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verboden

Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

A French film made its US debut this week.  What’s in a Name? takes us to a dinner party.  A happy couple announces that they’re expecting a son, and they’ve chosen a name.

Adolphe.

It’s as scandalous a choice in French as it would be in English, and the fellow guests are aghast.

The party goes downhill from there.  Other guests are criticized for their children’s “pretentious” names: Myrtille and Apollin.

Such scathing comments are usually reserved for gossip, or maybe anonymous online forums.  Can you imagine yourself in a social setting, hearing your child’s name ripped to shreds?  Let’s hope the movie – and the play it is based on – are pure fiction.

Then again, even if Adolf is your beloved grandfather’s given name, I would think long and hard about giving the name to a son.  It’s one of a very few names, like Lucifer, that strike me as off limits for good reason.

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home games

By Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s not unusual to find interesting and creative names among the leading figures in all spheres of the arts, but there’s a really stellar group to be found among notable architects.  International in scope, and looked at across time, here are some of the most intriguing first and last name examples–any of which you might want to consider if you’re an architecture aficionado—or if there’s an architect in your family.

Addison Mizner was one of the key developers of Florida resort architecture, Spanish Revival style.  Mizner was born in 1872, when Addison was strictly a boys’ name—it didn’t begin to take off for girls until 1994, but still can make a valid patronymic choice for a boy.

Cass Gilbert was an early proponent of the Beaux Arts style skyscraper, designing, among others, the Woolworth Building in New York—the world’s tallest building at the time.   He was named for a statesman-relative called Lewis Cass, but the name stands well on its own as a first.  Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel about a judge called Cass Timberlane.

Decimus Burton was a prolific nineteenth century English architect and garden designer whose works included buildings at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Gardens and the London Zoo. Decimus is one of the old Latin numeral names that adventurous babynamers are beginning to consider.

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Irish Baby Names: Last Names First

stpat3

Nameberry Picks for St. Paddy‘s Day: Irish Surname Names

The current popularity lists are full of Irish baby names that are also surname names—Ryan, Riley, Brody, Brady, Brennan, Connor, Keegan, and Quinn, to name just a few—and have been for quite some time.  For the most part, they have been two- and occasionally one-syllable names;  we’d like to suggest that the next wave will consist of the bouncier, even friendlier and more genial names with three syllables, and here are some of the best candidates.

Most of this brand of Irish baby names seem more suited to boys—but let’s not forget what happened to Cassidy and Delaney in the 1990s, when they tinted decidedly pink.

Branigana possible update for Brandon; the name means the descendant of the son of the raven, the latter being a nickname for the first chief of the clan. Spelled Brannigan, it was a 1975 John Wayne movie, and Zapp Brannigan is the antihero of the satirical animated sitcom Futurama

Callahan –means “bright-headed”; also spelled Callaghan, a name that harkens back to the ancient King of Munster

Connolly—could make a livelier substitute for Connor, means “fierce as a hound”; also spelled Connelly, as in detection fiction writer Michael

Cullinan—not as familiar as some of the others but has a long and distinguished Irish history—and, for a bit of trivia, the Cullinan diamond was the largest rough diamond ever found (3,000+ carats) when discovered in 1905.

Donegan—a possible namesake for an ancestral Donald–for those who find Donovan too Mellow-Yellow sixties folksie

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