Category: Guest Bloggers
To the Western world and Northern Hemisphere, July marks the beginning of sunny beach vacations, shady afternoon barbeques and sweltering hot temperatures. To name nerds all over the world, it brings a fresh batch of names inspired by history. In addition to Independence Day fireworks and parades, we have a diamond tycoon’s birthday, a Continental Congress resolution and the anniversary of several record-breaking explorations to celebrate.
Cecil- Cecil J. Rhodes, a British businessman, mining tycoon, and South African politician, was said to have controlled about 90 percent of the world’s diamond production in the nineteenth century. Now his surname is most commonly recognized for the Rhodes Scholarship, which allows select foreign students to study at the University of Oxford. Though Cecil has lost much of its potency over the years, it still maintains a strong presence in the sports and jazz worlds and retains references to American filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille.
What makes a name real?
Curzan points out that dictionaries are written by people, people who are listening very carefully to how the general public uses words. So tweet and defriend make the cut.
The same thing happens with baby name books and websites. Nevaeh wouldn’t have appeared in the 1980s, but she’s firmly installed today. And while Jayceon might be too new to appear in print, the fast-rising variant can be found on most of the major baby name sites.
Not every parent, of course. Casual choices like Charlie and Molly, Mia and Jack have been popular in recent years. And I’ve always thought that George Alexander Louis was a pretty low-key pick for a future king.
But whether the name is an outlandish borrowing from the dictionary or one worn by an accomplished historical figure, it’s worth asking: When is a name too much to live up to?
Here is the latest edition of CaraMichelle’s invaluable, comprehensive, monthly list of new starbabies, allowing us to get a broad picture of what’s new in the celebrisphere– the A-listers and beyond. (Thanks as always, Cara!)
By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain
Here’s something I overheard recently:
There’s something to that statement, isn’t there? Olivia feels like a vintage revival, a literary choice thanks to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and a wildly popular name for over a decade. Aria is a newcomer, a noun name that leapt from obscurity to prominence thanks to more than one pop culture reference. They’re very different names.
Yet on sound alone, Aria and Olivia are similar. Reverse the histories – make Aria the Shakespearean choice and Olivia the twenty-first century television darling – and it is easy to imagine the statement reversed, too. After all, five of the current US Top 20 girls’ names end with -ia.
Nouveau or traditional, popular or obscure, our favorite names tend to share sounds.