Category: baby name Rex
For generations, there was the name your parents chose, and then there was the name you actually used.
Some names were outgrown, of course. Others held on long after you’d expect them to fade. My great-uncle Flash was once a high school track star, but even as a portly gentleman in his 60s, he still answered to his nickname.
Of course, Billy and Mimi and Flash grew up in an era when lots of kids shared the same names, sometimes in the same family. Flash was really Anthony, as were a few of his cousins. Mimi is one of three Marys on her yearbook page alone.
When Guiliana and Bill Rancic recently named their son Edward Duke, the Edward was for family members on both sides, but they always intended to call him by his middle name, because, said Guiliana, Duke is such a strong name. And she’s not the first celebrity to think so. Diane Keaton bestowed it on her son in 2001, and Justine Bateman followed suit the following year.
In fact, several of these blue-blood titles have been a lot more popular than you might imagine.
Earl is the one name in this category that came to be accepted as a name apart from its noble heritage—but has anything but a lofty image—especially since My Name is Earl. But Earl didn’t fall off the list until 2006—before that it was a Top 50 name until 1939 and then stayed in the Top 100 through 1954, attached to such distinguished figures as Chief Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, banjo player Earl Scruggs and jazzman Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, as well as basketball star Vernon Monroe known as “Earl the Pearl.” Perry Mason-creator E. Stanley Gardner spelled his first name Erle. Is it possible that Earl could follow sister Pearl back into favor?
Sometimes the craziest name becomes instantly charming the second we learn the backstory. Meaning matters, and I’m always impressed when parents take the time to seek out names rich with personal significance.
Passing down family names is great, but this idea takes it one step further. It’s a process of thinking about what’s important to your family. Favorite places, artists, experiences that signify something about the pregnancy. Think of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt’s middle name, inspired by architect Jean Nouvel, or Zuma Rossdale, possibly a nod to a Malibu beach important to his dad.
Nameberry exclusive! Sophia and Jacob are the new Number 1 names, according to the headline of a press release posted briefly on the Social Security website and just as quickly taken down. A sharp-eyed Berry alerted us to the possible leak. The Most Popular Names 2011 announcement was supposed to have been made today, but was postponed until Monday morning on The Today Show. But Nameberry may have just scooped NBC, thanks to our wonderful Berries! xxxx
And now on to our regularly scheduled program. This year, Nameberry says Happy Mother’s Day by saluting the best baby-naming celebs who have become moms since last Mother’s Day–some for the first time, some not. We’re staying away from the more extreme choices (so sorry, Mariah and Beyonce and Jessica), in favor of those that have shown an elegant sense of style, a degree of creativity–and in a few cases some ingenuity by unearthing some great buried treasures.
The nameberry contributor known to us as “Auburn” ruminates here on that most powerful and mysterious initial: X.
We all know this naming business is tricky, especially if your aim is to find unusual monikers which still have history — and if you’re browsing Nameberry then it probably is. You think you’ve found one, you get excited … and then you meet five Violets in a day and realize that perhaps #141 is too popular for you after all.
The letter Y has lost some of its magic after various incriminations recently, involving either the addition of Y’s to perfectly Y-free names (looking at you, Addysyn), or the apparent abhorrence of Y’s by others (Ashleigh). What about its generally ignored neighbor, though? Every time I see an X name it catches my eye. I think “Wow, X? Crazy!” X is daring and attention-grabbing; it’s a shortcut to awesome in the baby naming world.
The Jolie-Pitts clearly realized the power of this not-so-humble letter when they used it to round off their three sons’ names: Maddox, Pax and Knox. In the same vein, Max is hot at the moment, but it is X in front that is still that Holy Grail of naming: rare.
According to the site http://yournotme.com, which searches the records to find people in Britain aged over 18 with a certain name, the top 10 X names include 7 Chinese names (Xiao, Xin, Xuan, Xiu, Xue, Xiang and Xing, for the record). The others are Xavier (795 of them), Xenia (330), and Xanthe (309). In contrast, the top A name, Andrew, can boast 508,320 bearers across the British Isles.
Due to the large Hispanic population of North America, Ximena and Xiomara also chart at #311 and #909 respectively. Ximena is the feminine version of Ximeno, a Spanish name alternatively claimed to be a version of Simon or from the Basque for son, seme . Xiomara is the Spanish version of Guiomar, a name for either gender that belonged to a male character of Arthurian legend who was banished for his affair with Morgan le Fey.
The UK has its own pretty, feminine X name, Xanthe, which currently stands at #778. It should be noted that that means it was only given to 44 babies, though, due to the relatively small size of Britain. Xanthe is a lovely Greek choice meaning ‘fair hair’ and can also appear in the variation Xanthia.
Strangely enough, the US can also claim many a little Xzaviers, which comes in at #586. In my opinion it’s preferable to use unusual letters in moderation, readers. Just one in a sea of A’s, E’s, and R’s looks so much more striking than Xyzvyq, which gives the impression you were leaning on the keyboard.