Category: baby name Penelope

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: emilygc3 View all posts by this author
names from the Odyssey

By Emily Cardoza, Nothing like a name

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns, driven time and again off course…

The man referred to above is literary idol Odysseus, whose story is still taught in schools across the country and referenced in hundreds of books and films – including one of my favorites, O Brother Where Art Thou? Today we’ll be looking at just a few of the names of characters in his epic journey.

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posted by: Aimee Tafreshi View all posts by this author
P names for girls

By Aimee Reneau Tafreshi

Parker Posey, Peppermint Patty and Pablo Picasso… Our history and pop culture have produced some notable “P” names. A perfect “P” name makes you stop and take notice.

I do not have anyone in my family whose name starts with a “P,” but the other day I had “P” names on my mind. There are a few classics – Paula and Patricia come to mind– but for the most part, “P” names are a more elusive bunch than names beginning with an “A” or “B.” I decided to round up the best of the “P” names, including those looking for a comeback and others that have never broken the top name ranks. This blog will focus on the most promising “P” names for girls.

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deja vu names

By Abby Sandel, AppellationMountain

I know that Hollywood isn’t one great big playdate, with A-list moms and reality starlets alike pushing their designer strollers through the park together. There’s no reason to think that Blue Ivy Carter and Tennessee Toth will attend the same preschool, or that Tori Spelling and Angelina Jolie are trading tips on managing big families.

Which is a long way of saying that of course sometimes one set of high-profile parents will choose the same name that some other headline-worthy couple chose.

To spectators, those repeats can seem significant. Tabloids accuse Blake Lively of stealing a Garner-Affleck baby name. We declare names The Next Big Thing if it pops up on lots of celeb birth announcements.

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greek classical names

By Lauren Apfel

As both a classicist and a lover of names, I find myself in a unique position. On the one hand, I have been exposed, from a relatively young age, to a swathe of wonderful monikers that wouldn’t otherwise be on my radar: Achilles, Antigone, Andromache (to mention a few off the top of my head that all happen to start with A). On the other hand, I have spent many years studying and internalizing the tales of woe that accompany these names. Achilles, for instance, is not just an interesting three-syllable option to me with the benefit of a double letter. He is an angry man, with a delicate ego, who spent a long time sulking in his tent before embarking on a brutal killing spree. Not exactly the connotation I was looking for, you can imagine, when it came to naming my sons.

Okay, to be fair, I was never really tempted to call any of my sons Achilles. But there are some ancient Greek names that make me swoon, names I might even have considered using for my own modern offspring had their backstories not been so utterly problematic. Here are five:

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