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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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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.


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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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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Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel targets a wide range of names for this week’s Nameberry 9, from the outrageous (if fictitious) Conquistador to the sweet floral Violet.

 It was a week for outrageous baby names. 

Steve Martin joked that his new baby girl is named Conquistador.

Then Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof welcomed a baby boy named Phaedra, a little brother for Astala.  The only one in the family with a buttoned-down name is Peaches’ rocker husband, Thomas Cohen. 

For better and for worse, there will always be outlandish stand-out baby names, the headline-grabbing, eye-popping choices like Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii.

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If you don’t have a beloved Gran of your own to name your baby after, how about looking for some outside inspiration from a pop culture Nana?  Here’s a list of TV grandmothers, from the maternal to the monstrous (looking at you, Livia Soprano), the chic to the crotchety, whose names were seen as elderly at the time of their shows’ creation—from the 1950’s to the present—but which have become totally baby friendly today.

Here, the Nameberry picks of the 20 best Grandma TV baby names:

Adele   True Blood

Thanks in large part to the single-named British singer, Adele popped into the Top 1000 last year at Number 627 and we expect to see it ranking considerably higher on the new list to be released next month.  Molly Ringwald used it for her daughter in 2009.

Bea  That ‘70s Show; Bee  The Andy Griffith Show

Bea and Bee have come a long way from Opie’s Aunt Bee (who was actually a surrogate Grandma, but let’s not get technical), because of the newfound popularity of Beatrice and Beatrix

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