Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Raven

Raven is the modern English vocabulary word denoting a type of bird, from the Olde English “hræfn” meaning “raven”. The raven is known primarily for three things: one, its shiny black feathers; two, its raucously chatty nature; and three, its cleverness. While we often think of ravens in the macabre sense (thanks to Poe or even Hitchcock), this is far from the truth. The raven is actually a mysterious, curious, talkative, solo-driven and care-free bird. They are also intelligent and have unique speaking abilities owing to their prophetic importance in various mythologies. The raven screams “cras! cras!”, which in Latin means “tomorrow”, suggesting the raven’s ability to foretell the future and reveal omens and signs. In Celtic mythology, the raven was associated with wisdom and knowledge. In Norse mythology, the raven is connected to the chief god Odin who would send the birds across the land to spy and return revealing vital information. There are also a couple of interesting stories on why the raven’s feathers are black. In the Greco-Roman mythological tradition, Apollo punished the raven for talking too much and exposing too many secrets, so he turned his bright white feathers black. In another, the “wise” owl replaced Athena’s raven as the symbolism for wisdom because of the raven’s chatter-box tendencies. In Native American mythology, the raven was considered a friend to the people. Her black feathers were considered magical and only to be feared if misused. They were considered tricksters and charmers, ingenious and changeable. They guarded over ceremonial rituals and healing circles. The Native American Indians also saw the raven as a bringer of light, while psychologist Carl Jung felt they symbolized the darker side of our psyche. The raven is a bird which has inspired mythological and spiritual symbolism (much like the eagle, owl, nightingale, phoenix, dove, swan, sparrow and stork). But the mystery and dark, sleek beauty of the raven are some of her defining characteristics. Hrafn started out as an Old Norse or ancient Scandinavian boy’s name, but today, Raven as a forename is given almost exclusively to females and mostly in the United States.

All About the Baby Name – Raven

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME RAVEN

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME RAVEN

Raven first flew on to the American female naming charts in 1977 and landed in at respectable position #581. Not popular, but an impressive debut nonetheless. The name spent its first 10+ years at low-moderate levels of usage, but then jumped a whopping 446 positions up the charts in two short years (1989-1990). What was the impetus behind this sudden interest in Raven? Well, 1989 was the year that a cute four-year-old African-American actress Raven-Symoné appeared on the wildly popular sitcom “The Cosby Show”. Her name never achieved a position on the Top 100 list, but she came awfully close in 1993 at position #139. Raven was also a favorite name among African-Americans in the southern states where there’s a high concentration of Blacks who were drawn to this lovely moniker. Raven maintained fairly steady usage up through the time Raven-Symoné starred in her own Disney show “That’s So Raven”. Today the name seems to be flying back down the charts, returning to levels at the lower end of moderation. We guess this talkative little bird is being quiet for now. Nevertheless, Raven is a gorgeous name of mystery and beauty. She’s cunning, clever, macabre, gothic, spiritual, prophetic, mysterious, watchful and intelligent all rolled up into one simple five letter two-syllable name. While some undereducated people might see ravens as an ominous symbol, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The raven is much more complex than that. It’s a strong name perfect for any dark haired, dark-complexioned, alert and chatty little baby girl.

Quick Facts

ON RAVEN

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

African-American

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

516

PRONUNCIATION:

RAY-vin

SIMPLE MEANING:

Raven (bird)

Characteristics

OF RAVEN

Humanitarian

Community-minded

Family-oriented

Loving

Affectionate

Compassionate

Sensitive

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Raven

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME RAVEN

Lenore is a character in Edgar Allen Poe’s 1845 poem, “The Raven”, which was perhaps his best known piece. The raven gets the title, but Lenore gets the focus. Obviously young, beautiful and too soon take to her heavenly reward, Lenore is remembered with heart-wrenching melancholy by the narrator. He is visited by the raven, to whom he poses his metaphysical questions, and whose every response is “Nevermore”. The tone of the poem is bleakly unyielding in its refusal to bestow the comfort of eternal reunion. Lenore is fated to be either remembered or forgotten - but joined? – nevermore.

The Raven is the title of Edgar Allen Poe’s perhaps most famous poem, first published in 1845. The Raven visits the poet, who is mourning the death of his love, Lenore, and perches upon a bust of Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Upon being asked his name, our Raven replies: “Nevermore”. Well, it rhymes with Lenore, so, good choice in a poem. This, in fact, is the Raven’s only word, a word he uses to judicious effect when prompted by the narrator. Asked if he, too, will leave the poet, as have so many friends before, he replies: “Nevermore”. Is he, demands the poet, sent here by avenging angels? “Nevermore”. Asked if he may meet the lovely Lenore once more in heaven, the answer is “Nevermore”. When the poet, driven to distraction, bids the Raven to leave him alone to his sorrows and be gone, again, the ominous answer is “Nevermore”. And so the Raven sits on his classic perch, and the poet lies beneath…”And my soul…Shall be lifted – nevermore!”.

The Raven is the title of Edgar Allen Poe’s perhaps most famous poem, first published in 1845. The Raven visits the poet, who is mourning the death of his love, Lenore, and perches upon a bust of Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Upon being asked his name, our Raven replies: “Nevermore”. Well, it rhymes with Lenore, so, good choice in a poem. This, in fact, is the Raven’s only word, a word he uses to judicious effect when prompted by the narrator. Asked if he, too, will leave the poet, as have so many friends before, he replies: “Nevermore”. Is he, demands the poet, sent here by avenging angels? “Nevermore”. Asked if he may meet the lovely Lenore once more in heaven, the answer is “Nevermore”. When the poet, driven to distraction, bids the Raven to leave him alone to his sorrows and be gone, again, the ominous answer is “Nevermore”. And so the Raven sits on his classic perch, and the poet lies beneath…”And my soul…Shall be lifted – nevermore!”. Now, with all due respect to the sensibilities of the 19th century, we are inclined to smile along with James Russell Lowell (himself a Poe contemporary) when he says: “Here comes Poe with his raven, like Barnaby Rudge/Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge.”

Moses the Raven is a character in George Orwell’s 1945 allegorical novella, Animal Farm, who is a special pet of Mr. Jones. He does not have to work and he does not listen to the revolutionary speeches of Old Major. He is a tame bird who likes to talk about “Sugarcandy Mountain”, where animals go when they die, and he is accused of giving false hope to the animals that their hard lives and sufferings will be compensated for after death. Napoleon and the other pigs find him very troublesome in their efforts to organize the animals. When the animals on the farm do revolt, Moses leaves at the same time as the Joneses and the other humans, but he returns years later. By this time, Napoleon and the pigs have become just like the humans they revolted against, and they have no objection to Moses being back – after all, he can go right back to giving the animals false hopes all over again, keeping them in their place, pacified and submissive, but now to the pigs instead of to the humans. Indeed, for his efforts, he is rewarded with beer every day. We don’t have much trouble knowing what Moses represents, do we!?

Popular Songs

ON RAVEN

Yellow Raven
a song by the Scorpions

The Raven
a song by the Alan Parsons Project

That's So Raven
a theme song by Raven

Raven
a song by Lisa Marie Presley

Johnny Raven
a song by Michael Jackson

As the Raven Flies
a song by Dan Fogelberg

Famous People

NAMED RAVEN

Raven-Symoné (actress)

Children of Famous People

NAMED RAVEN

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Raven

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME RAVEN

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Raven