Let me start by saying that Tammy is one of my least favorite names, ever. That’s saying something, because once I made this list of all the names that I dislike and it ran upwards from five pages. Typed. (Becky, I’m sorry). It reminds me of this one video I watched in high school about this lady named Tammy who lived in a trailer and walked six miles every day to her job at McDonalds. That being said, I sort of love the name Tamara, even though it’s not at all similar to my other favorite names, which have a decidedly British flair (Cecily, Clementine, Violet). If it hadn’t been for one adorable little girl, the name probably wouldn’t even have ended up crossing my radar.
That changed today, when I met a ten year old German girl named Tamara. She was small for her age, with white blond hair in a long braid, a quick smile, and gray-green eyes. She introduced herself with a mature handshake and pronounced her name delicately: “Ta-MAH-ra.” I was struck immediately by how beautiful the name sounded and wondered why I hadn’t given it much thought. I blame it on Tammy.
After some consideration, I realized I had heard the name Tamara before, in a 90s television series called “Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders,” the epitome of girly entertainment. (It was one of my favorite shows when I was little. I even dressed up as Princess Gwenevere for Halloween once.) Anyway, one of Princess Gwen’s Jewel Riders is named Tamara, pronounced the pretty way, with the stress on the second syllable. (That’s another Tamara problem. In the U.S., it would most likely be pronounced “TAM-uh-ruh,” which is more easily shortened to the dreaded Tammy.) With the European pronunciation, however, “Mara” seems like the most natural nickname, which is far prettier, and far more unusual.
When I looked the name up on my trusty baby name source, behindthename.com, it cited the name as the Russian variation of Biblical name Tamar (Ta-MAHR), meaning “palm tree.” Further research revealed that the name peaked in the 70s, explaining the plethora of middle aged Tammys, but has since plummeted down to the 800s, making it quite rare. However, in Eastern Europe and Russia it’s much more popular, at its highest at number 12 in Serbia. (For perspective, our number 12 is Elizabeth).
Tamara has several attractive qualities: the feminine sounding “ah-ra” ending, combined with the strong opening “T,” as well as nickname possibilities and a meaning rooted in nature and the Bible. It’s easy to spell and pronounce, and while it’s no longer common in the U.S., most are familiar with it. I think it’s a good alternative to the other elaborately feminine names in vogue right now: Sophia, Isabella, Olivia...strong, yet beautiful.
All in all, I like it. What do you think of Tamara? Is it too dated? Ugly? Pretty? Weird? Let me know in the comments section. : )
One Tamara alternative that I find has a very similar style and feel to it is Ramona.
Other unusual T alternatives: Tessa, Thalia, Tallulah, Thisbe, Thessaly, Tora.
Not recommended for use: Tanya.
|"Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders"|