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Baby Name Inspiration: Naia, Noa, and Jett

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The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

Royals are out, television characters are in.

No, that’s not it.

Celebrities are out.  Family names are in.

As we look back at baby name news from 2013 and ponder what’s to come in 2014, it is tempting to wrap it all up in a few sentences.  But names are as diverse as the children who wear them.

Baby naming in our age is creative, and we’re welcome to find inspiration anywhere, borrowing and reinventing until we find the perfect name.

That’s what makes it so tough to predict trends – and so possible at the same time.  We know that a popular name encourages parents to consider similar names, so Mia boosts Maya and then Naya.  And we know that pop culture plays a big part in naming our children – remember The Princess Diaries?  The 2001 movie took Mia from a quietly rising name to a Top Ten hit.

What does this mean for parents trying to name a 2014 arrival?  Everything can be a source of possible names – your family tree, your heritage, the movie you saw on your first date, the place you and your partner got engaged, the television series you’ve been watching for the past nine months.

This week’s baby names in the news span the globe.  They reflect the natural world and beliefs and values.  They’re classic and cool, popular and unexpected.  More than anything, they demonstrate how incredibly thoughtful parents are when choosing names for their children.

George – Or should that be Brody?  After a British website reported its year-end data, headlines declared George a dud, noting that parents feared being called copycats if they used the royal appellation.  Instead, hit television shows like Homeland and Breaking Bad got credit for boosting choices like Brody and Jesse.  Is the future king’s name seen as off-limits, or is it just too soon to say?

Lily GeorginaJust as the headlines declared George a non-trend, Entertainment Tonight correspondent Brooke Anderson and husband Jim Walker welcomed a daughter, Lily Georgina.  The couple’s older daughter has a similarly classic and semi-royal name – Kate Victoria.

Noa – From the UK let’s head to Israel, where the most popular names for 2012 have just been released.  (No, that’s not a typo – their data is a little behind!)  Noa was also #1 back in 2010, so I’m guessing she’s as familiar as Emma or Ava in Jerusalem.  But in the US, she’s a fresh possibility, a feminine name from the Old Testament that we aren’t using, even though Noah has been big for boys since the 1990s.

Naia – If not Noa, how about Naia?  Australian model-actress Gemma Ward has helped popularize her given name.  Now she and partner David Letts have welcomed a daughter named NaiaAnna notes that the baby was born in Hawaii.  While Naia has several possible origins, one of them is the Hawaiian word for dolphin.  The spelling Naya is more popular in the US, thanks to Glee’s Naya Rivera.

Nyle Thomas – It was a good week for N names!  CNN anchor Erin Burnett and husband David Rubulotta welcomed a son, Nyle Thomas.  It’s not quite Frasier’s Niles, or the Nile River.  But it’s more current than Kyle, less expected than Miles.  Paired with the classic Thomas, Nyle is both unexpected and very wearable.

Jett BarkerStephen Liles and Eric Gunderson make up country duo Love and Theft.  Gunderson became a dad earlier this year, when son Camden arrived in March.  Now it is Stephen’s turn.  He and fiancée Jenna Kennedy also had a son, Jett BarkerBarker is Stephen’s middle, too.  The new dad described Jett as a cool name, a named they loved.  As combinations go, it works well – a little bit modern, but still rooted in family history.

Jaxon Creed – Country music’s Keith Anderson is also celebrating the arrival of a baby boy, Jaxon CreedJaxon feels new, maybe too trendy – and yet consider this: Jackson is now more popular than JohnTally up Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxen, and Jax, and they’re more popular than John, too.  American parents are quite fond of the letter x.  And how ‘bout that middle?  As a noun, a creed is a statement of belief – making Creed yet another possible modern virtue name for a boy.

Quincy Xavier – Speaking of x, check out the Scrabble-tile trifecta of Kim Fields’ choice for her son – Q, X, and V in one name!  She and fellow actor Christopher Morgan are also parents to Sebastian Alexander, born in 2007.  Quincy is relatively uncommon, but music powerhouse Quincy Jones has made it a household name.

Caetana – Let’s end on an exotic note, with a birth announcement from Portugal.  Television presenter Maria Leite de Castro has chosen Caetana for her second daughter, a little sister for Emilia, called Mia.  Caetana is virtually unknown in the US, but her sound isn’t far off trend.  Take Kaitlyn and company, as well as so many –ana ending names that have enjoyed steady use through the years, and Caetana sounds like the next Isabella.

Where did you find inspiration for your child’s name?  Are there any names on this list that you would consider?  And what do you think of George – is he likely to catch on, or are today’s parents hesitant to imitate Kate?

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