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Banned Baby Names: No Toms in Tomar

bannedbear

If you were Anderson Cooper and you had been born in Germany, you wouldn’t be Anderson Cooper, because Germany is just one of a surprising number of countries with strict baby-naming rules and regulations. In some instances, as in Italy and Sweden, the motivation is humane—trying to spare the child embarrassment, ridicule and bullying in the increasingly wild and wooly international baby-name environment. In fact, some of these are not long-standing strictures, but relatively recent ones.

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posted by: denisekpotter View all posts by this author
Comic Strip Names

By Denise Potter

For fifty years, Charlie Brown and his team of usual suspects made us laugh and learn life lessons. The last official episode of the Peanuts comic-strip appeared fourteen years ago this February. Gone but not forgotten, we’re honoring its memory with a survey of Peanuts’ most notable names. And while adorable pet names Woodstock and Snoopy will probably never translate into the baby-name scene, there are plenty of interesting choices you may have not expected, drawn from the real life of artist and creator Charles M. Schulz.

Charlie – It’s only fitting that the lovable, friendly four-year-old who stole hearts with his catchphrase “Good grief”! has the friendliest boy name. A diminutive of the German Charles, there have been lots of pop-culture Charlies over the years, from Charlie Chaplin to Charlie’s Angels, though none of them cuter than the Peanuts‘ protagonist.

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Pilot

by Linda Rosenkrantz

The names of TV characters have had an influence on baby naming since the era of must-see daytime soaps and Dallas and Dynasty, and more recently we’ve seen the effect of the Mad Men midcentury matrix and individual names like Finn and Dexter and Addison and Aria and Arya taking hold.

Things are a little different now, with fewer people glued to their TV screens—or even their tablets or phones—to watch ‘appointment’ television.  And yet, with the new season beginning, I can’t help wondering if any of the more distinctive names of the characters on debuting shows might catch on.  The one freshman period program, Reign, offers some possibilities, as do The Originals—a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries and the sci-fi The Tomorrow People.

And with two hunky ex-models playing characters named Killian on two different new shows, I think I’d put my money on him.

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j

by Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s an inarguable fact that celebrity baby name choices have an impact on the rest of the population.  But which of them have had a lasting influence and which luminaries have hit the sweet spot more than once?

With some names it was not a single celeb but a confluence of several that helped propel a name to stardom– among these are the namers of Becketts, Dashiells, Harpers, Romys, Romans and, perhaps most of all, the now ubiquitous Ava.  And we see that even a middle name can pack an impact, as in Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s (Blue) Ivy.

TRENDSETTERS

Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn introduced a whole style of names with their three daughters, Avery, Emery and Finley, all boyish names ending in ‘y.’ First came Finley, born in 2003, when that name was nowhere to be seen on the girls’ Top 1000.  It appeared there two years later, and is now at Number 349, with close to a thousand baby girls bearing that name annually.  Daughter Avery was born in 2005; there were approximately 4,000 girl Averys born the year before her arrival, 5,000+ the year after, and 8,000+ this past year. The third daughter, Emery, was born three years later, when the name was Number 467; it is now at 211.

Two of the Jolie-Pitt kids’ names have made their mark. The eldest, Maddox, was born in 2001, the name popped onto the list two years later, and is now at Number 167, accounting for almost 2,300 baby Maddoxes.  Another x-ending Jolie-Pitt boy name, Knox, also stuck a chord.  He arrived in 2008 with twin sister Vivienne (whose name is also rising); the following year Knox entered the list, and it is now Number 368.

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mom13olive

This Mother’s Day, we salute those celebrity moms who have given birth to their starbabies since last Mother’s Day–and in particular those who have given their offspring what we consider to be the most interesting and appealing appellations.  These are the first children for several of them; others have added to a sibset.  And the winners are:

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