Category: Classic Baby Names
Let’s say you’re naming a son.
You’re a buttoned-up kind of family, and the classics seem like the right route.
The only problem?
Your nephew is James, your favorite cousin is expecting a Henry, and William is your BFF’s #1 choice. Charles was a frontrunner, except there’s already a little Charlie two doors down – and she’s a girl.
What’s a parent to do? Go further back, of course.
The trendiest girls’ names of recent years have been flowery and elaborate: Isabella and Sophia, Olivia and Arianna. They end in vowels….and often begin with them too. And if they’re not exotic confections, stylish girls’ names are often gender-and-tradition-confounding novelties such as Harper and Hadley and Neveah.
Well, fewer and fewer, in many cases, yet all the frippery in girls’ names is enough to make the old-fashioned buttoned-up standards feel downright refreshing.
A few of these buttoned-up names – Eleanor, most notably – are already making a comeback. But most are simply lovely standards that may feel buttoned-up, but come with fanciful nicknames for now that can be shed (or not) if and when the future demands more seriousness.
The buttoned-up names for girls we think deserve a closer look include:
It’s tempting to predict the future. Difficult, too.
Twenty years later, it’s all come true!
But it’s also become increasingly difficult to imagine what’s next for names, and the most recent high profile birth announcements illustrate why.
In our anything-goes age, possibilities abound. From Arabella to Zhang, the names parents are choosing make for an eclectic bunch.
And yet there are definite trends to spot and celebrate in this creative and daring age.
By Lauren Apfel
As both a classicist and a lover of names, I find myself in a unique position. On the one hand, I have been exposed, from a relatively young age, to a swathe of wonderful monikers that wouldn’t otherwise be on my radar: Achilles, Antigone, Andromache (to mention a few off the top of my head that all happen to start with A). On the other hand, I have spent many years studying and internalizing the tales of woe that accompany these names. Achilles, for instance, is not just an interesting three-syllable option to me with the benefit of a double letter. He is an angry man, with a delicate ego, who spent a long time sulking in his tent before embarking on a brutal killing spree. Not exactly the connotation I was looking for, you can imagine, when it came to naming my sons.
Okay, to be fair, I was never really tempted to call any of my sons Achilles. But there are some ancient Greek names that make me swoon, names I might even have considered using for my own modern offspring had their backstories not been so utterly problematic. Here are five:
Naming a boy has always been a little bit different.
It isn’t harder, necessarily. For some parents, settling on a son’s name is a picnic compared to naming a daughter.
But there are definitely some differences in the way we think about boys’ names.