Category: Classic Baby Names
By Arika Okrent
Looking for a unique name with some historical cachet? The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources is the place to go. It is a hefty work of scholarship that “aims to contain all given (fore, Christian) names recorded in European sources written between 500 and 1600, less the names of historical/non-contemporary people and names occurring only in fictional literature or poetry.”
The dictionary so far has over 1000 names, documented with citations and etymologies. They are constantly adding to the collection, planned in two phases, first looking at Western Europe and Hungary and then Eastern Europe. They also maintain an active blog with interesting facts about medieval naming practices and a “Mystery Monday” feature, covering documented names that have uncertain etymologies.
Here are 17 medieval names that would make great hipster baby names today.
By Abby Sandel
Looking for the middle ground between cool, edgy boy names like Axl, Legend, and Bodhi, and quiet traditionals like Michael, Joseph, and David? You’re in luck! There’s a crop of boy names that are bona fide classics, with history galore. And yet, they still feel stylish, even fresh, in 2016.
The reigning king of stylish classics for boys has to be Sam. Keri Russell recently shared that she and Matthew Rhys welcomed son Sam in May. Russell is also mom to River and Willa with ex-husband Shane Deary. A few days later, The Bachelor alums Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici Lowe announced the arrival of their first son, Samuel Thomas.
By Lauren Der
Olivia has been the second most popular girls’ name in the US for the two years running, and Golden Age Hollywood star Olivia de Havilland was one of the first people to bring it to prominence here decades ago. The last surviving star of Gone With the Wind, we salute her as she celebrates her 100th birthday today.
The name Olivia has long been popular apart from the actress’s fame. De Havilland’s actress mother named her after Olivia in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Her sister, actress Joan Fontaine, began calling her Livvie as a child, a nickname that stuck throughout her life. Despite the star’s popularity, her name didn’t spike through the height of her fame in the 30s and 40s, reaching the Top 10 only in 2001.
Here, a look at the names of the characters Olivia De Havilland played. Are any of them as appealing as Olivia itself?
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Marilyn Monroe was unquestionably the sex symbol of midcentury America. And even though everyone knew she was born Norma Jean, she became big enough to be known simply as Marilyn. (Though Marilyn hasn’t caught on like other Old Hollywood stars, there has been something of a revival of Monroe, in tribute to her.) It’s interesting to take a look at the names of the characters she inhabited in her relatively short career (barely 15 years), to see which ones played on her sensual image, and which worked against it.
By Abby Sandel
Last week, we looked at short names for girls, like Iris and Thea, Esme and Ivy. This week, let’s go even shorter and focus on girls’ names with just one syllable.
Single-syllable names for girls solve problems. They make great middle names, balancing out Isabella and Arabella and Evangeline. If your last name is longer and complex, keeping it simple in the first spot works. And, of course, some parents just plain fall in love with the slim, trim style of Bess and Claire, Blue and Lou.
If you’re thinking short and sweet for your daughter’s name, there’s more than one approach. Here are nine types of single-syllables names for girls, ranging from the modern and unexpected to timeless classics.
Let’s take a look a closer look!