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god2

By Linda Rosenkrantz

In the mythologies of ancient Greece and Rome, most of the deities had shared lineages, dominions and attributes—but not appellations.  I thought it might be fun to pit the names of the two cultures against each other and let you see if your taste ran more to the Greek or Roman.  The one major exception to this rule is Apollo—recently chosen by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale—whose name stayed the same.

Here they are, with Greeks on the left, the Romans to the right.

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Your Top 5 Girl Names!

best girl names

Let’s have some fun.

List your Top 5 girls’ names.  In order if possible.  With explanations for why you love them so much, if you like.

Your Top 5 might include names you’ve chosen for your own daughter or names you plan to use.  Or it might just be a fantasy list.

And if you can’t limit your list to just five, feel free to add some runners up.

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vintage nicknames

By Pamela Redmond Satran

Nickname-names still appear on birth certificates.  In the U.S., such names as Ellie, Abby, and Charlie for girls; Jake, Jack, and Johnny for boys all rank high.  In the U.K., nickname-names are even more fashionable, with Evie, Maisie, Millie, and Ellie in the Top 35 for girls, and Jack, Charlie, and Alfie in the boys’ Top 10.

But there are generations of nickname-names that have fallen off the Top 1000, yet sound cute and baby-ready today.  The list here is drawn from names that were on the Social Security roster on their own in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but fell off by the early 1970s (the date of their last listing follows the name) and haven’t yet reappeared.

Whether you choose to use Bea or Mamie, Clem or Zeb as full names or as diminutives for Beatrice or Marietta, Clement or Zebediah, any of these nickname-names would make charming choices.

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abby-khaleesix

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Take a few minutes and try to list all the girls you know named Sophia – or Sophie or Sofia.  How about Isabella?  Zoe, Ava, Madison?

Now list the names that are one of one.

I only know a single girl called Ida, and just one named Arcadia.  My son built sand castles with a little Maxine on a long-ago beach vacation, and I’ve never forgotten her name.  Cordelia and Monica, Zinnia and Murielle, Helen and Claudia – they all stand out, associated with just a single child.

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Banned Baby Names: No Toms in Tomar

bannedbear

If you were Anderson Cooper and you had been born in Germany, you wouldn’t be Anderson Cooper, because Germany is just one of a surprising number of countries with strict baby-naming rules and regulations. In some instances, as in Italy and Sweden, the motivation is humane—trying to spare the child embarrassment, ridicule and bullying in the increasingly wild and wooly international baby-name environment. In fact, some of these are not long-standing strictures, but relatively recent ones.

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