Category: Names from the Arts & Pop Culture
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Let’s face it—most TV character names are predictable and dull. It’s almost as though the screenwriters close their eyes and stick a pin into a list of what seem like age-appropriate monikers—Jim for Grandpa, Jack for Dad, Jackson for Son or Betty for Grandma, Beth for Mom and Becca for Girl.
But luckily there are some exceptions, the creative minority that shine out from the others like glistening gems. The names below are drawn from the character lists of current shows or those that have recently expired—running on a bewildering number of channels—network, cable and online. Reality and animated shows not included.
I’ve starred the names that have already seemed to have had an influence in the real world.
If you grew up in the 1980′s you probably have fond memories of some of the fantasy adventure movies from that decade. For many, these movies were an early introduction to a different style of naming. Sometimes they were a slight twist on an old familiar name, other times they seemed completely magical and fantastical. But the great thing now is that those names are an instant reminder of those beloved films. Here are 20 of the top picks:
Atreyu (The Neverending Story) – Pronounced ah-TRAY-yoo, he was the warrior boy of the story. It is thought that the name has both Indian/Hindu origins – where it means ‘warrior’ – and German origins in the name Atreju, which means ‘son of all’. Both are quite apt for this character, who was raised by a village when his parents died. The name is still rare, but has seen some use since the early 1990′s.
Aquila (Ladyhawke) – Aquila is traditionally a male Latin name meaning ‘eagle,’ but is more often used as a girls name in America. Pronounced either ah-KEE-la or ah-KWIL-la, it was the name of the land in Ladyhawke.
Auryn (The Neverending Story) – The Auryn was the name of the amulet Atreyu wore to protect and guide him in his quest. It was also on the cover of the book Bastian was reading ‘The Neverending Story‘ from. This name could go to either gender, as it sounding similar to both girls’ name Lauren and boys’ name Oren, and has only recently started appearing on the US charts for both.
When we named our son Alexander in 2004, it was a no-brainer, a family name that my husband very much wanted to pass down. Despite my baby name obsession, the choice was made without much thought.
I knew girls could answer to Alex as a tomboyish nickname for Alexandra. Heck, it was the kind of name I’d craved as a child. And I was fascinated by the medieval French Alix, the Italian Alessandra, the Russian Sasha.
The possibility of a girl Alex didn’t bother me a bit.
The classmate who told him that his nickname was a gender bender?
His name is Delaney.
So what’s happening with boys’ names in 2013? There’s pressure to choose a name that is clearly masculine, coupled with frustration that so many fresh possibilities for boys could easily be the next big thing for girls. Parents will drop Elliot if they see it mentioned on a message board as a vague possibility for a girl. Emerson has been ceded to Team Pink before she even cracks the Top 100 in the US.
Wacky celebrity baby names are popular gossip-mag fare all over the world, and we love hearing about Audio Science, Moxie Crimefighter, Princess Tiaamii and Phaedra Bloom Forever. But we’ve got some intriguing home-grown celebrity baby names of our own right here in Australia.
Retired AFL footballer Brodie Holland has twin boys named Kip and Bowie. I’ve been told Kip‘s name is inspired by actor Kip Pardue, while Bowie is presumably after singer David Bowie. Kip and Bowie‘s older sister is Stevie – another pop reference.
The eldest daughter of TV chef Pete Evans has an appropriately culinary name – Chilli. She was born the year after Gwenyth Paltrow’s daughter Apple, which inspired Pete to also use a type of food as a name. Chilli‘s younger sister is Indii.
The big trend in baby name news this week? It has to be borrowing a name from your family tree.
Once upon a time, it might have been expected that your firstborn son was a junior, or maybe shared his name with grandpa. In other places, family surnames were handed down along with the silver.
These days, there’s less pressure than ever to choose heirloom names. And yet we’re still inclined to honor our loved ones.
Other parents aren’t passing down family names, but they are coordinating their children’s names. Sometimes it is a shared first initial; other times, the theme is more subtle.