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celebbaby2010

2010 was most notable in celebrity baby names for being more sedate than in recent years.  Instead, stars shocked by ignoring attention-grabbing choices like Bronx and Moxie in favor of such assertively normal names as Benjamin (John Travolta and Kelly Preston) and Grace (Mark Wahlberg).

The best of 2010’s celebrity baby names evidenced style and individuality. Here are our top picks:

LOUIS BARDOSandra Bullock wins the Oscar for Best Celebrity Baby Name of 2010, for choosing Louis Bardo for her newly-adopted son.  Louis is a classic royal name that’s stylish throughout Europe – the Lewis spelling is Number One in Scotland – but relatively ignored here, and Bardo is an obscure name borne by a German saint (Bullock’s mother was German) and also the Buddhist concept of an intermediate state, perhaps symbolic of Bullock’s own transformation from B-movie queen to Academy Award-winning actress, from scorned wife to single mom.

COSIMA – This Greek name meaning “universe” was chosen in the same month by both supermodel Claudia Schiffer and hipster power couple Sofia Coppola and Thomas Mars, elevating it from obscurity (fewer than five baby girls received the name in the U.S. last year) to stardom.

ABEL JAMES – The whole Cain thing has mitigated against the ascendance of Abel as a baby name, which is a shame given its simplicity, its history, and its ready and willing connotation.  Its choice by Amy Poehler and Will Arnett may help elevate it to the position it deserves.

NELLY MAY LOIS – Musicians don’t usually have a taste for gentle vintage baby names, but Norman “Fatboy Slim” Cook and Zoe Ball chose this granny-style name for their newborn daughter.  Even the spelling of Nelly is unflashy, and while May is back in a style as a middle name, Lois is still rarely heard outside the bingo parlor.

AMADEUS BENEDICT EDLEY LUIS – American parents have been moving toward the British tradition of using two middle names, but why stop there?  Boris Becker chose this 11-syllable moniker for his fourth son, but we love the surprising mix of styles, ethnicities, and eras.  Mozart’s real middle name was Theophilus, but he preferred the Latin version.

CHAPLIN HADDOW — Carrying on her family’s heritage of distinctive names, the actress Ever Carradine chose the great silent clown as a namesake for her daughter.

 FLORENCE ROSE ENDELLION – British prime minister David Cameron and wife Samantha chose this classic name for their newborn daughter.  New standard middle name Rose almost knocks it out of “best” contention, but Cornish saints’ name Endellion elevates it.  The legendary Endellion was the goddaughter of King Arthur.

MARCELLO DANIEL – Diablo Cody knows you can’t go wrong with an o-ending name, so she chose this Latin lover name, which derives from the mythical Mars, for her newborn son.

BILLIE BEATRICERebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane’s bouncy alliterative choice balances a sassy nickname with a cool classic in the middle.

McGREGGOR EDWARD – We love genuine surnames used as first names, and applaud this unique choice of One Life to Live star Bree Williamson.  The takeaway, you can move beyond such Waspy choices as Carter and Porter to ethnic family names from O’Brien to Chan as first names.

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Tutti-Frutti Names: Fruitful Baby Names

fruit baby names

When the latest unusual starbaby name hit the headlines last week–extreme adventurer Bear Grylls’ son Huckleberry–maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised.  After all, a previous celebrity couple, Kimberly Williams and Brad Paisley had named their son William Huckleberry, and are known to call him Huck.  But with people still commenting on Apple, maybe it’s time to look at the whole category of  fruit names.

APPLE.  Unlike some other starbabies, Apple Martin has not inspired many namesakes, probably because of all the ridicule it received and despite mom Gwyneth Paltrow’s defensive statement that “apples are so sweet and they’re wholesome and it’s biblical..I just thought it sounded so lovely and clean.”  In fact, since Apple‘s godfather Simon Pegg was quoted as saying she’d be using her middle name when she starts school, we don’t see much chance of it ever catching on.

BANANAEven less likely.  Japanese novelist Mahoko Yoshimoto adopted the pseudonym of Banana because she considered it “cute and purposely andgrogynous”–which it is–but for pen name purposes only.

BERRY. Has long been used as a unisex name, reaching a high of #435 in 1909 and staying in the Top 1000 till 1971, having  two famous namesakes–Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. and Berry Berenson (born Berinthia), photographer/actress and widow of Tony Perkins who died tragically on 9/11.  It’s a choice that just might come back as a green name which is less elaborate than the other berry names.

CHERRY.  Another fruit name that’s had some popularity before it  disappeared in the 70s, along with Merry, Kerry, Sherri and Terry–possibly because of its embarassment potential for a teenage girl.  Don‘t see this one coming back.

CLEMENTINE.  Partly because you wouldn’t immediately tag it as a fruit name, Clementine is a real winner, which could return to popularity for the first time in over a century, helped by its usage by celebs Claudia Schiffer and Ethan Hawke.  Pronounced with either a teen or tyne ending, it has historical ties to Mrs. Winston Churchill, is feminine, stylish and substantive ,and has long since shed its clunky ‘Oh my darlin’ image.

HUCKLEBERRY.  Has two main obstacles—the close association with Huckleberry Finn and with the cartoonish Huckleberry Hound.  Mark Twain told an interviewer that he picked it to describe “a boy of lower extraction”  Huck is a pretty cool nickname though.

LEMON.  You wouldn’t guess it now, but Lemon was once a fairly well used male name–as in the legendary blues singer Blind Lemon Jefferson, and it still has some potential as a unisex name.  When Alex Baldwin’s character on 30 Rock calls Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon by her last name, it makes it sound like a very plausible first.  LIME might be a middle name possibility.

MANGO. Bizarre Chris Kattan SNL character.  Let’s leave it there.  Papaya and Kiwi too.

PEACHES.  Old-time chorus-girly nickname name revived by rocker Bob Geldof for his daughter Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa, who has been adament in her resentment of it, saying “My weird name has haunted me all my life.”  Let that be a lesson.

PLUM.  A lot prettier and more usable than Peaches, associated with British-born writer Plum Sykes, whose birth name was actually Victoria–the nickname arising from the species  known as the Victoria Plum.

STRAWBERRY.  This cousin of Huckleberry is another rarity, given to the granddaughter of writer William Saroyan, who says grew up in a community of kids named Shelter, Wonder and Raspberry, and with a sister named Cream.  After changing her name briefly, she came to see the advantages of its uniqueness.

And how do we feel about fruit names?  Well, we did call our site Nameberry!

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