Category: baby name Juliet
The same phenomenon applies to some names from pop culture, though these can change over time. Juliet has definitely transcended its Shakespearean associations, though is Romeo still rooted to the tragic stage? What about Clementine, which for decades would inspire a chorus of “Oh My Darlin’” but now may have escaped that fate?
Our question of the week is:
Which names are still tied to one person, character, association?
by Linda Rosenkrantz
July has arrived, the month of beaches and barbecues, kids off at camp—and lots of relevant baby name possibilities—including ancient names dating back to Julius Caesar, saints’ names, and July flower and month names. If you want to look further afield for inspiration, July also contains Video Games Day (the 8th), Moon Day (the 20th), Amelia Earhart Day (the 24th), Aunt and Uncle Day (the 26th) and, last but not least, Father-in-Law Day (the 30th).
But the following are more directly related.
July—Though the other warm weather months May, June and August have been used long and often for babies, July has rarely been found. But it could make a cute middle name for either gender. As the fifth month, it was originally called Quintilis, but when Caesar, whose birth month it was, reformed the Roman calendar in 46 BC—becoming the Julian calendar—it was renamed for him.
Now his little sister is also singing “baby, you a fiiiiiiiyawawk.”As we listened to the song for the hundredth time last night, I found myself thinking: could Perry make a comeback? It’s not just the flirty pop star. This weekend, likable young country musicians The Band Perry came through Washington DC on their summer tour with Tim McGraw.
The last time Perry was in vogue was the nineteenth century, when Commodore Perry was all over the news for his expeditions to Japan. Today, with surname names showing no signs of etreat and plenty of parents seeking similar-but-different options, Perry would fit with Riley and Bailey.
Names bubble up for so many reasons, from fictional characters to newsworthy figures, songs and celebrities, even sounds that just feel right.
Here are nine most buzz-worthy this week:
Cecil – The fourth installment in the Spy Kids franchise opens this month, with Joel McHale and Jessica Alba taking over as the parents. The series is known for its precocious youngsters, outrageous gadgets, and wildly unusual cool names for the male characters. The boy spy kid in this iteration is Cecil (illustrated), twin to Rebecca. Other names throughout the series include Wilbur, Juni, Donnagon, and Devlin.
Dexter – When I hear Dexter, my first thought is Cary Grant as Katharine Hepburn’s ex in The Philadelphia Story. Grant plays the dashing C.K. Dexter Haven. But plenty of parents hear Dexter and think of a mightily disturbed serial killer, thanks to Showtime’s five seasons and counting of gory stories about Dexter Morgan. Next week’s release of One Day, the big screen adaptation of David Nicholls’ 2009 novel, could return Dex to the romantic hero category. Jim Sturgess plays Dexter Mayhew, who spends entirely too long realizing he’s in love with his best friend Emma.
Gale – For a boy. As if The Hunger Games’ heroic Gale Hawthorn isn’t enough encouragement, what about actor Gale Howard? The CW’s paranormal teenage drama Secret Circle debuts next month. Howard plays the father of the Circle’s head witch – and a rather attractive villain, too, if I read the previews right. Boys are called Gage and Cale – mash ‘em together, and Gale is a logical pick for a son, as long as you don’t name your daughter Abby.
Jett – For a girl. Nameberry intern Hannah Tenison mentioned Joan Jett in her Rock’n’Roll baby names post on Tuesday. Hannah kept it on the boys’ list, but I wonder if some parents seeking rock-star style might think of Jett for a girl. The solution appeared at Swistle – name your daughter Juliet, and reserve Jett as a nickname. (You can read the Swistle post here: http://swistlebabynames.blogspot.com/2011/08/baby-naming-issues-avoiding-teen-mother.html)
Kix – Yes, Kix is a breakfast cereal. Max, Dex, Lex, Rex, Jax and nearly any other ends-in-x sound, however, are names for boys. Foster the People’s breakout hit “Pumped Up Kicks” has been unavoidable this summer. And now For Real Baby Names just spotted him in Texas. (Check out her full list: http://names4real.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/kix/) Could Kix catch on?
Mae Mobley – As I write this, I’ve yet to see the big screen adaptation of The Help that opened recently. I mentioned Octavia last week, but here’s my guess: the real name boosted by the book and movie is the child in maid Aibileen’s care: Mae. Like Ava and Audrey, she has Hollywood glam aplenty, plus she’s right in step with mini names like Mia and Zoe. It’s also another example of those “Southern double names” Nicole Kidman referenced when she and Keith Urban welcomed Faith Margaret. In the novel, Mae is always referred to by her first and middle, Mae Mobley. Mae re-entered the US Top 1000 in 2010 after four decades of obscurity.
Penelope – Ever since Christina Ricci donned a prosthetic pig snout for 2004’s modern fable, parents have rediscovered the gorgeous Greek Penelope. And why not? She’s a little bit quirky, undeniably literary, and her list of nicknames is extensive. There’s Penny and Nell, Polly and Poppy, and if you stretch a little further, maybe even Lola, Pia, or the hottest of the hot, Pippa. Of course, the real story could be Athena. Will parents get wise to this stylish goddess name now that Ms. Fey has put it on the map?
Perry – He’s been musical for decades, thanks first to crooner Perry – born Pierino – Como. I mentioned Katy Perry and The Band Perry above, and on a very different note, there’s Texas governor Rick Perry, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
Vivi-Anne – I spotted this one on Lifetime reality show Dance Moms. Many a re-spelling feels deeply unnecessary, but this one works. I’m guessing that Vivi-Anne’s mom Cathy was eager to name a daughter Vivian or Vivienne, but only if she could ensure that the two syllables would be pronounced with an emphasis on the –an. That’s not normally the case, of course. Choosing a name that you like only if you can insist on a counter-intuitive pronunciation can be a recipe for disaster, but the strong-willed Cathy has made it work.
The idea for this blog arose, as so many good things do, from the nameberry forums, in this case one on name spellings. In particular, the focus was on names that had more than one legitimate spelling, and asked visitors to pick their favorite of the two (or more).
With so much talk these days about yooneek spellings of names – variations invented to make a name more “special” – it’s interesting to explore those names that have more than one bona fide spelling.
Of course, there may be some controversy over what constitutes bona fide name spellings. On the forum, some people took issue with spelling variations springing from different origins of a name: Isabelle as the French version and Isabel the Spanish, for instance, and so not really pure spelling variations in the way that Katherine and Kathryn are. Others argued over spelling variations that might more accurately be differences in a name’s gender or pronunciation.
There are obviously a lot of ways to split this hair. And we’ve made a lot of judgment calls some of you may disagree with. Sure, Debra might be a modern variation of the Biblical Deborah, but it was so widely used in mid-century America it’s now legitimate, or at least that’s the way we see it.
Here are some girls’ names with more than one spelling that we consider legitimate.
- Annabel and Annabelle (and Anabel)
- Anne and Ann
- Ariana and Arianna
- Briony and Bryony
- Brooke and Brook
- Claire and Clare
Most people, name aficionados and ordinary citizens alike, have favorite names. My own favorites are often the subject of professional curiosity, with interviewers asking what my favorite names are and why.
But the whys are more complicated.
I decided I loved the name Eliza after a college friend whose taste I admired proclaimed Eliza her favorite name. She knew a gorgeous girl named Eliza, and felt it combined the best of vintage charm and modern quirkiness.
I agreed, but what’s really remarkable about my love for Eliza is how long and how much it’s survived. In the decades since it became my favorite, I’ve named three children (none of them, alas, Eliza, as my husband dislikes the name) and coauthored ten baby-naming books, along with developing this site. I’ve talked to thousands of parents about their name tastes, and developed more sophisticated tastes of my own.
And yet my love for Eliza survives. It still feels to me like a perfectly balanced name, with its alternating vowels and consonants, its melange of hard and soft sounds with a streamlined minimum of letters. I love the way it calls up the images of both a Jane Austen heroine and a Broadway dancer, with the plucky Eliza Doolittle in between. It’s become more popular in recent years — thanks partly, I know, to how energetically we’ve championed it — and I feel a pang of jealousy whenever I meet a little Eliza. And yet it hasn’t become over-exposed and probably never will.
The reasons I love Joseph are very different. It was my dear dad’s name, and my grandfather’s name, and I got to use it for my own older son. I love the simple good-guy nickname Joe. Down-to-earth, straightforward names for boys appeal to a deep-seated preference of mine, undoubtedly rooted in my love for my dad.