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Category: baby name Maya

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By Erin Waldron

This past week, America said a sad goodbye to one of the most beautiful and influential voices of our time when poet, author, educator, actress, director, and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou passed away on May 28. While we mourn her loss and reflect on her countless accomplishments and the extraordinary life she lived, here are just a few ideas for those who may consider honoring Dr. Angelou‘s legacy for a 2014 baby. If you are expecting a new addition this year, would you choose any of the following for your child’s first or middle name spot? I would love to hear more of your suggestions in the comments.

Marguerite: This is Maya Angelou‘s birth name, which was shortened to “Maya” as a nickname from her older brother. Marguerite, the French form of Margaret, has been off the charts since 1970, but is on the verge of a comeback, currently at Number 406 in Nameberry.

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abby:elle

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

When it comes to naming a daughter, imagination reigns.  From Hollywood birth announcements to literary powerhouses, blog babies to the most random of name spottings, a great name can come from anywhere.

This week’s potential seismic name influence?  Disney’s big screen retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  This time, we’re getting the villain’s side of the story in Maleficent.  Angelina Jolie might make the two-horned headdress look elegant, but I doubt she can sell her character’s name to future parents.  Maleficent is too downright evil!  But plenty of other choices associated with the big summer film could get a boost.

On a sad note, this was also the week the world said farewell to the towering Maya Angelou.  If Francis has gained currency as a hero name, could the widely admired writer’s names – first and last – be next?

Together, they point towards some of the most interesting sources for naming daughters in our age: myth, fable, and literature, much of it ancient and well-worn, but some of it modern, even newly invented.

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Banned Baby Names: No Toms in Tomar

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If you were Anderson Cooper and you had been born in Germany, you wouldn’t be Anderson Cooper, because Germany is just one of a surprising number of countries with strict baby-naming rules and regulations. In some instances, as in Italy and Sweden, the motivation is humane—trying to spare the child embarrassment, ridicule and bullying in the increasingly wild and wooly international baby-name environment. In fact, some of these are not long-standing strictures, but relatively recent ones.

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abby--oscars

As the race towards the Oscars heats up, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain offers her annual analysis of possible award-winning baby names–the most interesting names attached to nominees and the characters they play.

Award season is in full swing, with the Golden Globes last month and the Oscars coming up soon.

A glance at any kindergarten roster demonstrates Hollywood’s impact on baby names.  Audrey, Ava, Olivia, and Natalie all belonged to screen legends long before they were among the most popular choices for our daughters.  Surname choices like Harlow, Monroe, Gable, and even Chaplin have been heard.

But those are Golden Age names.  How about the nominees for 2013?  There are some fascinating choices, rich with potential for a son or a daughter.

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Eleanor Nickerson, of the wonderful blog British Baby Names, offers her predictions of the names that will succeed today’s trendiest in England and Wales.

The Next Olivia

Olivia was the supreme queen of girls’ names in 2008, 2009 and 2010 in England and Wales, and was only marginally beaten by Amelia to the number 1 spot in 2011. It entered the Top 100 for the first time in the late 1980s, and has been in the Top 10 since 1999. Further down the ranks, Eliza stands at #62.  Like Olivia before, Eliza has not ranked in the Top 100 for a century, but is now steadily rising.

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