With middle names, one way — the more popular way — to go is to choose slim, sleek, minimal middle names. Meaningful or simply connective, these middle names provide a short euphonic bridge between the more important first and last names.
But middle names can go another way, toward the big, important, statement name in the middle.
We’re talking multisyllabic, exotic, literary, artistic, mind-blowing, message-carrying middle names.
Names you love, but don’t want to stick your child with in first place. Names that are too daring, too difficult, too attention-grabbing to foist upon someone you love.
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.
If you look at the very bottom of the Social Security name records, you’ll find plenty of ill-advised baby names that people actually choose, and really really shouldn’t have.
The baby names here were gathered from names given to five children in 2012. To protect privacy, the government only records names used for five or more babies each year, so chances are there are even worse choices out there that didn’t make the official statistics.
Here, what not to name your baby, and why:
Ahmiracle and Dmiracle – There were nearly 800 girls named just plain Miracle, and then you’ve got your Jamiracles and your Lamiracles. But we draw the line.
Assia – You just can’t give an American baby a name that contains the word “ass.”
Beautyful and Pretty – She better be.
Disney – Product placement?
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There are few names that have given birth to as many variations as Ann, the simplest and softest of the classic girls’ names. But while others like Mary and Margaret and Elizabeth have spawned almost unrecognizable progeny—from Daisy to Bessie to Peggy to Polly—most of the Ann derivatives have stayed pretty close to their mother name.
Yet Ann herself is an offshoot, coming from Hannah, a Hebrew name meaning ‘grace,’ who in the Old Testament is the mother of the prophet Samuel. This version was taken up by the Puritans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and remained a commonly used name in the Jewish community for several generations.
Anna is the Latin form widely used in countries across the world, while Ann was originally the English spelling and Anne the French. St. Anne was the traditional, non-biblical name of the mother of the Virgin Mary, which explains its popularity among Christians—and is the name of several saints. In more modern times, the affection felt for the character Anne Shirley in the childhood classic, Anne of Green Gables, also contributed to the spread of this spelling.
Think you could do better? I bet you do!
Naming all-girl quintuplets was one of my formative name nerd fantasies, inspired by the Dionne quintuplets of Canada, the first set of surviving quints and the only set of identical quints ever to survive, according to this list of quint facts.
Lots of berries agree, as evidenced by the more than 500 pages of responses in our forums to the all-girl quintuplet name challenge.
Now let’s bring this name game to center stage. What would YOU name a set of girl quintuplets? (Don‘t worry, we’ll tackle boys’ names next week.)