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Category: baby name Haven

modern girls names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Is the way we name our daughters changing?

The way we name our sons in 2014 feels different.  For years we relied on Biblical favorites with a few hardy Germanic go-tos mixed in.  But since the 1990s, we’ve seen names like Tyler, Mason, and Jayden reach the US Top Ten.  Jackson is more popular than John, while former favorites like Richard and Steven are less and less common.

Girls’ names have always been more volatile.  And yet, our ideas about what makes an appropriately feminine name were once more set.  Sophia, Isabella and Charlotte might be today’s darlings, but they’re not so different from Amanda, Melissa, and Heather in the 1980s or Barbara, Cynthia, and Karen in the 1950s.

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By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

How far would you go to find a truly stand-out name for your child?

Self-described geek dad Stephen McLaughlin has decided to let the internet name his daughter.  His wife insisted that they retain veto power, so the #1 name doesn’t automatically win.

Good thing, too, because as of Saturday morning, the wisdom of crowds had Cthulhu All-Spark as the top choice.

Other suggestions are very wearable, and a few of the most popular suggestions have ties to scifi that would make the geekiest gamer parents proud: Amelia, Luna, Zelda.

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.

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Out-of-the-box word  baby names are highlighted in the Nameberry 9 this week, unearthed as always, by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain.

It’s been another big week for noun names.  They were all over Hollywood gossip blogs, and appeared in plenty of workaday birth announcements, too.

There’s no doubt that this is a rich category.  Flower names make us consider trees – meet my daughter, Lily, and my son, Cedar.  Weather and birds feel like inexhaustible sources of inspiration.  There are the old school, Puritan-era virtue names, but also more recent innovations, rich with meaning.

Sometimes the influence is more subtle.  Surname Brooks is preppier than River, but both bring to mind the great outdoors.  Clementine and Olive have been used for so long we consider them names, but they’re both on the upswing today, lifted by the trend.

May, June, and August are mainstream, but I’m not so sure about January, and it is always surprising to hear September, October, or NovemberApril is definitely a noun name, but Avril is cooler.  And if Avril is an option, how about Janvier?

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Have you noticed the sudden pop in popularity of girls’ names starting with the happy-go-lucky syllable ‘Ha’—some on them shamelessly stolen from the boys?  Caught in the spotlight by two recent high-profile starbabies, Harper Seven Beckham and Jessica Alba’s Haven Warren, this is among the baby name trends that seem to be spreading like wildfire both inside and outside the celebrity sphere.

So it’s ta-ta to Haley, Hayley, Hailee, Hailey and Hallie—and hello to:

Harper. Originally a Scottish family name, this is the biggest hit of all, now Number 119 on the girls’ list, after just arriving in 2004, and jumping more than fifty places in the last year.  It was inspired at least in part by America’s romance with the much-loved classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper (born Nelle) Lee, the book that has also propelled the name Atticus for boys.  Harper’s cred was then reinforced by the character of Harper Finkle on The Wizards of Waverly Place, introduced in 2007 and to a lesser extent by a more minor one in Gossip Girl. Though Harper is still used for boys, most of the many recent starbaby Harpers—from Lisa Marie Presley’s to Neil Patrick Harris’s, have been girls.  Trivia note: During fashionista Posh Beckham’s pregnancy, there were some snide rumors that her future daughter’s possible name was inspired by Harper’s Bazaar magazine.

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Here, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s take on the nine cool names in the news this week–intriguing as always.

I’m always hoping celebrities will surprise and delight us with the cool names they choose.  (January Jones, I’m looking at you!)  A kid who is going to grow up in Hollywood can rock a name like Ptolemy or Apple more easily than one who has to navigate a typical suburban playground.  Plus, somehow I doubt being named Suri is the strangest thing about growing up with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as your parents.

My preferences aside, it was refreshing to hear veteran rocker Paul Stanley – father of the normally-named Evan, Colin, Sarah, and new arrival Emily Grace – comment “I guess we’re not cool enough for names like Peach or Astro Girl.”  Pretty down to earth for a guy who made his name in sequins and platform boots.

Nonetheless, Emily did not make my list the week she was born – and she still doesn’t. There’s a huge category of names that are more intriguing than Emily, but not as tough to wear as Astro Girl.  (January, don’t rule out Peach.  She has potential, especially in the middle spot.)

There has been plenty of baby name news this past week, and here are nine of my favorite names from the headlines:

Clover – The fourth child of actor Neal McDonough and wife Ruvé Robertson wears this lucky nature name.  Clover Elizabeth joins sisters London Jane and Catherine Maggie, and big brother Morgan PatrickClover combines the fashionable –er ending of Piper and Harper with the botanical appeal of Lily and Violet.  She sounds something like the chart-topping Chloe, and makes for an Irish heritage choice more exciting than Erin.

Ezra – Children’s classic A Snowy Day celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2012, prompting a recent piece in the New York Times about the author – Ezra Jack KeatsJack is epidemic, and Keats could catch on, but I have my eye on Ezra.  Since Joshua and Noah have proved that boys’ names can end in a, too, I can imagine tons of parents discovering Ezra.

Haven – It sounds like a conundrum for the Nameberry forums: my husband is named Cash and we called our first daughter Honor.  What can we possibly name her little sister?  Jessica Alba managed to solve the puzzle on her own, announcing the birth of second daughter Haven Garner last week.  I’m a big fan of the letter H, and the girls’ names share a modern virtue name vibe that fits with choices like Journey and Harmony.

Hopestill – Did you catch Leslie Owen’s Nameberry guest post on family names last Friday?  There’s Consider and Mahala and Dwell, but I was most captivated by Hopestill and Truelove.  Word names are huge, opening the door for daring parents to embrace phrase names.  Truelove is a bit much, but Hopestill has a lovely quality that might appeal to parents seeking an optimistic choice for the middle spot.

Mabel – Someone sent me a YouTube clip of the world’s first robot with knees, which means that the robot can run – probably faster than me.  The technology is fascinating, but I had to go digging for an explanation of her name.  A few articles suggested that it was just Mabel, not MBL-3P0 or anything equally geektastic.  Could the biggest innovators in robot technology also be closet name nerds?  Then I stumbled on a reference to the Michigan Anthropomorphic Biped with Electric Legs.  Still, it is nice to know that when machines take over the world they might have names as appealing as Hal.

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