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eclectic baby names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

It’s tempting to predict the future.  Difficult, too.

Last week, I stumbled across this 1994 article in the L.A. Times.  Nameberry’s Pam predicted the stylish names of the future would be Felix and Frances, Charlotte and Claire, Hazel and Dexter.

Twenty years later, it’s all come true!

But it’s also become increasingly difficult to imagine what’s next for names, and the most recent high profile birth announcements illustrate why.

In our anything-goes age, possibilities abound.  From Arabella to Zhang, the names parents are choosing make for an eclectic bunch.

And yet there are definite trends to spot and celebrate in this creative and daring age.

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Instrumental Musical Names

musical baby names

We’ve written and talked about musical words like Aria, about jazz, rock and country singers, classical musicians, and opera and operetta and Broadway musical name, but we’ve never looked at the music instruments themselves. We’ve found some are as common as Viola, others as rare and exotic as Chiaramella.

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gender-benders

Can celebrities have an impact on the gender ID of their names?  You betcha.  First there were some earlier actresses with predominantly male names like Glenn Close, Sean Young, Michael Learned and Darryl Hannah, and then, more recently, Bryce Dallas Howard, Elisha Cuthbert, Tierney Sutton, Jules Asner and Mischa Barton, who have opened the door to the gender-bending of their names.

Here are some who have had a perceivable influence in making their lad names more acceptable for ladies.

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unisex names

A lot of people complain about unisex names.

Names like Riley and Rory, they say — never mind Maxwell or James — should never be used for girls.  Those are boys’ names, and should stay on the boys’ side of the fence.

And then there are those people who campaign for names such as Ashley and Evelyn to be repossessed by the boys from the girls.

Other says that word names and place names such as Halcyon and Havana have no intrinsic gender and so are equally appropriate for girls and boys.

We’d like to spin this controversy to a more positive place and ask which names you think truly work best for both genders.  Please name names and let us know why you think  your choices go both ways with the most grace.

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posted by: bluejuniper View all posts by this author
unisex

By Brooke Cussans, Baby Name Pondering

One of the posts I did last year that I really enjoyed was Unisex Baby Names: Five new entries – a list of those names special enough to simultaneously debut for both girls and boys in 2012. There were just five, and it was interesting to learn about names from cultures I am largely unfamiliar with, plus some word names, celebrity names, and spelling variations I hadn’t considered. So I wanted to do the same for the 2013 names. And the three contenders for 2013 manage to deliver on all of those aspects.

CHIKAMSO – Given to 5 girls and 8 boys in 2013

Showing how much I still have to learn about the world of names, when I first saw Chikamso I thought it might be of Asian origin. I learned however that Chikamso is a Nigerian name from the Igbo (or Ibo) people. For a parent looking for a strong Igbo name that honours God, this could be a good choice, as it means ‘God I follow’ or ‘I am following God’. Possible nicknames include Chi – which is also an Igbo name reportedly meaning ‘God’ or ‘spiritual guardian’ – or the more commonly suggested Kamso. Or dare I suggest Kamzo? Kamso itself has never charted, but seems like it would be a cool and spunky nickname for either gender.

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