Category: baby name Haven

Modern Virtue Names


By Abby Sandel

Virtue names go way back. The Pilgrims brought them to Plymouth Rock. A handful of classics, like Grace and Hope, have almost always ranked in the US Top 1000.

But there’s a new kind of virtue name in vogue today: the modern virtue. These names are less specifically religious. True, there’s no shortage of names like Miracle and Messiah. But many of the modern virtue choices are word names that carry a great deal of meaning, but aren’t expressly about faith.

Instead, they’re about bravery, achievement, fairness, and peace. It’s easy to imagine any parent hoping their child will embody these qualities. No surprise, then, that these names are very much in use in 2016.

Actor turned director and activist Nate Parker and wife Sarah DiSanto are the latest high profile couple to choose a modern virtue name for their new arrival. Parker’s latest project is The Birth of a Nation, the story of the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. The couple named their daughter Justice.

It’s time for a closer look at the modern virtue names that have become mainstream in recent years.

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posted by: upswingbabynames View all posts by this author
new names

by Angela Mastrodonato, Upswing Baby Names

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:

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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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