Category: Middle Names
Some names are common in the middle but rarely used as first names. Others are common first names but hardly used in the middle. And then there are a lucky few that are popular first and middle names, such as Grace and James. But the ultimate double-threat is Elizabeth.
Elizabeth’s status as a popular first name has endured over a century. Elizabeth is the only girl name that has remained in the top 30 since 1880, the earliest year baby name rankings are available from Social Security Administration. This places Elizabeth among the baby name elite.
While Elizabeth’s many nicknames has kept it a popular first name, Elizabeth’s distinctive rhythm has kept it a popular middle name. This distinctive pattern is four syllables with the stress is on the second syllable.
Four syllable names with the stress on the third syllable don’t flow as well with most first names. For example, compare the following name combinations with Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s Spanish counterpart, Isabella, which has the stress on the third syllable:
If there’s one British baby names trend that Berries all over the world have embraced full-heartedly, it’s the old upper class practice of giving children two (or even more, ala Uma Thurman) middle names.
Rooted in royalty as a way to honor a raft of vaulted relatives, the multiple-middle-name practice was pegged by one visitor to our pages as being “very posh and a bit snobby.”
But it’s also a way for name lovers to indulge their enthusiasm by using more of their favorites on fewer children. Americans who give their babies two middle names are often simply packing more name power into one extended appellation. They may also (as my husband and I were, when we named our daughter Rory Elizabeth Margaret) be adding extra middle names to honor both sides of the family at the same time.
Judging from the birth announcements in the London Telegraph, the three-barreled British baby name is distinct in a couple of important ways:
As first names become more distinctive and more meaningful, middle names take on those qualities in spades. Anything goes when it comes to middle names now, and parents are looking far beyond the usual given names to find unusual choices.
To bring you some new ideas, we’ve mined those areas to come up with 100 fresh choices. Here they are:
There are several hot trends in middle names 2012.
One is the Middle Name with Meaning — family surnames, place names, virtue names you might not use in first place but that make for distinctive middle names.
Another is using two middle names, often to honor family members.
And then there are The New Connectors.
These names don’t mean or stand for anything or anyone special. They just sound good, bridging the first and last names with a euphonious single syllable.
How do they differ from the standard middle names of yore, the Anns and Lees and Johns that might be thought of as The Old Connectors?
No sooner had we declared the death of such old-style middle names as Ann, John, and Marie – mere connective tissue between the first name and the last – than we started seeing the rise of a whole new generation of undistinguished middle names.
Granted, middle names are not as important as first names and may be rarely used after the birth announcements are printed. But that’s no reason to default to whatever’s easiest. In fact, the middle can be the perfect place to use a name that’s more meaningful and distinctive than one you dare put in first place.
Here, some places to find distinctive middle names:
– HONOR THY MOTHER, THY FATHER, AND THY GREAT-UNCLE – If your family is barging into the baby-naming act, make peace by using a family name in the middle. My husband and I used both grandmothers’ names as middle names for our daughter, for instance, and revived a great-great-grandpa’s distinguished but eccentric name as our older son’s middle name.