Circulating copies of baby name books are hard to keep on the shelves, and the ones in reference get heavy use between prospective parents in search of names for their children and writers in search of character names. These books are arranged by name, sometimes with a division by gender. If you want to name your child Adrian
, you can find out what the name means easily enough. But what if you want to give your child a name that reflects a particular attribute or you want to be sure a character in your next novel has a name that suggests a certain character trait--or flaw? The First Name Reverse Dictionary
The format is easy to use. Male and female names are in separate sections. The "Index to Entry Names" will help those who have a name and need to be referred back to the meaning or to alternate forms of the name. Entries are in strict alphabetical order. Language of origin is noted parenthetically; pronunciation is not given.
Selection criteria are not given, and some omissions are odd. Faith and Prudence, once-common personal names in their own right, are not entries. Entries for such attributes as "girl" or "brave" cover a column or more. Western European names (Celtic, Germanic, Romance, Greek) predominate. Eastern European and Hebrew names follow, and Sanskrit, African, Asian, and Native American names appear less frequently. African and Native American names are not generally identified by tribal or language group.
The layout of the book is easily readable, with plenty of white space and varied type faces. At 206 pages, there is no way this can be a comprehensive list of names and their meanings, but it is a good start at a different, and helpful, way to select names. The curious browser can enjoy it as well.