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Bold Baby Names: Jett, Cruz, Carmen and Mercedes

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By Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain–The Nameberry 9

It has been another week filled with bold, even brash names for newborn boys.  Girls’ names are no less daring, with inspiration coming from the worlds of opera and automobiles.

None of the boys’ choices would have been recognizable as given names two hundred or even fifty years ago.  The girls’ names have more history, but they still feel fresh and surprising in 2013.

With all of these headline-grabbing given names, does it make it harder or easier to name a child of your own?

I think the answer must be both: harder, in the sense that anything goes, so your options are nearly infinite.  If successful people can answer to Barack and Brené, why can’t you name your kids Egan and Everild?  But easier, because really, as long as you don’t choose Apple, North, or Pilot, it will be hard to argue that your choice is really that outlandish.

While I have some doubts about Shooter, the other names in this week’s baby name news offer a nice blend of the current and the quirky, the mainstream and the original.  Every one of the names would feel right at home on a fictional character, but I imagine that they will blend right in on a playground, too.

Carter Seven – The Chicago Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook is a new dad.  He and wife Dayna chose a very popular first name for their son, paired with a wildly unconventional middle.  But Seven is full of meaning.  It’s the jersey number dad wore when he won two Stanley Cups plus Olympic gold for his native CanadaCarter shares a middle with youngest Beckham kiddo Harper, and let’s not forget Blue Ivy, whose middle is said to be inspired by the number four – IV in Roman numerals.  Are numbers the new nature names?

Luella Blue – Speaking of Blue and unconventional middle name picks, did you catch Fat Mum Slim’s new arrival?  Blogger Chantelle Ellem recently wrote about the name game, just days before welcoming baby #2.  Her older daughter is Lacey.  I love the quirky, retro vibe of Luella, and I can’t wait to hear if there is a story behind Blue.

JaceSwistle advised a couple considering Jace as a given name.  It isn’t a great fit with their surname, but the post makes me wonder if Jace is a name to watch.  There’s the Duck Dynasty character, plus the handsome Jace Wayland from City of Bones – a smash hit novel that has just hit theaters as a movie this week.

Jett – After naming her first three children Harvey, Junior Savva Andreas, and Princess Tiiaami Crystal Esther, I find the name of British reality star Katie Price’s fourth child pretty tame.  The newest addition to the family is Jett Riviera.  On the downside, it almost feels like a phrase: “we’re taking a jet to the Riviera.”  On the plus side, Jett is very wearable for a boy in 2013, and Riviera could be seen as a pleasing international spin on River.

Shooter – The outrageous name of the week award goes to filmmaker Julian Schnabel and his fiancée, model May Anderson.  No word on why the couple chose the aggressive Shooter for their son’s given name.  Sandhed is a Danish word meaning truth – mom May was born in Copenhagen.  But is he really a junior if Julian is his third name?

CarmenAlec Baldwin and new wife Hilaria impressed me with their choice: Carmen GabrielaAlec’s older daughter is named Ireland, so I was expecting something interesting.  Was Carmen inspired by the opera?  No word from the happy couple, but for the moment, I’m humming the toreadors’ song.  Carmen has saintly roots, thanks to the title Our Lady of Carmel, associated with MaryCarmela, Carmina, and Carmen are all derived from Carmel, though Carmen is also the Spanish word for song.

Mercedes – She’s another Marian name with Spanish roots, as in Mary of Mercies.  But Mercedes is made headlines thanks to the German luxury auto company’s Alabama outpost.  When Alabama released baby name data earlier this month, a sharp-eyed analyst noted that Mercedes peaked as a given name for girls in the state just a year after the German company opened its first plant in Tuscaloosa.  It seems fitting.  The lovely name was given to the company at the insistence of early investor Emil Jellinek, whose daughter was named Adrienne Manuela Ramona, but called Mercedes.

Jaxon – There’s no mystery behind the rise of Jaxon.  Take surname Jackson, substitute the letter x, and bam!  Jaxon is everywhere.  The latest arrival is the son of Matt Cedeño, a Days of our Lives alum and current Devious Maids cast member.  Jaxon is the first child for Matt and wife Erica.

Cruz – But it is Jaxon’s middle that has me swooning.  When the Beckhams chose the Spanish surname – it means cross – for their youngest son in 2005, it struck me as being too extravagant.  But Cruz has grown on me, and in the middle spot, he seems like the perfect choice.

Do you have a different style for boys’ names than girls’ names?  Are these boys’ choices too daring?  Is Carmen going to catch on?  How ’bout Luella?

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