Category: Middle, Last and Nicknames
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Both his first and middle names honor his great-grandparents, Charles and Al. Cal is the name of my favorite character from my favorite book, East of Eden, and Alasdair is a cheeky nod to Alexander the Great and the fact that we were deployed to Afghanistan at the time of his conception. It’s the perfect name for him and our family.
The problem is coming up with a name for his little brother, due in March, with a similar traditional feel, cool-but-not-too-common nickname-ability, and family significance. We like strong, classic boy names, but I have always wanted to avoid the Top 100 — though I obviously made an exception with Charles.
Some of the family first names we’re working with are John, William, James, Thomas, and Raymond — all of which are too familiar for my taste, as they are — and Bertsch, Rhodes, and Stokes as possibly transformable last names. I’d also be open to using honor initials, like J.D. after my father or T.R. after my husband’s grandfather, but we just can’t think of any combination of names that we’re in love with.
As a middle child, I know what it’s like to feel overshadowed by my older sibling, and I really want this baby’s name to be just as special as his brother’s. Can you offer any advice?
The Name Sage replies:
By Linda Rosenkrantz
This is one of those months when every Berry choice seems to be sheer perfection—down to each name, first/middle combo and sibset. And some wonderful naming backstories to boot.
Here’s the complete rundown.
By Abby Sandel
With choices like Avery and Piper well established, it might feel like there aren’t any great new options for girls. Or maybe it seems like borrowing a favorite for boys, like Parker or Maxwell, is the only way to go.
Instead, why not consider some great, undiscovered surname names? Ones that we’re not using at all, but that have potential to wear well on a daughter.
By Abby Sandel
When it comes to baby name trends, it’s tempting to declare that the classics are back, or that originality is the new rule. And some weeks, it does feel like everyone is sticking with tried-and-true names, or turning to the dictionary, or just drawing letters from a bag of Scrabble tiles.
But baby name trends are often subtle. It’s not always about a name. It’s about a letter, a sound, or a style. Or maybe trends are about where we find our inspiration for our children’s names, even how we think about them.
Brits love diminutives. We use them, often automatically, to shorten names in a familiar way, and they have been essential for centuries as a way of distinguishing individuals with the same name. We love them so much, many of them have now been elevated into full-name status, and happily litter the Top 100.
The most common are two-syllable, ie/y-endings we know and love well; Isabelles are Izzy, Olivers are Ollie, Katherines are Katies and Fredericks are Freddies. But more and more, parents are looking to a more brisk and quirky style of diminutive. Edwards are often Ned, rather than Eddy; several Henrys are Hal, and Christophers are the striking Kit rather than Chris.
With this niche trend in mind, here is a rundown of some one-syllable diminutives that have become overlooked since they were developed in the Middle Ages. Several of them, perhaps surprisingly, were unisex.
In the 16th century Bess was a popular nickname for Elizabeth. You could almost say that it was the diminutive for the name, as the most famous bearer, Elizabeth I, was known fondly as “Good Queen Bess“. It began to lose favour in the 18th century, but was revived as Bessie in the 19th. In some instances, Bess was also used as a diminutive for Beatrice.