The Baby Name Buff: Places I’ve Lived – Miami

After I graduated from high school, I started college as a Theater major at University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Due to a combination of homesickness and insufficient funds, I only completed one semester of college there before I moved back to Pennsylvania. But I gained some good memories, some important life lessons, and a few good friends during my time in Miami, and for that I’m very grateful. So, this week’s blog is about names inspired by the greater Miami area, including the University of Miami campus.

Often assumed to be a term for the people of Basque, (Wikipedia, Biscayne), Biscayne is a very popular place name around Miami, with locations such as Biscayne Park, Biscayne Bay, and Key Biscayne. I love Biscayne as a boys’ name, with nickname options that include Biz, Buzz, Cay, and any of the various spellings of the name Cane (discussed further just below).

The U of Miami sports teams are known as the Hurricanes, Canes for short. The boys’ name Cane (said as it is spelled) has been translated to mean many different but related things: “warrior,” “battle,” “little battler,” or “spear.” While this name gets coolness points for being strong and succinct, the name might be a bit of a hard sell because of the negative role of Cain in the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. Still, this name has been gaining traction, especially as a middle name. Cane is also sometimes spelled Cain or Kane.

University of Miami is located in the city of Coral Gables, one of Miami’s many pretty, affluent suburbs. Coral (Cor-ull) is a nature / jewel name that was on the fringes of the U.S. top 1,000 sporadically between 1902 and 1939; Coral also barely made the top 1,000 in 1991 and 1992. I personally adore this girls’ name and have always been surprised that it is not as popular as other mainstream jewel names (that I also love), such as Ruby or Opal.

The dorm I lived in at U of M was named Eaton Residential Hall. This dorm was normally reserved for upperclassmen. But, since I had a sort of work study role at Eaton Hall, I got to live there. The boys’ name Eaton (Ee-tin) means “riverside” (Nameberry, Eaton).    

I don’t have any personal connections to this particular city, but Hialeah (Hi-uh-lee-uh) is one of the prettiest girls’ names I’ve ever heard. Translated as either “pretty prairie” or “upland prairie” (, Hialeah), this melodious name presents several nickname options, such as Isla (my fav), Lee, or Leah.

Islandia is part of the Florida Keys. And while I did visit the Keys once to sing in a concert with the university choir I was a part of, we did not visit Islandia. But I think this name is really pretty, despite the fact that the name’s ending makes me think of the show Portlandia, which then makes it hard for me to take this name seriously.  I also like the girls’ name Islandia (Eye-land-ee-uh) because Isla could be one of its nicknames, and I’ve been falling in love with the name Isla lately. Other nickname options: Landi, Landis, Andi, and Dia.

At U of M, one of the popular places to meet friends, grab a bite, and/or have a drink was the Rathskeller. While not a place I frequented, I do remember having lunch there a couple of times with my college pals. The boys’ name Keller (Kell-uhr) is a German occupational name meaning “cellar master” (Nameberry, Keller). I like the nicknames Kell or Lore for Keller.  

I don’t know anything about the city of Medley, but I do know that the word medley’s meaning (a varied mixture of things) is a lovely concept to attach to a child’s name. I also really like this name possibility as a fresh newcomer to the many music-related names that are getting a bit played out, like Melody or Harmony. (I actually really love both of those names, though!) I think Medley could work well on a girl or a boy, though I tend to think of it as slightly more of a girls’ name. Possible nicknames include Ed for a boy, Edie for a girl, or Lee for a boy or girl.

Sanibel Island is actually on the West Coast of Florida, about three hours away from Miami. But I recall taking a very fun trip here with a couple of my U of M friends, and I also just think this name is really beautiful. Possible nicknames for the girls’ name Sanibel (San-uh-bell) include Ani and Belle.

Another place I fondly remember visiting with my U of M friends is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a lovely seaside manor with gorgeous grounds, open year-round for self-led tours. I tend to think of Vizcaya as a girls’ name, with possible nicknames Viz, Izzy, Cay, or Caya.

And a few bonus names:
Cosford—inspired by Cosford Cinema at U of M
Fisher—inspired by Fisher Island
Gable—inspired by Coral Gables
Mahoney—inspired by a dorm and a dining hall at U of M
Miami—inspired by, well, the city of Miami!
Pearson—inspired by a dorm and a dining hall at U of M

Photo credit: Ines Hegedus-Garcia

Author: thebabynamebuff

Hi, I'm Vickie. I'm a baby name enthusiast, and I'm excited to share and discuss with others the unique baby names I find. Besides talking and writing about baby names all day long, I also enjoy spending time with family, hiking, astronomy, reading (mostly science fiction and dystopias), and all things Star Trek. (Are you noticing a theme?) I currently live in Champaign, IL with my husband, Kyle, and my son, Felix.

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