think it's a lovely name.

I know none!

gazzalw Thu 25-Apr-13 11:41:52

Can think of other names which might be equally lovely but not as 'out there' - Helen, Hermione, Phoebe, Persephone, Penelope or even Hero?

Xanthe (like Jocasta) IMHO is one of those very 'posh' names that may raise eyebrows amongst other people as she grows up. Pukka names are fine but when they are perceived to be off-the-scale posh they cause as much prejudice as names like Jaden, Kayleigh, Ellie-Mae etc.....

At the end of the day it is wise to give your children classic names but ones that will take them thro' life in any social situation and culture - particularly if they are going to be exposed to the British class system in all its 'glory'.

The problem with names is that even the unusual ones can become popular. When we were considering names for DD, DW was extremely keen on Amelia - unheard of then, but now one of the super-popular ones.
It is impossible to determine which names will suddenly become 'de rigueur'. I would hazard a guess that none of the parents to the five Ottilies you came across would have expected their DD's name to be so popular!

Sorry, not sure I'm being helpful. Applaud that you are looking to Ancient Greece for inspiration though!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 25-Apr-13 11:53:07

Sounds lovely, I don't know any adult or baby in rl with that name. Personally I'd prefer it to Artemis.

I don't know any! But, to me, it's too much like Xanthan, like xanthan gum, used in food production. Sorry.

Flobbadobs Thu 25-Apr-13 11:58:26

Don't know any but it's beautiful.

ProfYaffle Thu 25-Apr-13 12:01:04

My dd2 is Xanthe, we've met one other (with almost the same middle name too!). It's not a particularly 'new' name, there's Xanthe Clay the cookery book writer and another Xanthe whose surname I can't remember on History Cold Case, they're both adults.

Personally I think it's a nice level of popular, not very common but not unheard of either. I've never thought of it as posh (we most definitely are not) and no-one's ever commented on it in that way.

MummyBurrows Thu 25-Apr-13 12:01:52

I know a Xanthe,she's nearly 5. Only one of her in her school and nobody else I know (in RL) has ever mentioned it as a potential name for their dc (the xanthe I know only got given her name as mum didn't want to call her dd any name of the dads past conquests...and that ruled out a hell of a lot of names!).

Its an unusual name but it is growing in popularity,well on here at least anyway! Not entirely sure about RL as like I said,I only know 1 and doubt I'll ever know another!xx

amessagetoyouYoni Thu 25-Apr-13 12:03:13

I hVe only ever known one and she is my age (thirties).

Lovely name.

VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 12:04:31

gazzalw - I know what you mean re the class system! I read a piece on the Thatcher death party protestors in Brixton a few weeks ago and literally laughed when we heard from 22 year old Xanthe Bloggs (wasn't blogs, was Xanthe) because it was so patently obvious that however socialist she passionately felt herself to be, her name pointed squarely to a particular type of upbringing. Perhaps I should think of that more seriously.
On the other hand I do find more commonly used names a mite dull and have always liked having a really unusual name myself (so does my husband) which means I never have to use a last name! Really like your name suggestions and most have been on the list but ruled out for one or another reason (love Hero - definitely vetoed by my husband as strongly as I've vetoed his Daphne!).

chasingstaplers - are the 3 you know babies/v. young?

and thank you to those who said 'none'!

VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 12:06:47

MummyBurrowes - this made me laugh out loud! "(the xanthe I know only got given her name as mum didn't want to call her dd any name of the dads past conquests...and that ruled out a hell of a lot of names!)."

FoundAChopinLizt Thu 25-Apr-13 12:06:48

I know one, she's in her eighties, and an aristocrat. Lovely lady.

VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 12:07:26

Gosh - so thrilled with quick responses, can't keep pace...

VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 12:09:41

ProfYaffle - that's what I hoped re level of popularity. And re poshness I am not sure it if is posh per se (like Arabella or Jemima) more educated maybe? Could definitely be the daughter of a teacher, not so much the daughter of a hunting-shooting squire type.

Have you had good responses to your daughter's name? Pronunciation not a problem?

Trazzletoes Thu 25-Apr-13 12:10:32

I adore the name Xanthe and desperately wanted to call DD it. DH flatly refused on the basis that he thought it sounded chavvy. I was, like, seriously? No, Xanthe sounds like a privately educated successful woman who skis!

Anyway, I never got my way. But I still absolutely love the name.

One friend said it sounded too much like Zante (the Greek island) for her to like it.

I disagree.

WowOoo Thu 25-Apr-13 12:12:46

I love it. There is a young woman on TV (on History Cold Case) called Xanthe.

I know none personally.

I know one, just over a year old.

Sorry - off topic from Xanthe. But I had always thought of Artemis as a boy's name. I know the name is derived from a Goddess so should be a girl's name. But I have only every heard of boys called Artemis.

I hadn't really thought of it until reading this thread but I wonder why an originally female name would be most commonly used by males?

Jollyb Thu 25-Apr-13 12:17:56

I know of one. I agree it's a lovely name.

lydiajones Thu 25-Apr-13 12:18:02

I like it but I don't think it sounds posh.

thermalsinapril Thu 25-Apr-13 12:18:32

I've only ever heard the name on MN. Never met a real Xanthe.

VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 12:25:28

clarabellabunting - Artemis is the goddess of the hunt (the Greek original for Diana) but I think the name has been masculinised in the past as Artemas. I suspect it is the Artemis Fowl books (protagonist a boy) which have muddied the waters for many but really calling a boy Artemis is something akin to calling him Sue!

FingersCrossedLegsNot Thu 25-Apr-13 12:44:04

Love love love this name....if I'm pronouncing it correctly as Zan tay?? I'm not so keen on Zan thee as its sounds like a little kid saying santy as in Santa Claus!

BerryLellow Thu 25-Apr-13 12:46:28

I don't know any, but I think it is lovely. And so is Ottilie, but then there are none of those here either.

willyoulistentome Thu 25-Apr-13 12:47:57

Hmm not sure if I like it. Don't know any inn real life.

looki Thu 25-Apr-13 12:54:06

I quite like it but to be perfectly honest I veer towards thinking it is at the other end of the posh scale.

gazzalw Thu 25-Apr-13 13:04:31

Well when I read your post OP I was considering suggesting Achilles grin! Artemis is a lovely name too.

It's a difficult one! Can't believe someone thought it sounded chavvy??? WTF!

Yes, I get where you're coming from with the educated/learned type of family rather than the hunting/shooting/fishing type aristocracy! It strikes me as the name of parents who've been Oxbridge educated and/or studied History/Classics! However, there might be some overlap.

Know it's not Ancient Greek but Clemency has sprung to mind!

The problem with some names is in the pronunciation issues - a Year 6 schoolchild reading a story to DD's class pronounced Perseophone as Pursephone!!!

Scoobyblue Thu 25-Apr-13 13:08:19

I know two. Both are nightmare children - but that has nothing to with their name, obviously!! I agree that it sounds very posh!

Thurlow Thu 25-Apr-13 13:13:38

I know one, just over a year old now. Her mum very much falls in to a yummy-mummy, competitive parenting cliche, I think that's put me off it!

looki Thu 25-Apr-13 13:13:45

I don't think it sounds posh at all.

What about Helena?

VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 13:32:29

gazzalw - "Purse-phone" is exactly why Persephone is out (a friend dissuaded me, it's her own name). I still love Artemis but feel it might be more pretentious than Xanthe (being an actual goddess rather than a simple sea nymph!) and with 3 syllables doomed to nicknamehood.

I'm thinking the levels of Xanthe-spotting are acceptably low from this fairly unscientific (!) poll... Glad it isn't screamingly posh in everyone's minds. Oddly some Americans think it sounds sci-fi... Expect it is the X.

looki - like Helena (Shakespeare and Greek - lovely) but 'a' endings don't work with our surname sadly. I loved Claudia but rejected on this basis (Cloud-ia) err and the fact it means 'lame'. The 'e' in Xanthe isn't ideal either but better. A proper consonant - Kate, Iris, Violet - is best.

VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 13:34:05

thermalsinapril - does Xanthe get discussed a lot here then? (ps great username... don't we all have to wear them in April nowadays?!)

ProfYaffle Thu 25-Apr-13 13:36:43

Violet - It's mostly fine, she's 6 now but when she was smaller people found it harder to understand when she said her name and it was mis-heard as 'Nancy' a lot which annoyed dd2. Her swimming teacher constantly calls her Xanthia (and wonder why she doesn't respond!) but it's not a frequent thing.

Trazzletoes Thu 25-Apr-13 13:39:56

gazzalw I KNOW!!!!!!!!!

EldritchCleavage Thu 25-Apr-13 13:45:41

I know one. She is posh, and about 18. I've always liked it. It means 'yellow-haired', doesn't it?

Xan for a boy is nice too.

EldritchCleavage Thu 25-Apr-13 13:46:41

If you don't want posh, just spell it 'Zan-thee'.

Heh heh.

WadsCollop Thu 25-Apr-13 14:01:58

The only one I've ever heard of was the posh girl on Brat Camp on TV.

treaclesoda Thu 25-Apr-13 14:04:11

I've only ever met one Xanthe, I think its lovely.

Not a baby though, she is in her thirties.

Laquila Thu 25-Apr-13 14:07:03

I know of one, who's very normal/not posh, so don't think of it as particularly posh - just unusual. Lovely name.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 25-Apr-13 14:11:14

I knew one, she was american. Loved her to bits so I love the name too.

NKinDXB Thu 25-Apr-13 14:19:30

My sister in law is only one I've ever met with this name and Is not particularly posh. Only heard of one baby Xanthe in recent years. I think it's a lovely choice. I love Greek names and DD ended up as Zoe. I'm not so keen on Artemis though. It's not as pretty to say and somehow it sounds a bit more pretentious. Not sure why. Maybe because I have never heard of anyone with the name, so sound like you're trying too hard?

We really liked Claudia too but all our English family and friends clealy didn't like it (whereas Aussie or Us friends loved it.)

Stick to Xanthe!

littlemissnormal Thu 25-Apr-13 14:21:15

I know a 30ish year old one and a 6 year old one. Never heard anyone with problems saying it.

looki Thu 25-Apr-13 14:47:40

The Americans might think its sci fi as Xanthe Terra is an area on Mars?

Birdies Thu 25-Apr-13 15:15:33

I have a baby Xanthe. So I love the name! Have Greek family so wanted a Greek name and I thought it was the nicest one. Some people do struggle with pronouncing it which always surprises me.

Oh, and I'm not posh (but not chav either smile )

I would hate for it to become too popular!

VioletElizabethBott Thu 25-Apr-13 17:42:50

V glad re not-too-posh vote (husband in particular is worried it is Sloane-ville). Agree Artemis is a great deal more pretentious though I still like it a lot - it's a tall order of a name to carry off too. What if you were a sweet girlie sort of a girl and had such a stern, strong goddess name to live up to?

My Greek friends say Artemis is fairly common in Greece? Problem with lots of goddess/god names is the brand name thing! Athena (poster shops), Ajax (cleaner), Clio (car)...

I also like Calliope which after Grey's Anatomy I thought might be less strange but again, husband vetoed.

Yes, Xanthe = yellow haired or golden one. We're all blonde so unless she inherits mother-in-law's red gene (!) it should suit.

Do you know what I'm really scared of? That the scanner got the gender wrong and here am I angsting about girl names and with a lovely pink nursery...

rubyflipper Thu 25-Apr-13 17:48:51

I know of one. Lovely name.

alexpolismum Thu 25-Apr-13 18:40:04

I like it said the Greek way. X pronounced Ks rather than Z. It is a nice name, it means "blonde".

I don't think Artemis is at all common in Greece. I have lived here for 15 years and have only ever met one Artemis, and her father was Dutch rather than Greek anyway!

My favourite ancient Greek girl's name is the one I gave my dd: Ariadne

Exhaustipated Thu 25-Apr-13 18:45:53

I know one toddler with this name. Her parents are quite posh I suppose...

It's a lovely name and you may find it becomes quite popular overall, rather than just posh popular. But these things are very hard to predict. Have you looked at that website that shows baby name trends? Can't link on my phone but will try to pop back. smile

TenthMuse Thu 25-Apr-13 18:46:39

Love it - one of my absolute favourites. Don't see it as overly posh - I'm not, particularly, and I'd use it in a heartbeat. I see it as more 'bohemian North London intelligentsia' than 'county set', iyswim. Think the fact it's fairly short and easy to pronounce (once you get past the X thing) means it's slightly more down to earth than for e.g. Artemis or Persephone. Love NN Xan as well.

Exhaustipated Thu 25-Apr-13 18:48:48

Here you go

It has climbed from from 1168th to 567th since 1996

PandaG Thu 25-Apr-13 18:54:00

know one, early 40's. she pronounces it zan-thee (how you would pronounce see with a lisp!), nn zan.

I've know her since I was small, like the name, see it as slightly posh but not very. Much prefer it to Artemis.

Thewhingingdefective Thu 25-Apr-13 18:54:39

I met one once (a baby) on holiday in Morocco, ten years ago. Never met another since.

I think it's a beautiful name.smile

lljkk Thu 25-Apr-13 19:00:09

None, I wouldn't have a clue how to pronounce it.

Birdies Thu 25-Apr-13 19:54:22

It's fine for red hair: red = golden. Blonde is the yellow meaning, red is the golden. Also means sea nymph I think, or the name of a Greek goddess.

Wouldntyouliketoknow Thu 25-Apr-13 21:38:30

I know one, in her early 20s, not particularly posh. Pronounced Zan-thee. Her family is Greek smile

schmaddington Fri 26-Apr-13 09:18:54

I have one, aged 5. I don't know any others but can see it is growing in popularity. I am Greek and we pronounce it Ksanthi, which is how it is pronounced traditionally/properly. No one else does though!

I didn't realise it was perceived as posh; it isn't to Greeks. It's a lovely name though and I say go for it. But I may be biased smile

alexpolismum Fri 26-Apr-13 09:21:17

schmaddington Do you actually call her Xanthi or Xanthippi?

Just wondering, because it tends to be Xanthippi in Greece, perhaps because of association with the city of Xanthi

farmersdaughter Fri 26-Apr-13 09:21:29

Violet I adore the name Xanthe. Has long been on my list, sadly DH doesn't like it along with Hero.

We only know one Xanthe, she's in her 70's now. She's a very elegant lady, with a huge amount of grace and charm yet very down to earth and great fun.

Artemis is lovely too, as is Athena.

Quite a few people raise eyebrows when I say my DD's name out and about, I don't feel it's different at all, but people do like at me oddly hmm

Can I pm you my name list as I think we have similar taste?

schmaddington Fri 26-Apr-13 09:33:31

Alexpolismum we call her Xanthi. I didn't know about Xanthippi but we are Cypriots so maybe that's why.

farmersdaughter. I am also very keen on Hero for DD2 and always have been. Do you think that Myleene has ruined it made it grow in popularity? ONS shows only a few for 2011 but 2012 stats aren't out yet

PostmanPatsBlackandWhiteCat Fri 26-Apr-13 09:58:05

Xanthe is a nice name but I prefer Artemis. I wouldn't give a flying fuck about if people thought the name was pretentious if you like it use it.
My children have very unusual names two of them from Greek Mythology
DD Athena and DS 1 Ares both names have raised a few eyebrows but we don't care as we think they are lovely names. Ds 2 is an Odin but his name is from Norse mythology.

farmersdaughter Fri 26-Apr-13 10:06:28

Schmaddington Sadly yes, but not sure if i would be 'brave' enough to us it. Also we already have a DD starting with a 'H' so would be a bit much.

amessagetoyouYoni Fri 26-Apr-13 10:52:51

DH wanted Angelique for DD. with a London accent, its Angie-leek. Not quite the pretty French name he had imagined.

Stokey Fri 26-Apr-13 11:34:42

I love it. Slightly regret not using it for dd2 but the fact that it meant "yellow" and we are all very dark slightly put me off. We had other friends whose shortlist it was on and my best friend has just used it for her dd as a middle name. So definitely gaining popularity and I would consider it on the posh/ boho side of the spectrum.
I much prefer it to Artemis. I also considered Phaedra and Io but plumped for a non-Greek more normal name in the end. Tbh I think any of these traditional Greek names will have a hint of posh about them.

Kaekae Fri 26-Apr-13 12:00:59

I don't like the way it looks or sounds. Sounds like someone saying Nancy in a silly way. Sorry don't mean that to sound rude.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Fri 26-Apr-13 12:07:45

I don't know anyone with that name. It is a lovely name smile

Floggingmolly Fri 26-Apr-13 12:07:54

I don't like it. I wouldn't have assumed it was posh, btw.

WizardofOs Fri 26-Apr-13 12:09:49

None and I come across lots of newborns. I considered this name but because the baby book said it meant blonde/fair and DH and I are are dark we discounted it.

CityGal29 Fri 26-Apr-13 12:30:13

I know 3 under 2 in north London. Def on the rise around here wink

FlightyAphrodite Fri 26-Apr-13 12:33:48

I like it, have never known anyone with that name.

I used to go to school (early nineties) with a female Artemis, I like that too.

pinkr Fri 26-Apr-13 19:10:25

How about Ianthe? Means violet flower and is my favourite name! Dh doesn't like it so its been banned!

Rhubarbgarden Fri 26-Apr-13 19:50:23

I much prefer Artemis. I don't really like the X in Xanthe. To me it sounds more 'London' than posh; I can imagine hearing it in the playgrounds of Dulwich. It comes up a lot on MN.

Yika Fri 26-Apr-13 21:55:49

I know one and she's about 9. Arty bohemian family. I've heard of others and would say it is gaining in popularity.

cheekbyjowl Fri 26-Apr-13 23:20:49

How about

Lyra - Pretty. think the jazz singer Jamie Cullum called his daughter this, though doesn't have the weightiness of other names
Thailia - pretty i think and one of the three Graces
Thais - (isn't it meditation on the theme of...)
Thisbe (though unlucky in love)
Agathe - actually maybe not- could be shortened to Aga. Popular in posh kitchens but wouldn't call a child induction hob either
Echo - weirdly pretty.
ooo hera. If hero was too out there - hera
I know a posh couple who've just had an Ophelia. Bit tragic, i don't like it but it's not for me to like

I quite like, Thaila, Hera and oddly echo out of my own selection

dimdommilpot Sat 27-Apr-13 14:20:00

I know 1, she is 13 (i think). I like tge name.

MrsJohnDeere Sat 27-Apr-13 14:31:10

Don't know any but have heard children being called it in nearby town. Not posh IMHO.

MsJupiterJones Sat 27-Apr-13 15:34:36

There was one at my school, she'd be late 30s now. Fits the posh-bohemian profile. Dark haired iirc. But then (without wishing to generalise) aren't most Greek people dark? I'm sure it is used there for non-blondes.

I think it's a lovely name, go for it. Love Iris too.

lucybrad Sat 27-Apr-13 21:05:34

My daughter - 2 years old. I don't personally know any others though I have been told by HV that there is another one in her area.
I love it - always have done - and people always comment on what a beautiful name it is. You should go for it.

Newrowsees Sat 27-Apr-13 21:12:24

I know a Xanti (short for Xantippe), who's a toddler, with very posh parents. And a Xanthia who's 24, with not so posh parents, but very lovely.

VioletElizabethBott Thu 06-Jun-13 08:16:45

I just checked back here and had no idea so many more people had responded! Thank you so much.
We went for another name but one week to go before due date and my husband got cold feet so.... back to Xanthe! Hooray! I loved it from the off but it's taken a long time to get husband back on track.

n.b. Have since met one other Xanthe - 3 years old and blonde. Thank you Exhaustipated for the name popularity graph. Really helpful. Are you looking for baby names at the moment? Nameberry have a brilliant site. Will send you my list if you still looking. And I'm finished! (I hope so anyway... he'll be in big trouble if he throws a spanner in the works before Monday!)

SixPackWellies Thu 06-Jun-13 15:29:30

I love Artemis, and it was a name I put a bid in for with DC2. I also love Isis. Artemis of course is also Diana (Roman Huntress). I am not sure Diana will come back in fashion terribly soon though.

JRY44 Thu 06-Jun-13 15:38:06

I know three. One is 40 and the other two are 5 and 3. None are in the slightest bit posh, if I was being a snob I would say quite the opposite ....

TheYamiOfYawn Thu 06-Jun-13 15:40:28

I only know grown up Xanthes.

GraduallyGoingInsane Thu 06-Jun-13 16:05:26

I know an Xanthe in her early 30s, she's neithe über-posh nor chavvy. She's not Greek either. She's a very elegant blonde with a lovely personality.

I also know an Ianthe who is mid 20s at a guess. She's also lovely - a dark, willowy girl who's a high flyer in the city. She's definitely what you would describe as posh but is lovely and not at all snobby.

I love both names, I'd have considered Ianthe in particular for one of mine but it wouldn't fit with the other names I chose.

Oldandcobwebby Thu 06-Jun-13 16:11:07

My baby daughter has Xanthe as a middle name. It is a well known fact that she is the most exquisite creature on Earth. You could bask in her glory!

MrsHuxtable Thu 06-Jun-13 17:14:47

So all these people who have a Xanthe or know one, do you pronounce the name in the original Greek form or do you anglicize it and make the X into a Z sound and the th a zee?

People I know just called heir DD Xanthe and I have no idea how they say her name...

miffybun73 Thu 06-Jun-13 19:54:44

Love it, but don't know any of any age.

ArtemisKelda Thu 06-Jun-13 19:59:29

Xanthe is a gorgeous name. One of DS's classmates is Xanthe (7) and that's the name he wanted for baby DD.

I love the name Artemis too (hence my nn) but I probably wouldn't use it for a baby.

ChallengeAnt Thu 06-Jun-13 20:00:12

I only know one Xanthe and she goes to a baby group I go to. Her mum pronounced it Zanthee (like think not the for the "th". I like it!

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