Category: Names from the Arts & Pop Culture
But here’s a strategy that might work – pick a name that qualifies as a twist on a classic. It works for Swedish royals, Olympic gold medalists, and Hollywood types, too.
Need proof? Try the Zato Novo baby name visualizer. Elizabeth consistently turns the map various shades of blue, showing a long and steady history of use. But try Elsa or Bess or Elizaveta, and suddenly, she’s far more rare.
All too often, the names that strike us as outlandish are on their way to the top of the popularity charts. Remember when Top 100 picks like Harper and Trinity were surprising? Now names like Haven, Skyla, and Aspen are on the rise, slowly transitioning from “what an unusual name” to “oh, my cousin/co-worker/neighbor’s sister named her baby that.”
Twists on classics elicit a very different response. They usually can’t be dismissed as trendy or fleeting. Of course, some – like Nora, Eliza, or Kaitlyn – can become very popular. But many of them occupy a middle ground – pleasing names that show their history, while still standing out on the playground.
Look at our bookshelves!
One, two three…
How many Seuss books
Do I see?
How can it be that our family owns only eight of his classics, not counting poetry within other children’s anthologies or the duplicate, dog-eared copies of The Cat in The Hat? He wrote 40+ books in his lifetime, and the work of Theodor Seuss Geisel is ingrained in the English lexicon. Still, we take Dr. Seuss’ contributions for granted ‘ever so muchly’ that most of us pronounce his name incorrectly. Geisel’s mother’s German maiden name Seuss actually rhymes with “voice”, not “use” (as in, “the Simplest Seuss for youngest use”). It’s rumored that he didn’t mind, due to the sound-alike quality of ‘Seuss’ to children’s author Mother Goose. In any case, the ultimate Seuss-ism could be naming one’s child in homage to him. Here is a nearly-exhaustive list of Seuss names…
While the Elizabethan/Jacobean playwright William Shakespeare has had a long influence on the names of children, his Restoration successors haven’t had as much impact on the name game. But when looking through character lists of these Restoration comedies, written between 1660-1710, there are some fabulous names to be found, some that have been heard of since, like Amanda, Julia and Sylvia, and some that are extremely rare. Here are thirteen of the more interesting feminine names from the most popular Restoration comedies of the day.
Amaryllis – As seen in 1671’s The Rehearsal, which was published anonymously, though prominent courtier, George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, was most likely the writer. The name Amaryllis is of Greek origin and means ‘to sparkle’.
Araminta – As seen in 1693’s The Old Bachelor by William Congreve, the name is actually a disguise for the character of Sylvia. Araminta is a hybrid of the names Arabella and Aminta as well as having the Greek meaning of ‘defender’.
For fifty years, Charlie Brown and his team of usual suspects made us laugh and learn life lessons. The last official episode of the Peanuts comic-strip appeared fourteen years ago this February. Gone but not forgotten, we’re honoring its memory with a survey of Peanuts’ most notable names. And while adorable pet names Woodstock and Snoopy will probably never translate into the baby-name scene, there are plenty of interesting choices you may have not expected, drawn from the real life of artist and creator Charles M. Schulz.
Charlie – It’s only fitting that the lovable, friendly four-year-old who stole hearts with his catchphrase “Good grief”! has the friendliest boy name. A diminutive of the German Charles, there have been lots of pop-culture Charlies over the years, from Charlie Chaplin to Charlie’s Angels, though none of them cuter than the Peanuts‘ protagonist.
By Haley Sedgwick
As a child, I remember asking my mum for a videocassette that I had my eyes on in the grocery store. Any normal preschooler would be asking for some sort of cartoon, but not me. My passion was musicals, and one actress, who had blonde curls and dimples, just like me, stood out the most.
Shirley Temple, “America’s Little Darling,“ was that one actress. And that movie I mentioned asking for earlier? No ordinary 1990’s child, I was asking my mother to buy me a sing-along VHS tape of Shirley Temple’s best known songs. That tape stayed with me until I reached the age of 8 – by which point, I had played it so often, that it had actually become unplayable.
When I found out that Shirley had passed away on February 10th – I suddenly felt very emotional, as if I had just lost a part of my childhood, which, in all honesty, I really did. I grew up with her songs and films, I grew up idolizing her, I grew up with this dream of being just like Shirley – and of one day meeting her. Neither of these dreams will become a reality for me anymore – but I know that, along with other childhood favourites, Shirley Temple will always be something I hold close to me.