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Merry Month of May Baby Names

maymason

Are you looking for a name for your May baby?  How about the idea of  choosing one that incorporates the pretty sound of the month into her –or his– name?  One way would be to take the vintage smoosh route, with something like Annamae or Ellamae or Maybeth, but we think an unembellished choice would be better.

May and MaeYes, they sound identical, and share a sweet faded yet fresh flowery feel, but there are some slight—almost indefinable—differences in tone aMay started as one of the innumerable pet forms of Mary and Margaret, as well as a springtime month name along with April and June.   She’s represented in literature by May Bartram in Henry James’s The Beast in the Jungle and May Welland in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.  Actresses Emily Morton and Madeline Stowe named their daughters May, and Eric Clapton and Jodie Sweetin used it in middle place for theirs.

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May Names: Mabel, Mavis & Mae

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Today being the first day of the merry month of May, why not consider a name that starts with that upbeat, springlike syllable for your baby born this month?  Here are the most likely May names suspects.

MABEL –When Bruce Willis, who, with then-wife Demi Moore, was one of the original creative baby namers with older daughters Rumer, Scout and Tallulah, recently named his baby girl Mabel Ray, he brought this vintage Victorian charmer further into the modern world orbit.  It had already been used by Chad Lowe, Nenah Cherry and Dermot Mulroney, as well as for the sitcom baby on Mad About You. Mabel—originally a short form of Amabel—could well join other ascending sassy showgirl names like Ruby and Sadie. Maybelle is rarely heard outside Nashville.

MACYMacy entered the popularity list in 1990—almost a decade after it had been noticed on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful—and has been well used ever since, a much more modern sounding replacement for the dated Tracy and Stacy, and more solid than the lacy Lacey.  Apart from the department store chain, the most noted bearer of the name, singer Macy Gray, was born Natalie McIntyre; Carmela Soprano/Nurse Jackie Edie Falco named her daughter Macy.

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This week, for The Nameberry 9, Abby Sandel of  Appellation Mountain looks at some of the tricky  generational issues surrounding baby names.

Could it be true that Bob Geldof – father to Fifi, Peaches, and Pixie – is unhappy with his grandson’s name?

That’s what the British press is reporting, following the birth of little Astala Cohen-Geldof.  He wouldn’t be the first grandparent let down by a name reveal, but he’s unlikely to garner much sympathy.  His daughters’ names have long stayed near the top of the wacky celebrity baby name rankings, right up there with Dweezil and Moon Unit.

From pop culture to academia, this week the thinkers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School revealed new research on how names catch on.  Their theory is that it is all about the sounds in oft-repeated names.  The study brings some analytical rigor to name enthusiasts’ observations that Madison paved the way for Addison.

There’s more to it, of course, but if our ideas about attractive and appropriate names are swayed by cultural influences we don’t control, then there will always be an awful lot of confused grandparents, just like Bob.

This week’s nine newsiest baby name list is all about the next generation:

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