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The New Popularity of Storybook Names

baby name Eloise

What’s the connection between Lena Dunham’s tattoos and several of today’s most fashionable baby names? Dunham famously has Eloise of the storybook Plaza tattooed on her shoulder, and Eloise also happens to be one of today’s fastest-rising baby names, leaping up nearly 600 places since it reentered the Top 1000 list in 2009.  And the link is not just coincidence and is not limited to the charming Eloise: Many parents today are turning to their favorite childhood storybook characters for inspiration of both the baby name and tattoo variety.

Our focus today is on fictional characters in children’s books, though some older characters’ names in stories beloved by teens are finding favor too: Holden in Catcher in the Rye, for example, and Juliet in Romeo & Juliet.

The charming characters inspiring the names of an increasing number of babies include:

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abby-dash

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

There are dozens of ways to slice and dice baby names.  Classic or hipster, modern or vintage.

But here’s a divide that cuts across style categories: is the name on the birth certificate the name intended for daily use?  Or is it more of a jumping off point, the source of a nickname that will actually be what you call your kiddo 99% of the time?

The first group are WYSIWYG baby names: What You See (on the birth certificate) is What You Get (in real life).  Jack is called Jack, Sadie is Sadie, and how could Ellie answer to anything else?

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ibsen2

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Last week was the birthday of Henrik Ibsen, the towering nineteenth century Norwegian playwright and poet who was one of the founders of Modernism in the theater.  Known for his realistic exploration of controversial social issues, his plays A Doll’s House  and Hedda Gabler are considered feminist landmarks.

Ibsen‘s twenty-six frequently produced plays are populated by a wide range of characters.  Those listed below offer an interesting selection of Norwegian names of that period (though a few are imports from other cultures), from the familiar (Ingrid, Nora, Finn) to those that are less known.

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abby2-16-14

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Not so long ago, globe-trotting was the exception.  Immigrants quickly adopted the language of their new homes, and we tended to marry and raise children with partners from similar religious and cultural backgrounds.

Now, in our globally-connected world, many families are faced with naming across cultures.  The high-profile parents in this week’s round-up can claim roots in Colombia, Cuba, France, Sweden, as well as the US, UK, and Australia.  The baby names they chose reflect this diversity.

Some names seem like an attempt to bridge several cultures, like the Monegasque arrival.  Others, like one of Michael Jordan’s new daughters, or Melissa George’s son, seem to celebrate one parent’s roots.

The trend isn’t just limited to celebrities and royals.  Plenty of us are trying to solve naming riddles: combining Irish roots with Polynesian heritage, or finding Japanese names that work well in English.

If we’re all the jet-set, is it any wonder that our children’s names are so rich with influences from French and Spanish, from history recent and far past?  There’s a healthy splash of creativity and daring, too, which seems fitting in a world filled with so much possibility

On to the nine most newsworthy baby names this week:

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NameFreak! Berry Juice profile image

Where have all the F names gone?

posted by: NameFreak! View all posts by this author
f names

By Kelli Brady of NameFreak!

In 1880, there were five boy names that started with F in the Top 100:

Floyd
Francis
Frank
Fred
Frederick

In 1932, Franklin was added to the mix (probably due to President Roosevelt, who is pictured here as a baby). In 1958, Frank was the only F boy name left in the top, and it finally fell after 1988. There hasn’t been an F boy name in the Top 100 since.

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