Category: baby name Harper
By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain
Here’s something I overheard recently:
There’s something to that statement, isn’t there? Olivia feels like a vintage revival, a literary choice thanks to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and a wildly popular name for over a decade. Aria is a newcomer, a noun name that leapt from obscurity to prominence thanks to more than one pop culture reference. They’re very different names.
Yet on sound alone, Aria and Olivia are similar. Reverse the histories – make Aria the Shakespearean choice and Olivia the twenty-first century television darling – and it is easy to imagine the statement reversed, too. After all, five of the current US Top 20 girls’ names end with -ia.
Nouveau or traditional, popular or obscure, our favorite names tend to share sounds.
How far would you go to find a truly stand-out name for your child?
Good thing, too, because as of Saturday morning, the wisdom of crowds had Cthulhu All-Spark as the top choice.
The full list alternates between the silly – Unicorn, Moonpod, Sprinkles, Fluttershy, and the truly lovely – Alice, Isla, Aria, Iris, Adelaide, India, Caroline, Claire, Elsa. Odds are that baby McLaughlin will end up with quite the wearable name when she arrives in April.
Few subjects are as divisive as gender neutral baby names, and yet I can’t stop talking about them. Some of us deny their very existence. Others are willing to call a daughter James, but hesitate to name a son Avery or Madison. Many of us are discovering nature names or other novel appellations, ones that don’t easily declare themselves pink or blue.
Not every culture splits names into such neat categories, and names certainly shift over time. Plenty of ends-in-a options, like Noah and Joshua have become favorites for boys, even though they’re very different from the once-dominant Bob, Tom, and Bill – proof that we can reconsider names every generation, if not more often.
I’ve heard parents fret that they can’t use Harper now that the Beckhams have bestowed it on a daughter. Suggest that you might name a son Jayden and you’ll be warned that the name will be considered trendy, dated, damaging to your child’s future career. What’s worse, we scan message boards, wondering if our favorite name will be the next rising star.
But why all the worry? Generations of parents have sought out stylish names, even if they haven’t talked about them in quite those terms. My dear grandmother nearly named a daughter Loretta after Hollywood-star-turned-television-host Loretta Young.
We can trace the rise of many appellations to television, celebrities, literature, and other pop culture influences. Even so-called classics often owe their revivals to pop culture. Would Charlotte be the favorite she is today without Sex and the City? Statistics link the character with the name’s resurgence.
Let’s embrace the influences that bring great new names to our attention, even if they’re promoted by the most unlikely of sources.
This week in baby name news, an actor named his second daughter after a tree. One movie brought an invented name to the English-speaking world by way of Japan. Another film started out in the imagination of a New Jersey-born novelist, took the audience to Paris, circa 1931, boosting a name that is popular throughout modern-day Europe. And an English pop star debuted a high-fashion handbag named in honor of a daughter named after a rather high-minded novel.
For every name that is clearly tied to a culture of origin – Maeve or Svetlana or Hiroshi – there is a growing pool that feels like fair game for parents from any background. This week’s names fit that mold, mostly because it is almost impossible to make them fit any one specific category. They’re global, eclectic, and stylish – just like the names that many of us are seeking for our children today.
Many of them are also shape-shifters. Is Sylvie a nature-name, a next-wave vintage appellation, or a nod to French heritage? How about Jed – is he a Biblical boy or a little wrangler? The answer is frequently yes, yes, and yes for these nine baby names in the news: