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posted by: tararyaz View all posts by this author
olympibboy

By Tara Ryazansky

The men hoping to compete for the US Olympic Team have names that are just as winning as the women.’s  I put together a list of some boy names that might win over new parents in 2014.

LeifAs in Biathlon team member, Leif Nordgren.  This name has a strong Scandinavian vibe, but feels usable here in the US because of its well known connections to Leif Erikson and Leif Garrett.  I think it’s a great choice, but I must admit, I am guilty of the mispronunciation “Leaf“.  Its authentic pronunciation is more like “Layf”.

Stokes- Stokes Aitken of the US bobsled skeleton federation has a compelling name.  This very unusual choice could be inspired by any of the counties and towns across America called Stokes.  It is a fairly common English surname with variants that date back to the Middle Ages.

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rockwell

Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

Neil Gaiman recently lectured on the future of reading and libraries and all manner of literary and imaginative things.

He didn’t utter a word specifically about names, but he’s bestowed many a memorable choice on his characters, from Coraline to Thessaly to Yvaine, Silas to Vandemar.

Gaiman did say this: “We must not attempt to freeze language, or to pretend it is a dead thing that must be revered, but we should use it as a living thing, that flows, that borrows words, that allows meaning and pronunciations to change with time.”

If language is a living thing, doesn’t the same hold true for names?

Some words endure with minimal alteration, and some names do, too.  But for every Elizabeth, there’s a Samantha – a name that feels rich with history, but is actually almost unknown until the nineteenth century.  Or Brooke, a name that feels established and sophisticated, but would have been out of place a hundred years ago.

Names should evolve, and they quietly do when we’re not noticing.  Take Beatrix.  Once a rare spelling variant, she’s now at her most popular ever – and gaining on Beatrice.

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The 12 Most Notable Names of 2012

Malala Yousafzai

The most notable names of 2012 take a colorful direction this year, with influences that range from presidents to K-pop, celebrities and the characters they play, and from the web to the weather.

Our picks for the 12 names most emblematic of 2012 – plus the dozen also-rans – are:

Malala.  Runnerup: Dilma

Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani 14-year-old who was gunned down by the Taliban for championing girls’ education, wrote that her melodious name means “grief stricken.”  Malala could well become an inspiration name choice for young girls in the Western World.  Another female name to emerge from world politics this year is Dilma, via Brazil’s first woman president Dilma Rousseff, who was named after her mother.

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