Category: baby name Dashiell
Determining what makes a name contemporary vs. what makes a name established can be tough.
For example, if a name was first used by one notable person (real or fictional) in the 17th century, but hadn’t become widespread or familiar until within the past decade, does that qualify the name as established or modern?
There may be some debate, but to me, any name that hadn’t been widely familiar or used until within the past 20-30 years is a modern name. That isn’t to say that sometimes modern names can’t have historic origins. Modern names with historic origins are new names that sound… well… old.
Here are some examples:
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There are some names that we’ve become so accustomed to seeing on the covers of People et al, attached to the babes of Tinseltown, that we assume that their popularity has instantly spread beyond the confines of Malibu and Calabasas. But it ain’t necessarily so. There are several appellations worn by more than one starbaby that have yet to hit the current Top 1000 list—though this could change with the new rankings coming next month! Some of these names did have some nineteenth or twentieth century success, others have never entered the list at all.
Alabama—Used by Drea de Matteo and Shooter Jennings and by Travis Barker for their daughters, this Southern state name—unlike neighboring Georgia and Carolina—appeared only once on the Social Security list, and that was in 1881.
Blue–Beyonce and Jay Z made quite the colorful splash when they named their daughter Blue Ivy; several years earlier Dave Evans dubbed his girl Blue Angel. Many others have picked Blue as the middle name for their kids–both girls and boys–including Maria Bello, Soleil Moon Frye and Veronica Webb, but the name has not yet entered the popularity list.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
It always strikes me as somewhat curious when a name that has been hidden in plain sight for decades—or longer—attached to a significant literary or real life character will suddenly pop into the zeitgeist and take off. Sometimes the contributing factors are obvious—sharing with a more recent celebrity (looking at you, Ms Johansson) or its discovery by the parents of a starbaby. And sometimes, it just remains a mystery.
Some prominent examples:
Atticus. The Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, and the movie, starring Gregory Peck as principled lawyer and role-model dad Atticus Finch, was released two years later. Between then and now, the book has been a mainstay of English class curricula, working its way into the collective consciousness of future baby namers, while Atticus Finch was voted the greatest hero of American film by the AFI.
Choosing a great baby name is a little bit like putting together a puzzle.
This week’s baby names in the news – and my, it was a busy week – all share a certain pattern.
Start with a recognizable, but not too popular, two-syllable name.
Now calibrate. If the first name is common, make sure the middle name is a real surprise.