Category: baby name inspiration
By Abby Sandel
If there’s one rule of modern baby naming, it might be this: expect to tell your story.
“How did you choose her name?” is one of my go-to conversation starters with new parents. It’s as reliable as “how did you meet?” to a newly engaged couple, or “do you have any fun plans for the weekend?” to … well, almost anyone.
Sometimes the response is a vague, “Oh, I don’t know, we just liked it.”
But usually there’s a story, and it’s often a great story about going through dozens of possibilities until one clicked. Or discovering that her favorite fictional character was also the name of his favorite great-aunt, so the baby had to called Eglantine. Obviously.
The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain
Royals are out, television characters are in.
No, that’s not it.
Celebrities are out. Family names are in.
As we look back at baby name news from 2013 and ponder what’s to come in 2014, it is tempting to wrap it all up in a few sentences. But names are as diverse as the children who wear them.
Baby naming in our age is creative, and we’re welcome to find inspiration anywhere, borrowing and reinventing until we find the perfect name.
What does a name’s meaning really mean? Lots of parents today don’t know, much less care, what the baby names they like mean in Old German or Ancient Hebrew. The root meanings of so many names come down to some equivalent of “dark-haired sword protector gift of Jehovah” that have very little relevance to modern life.
And yet there are some names with meanings so uplifting that they gain appeal on that basis alone. What parent can fail to hope that a name that means wise or noble or loving might inspire a child to embrace those qualities?
If the meaning of a name means a lot to you, consider this wide range of choices. And there are lots more where those came from. Search either via the meaning option on supersearch or download the ebook version (or hey, even buy an old school paper edition!) of The Baby Name Bible.
Our guest blogger Marion Roach first wrote about her sister Margaret’s horse-inspired name on her blog She Said, She Said, part of the sisters’ joint site, The Sister Project. Margaret Roach, the former editor of “Martha Stewart Living”, also runs the site A Way To Garden.
My family frequently names those we love for sports idols. For instance, among the dozen cats and dogs who have come and gone in my life there was Saratoga Roach, a terrier of a beagle, named for the late-summer racetrack in upstate New York, and Cleveland, a hapless chocolate lab, named for the Browns.
Then there is my sister, Margaret, named for the 1954 winner of the Belmont Stakes.
At one point in his life our father was a turf reporter, spending his winters at Hialeah, his summers in Saratoga and the time between at the racetracks in the East. Amid the crowd he covered, one of the great pastimes was naming thoroughbreds. It’s an art—no name can be more than 18 characters, including punctuation and spaces—as well as a science: Names frequently reflect breeding, sometimes with great flourish. For instance, the year before my sister was born, the great horse of 1953 was a colt whose father was Polynesian and mother was named Geisha. Their champion offspring was crowned Native Dancer. It’s a great tradition.
And one that continued into my family. My father had a horse named for him—it was called Sportseditor. I have a sailboat named Ruffian, for the magnificent dark filly who didn’t know the meaning of the word quit, until she broke down at the mile marker in a match race against Foolish Pleasure in 1975.
In due course it was revealed that there was an offspring on the way in our household.