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Published April 16, 2012, 11:30 PM

Nameberry: April showers bring thoughts of Rain and River

April showers bring not only May flowers, but thoughts of water names, a category which more and more parents are finding refreshingly appealing.

By: nameberry.com, all about baby names, INFORUM

April showers bring not only May flowers, but thoughts of water names, a category which more and more parents are finding refreshingly appealing. These include generic bodies of water appellations like Lake and Bay and Brook(e), the names of individual lakes and rivers and, finally, names whose meaning relate to water. Here are the Nameberry picks for the 12 best water names.

Rain: Since we don’t advocate calling your April baby Shower, the closest we can come is Rain, also spelled Raine. The now-grown daughter of Richard Pryor is Rain (she named her own daughter Lotus), and one of the nature-named Phoenix family is Rain. Raina is an alternate option_or you could go regal and spell it Reign, the middle name of Willow Smith; the male actor Rainn Wilson’s parents added an “n.”

Ocean: There are several names relating to the largest body of water. Actor Forest Whitaker, an inspired and inventive child namer, has a son called Ocean Alexander – and the name does seem more male than female. Oceane is the French feminine version, wildly popular there at the moment, and the Latin Oceanus is the name of the child who was born during the voyage of the Mayflower.

River: River shares the tranquil feeling of all the water names, and seems to have pretty much escaped its past association with River Phoenix and his unfortunate fate. Keri Russell has named her son River, Natasha Henstridge used it as the middle name of her boy Tristan, and Jason Schwartzman pluralized it for daughter Marlowe Rivers.

Lake: Lake is another water name that suggests calm and serenity, and one that parents are beginning to seriously consider, as both a first and a middle. Actress Lake Bell, who was given the name at birth, has been featured in TV shows like “The Practice” and “Boston Legal” and a number of films_she was Alec Baldwin’s wife in “It’s Complicated.”

Nile: Less dated than Neil, less fussy than Niles, this name of the longest river in the world, around which one of the oldest and richest ancient civilizations developed, manages to sound fresh and strong – and even hip.

Aqua: Not only does it mean “water,” but Aqua is a cool color name as well that has started to come onto the baby name radar. Aqua is also the name of a Scandinavian dance-pop group that had a breakout hit with the song “Barbie Girl” in 1997. The Spanish Agua is another possibility, though somehow less appealing.

Geneva: Geneva is the name of another Swiss lake and city, but this one has a history of being used as a baby name. Fresher sounding than all the Jen-beginning names, Geneva was widely used earlier in the 20th century, peaking at Number 106 in 1920, a period when Genevieve was also very popular. Ginevra is the pretty Italian version.

Maris: Maris comes from the phrase Stella Maris, star of the sea, an epithet for the Virgin Mary. It was heard (but not seen) as the sister-in-law on “Frasier” and also relates to baseball great Roger Maris. Other intriguing related names are Marin, and the fashionable in France Marine.

Nameberry is a baby-naming site produced by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz, co-authors of 10 bestselling baby name guides, including the newest, “Beyond Ave and Aiden: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby.” See more at http://nameberry.com.