Hello Jennifer,

I adore your site and have been using it to add and or change up my “future” baby name list since I was 18, and I love being able to check the meanings/origins of names and also how they rank in popularity.

Now that I am married (all of 6 months) my husband and I have officially decided to start trying to start our family and the Great Baby Name Game has begun. You see, I absolutely love Tolkien. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are such wonderful books and I hold them dear to my heart. Most of the names of the characters are a little eccentric for our liking but I am am in LOVE with “Shire”, for a girl.

I feel it’s unique enough so she’ll have her own identity in a sea of Emilys, Scarletts and Olivias, but it’s familiar enough that fellow parents (and peers when she grows up) will recognize what she’s named for. I’ve looked and looked for a meaning for it, and as my husband likes to point out…the only thing we can find reference to is a rather large and stubborn draft horse. He isn’t quite sold on the name for that reason alone.

Could you possibly find the meaning and origin for it so I can reassure him that she won’t be teased for being named after a horse breed? Although, Morgan is very popular and also a horse breed and he isn’t opposed to that name. (I’m from Vermont and know all about them)

Thank you so very much!!!

-Leanne

Dear Leanne,

Shire is an old English word that refers to a specific piece of land. It would be equivalent to a county in the United States. The word was used specifically in the rural Midlands of England.

So no, you don’t have to worry about the equestrian meaning. We will add the name Shire to our database!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

An English “Shire”

 

Jennifer Moss is the founder of BabyNames.com, Author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

She entered the tech arena in the early 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating BabyNames.com, Jennifer runs her own web development agency in the California mountains.