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Category: boys’ names for girls

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This week’s Nameberry 9 by Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel shows us the wide range of girl baby names available to today’s parents.

Did you read Swistle’s post about a woman named Justin?

Some of us probably felt vindicated.  Of course you shouldn’t give a boy’s name to a girl!

Others probably thought: If only they’d chosen Justine instead.

Miss Justin might be an extreme case, but this week’s name news reminds us that the range of possibilities for girls is vast.  From conventionally masculine names to modern inventions to antique revivals, we are willing to be daring when naming daughters.

That’s not just a name nerd perspective, either.  In 2011, almost 79% of newborn boys in the US received a Top 1000 name.  For girls?  Just under 67% received a Top 1000 choice.

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Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel has found some intriguingly unusual baby names in this week’s name news.

It’s easy to belittle a parent’s search for a unique name.  Headlines call it self-centered and short-sighted.  But if you went through school as Jessica or Jennifer, one among many, is it so wrong to want your child to be one of one, at least in her kindergarten?

This week was all about the quest for a distinctive name.

There was nothing truly surprising in the baby name news – no Buddy Bear Maurice or Rainbow Aurora.  Instead, there’s been a treasure trove of very wearable names that all feel just a little bit different.

What makes them stand out choices?  For some, it’s a high value Scrabble letter, like V, X, or Z.  Others are super short, even brisk.  And giving a masculine name to a daughter is always a sure-fire way to grab attention, for better and for worse.

Not every parent would – or should – consider every trend, but it is exciting just how many choices manage to be both unusual and perfectly normal at once.

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Watch out, Berries–today’s guest blogger, Claire Shefchik, has plenty of bones to pick!

Since the age of six, I’ve loved names.  Back then, whenever I renamed myself, I was Crystal (spelled Christal) and later, Jordan.  These days, I prefer Presley to Penelope, Jayden to Jasper.  In the novel I’m writing, two of the main characters are Dempsey and Vaughanfemale characters. Eek!  That’s right, I am a name heretic.

When, a few years ago, I came across the Nameberry-led community of Internet naming enthusiasts, I thought I’d found heaven (sorry, “nevaeh”).  But I found myself, more often than not, at odds with my fellow “name nerds.”  Many claim to be open-minded and liberal, but are much more rigid in their approach to naming than you’d think, especially when it comes to names popular with, as one poster put it, “the Wal-Mart set.”  Another poster declared her goal was to encourage “classically-named babies,” which let’s face it, is just a euphemism for “babies with names of which I, as the self-appointed arbiter of taste, approve.”

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Unisex names and the question of whether a child’s gender should be evident via his or her name is one that comes up frequently on Nameberry.  It’s an issue that’s changed a lot over the years we’ve been writing about baby names and that varies substantially in different cultures.

Starting with the baby boomlet of the 1980s, the first wave of feminist parents gave girls androgynous names like Morgan and Parker to make them more competitive with boys…..while parents of boys abandoned unisex names in favor of more traditional masculine choices.   Next came names that broke away from traditional boy or girl choices — Logan and Lake, Bellamy and Finn — but still somehow held onto a gendered identity.

Despite vast changes in naming practices around the world, some ancient cultures accommodate names that work for either sex — Japan is a notable example — while other countries such as Norway require that names carry gender identity.  Germany changed its naming laws in 2008 to allow the use of unisex names.

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Unisex Names: Would you use one?

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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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