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Category: baby name Phoebe

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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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Goodbye Girls’ (Names)

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Guest blogger Deb Levy, who writes with her husband about life in these recessionary times at And For Poorer, had three wonderful girls’ names all picked out. The only thing she was missing was the daughters to give them to.

“It’s a girl!” the doctor cried after the gazillionth push.

My arms reached out to welcome my firstborn, a skinny chicken of a child, who immediately soaked my chest with her inaugural pee. The nurse turned my daughter onto her back to face me, and the arc of urine shot upwards.

“Oops, no. It’s a boy.”

I felt as if I had been hit by a truck. A very large truck. There were so many layers of shock, unidentifiable from each other. The fact that this baby came in July when the actual due date was end of August; my preeclamptic body swollen and unrecognizable; the exhaustion, the pain.

And, yes, the penis.

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