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Category: baby name forums

Nameberry’s Most Popular Features of 2012

babybooks

Forget Katniss and Finn: Today we leave individual baby names behind and bring you the most popular features on Nameberry in 2012.

Sifting through nearly100 million page views on the site, these are our most-read blogs, our lists that attracted the highest number of viewers, our most commented-on forums, and the user lists that drew the most attention.

How many have you seen?

Top blogs

100 Best Cool Unusual Boys’ Names and Best Cool Unusual Girls’ Names

These 2010 blogs that detailed the best names given to 25 or fewer babies continue to rank highest on our site.  Our picks for boys include Amias, Barnabas, and Cashel; for girls, Fleur, Honora, and Verena.

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Good Names with Bad, Bad Meanings

lame child

A visitor to our forums posed this question to the Berries: Would you give your child a name, a wonderful name that you truly love, if it had a negative meaning? How meaningful is the root meaning of a name, anyway?

The name in question was Kennedy, a name that has so much going for it: illustrious relatives, a stylish surname feel, a rhythmic sound, and growing popularity.

Some websites will try to tell you that Kennedy means “royal” or “loving” but it doesn’t.  It means “misshapen head.”  And that is the problem.

Or it’s the problem when, in fourth grade, the teacher decides to have the class do oral reports on their names: Where they came from, what they mean.  And poor “misshapen head” is forced to announce her name’s unfortunate meaning in front of the whole class.

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When we started Nameberry, way back in ’08, we’d never heard of Baby Name Games.  Yes, we’d played them, but only privately, by ourselves, and only then before adolescence.  We didn’t realize that the whole idea of name games had become institutionalized and that they were played in broad daylight (or at least, computer light) by name lovers all over the internet.

And then we launched Nameberry, and some of the first visitors to the site asked us to add Baby Name Games to the forums.  Once we did, we were amazed by the variety and energy of the offerings.  There are nearly 1500 threads on the Name Game boards now, some of them running to thousands of individual posts.

With those kind of statistics to live up to, it might be difficult to create the World’s Biggest Name Game here.  But we’re going to try.

Here’s the idea.  It’s pretty simple, and takes off from our trademark construct, “If you like x, you might love y.”

We’ll go first, suggest a name you might like, then a substitute you might love instead.  Then you take our substitute name for your “like,” and suggest a new alternative for that name.  And so on.

For example, we say, “If you like Lee, you might love Liam.”  Then you say, “If you like Liam, you might love Levi.”  And then the next person says, “If you like Levi, you might love Denim,” and the next person starts with Denim, and onward.

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Baby Name Rules: What are YOURS?

The_Golden_Rule_book

We were intrigued by this thread on baby name rules over on the Nameberry forums, where visitors detail their personal and family rules for choosing names.

It made us want to write down our own baby name rules; I mean, our personal rules as well as Nameberry’s rules.

As a mom, I’d say my rules for my kids’ names were that they:

Sound distinct from each other. My husband’s family has a Tom and a Tim, a Jane and a John, and I wanted to avoid that kind of matchy-matchy thing.  So one of my first rules was that my kids’ names sound very different from each other. I didn’t anticipate that Rory, Joseph, and Owen would end up being called Ro, Joe, and O.

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Name Spellings: Right and Wright?

feltabcs

The idea for this blog arose, as so many good things do, from the nameberry forums, in this case one on name spellings. In particular, the focus was on names that had more than one legitimate spelling, and asked visitors to pick their favorite of the two (or more).

With so much talk these days about yooneek spellings of names – variations invented to make a name more “special” – it’s interesting to explore those names that have more than one bona fide spelling.

Of course, there may be some controversy over what constitutes bona fide name spellings. On the forum, some people took issue with spelling variations springing from different origins of a name: Isabelle as the French version and Isabel the Spanish, for instance, and so not really pure spelling variations in the way that Katherine and Kathryn are. Others argued over spelling variations that might more accurately be differences in a name’s gender or pronunciation.

There are obviously a lot of ways to split this hair.  And we’ve made a lot of judgment calls some of you may disagree with.  Sure, Debra might be a modern variation of the Biblical Deborah, but it was so widely used in mid-century America it’s now legitimate, or at least that’s the way we see it.

Here are some girls’ names with more than one spelling that we consider legitimate.

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