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Category: Celebrity Names

abby--3-16-14a

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

When anything goes, how do you know if you’re going too far?

Naming a baby in 2014 is mostly about freedom.  Gwyneth’s edibly-named daughter Apple regularly tops the list of craziest celebrity baby names, but we’re calling our own kids Clementine and Olive.  Zuma Rossdale’s first name doesn’t sound like a name … except it does sound something like popular choice Ezra.

The list goes on.  For almost every so-called “crazy” baby name, there’s a case to be made that it fits in with current trends.  But that’s not a guarantee that anything goes.

This past week was filled with foreign imports, misspellings, nicknames that might be too casual, and hero names that might go too far.  Take your favorite name, travel to another country, and it could become unwearable.  Or name your child something that you really want to use, accept that you might spend the first few months explaining your choice, and then laugh when it makes the Top 100 by the time your kiddo starts kindergarten.

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Irish baby names

Kick up your heels, get out your shillelagh and prepare to dance a jig as we celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with twelve musical Irish names—some of which were introduced to us by musicians who, as a bonus, taught us the right way to pronounce them.

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b3

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Brian is your brother-in-law, Bill’s your uncle, and Barbara is your mom.  But could B be the new letter to watch for baby names?

Up until recently we were all mad for Aiden and Ava, Amelia and AlexanderA was the most popular letter for girls’ names, the second most popular for boys, and a resounding #1 overall.

Of course, B hasn’t been in the shadows.  You probably know kids called Benjamin and Brayden, Brooklyn, Brianna and Bella.  They’re all Top 100 choices. Up-and-comers like Beatrix and Beckett are on the favorites list of many a future parent.

Still, it was a surprise to hear four great B choices in the news this week, all of which could catch on.  They were mixed in with lots of intriguing names: a vintage romantic, a pair of Hollywood glam surnames, and a handsome Greek god.

Here are the baby names in this week’s news, brought to you by the letter B and beyond:

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abby--3-2-14

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Last month, two high profile birth announcements both featured Bodhi within days.  Not Mason, not Noah.  Bodhi.  Proof that choosing a different name is no guarantee that it will actually be different.

But here’s a strategy that might work – pick a name that qualifies as a twist on a classic.  It works for Swedish royals, Olympic gold medalists, and Hollywood types, too.

Need proof?  Try the Zato Novo baby name visualizerElizabeth consistently turns the map various shades of blue, showing a long and steady history of use.  But try Elsa or Bess or Elizaveta, and suddenly, she’s far more rare.

All too often, the names that strike us as outlandish are on their way to the top of the popularity charts.  Remember when Top 100 picks like Harper and Trinity were surprising? Now names like Haven, Skyla, and Aspen are on the rise, slowly transitioning from “what an unusual name” to “oh, my cousin/co-worker/neighbor’s sister named her baby that.”

Twists on classics elicit a very different response.  They usually can’t be dismissed as trendy or fleeting.  Of course, some – like Nora, Eliza, or Kaitlyn – can become very popular.  But many of them occupy a middle ground – pleasing names that show their history, while still standing out on the playground.

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abby 3-3-14a

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

You’ll never guess the name that repeats in my son’s third grade.

It isn’t Alex.  Despite having a Top 20 name, he’s never had to share.  His friend Matthew is also one of one, and has been since kindergarten.  The same is true for Chloe and William.

The name that repeats?  Micah.

It’s one of the new realities of baby naming.  In our quest to avoid calling our kids the 2014 equivalent of Jennifer and Jason, Ashley and Josh, we skip over the Top Ten and even Top 100.

But that’s no guarantee that our relatively uncommon choice won’t be shared.  My kids know more than one Lucia and a couple of Finns, two Jareds, a Skyler and a Skye, a boy Jordan and a girl Jordan, a boy Seamus and a dog Seamus.

So it isn’t really a surprise that the high profile birth announcement name to repeat this week wasn’t Ava or Isabella, but Bodhi.

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