Sometimes the craziest name becomes instantly charming the second we learn the backstory.Â Meaning matters, and Iâ€™m always impressed when parents take the time to seek out names rich with personal significance.
Passing down family names is great, but this idea takes it one step further.Â Itâ€™s a process of thinking about whatâ€™s important to your family.Â Favorite places, artists, experiences that signify something about the pregnancy.Â Think of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pittâ€™s middle name, inspired by architect Jean Nouvel, or Zuma Rossdale, possibly a nod to a Malibu beach important to his dad.
Sometimes we see reinventions of loved onesâ€™ names, passing down a nickname or a name that evokes a shared memory, rather than exactly what appeared on your ancestorâ€™s birth certificate.Â No one will guess thereâ€™s a story behind James, but a choice like Bix?Â Itâ€™s an invitation to talk about your grandfatherâ€™s love of jazz.
Great names can have quirky, unexpected origins, and this weekâ€™s nine most newsworthy baby names prove that once again.
Conor â€“ Did you catch Conor Grennanâ€™s piece at The Huffington Post on baby naming rules?Â Theyâ€™re funny â€“ and decent advice, too â€“ but my favorite part of the article came at the very end.Â Grennan was born in 1974, â€śat a time when that name didnâ€™t exist as a first name.â€ťÂ When young Conor objected to his unusual appellation, his poet father told him the story of the first Conor, a legendary Irish king.Â Grennan reports that understanding his parentsâ€™ motivation helped â€“ a little.
Tennessee â€“ Weâ€™re guessing about the intentions of Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth, but it seems likely that their new baby boy is named after the state where mom grew up.Â With more and more of the Continental U.S. appearing on birth certificates every year, the only question is whetherTennessee is the new Dakota.
Sicily â€“ While weâ€™re talking place names, why hasnâ€™t Sicily caught on?Â Itâ€™s an Italian heritage nod that sounds just like sweet Cecily.Â With families embracing Francesca and Matteo, there are plenty of Italian place names that might work, too.
Charleston â€“ Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have just said I do, and now thereâ€™s speculation that the couple are expecting.Â Whatâ€™s more, rumor has it that theyâ€™ve chosen baby names to reflect the location of their secret wedding.
Carolina â€“ If their boy name is Charleston, then naturally the tabloids are reporting that the logical pick for a daughter is Carolina.Â Somehow I doubt this entire tale â€“ but the names are still gorgeous!
Rex Oxton â€“ From Tinsel Town to Toronto, the stories Kristin Rushowy covers about unusual baby names for the Toronto Star are addictive.Â A recent installment included big brother Rex Oxton.Â His first name came from the family business, while his middle name is a nod to Chinese astrology â€“ Rex was born in the year of the ox.
Ginger Olympia â€“ Rexâ€™s little sister is Ginger, her name inspired by the herb that mom relied on to help with both pregnancies.Â It is one of the more offbeat explanations Iâ€™ve ever heard, but it does make for a distinctive name.Â As for Olympia, Ginger was born on the first day of the London Olympics â€“ but the proud parents insist they were just honoring dadâ€™s Greek heritage.
Gigi â€“ Letâ€™s say youâ€™re set on naming a child after beloved Great Grandma Gertrude.Â While plenty of granny chic names have made a comeback, Gertrude remains in fashion limbo.Â This week, Karen Springen shared their solution.Â Their younger daughter is named Gigi, after Gertrudeâ€™s nickname.
Vola Snowflake â€“ Think this preference for deeply meaningful names is new?Â Not so.Â Elea shared this find at British Baby Names.Â Dad was a gardener, and Volaâ€™s sisters were the botanical Violet and Pyrethrum â€“ a type of daisy.Â But Vola Snowflake is the one that captured my imagination.Â Was she born during a snowstorm?Â Or was dad as fond of the elements as he was of his plants?
Have you used any unusual meaning names?Â Are there any that you would consider?Â Or does this approach seem too complicated?