Coriander ~ Romance, Spice ~ Greek
I know what you're thinking: Coriander? Really? But despite it's near-eccentric uniqueness, Coriander is a name with a lot of good qualities. First of all, I was surprised to find that few baby names have meanings related to romance. It's definitely a fitting choice if you're looking for a rare name (or a nature name) with a special connection to romantic love. And that's exactly what I was doing when I was searching for a name appropriate for the week of Valentine's Day.
The name Coriander comes from an herb that has been used since ancient times for its seasoning and medicinal properties, and even as an aphrodisiac. It's native to the Mediterranean and is used frequently in Indian, Asian, and Latin dishes. The Bible mentions it when comparing its color to the "manna" that fell from heaven, proving its existence as one of the oldest herbs known. You can find its leaves, called cilantro, in your grocery store. The more fragrant seeds are sometimes ground and used in salad dressings, pastries, or sausage; and they play an important role in curry seasoning.
It's perhaps the aphrodisiac effect of the herb that associates the word with its meaning, "romance". But let's face it—most people will think of a spice when they hear the name. It might take a little time for people to adjust to, but honestly, if names like Sage and Ginger are acceptable, why not Coriander? It sounds similar to Corey and Alexander, making it that much less surprising of a choice. In fact, I don't know why it's not used more frequently than it is. I think Coriander is an unusual but nice name with a lot of potential.