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Category: baby name Phoebe

posted by: omnimom View all posts by this author
omnix

By Lauren Apfel, aka omnimom

In 1642, Oliver Cromwell led a contingent of parliamentarians against King Charles I, defeating him in what became known as the English Civil War and giving rise to the only occasion in modern British history where the monarchy has not held power. Three and a half centuries later, he became my husband’s hero for it, my husband who is a constitutional lawyer and a committed republican (small ‘r’).  In the years before the arrival of our first child, we lived in Oxford, both of us affiliated with the University there. Amidst its hallowed halls and Gothic spires, people would talk in hushed tones about their ‘periods’ of expertise. My husband’s period was the seventeenth century. Cromwell was his guy.

Unsurprisingly, Oliver was always his first choice for a boy’s name.  It became mine too. We said we weren’t having children, though, so we bestowed instead the name Cromwell upon our future dog, a brown and white beagle. Things changed and we didn’t get the dog.  But we did welcome a son who was, of course, called Oliver.  My husband wanted it because it was traditional and historically grounded. I wanted it because it was sparky and unconventional. It is both of those things, depending on where you come from: this is what has made the Venn diagram effect of our name selection so successful.  The year Oliver was born it was the fifth most popular baby name in the UK. In the US, it hadn’t even broken the top 100.

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quarterly3-13

Here they are–the newest berrybaby names from January, February and March–and they’re better than ever!

Every three months, when we prepare these quarterly reports, we’re knocked out by the endlessly creative variety of choices made (and I’m sure there are lots more that didn’t make it into the Birth Announcement Forum), the felicitous first and middle name combos and the great twin and other sibsets.

This time around there are reports of ten sets of twins:

Girl/Girl

Aria Violet and Harper Daisy

Lucille Violet and Coraline Hazel

Grace Vivian and Juliet Mae

Imogen Esteri and Phoebe Justine

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Baby girl wearing pettiskirt tutu and pearls

For her The Nameberry 9 this week, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain sees more adventurous names for boys, some recent revivals for girls, and one surprising gender switch.

Last week’s baby name news demonstrated two things: first, there’s no such thing as a name too fusty to make a comeback. Girls’ names change constantly. Now that Emma, Charlotte, and Evelyn are appearing on kindergarten rosters all over America, choices like Alice, Josephine and June feel fresh.

Does this mean that Joan and Geraldine could be the hot names of 2032? Never say never.

Second, parents truly are becoming quite daring when naming their sons. For years we took risks with our daughters’ names, using frilly feminissa appellations like Arabella as well as tailored ones like Ingrid or Sawyer. The name pool for boys remained relatively shallow.

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aviateblog

It’s just in the nick of time, but we couldn’t let Women’s History Month go by without a salute to some of the adventurous women who have blazed trails, in this case literally reaching new heights.  Kudos to the the early lady pilots known then as aviatrixes, many of whom have been hidden too long in the shadow of Amelia Earhart. And of course, Nameberry being Nameberry, our choices were based as much on their interesting names as on their accomplishments.

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salinger3

Today’s knowledgeable guest blogger takes an analytic look at the literary names of the Glass family and other memorable characters created by J. D. Salinger.

Would you believe that we recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the publication of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye?  To commemorate — a year after Salinger himself passed away at the age of 91 — here’s a look at the names of some of his protagonists:

Holden. Holden Caulfield is one of the twentieth century’s iconic anti-heroes. A surname in origin, Holden derives from a little place in Lancashire, England, meaning “hollow valley.” Salinger may well have chosen it because it sounds like “hold on” – just as Holden wanted to do to preserve the innocence of children, as “the catcher in the rye.” Holden has been gradually rising in use in the US over the past twenty-five years, and is now ranked at Number 316.

Phoebe. Holden’s little sister. From the Greek phoibos “bright, radiant,” very appropriate for the character Holden idealizes. Phoebe is also the name of a Titaness – a daughter of Uranus and Ge. It was not uncommon as a name in antiquity, and stumbled into The New Testament. In past centuries, Phebe was often the preferred form. The best know Phoebe is recent years is Phoebe Buffay, in Friends (followed by Phoebe Halliwell in Charmed). Ironically, it was the UK that felt Phoebe Buffay’s influence greatest, with the name mushrooming in use virtually overnight.  In 2009, it was in 23rd place in the UK — but falling. In the US, it has been steadily climbing since the late eighties but is still far from common.

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