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Baby names, pregnancy & parenting news and views

Berry Juice is a collection of the best blogs on baby names, pregnancy, and parenting from around the web, including everything from personal naming stories to the academic study of names, pregnancy information to tips on decorating the nursery.

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posted by: Elea View all posts by this author
British baby names

By Eleanor Nickerson, British Baby Names

What names are quintessentially ‘British’?

I see this question a lot but it’s a hard one to pin down. Do we mean solely British in origin, or only British in use? When Prince George was born our media heralded it as a “quintessentially British” name — and why not? We’ve had numerous kings bear the name, and it’s even the name of the patron saint of England. But George was originally a Greek name, brought late into our Royalty by German Hanovarians. Ask many Americans and the first George they think of is Washington or Bush.

For me, the quintessentially British names are those which are very familiar to us as a nation, that have been or are currently popular, but are little used in America, Canada, Australia and other English-speaking countries. Names such as Nicola – our darling of the 70s – Darcy, Imogen, Poppy, Freya, Alfie, Jenson, Gareth, Alistair and Finlay.

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Japanese baby names

By Jackie, aka CallmeCalliope at namesplash.com

I love Japanese baby names; these names often have lovely nature and virtue-related meanings. However, the Japanese baby naming tradition is complex, particularly due to the thousands of kanji (characters) that can be used to spell names. Many kanji have the same sound but different meanings; thus, names that sound the same could have many possible spellings and meanings. Additionally, a single kanji can have more than one sound. Here are some kanji (spelled out phonetically, of course) commonly used in names:

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Occupational Surnames: Far from a fad

posted by: Nick View all posts by this author
occupational surnames

By Nick Turner

Back in 2012, I heard about parents naming their babies Draper in honor of Mad Men. I remember thinking the idea was daring but a little silly. These people were taking the last-name-as-first-name trend to an absurd conclusion, I griped.

It had been a few years since occupational surnames like Cooper and Mason had become popular, and I worried that pretty soon every kid would be a Fletcher, Tanner or Jagger. Traditional names were a dying species.

Then I made a startling discovery.

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posted by: Abby View all posts by this author
star grandkids

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Susan Sarandon is a grandmother, and Mick Jagger?  He’s already dandling his first great-grandchild on his knee.

Time marches on, and some of those actors and rock stars whose baby name choices made headlines back in the 1970s and 80s are now welcoming another generation of creatively-named children.

Many of the original starbabies have names that were obscure, even surprising, back in the day.  Oliver and Miles, Stella and Liv are all quite stylish in 2014, even if they were unusual three decades or so back.

Will it be the same for the stargrandbabies?  Some of these names seem likely to catch on.

Read on for some of the most interesting – and possibly influential – grandchildren names.

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Literary Namesakes: Last names first

literary baby names

By Jackie, aka CallmeCalliope at namesplash 

Names most familiar as surnames are now prevalent in the Top 100; popular examples include Mason, Parker, Lincoln, and Madison. While the concept certainly isn’t new, surnames as first names are becoming increasingly fashionable, and parents are making more adventurous choices.

While digging through the family tree is one way to find a meaningful surname to use, culturally significant figures could serve as another source for namesakes. Here, I’ve sifted through the surnames names of some of the most famous and beloved writers to find those most wearable as first names. Though several of these names would make very unique choices, they still incorporate the popular sounds found in many other trending surnames. Choosing the surname of a favorite storyteller or poet also provides an opportunity to embed meaning and personal significance into a child’s name.

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