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Happy 100th Birthday, Olivia!

Olivia de Havilland salute

By Lauren Der

Olivia has been the second most popular girls’ name in the US for the two years running, and Golden Age Hollywood star Olivia de Havilland was one of the first people to bring it to prominence here decades ago. The last surviving star of Gone With the Wind, we salute her as she celebrates her 100th birthday today.

The name Olivia has long been popular apart from the actress’s fame. De Havilland’s actress mother named her after Olivia in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Her sister, actress Joan Fontaine, began calling her Livvie as a child, a nickname that stuck throughout her life. Despite the star’s popularity, her name didn’t spike through the height of her fame in the 30s and 40s, reaching the Top 10 only in 2001.

Here, a look at the names of the characters Olivia De Havilland played. Are any of them as appealing as Olivia itself?

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posted by: tararyaz View all posts by this author
olympics4

By Tara Ryazansky

The roster of US athletes hoping to compete in the Olympic games is a name list as diverse as the nation itself.  Here I have curated a list of some girl names that feel like winners for a 2014 baby.

Petra– As in Petra Acker, college student and speed skater.  This feminization of Peter is from the Greek word for “rock” or “stone”.  I’ve always thought that Petra sounds elegant and sophisticated, yet wearable for a little one.

Lolo– Like the track star turned bobsledder, Lolo Jones (born, Lori).  Lolo is a diminutive of Caroline, but I could see it working for plenty of other names including favorites like Charlotte and Eloise.  More playful and friendly than Lola, maybe Lolo will pick up speed as a nickname in the years to come.

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abby--classics

The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of  Appellation Mountain

What makes a name a true classic?

Very few names have been in constant use, and those few evergreen choices differ across cultures and languages.

A definition is elusive.  A classic should be universally recognized and long established. It should possess either a measure of elegance or another distinguishing characteristic.  But classic isn’t a black and white line.  In baby name discussions, classic sometimes translates as “a name I like.”

Are Adelaide and Charlotte as classic as Mary? How do Walter and Jeremy compare to William and JamesHow about names like Samantha or Brooke – seldom heard before the twentieth century, but now solidly established?  How many years does it take to make a classic, bearing in mind that classic rock is sometimes as young as five decades old.

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inventhedy

We’ve looked across history and geography at the men and women whose inventions have affected our lives—in both major ways (the electric light bulb, the elevator)  and minor (the coffee filter, the crossword puzzle)—and picked those with the best baby-name potential.

And here are our top Nameberry picks of historic baby names based on those of important inventors:

Alessandro Volta–Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Gerolamo Umberto Volta was an Italian physicist who invented the battery in the nineteenth century.

Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz –As you might have guessed from her second middle name, A.A. Melitta  Bentz invented the coffee filter.

Arthur Wynne—Liverpool-born journalist Arthur Wynne created the first crossword puzzle.  Originally called word-cross, it debuted in the New York World newspaper in 1913.

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ballet preparation

Coincidentally or not, many dancers have names that aptly project an image of lightness and grace. And this cuts across many disciplines of dance, from toe to tap, and across generations as well. As with all artistic children, we have to wonder how much influence the parents who chose their creative baby names had on their offspring’s vocations. Is it serendipitous that ballerina Allegra Kent was given a name that projects such a quintessentially dancer-like image? But hold on–before we jump to conclusions, you’ll see that half of the dancers shown chose their own terpsichorean names.
Here are the Nameberry Picks of best dancers’ names.

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