Category: appellation mountain.net
What makes a name real?
Curzan points out that dictionaries are written by people, people who are listening very carefully to how the general public uses words. So tweet and defriend make the cut.
The same thing happens with baby name books and websites. Nevaeh wouldn’t have appeared in the 1980s, but she’s firmly installed today. And while Jayceon might be too new to appear in print, the fast-rising variant can be found on most of the major baby name sites.
Not every parent, of course. Casual choices like Charlie and Molly, Mia and Jack have been popular in recent years. And I’ve always thought that George Alexander Louis was a pretty low-key pick for a future king.
But whether the name is an outlandish borrowing from the dictionary or one worn by an accomplished historical figure, it’s worth asking: When is a name too much to live up to?
By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain
Here’s something I overheard recently:
There’s something to that statement, isn’t there? Olivia feels like a vintage revival, a literary choice thanks to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and a wildly popular name for over a decade. Aria is a newcomer, a noun name that leapt from obscurity to prominence thanks to more than one pop culture reference. They’re very different names.
Yet on sound alone, Aria and Olivia are similar. Reverse the histories – make Aria the Shakespearean choice and Olivia the twenty-first century television darling – and it is easy to imagine the statement reversed, too. After all, five of the current US Top 20 girls’ names end with -ia.
Nouveau or traditional, popular or obscure, our favorite names tend to share sounds.
Names from the Middle Ages are fascinating. They’re often quite similar to those parents love today, but tend to be almost entirely overlooked.
Nameberry has long had the Coolator. I would call this the Medievalizer, except that sounds like a torture device.
Instead, this is a list of the 2013 US Top Ten for girls, with suggestions for parents looking for something just a little different – or maybe something that would be right at home in the eleventh century.
When it comes to naming a daughter, imagination reigns. From Hollywood birth announcements to literary powerhouses, blog babies to the most random of name spottings, a great name can come from anywhere.
This week’s potential seismic name influence? Disney’s big screen retelling of Sleeping Beauty. This time, we’re getting the villain’s side of the story in Maleficent. Angelina Jolie might make the two-horned headdress look elegant, but I doubt she can sell her character’s name to future parents. Maleficent is too downright evil! But plenty of other choices associated with the big summer film could get a boost.
On a sad note, this was also the week the world said farewell to the towering Maya Angelou. If Francis has gained currency as a hero name, could the widely admired writer’s names – first and last – be next?
Together, they point towards some of the most interesting sources for naming daughters in our age: myth, fable, and literature, much of it ancient and well-worn, but some of it modern, even newly invented.