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abby--3-26-14

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Confession: I’ve watched Kid President’s latest YouTube video more than a dozen times.  It’s called “Letter to a Person on Their First Day Here,” and even though little Robby Novak (a.k.a. Kid President) never mentions names, it reminds me of the happiest part of talking all things onomastic.

Around 360,000 babies are born every day.  That’s 4.2 newborns every second.  Even if we limited it to arrivals in the English-speaking world, it would take a lot of berry brainpower to help find names for all of those lovely new people.

It’s worth looking for the right name, isn’t it?  All of these new people are going to do some amazing things.  At their best, the names we bestow on our children honor that potential.

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posted by: tararyaz View all posts by this author
olympibboy

By Tara Ryazansky

The men hoping to compete for the US Olympic Team have names that are just as winning as the women.’s  I put together a list of some boy names that might win over new parents in 2014.

LeifAs in Biathlon team member, Leif Nordgren.  This name has a strong Scandinavian vibe, but feels usable here in the US because of its well known connections to Leif Erikson and Leif Garrett.  I think it’s a great choice, but I must admit, I am guilty of the mispronunciation “Leaf“.  Its authentic pronunciation is more like “Layf”.

Stokes- Stokes Aitken of the US bobsled skeleton federation has a compelling name.  This very unusual choice could be inspired by any of the counties and towns across America called Stokes.  It is a fairly common English surname with variants that date back to the Middle Ages.

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posted by: Nook of Names View all posts by this author
ghost5

By K. M. Sheard of NookofNames.com

In keeping with the season, here is an offering of my favorite ghostly names:

Alexander. One of the ghostly children of Lucy M. Boston’s Children of Green Knowe, who lived and died during the reign of King Charles II. The most famous Alexander is, of course, Alexander the Great.

Araminta. Although not actually a ghost, AramintaMintyCane travels in time and appears as a “ghost” to a boy in the eighteenth century, in Helen Cresswell’s children’s novel Moondial.

Banquo. The tragic figure of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, who was murdered by his erstwhile friend. The origin is uncertain, but even the historicity of the man is questioned. It is quite probable he was invented by a sixteenth-century Scottish academic.

Caspar. The perennial “friendly ghost,” first introduced to the world in 1945. Caspar started out as the Dutch form of Jasper, but has long been established in the English-speaking world too.

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883685-Longueuil_mullet_haircut-Longueuil

JILL BARNETT turns her sharp eye and keen name sensibility on names that you love but just, because of bad associations, can never use.

As a style-conscious four-year-old who knew that lime green bellbottoms and patchwork Holly Hobby skirts were cutting edge chic, I had recently grown tired of my boring shoulder-length locks. Unable to think of any glamorous looks aside from a pageboy, life took a seemingly fortuitous turn one day when my mom took me to Friendly’s for a five-star grilled cheese sandwich and fries. Our server’s name was Claire, and in addition to having a name I absolutely loved, she sported my dream hairstyle at the time: a ponytail in the back with feathered chunks of hair resembling earmuffs on the sides, likely held in place with a jug or so of glistening Aqua Net.

After returning home from lunch, I did what any logical preschooler in need of a classy coiffure would have done: I found a pair of scissors, crawled up onto my bathroom counter so I could be closer to the mirror, and tried my best to recreate the glory of Claire’s ravishing 70’s hairdo. Becoming a hairstylist clearly wasn’t in my future, however, because I somehow managed to give myself a raging reverse mullet, complete with a multitude of stray vertical tufts.

In a panic, my mom quickly took me to the hairdresser, who was thankfully able to even out the ends, but for a good three months, my hair resembled a cross between Austin Powers and Friar Tuck. To this day, while I love the name Claire, I sadly know I can’t bestow it upon a future daughter because it’s too connected to my childhood hair trauma, and because I’ve long since referred to my unfortunate bowl cut as “The Claire.”

And while Claire was the first gorgeous name I realized I could no longer use due to a negative association, it unfortunately wasn’t the last. Please join me in paying tribute to some of my favorite names that have committed the dreaded crime of guilt by association:

ALICE: As I was paying my bill at a diner, a customer approached the woman named Alice who was working behind the cash register, politely saying, “Exuse me, ma’am. My turkey sandwich doesn’t taste right. I think it’s spoiled.” Not missing a beat, the woman, who had used self-tanner to the point of resembling an Oompa Loompa, grabbed the man’s sandwich from his plate, took a huge bite out of it, and said with a snarl and a mouth filled with food, “It tastes fine to me!” Clearly hoping to be named Employee of the Month, the woman returned the sandwich to the customer as he stood in disbelief, and then promptly shooed him on his way.

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