With new arrivals at Yahoo! HQ and in Trump Tower, I thought this week was going to be all about preppy boy names. Yates and Bennett and company, the kind of choices that scream rep tie and polo pony.
But somehow, the rest of the world crept in and I was reminded that American celebrities aren’t the only ones welcoming new babies with lovely, intriguing appellations. Of course, celebrity baby names that sound mainstream in Belgium or Belize might feel quite exotic in the English-speaking world, and the opposite is equally true.
Foreign language baby name blogs report that homegrown celebrities have an impact on naming trends everywhere. While those influences are rarely felt in the US, they can capture our attention, especially should their parent strike it big in Hollywood or score an international hit single.
The nine most intriguing names this week come from all over the planet:
Spencer Frederick – Spencer is a preppy choice with ties to the golden age of Hollywood – a fitting name for a little Trump. Donald, Jr. and wife Vanessa are also parents to Kai Madison, Donald John III, called Donnie, and Tristan Milos. I think Spencer Frederick is my favorite of the four.
Macallister – Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and husband Zachary Bogue finally named their new son. Macallister sounds like a brother for Spencer, but he’s a little more vibrant and unexpected. He makes for a refreshing spin on Alexander, too. Plus, Marissa and her parents all share names that start with M, so baby Macallister’s name is in the family tradition.
Delta Faye – From preppy boys to Southern belles, country crooner JT Hodges has welcomed a daughter called Delta Faye. It’s an appealing choice for a Nashville-born baby. Delta joins big sister Charlee Joy.
Mafalda – Let’s cross the Atlantic to Portugal, where singer Katia Guerreiro is a new mom to daughter Mafalda. English speakers may recognize Mafalda as a minor Harry Potter character. She’s also the name of an Argentine cartoon character, pictured here; an Italian princess arrested for her role in the resistance during World War II; and the Italian and Portuguese form of Matilda.
Rayaan – Bollywood star Amrita Arora and her husband have welcomed a second son. Baby Rayaan joins big brother Azaan. I’m not confident of Rayaan’s pronunciation, but the meaning seems to be “door to heaven.”
Hadrien – French food writer and television personality Julie Andrieu is a new mom. Hadrien arrived earlier this month. Hadrien has a history of use in France, but I can’t tell if he’s considered an underused classic, a daring choice, or somewhere in between.
Vesper – Here’s one that caught my eye. Dutch newscaster Annechien Steenhuizen is a first-time mom, and her new daughter answers to the name Vesper. Vesper would be a wildly unusual choice in the US, and seems to be pretty rare in the Netherlands, too. Then again, the baby name Harper has made headlines internationally – possibly paving the way for more exotic ends-with-r choices for girls.
Alec – Just as Marissa Meyer was settling on Macallister for her new son, Belgian radio personality Evy Gruyaert was choosing another form of Alexander. Like Hadrien, it is tough to know how Alec is perceived at home, but in the US, he’d be a fresh choice.
Henrietta – Speaking of surprising, let’s head back to the US where comedienne and actress Alex Borstein has welcomed her second child with husband Jackson Douglas. Henrietta joins big brother Barnaby. Neither name seems likely to catch on anytime soon, but I’m completely charmed by this quirky, throwback sibset.
Do you find yourself tempted to borrow names from abroad? Which languages or places produce your favorite names?