Alliterative names – first/middle/last names starting with the same letter/sound – is a subject that many people have strong feelings about. Some people love them, some hate them with a passion.
For those who hate them, there really only seems to be one argument against them. They are just too cutesy and “matchy-matchy” and make it too hard to take a person seriously. These people actively avoid giving this name configuration to their children.
Others love them for almost the same reason they are hated – because they are cute and snazzy sounding. This makes them fun, easier to remember and hence more memorable. Being more memorable makes them perfect for celebrities, superheroes, wrestlers and fictional characters. J.K. Rowling’s world of Harry Potter is full of alliterative names. Just look at such examples as Luna Lovegood, Severus Snape, Dudley Dursley and Minerva McGonagall. And have you ever paid much attention to the founders of the four houses at Hogwarts? All four have alliterative names. HBO show Girls is another example that may have slipped most people’s notice. All four of the lead characters also have alliterative names.
Popular comic book author Stan Lee is another writer with a preference for alliterative names, mainly, it turns out, as a way to help him remember the names of his own characters (such as Peter Parker, Bruce Banner etc)–he created so many that he sometimes had trouble keeping track of them. Theses names also work well when paired with a descriptor – hence we have Green Goblin, Silver Surfer and Fantastic Four. Other creators also use this to great effect. Think Big Bird, Pink Panther and Mickey Mouse. Would Mickey be as memorable if he were named Harvey Mouse? Probably not.
The memorable factor is also why many celebrities use alliterative names. We may think that they choose these, and some deliberately did, but many more were actually given alliterative names at birth. Does this factor make it easier for them to reach stardom? Who knows? But some are plainly happy with their alliterative names, as some alliterative celebrities (Sylvester Stallone, Robert Rodriguez, Steven Spielberg) have continued the tradition with their own children.
And why not? One of my husband’s friends has an alliterative name, and he loves it. When his first child was born last year, their number one rule was that their baby also had to be given an alliterative name. He felt it was lucky and had served him well. I found it a little surprising when I first heard this, but I guess I hadn’t really thought about it myself.
When I thought about it some more, I realised that both my husband and one of my brothers actually have alliterative names, and my other brother likes to go by a nickname that is also alliterative. In their cases it’s not deliberate. So I guess there is something behind the thought that alliterative names are often just naturally catchy and attractive sounding. Some would argue that certain letters work better than others for these types of names. But whatever you think of them, I can almost guarantee that there are plenty of them out there that you never even noticed.
What do you think – catchy and cool, only OK in some cases, or just not to your taste? And if you’re still undecided, here are some lists of just a few of the many examples you may or may not have already noticed in the world around you to get you thinking.
Famous “Stage” Names
Famous Real Names
Alliterative names–love ’em or leave ’em?