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teddyy

What with the movie Ted, starring an outrageously potty-mouthed teddy bear, becoming a box office sensation, and celebs giving their baby boys the actual first or middle name of Bear, this seems like a perfect time to think about Teddy and other fictional bear names for possible inspiration.

So, though you might not want to name your son Paddington, Fozzie, Corduroy, Smokey, Yogi, Bobo or Baloo, here are some ursine character names you might want to consider if you’re into the idea of animal names.

Ted, Teddy, TheodoreThese ultimate bear name cluster was inspired by a Theodore Roosevelt hunting trip incident that became the subject of a political cartoon which in turn inspired the making of a little stuffed bear cub toy dubbed “Teddy’s Bear”–which soon ignited a national craze.  The name Theodore is currently experiencing  a resurgence—it’s now at Number 231, partially sparked by love for the nickname Theo, which itself entered the Top 1000 in 2010 and is a Nameberry fave.  Not so many Teds or Teddys these days, though.  In addition, of course, many Edwards—as in Edward Kennedy, have also been known as Teddy.

Winnie, Winifred, WinstonWinnie the Pooh, second only to teddy as an ursine icon, was created by A. A. Milne in 1926, and named after a stuffed teddy owned by his son Christopher Robin. The boy had taken the name from a bear that he often saw at the London zoo called Winnipeg, nn Winnie. In real life most Winnies are more often formally Winston (as in Churchill) or Winifred—both of which are starting to be used again. Maybe Winnie could be the next Hattie.

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ben

BENJAMINLaura Dunphy and her husband, Mike, are mourning the loss of the name Benjamin, which was terminated from their Baby Name List on Friday May 21, 2010, after a long and debilitating ailment.

Almost 11 years ago, Benjamin – as they called him, Ben – was the very first boy’s name borne onto their List.  Laura and Mike came to a nearly immediate agreement that Ben held so many attractive qualities: it was classic without being blah, it flowed nicely with Mike’s challenging last name, and it had the delightful fringe benefit of honoring Laura’s beloved former professor, Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee.

A year into Ben’s tenure at the top of the List, signs of trouble emerged.  Laura’s friend Kate knew about Ben’s number one spot and also that Sophie was Ben’s top-ranking companion on the girls’ side.  One day Kate called Laura to say that a VP at her investment bank just named his baby daughter Sophie, and he happened to have an older son named Ben.  “That’s funny,” Laura said.

Two years later, Laura and Mike’s friend Ann reported that she was sitting in the office of an editor at her magazine, and the woman started telling a story about her kids, Sophie and Ben.  “That’s weird,” Laura said.

And then it started happening.  Dedications in books to Sophie and Ben, mentions in magazines (“So-and-so travels everywhere with her ferrets, Sophie and Ben”), moms running after kids in grocery stores (“Sophie, don’t you dare throw that watermelon at Ben!”).  It was an epidemic.

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