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Way Off the Grid: Baby names Hera, Evening & Forever

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This week for her Nameberry 9 newsiest names, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel highlights some names that so unusual, they really off the grid!

Jacob and Sophia might still be on top of the US rankings, but any name nerd knows this for sure: names change.

Sometimes the changes are subtle.  In the late 1800s, Sallie was more popular than Sally.  In the 1950s, Kerry, Jimmie, and Lester were ordinary names for little boys, and their sisters were called Toni, Yolanda, and Marlene.

It’s easy to focus on the big stories – the headline-grabbing rise of Messiah and King, for example – but I like this quote from last week’s Oxford Dictionaries blog:

… it makes sense that we constantly adapt and expand our vocabulary to account for new concepts, events, inventions, etc. For example, we may invent new words, give existing words new meanings, or borrow words from other languages.

They were talking about words in general, but it rings true for names, doesn’t it?

If creativity and change are the hallmarks of our age, no wonder we’re discovering and inventing new names.

Speaking of innovation, the first Nameberry eBook launched this week.  So in celebration of Off the Grid baby names, here are nine choices that made this week’s baby name news, each of them just a little bit different.

Briseis – NFL star Reggie Bush is a new dad.  He and fiancée Lilit Avagyan have welcomed a daughter named Briseis.  It’s a Greek name, worn by a princess in ancient legend.  Word is that the couple discovered the name while watching the movie Troy.  There’s more than one possible pronunciation, but I’m partial to breh SAY ess. I’ve yet to hear Reggie say his daughter’s name in an interview – have you?     

Evening – If children can answer to Winter and Sunday, why not Evening?  Fewer than five girls received the name in 2012, but she recently appeared on a Swistle list.  If Eva and Evelyn are stylish, and Everly is on the rise, this word name seems like a stunningly different choice that would be easy to wear.

Forever – If Evening seems wearable, Forever strikes me as a little more challenging.  It makes this week’s list thanks to that wacky baby naming family, the Geldofs.  Peaches recently shared that new son Phaedra’s full name is Phaedra Bloom Forever.  Bloom is a nod to mom’s middle, Honeyblossom, while Forever just “sounds cool.”  Or maybe it sounds like the heroine of a Gothic novel.

Hera – She’s a goddess, a particle accelerator, and a key character in Battlestar Galactica.  Her Roman counterpart, Juno, has been catching on.  And yet Hera remains a rarity.  This write-up at Geek Baby Names has me thinking: doesn’t she seem like a perfectly wearable name in 2013?   

MelusineKelli profiled this one, a super-subtle mermaid name.  She could be great in the middle, or maybe a surprising formal name for Lulu.  Melusine has never been big, but a few women have answered to the name, along with Melusina.  I’ve also heard the two-tailed Starbucks siren referred to as a melusine. 

Maisie – The Henry James novel What Maisie Knew has been adapted for the big screen, more than a century after its original publication.  It’s hard to believe that sassy, sweet Maisie has never been terribly popular in the US.  Could that change?  She was featured on Friday’s slideshow for Off the Grid names.  And For Real Baby Names just spotted a birth announcement for Maisie Coy.  We’ve embraced Sadie and Hattie.  Could Maisie have her moment next?

TigerlilyLily is lovely, but Tigerlily is fierce.  I’ve seen birth announcements for the name smooshed together and also for Tiger Lily, like this one at Waltzing More than Matilda.  She’s the name of a princess living in Neverland in the original Peter Pan stories, and Michael Hutchence’s daughter had Tiger Lily as two of her middle names, too.

Waveland – The kids at My Name is Pabst always have killer stories behind their one-of-a-kind appellations.  Waveland is no exception – his full name is Waveland Sheffield, after the streets outside of Wrigley Field in Chicago.  No, the family doesn’t live in Chicago.  But hey, Wave is a great short form.

MayleeHat tip to Pam for this one.  She spotted singer Maylee Todd on NPR.  The name has promise, doesn’t it?  There are all of those great Mae names, plus Maylee is just one sound removed from Kaylee and Hailey.  She reminds me of Hunger Games name Maysilee, too.

Have you heard any new names recently?  How about unexpected revivals or imports?

Check out Nameberry’s brand-new book, The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names , at our store.

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