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By Tara Ryazansky

When LilKim named her new baby Royal Reign, I was taken aback for a second by this bold combo. I mean, a regal name makes sense for the queen of hip-hop and all, but it got me wondering –do aspirational names rule or are they a dying trend?

When I say aspirational names, I am not talking about names with a slight royal connection that gives them an air of wealth and importance. Nothing as subtle as a queenly namesake like Victoria or with a lofty meaning like Casper, which means “wealthy man”. I am talking about the more literal choices, such as Cash and Diamond, King and Prince, that try to project grandeur and luxury.

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Great Redheads with Great Names

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Looking for a name for a red-haired baby? The most common method is to go through the long list of names that mean, well, red-haired, from Rory to Rufus, Flynn to Flanagan. An alternative is to find yourself a worthy titian-tressed namesake, either from the pages of history or a current celeb. So, at the risk of offending by omission such ordinary-named notables as Helen of Troy, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, James Joyce, and Margaret Sanger—here are our nominations for best-named redheads of all time. Oh — and where is the most famous redhead of all? Turns out Lucille Ball’s natural hair color was mousey brown.

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rebel

Watch out, Berries–today’s guest blogger, Claire Shefchik, has plenty of bones to pick!

Since the age of six, I’ve loved names.  Back then, whenever I renamed myself, I was Crystal (spelled Christal) and later, Jordan.  These days, I prefer Presley to Penelope, Jayden to Jasper.  In the novel I’m writing, two of the main characters are Dempsey and Vaughanfemale characters. Eek!  That’s right, I am a name heretic.

When, a few years ago, I came across the Nameberry-led community of Internet naming enthusiasts, I thought I’d found heaven (sorry, “nevaeh”).  But I found myself, more often than not, at odds with my fellow “name nerds.”  Many claim to be open-minded and liberal, but are much more rigid in their approach to naming than you’d think, especially when it comes to names popular with, as one poster put it, “the Wal-Mart set.”  Another poster declared her goal was to encourage “classically-named babies,” which let’s face it, is just a euphemism for “babies with names of which I, as the self-appointed arbiter of taste, approve.”

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Blond, Brunette, and Redhead Baby Names

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted a name that meant “red” or “redhead” for a couple of unrelated reasons. First, I was looking for a name that referred to my maiden name Redmond, since the baby would have my husband’s last name. And I guessed (correctly) that we might be having a little redhead, since my hair is copper-y and my mother’s was bright red.

The name we chose for our daughter was Rory, one of many excellent names that either mean red or red-haired or connote the rich, bright color.

I was thinking of my own color-based name search when I created three of the newest lists on Nameberry: names for blond babies, brunettes, and redheads. Some of the choices are pretty straightforward while others make a sideways nod to the color: Jasper, a reddish stone, for a redhead, for instance, or Sable for a child with dark hair or skin.

Some of our favorites from the three groups:

REDHEAD BABY NAMES

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High-Energy Names

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted a name with a lot of energy, for reasons that seem insane from the perspective of having raised three kids. But I didn’t anticipate that a high-energy toddler might run me ragged; I just knew I wanted my little boy or girl to be active, outgoing, not hobbled by the shyness and insecurities I felt had plagued my own childhood.

Well, I got my wish. Rory burst into the world, all 9 pounds, 5 ounces of her, with a shock of jet black hair and a voice that woke the whole maternity ward. At two weeks old, she was able to stand on my husband’s lap and sing along with him. As she grew, she starred in all the school plays and dominated on the lacrosse field.

The search for a high-energy name was part of the inspiration for our first name book. It was so difficult to sift through all the conventional name dictionaries on the market at the time and try to find names that sounded energetic (and Irish and that meant red, two of my other criteria). There should be a name book that put all the energetic-sounding names in one place, I thought, along with all the names that sounded smart and stylish, that were good for redheads or popular in the 1920s. That’s the thinking I brought to the first Beyond Jennifer & Jason (Linda, meanwhile, a friend and fellow writer, had conceived the same idea from a different direction), now grown up to Beyond Ava & Aiden.

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