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abby 5-5-14

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Snooki is looking for another Italian name.  David Arquette promised to name his baby something normal.  Kerry Washington honored her daughter’s Igbo heritage with a distinctive middle, and blogger Dana Miller borrowed a street name for a deeply meaningful choice.

For many of us, we know the characteristics we’d like in our child’s name long before we arrive at the actual name.

It seems sensible.  It’s the way we shop for a car – seats six, good safety record – or a couch – stain-resistant fabric, big enough to fill up the family room, convenient delivery available.

But it isn’t the same at all, is it?  When it comes to naming our children, we’re not completing a checklist that gets us to good enough.  The standard is higher – we’re looking for a certain magic.

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god2

By Linda Rosenkrantz

In the mythologies of ancient Greece and Rome, most of the deities had shared lineages, dominions and attributes—but not appellations.  I thought it might be fun to pit the names of the two cultures against each other and let you see if your taste ran more to the Greek or Roman.  The one major exception to this rule is Apollo—recently chosen by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale—whose name stayed the same.

Here they are, with Greeks on the left, the Romans to the right.

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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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celebharlow

When the name Mason jumped ten places to become the 2011 second most popular boy’s name in the country, it wasn’t just because more parents were noticing this pleasant occupational surname. No, anyone who had kept up with the Kardashians would know that cute little Mason Disick, featured on the E! Entertainment channel roughly a thousand times a week, had a lot to do with it.

For decades now, the names celebrities give their kids have had a tremendous effect on baby naming, one that has increased exponentially. From Ava to Willow, Maddox to Kingston, the proof is in the numbers.

So what are the latest starbaby influencers right now? We compared the fastest climbers on the Social Security list with the most popular baby names so far this year on Nameberry to pinpoint the most influential celebrity baby names today. They are:

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abby5-28a

For her Nameberry Nine this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel  combs the celebrity pages in search of interesting choices.

My week has been defined by two failures: first, I have not managed to see the big screen adaptation of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  I’m not anticipating cinematic greatness, but I’m willing to sit through ninety minutes of movie for a few minutes’ worth of baby name talk.  There must be at least a dozen infants in the flick!  And yet, I know the names of not a single one.

Failure the second: I devoured A Discovery of Witches instead of saving it for my four-hour airplane trip later this week.  Yes, it is a supernatural romance featuring vampires.  No, it is not TwilightDeborah E. Harkness slips in a few seriously killer lines about given names, so that made up for my lack of a rom-com baby name fix.

Happily, it was also a week packed with lots of new arrivals, plenty of them with newsworthy names.  And yes, both Witches and Expecting managed to rank among the most intriguing appellations, too.

As May draws to a close, here are the Nameberry nine baby names most in the news last week:

Ysabeau – Okay, A Discovery of Witches has been on the bestsellers list for months, but with the sequel set for a July release, maybe Ysabeau will get some more press.  The main witch is Diana, and her love interest is MatthewYsabeau – a medieval forerunner of Elizabeth – is Matthew’s ancient vampire maman.  Her full, and fabulously French name is Genevieve Melisande Helene Ysabeau.

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