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The New Popularity of Storybook Names

baby name Eloise

What’s the connection between Lena Dunham’s tattoos and several of today’s most fashionable baby names? Dunham famously has Eloise of the storybook Plaza tattooed on her shoulder, and Eloise also happens to be one of today’s fastest-rising baby names, leaping up nearly 600 places since it reentered the Top 1000 list in 2009.  And the link is not just coincidence and is not limited to the charming Eloise: Many parents today are turning to their favorite childhood storybook characters for inspiration of both the baby name and tattoo variety.

Our focus today is on fictional characters in children’s books, though some older characters’ names in stories beloved by teens are finding favor too: Holden in Catcher in the Rye, for example, and Juliet in Romeo & Juliet.

The charming characters inspiring the names of an increasing number of babies include:

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abby--4-14--13

This week in her Nameberry 9 blog, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel offers evidence that boys’ baby names are rapidly catching up with the girls’ in terms of creativity.

A few days ago, my daughter Clio announced that girls’ names are pretty, but boys’ names are awesome.

She also informed me that her awesome name was Kick, and please refer to her as such from now on.

I think my four year old just voiced the desire of many an expectant parent.  Clio – I mean Kick – called it awesome.  I’ve called the same names cowboy cool or surfer style or a dozen other descriptors. 

No matter the name, boys’ names have become bolder and more multi-cultural than they were in generations past.

Recent baby name news has been packed with boys’ names begging to be accessorized with a lacrosse stick, a snowboard, or a bucking bronco and a ten-gallon hat.  Or maybe just a passport and a pint-sized suitcase.

They’re fresh and inventive, and yet they’re definitely masculine at the same time.  Some of the best picks made it into recent baby name news, like:

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Labor Day Names: Names that really work!

occubaker

For the Labor Day weekend, we’re celebrating hard-working occupation names–which just happen to be among the coolest name categories around, with their (mostly) trendy ‘er’ endings.  Many of them originated in medieval England and refer back to trades that no longer exist–when did you last need a roof thatcher or a charioteer?–and so part of their attraction lies in that throwback reference to basic concepts of honest labor, thus adding some historic heft to their appeal. So, here are the Nameberry picks for best occupational baby names.

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tvbabeemmablog

Ever since Little Ricky’s birth on I Love Lucy coincided with the birth of real life Desi Arnaz, Jr (aka Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV) —which was celebrated on the cover of the very first issue of TV Guide in 1953—audiences have been interested in the arrivals—and names, of course– of TV babies.

Some of these babies had names that were typical of their eras, while others were newer and more influential. Some of the newborns were allowed to grow up, while others remained babies, some were merely plot devices that quickly vanished. One of the names was important enough to be featured in the show’s title—Hope on Raising Hope.
Here, in rough reverse chronological order, are some of the most memorable TV baby names:

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Unisex Names: Would you use one?

qowuni

As more and more names are crossing gender divides, with girls being named Maxwell and Monroe, and boy and girl Eastons and Wests, Sages and Sawyers, we’re not surprised to find that among the most persistent topics on the Nameberry forums are those having to do with gender–with very strong opinions being voiced.  So today’s Question of the Week concerns unisex names:

Would/did you choose a name that’s given almost equally to both girls and boys?

Would/did you give your daughter a name more often used for a boy?

Would/did you give your son a name that has started drifting into the  girls’ column?  Does this matter to you?

Or would you only consider a name that’s distinctly masculine or feminine?

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