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Color Names for Boys: Why not?

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color names

By Nick Turner

The Quentin Tarantino movie Reservoir Dogs famously used color-themed aliases for its cast of would-be diamond thieves: Mr. Blue, Mr. Orange, Mr. Pink and Mr. White, among others.

The 1992 film became a cult favorite and the pseudonyms are now legendary. But in real life, using colors as names for boys is anything but cool.

Naming your son after a color has completely fallen out of fashion in the United States. With girls, it’s increasingly popular to pick something like Violet, Ruby or Hazel. Boys, though, have been left out of the visible spectrum.

It wasn’t always this way.

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green--emerald

A green name would offer some glorious gifts to a child, especially appropriate for one born in the Spring. Green is the most prevalent color in nature, signifying growth, renewal and the environment–while on the crasser side, green also represents money and prosperity. To choose a green name, you could consider names with green in their meaning, such as Chloe (“green shoot”), but here’s a more direct route: pick the name of an actual shade of green, of which there are lots of good name possibilities.

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abbydior2

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

We’re just days into the new year, and there’s so much to anticipate.

What will Zara Phillips Tindall, the least conventionally named of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren, name her first child?  When the 2013 data is released, will Jacob still be the most common name for boys born in the US, or will Mason unseat him?  Which fictional character names will take us by surprise?

But this week, I’m thinking about a very specific question: of all the unconventional word name possibilities, which will go from sounding wacky and way out there to mainstream in 2014?

Kids called Willow, River, Scarlett, Genesis, Serenity, and Cash are nothing new, but not so long ago those all sounded as outlandish as Apple or Bear.

Earlier this week The Tennessean reported that the majority of Americans are completely fine with kids called Messiah.  That’s pretty tolerant – if we can handle Messiah, surely Pilot is no big deal.

And yet, I wonder about the power of noun names to influence our choices.  Nancy recently shared a quote on nominative determinism – an elaborate way of saying that your name determines your future.

Will calling your child Forest make him outdoorsy?  Will Aria love to sing?  Can Cash expect to hit it big on Wall Street – or maybe Vegas?  Is Valor brave and Honor honorable?

Plenty of parents must be hoping this is true.  Or at least they’re untroubled by the possibility.  Because we’ve been borrowing from the dictionary with abandon as 2013 slipped into 2014.

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autumn

Since the Fall season is officially upon us, it’s time once again for an update of our annual round-up of crisp Autumn names–those appellations which refer to the season directly and those that are more subtle references.

Autumn — Autumn is ironically the hottest season name once again this year, the only one in the Top 100 where it’s maintained its status for over a decade now.  The name Autumn first entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 1969, inspired by the hippie nature names and word names.  While it’s still attractive, however, it’s hardly fresh. (Note: Winter is also in the air—though it hasn’t yet made the list, we’re seeing more and more interest in it as a name.)

Names from other cultures that provide a newer route to Autumn include the Japanese girls’ names Aki and Akiko, the Turkish girls’ name Hazan, the Vietnamese Thu, and, in Chinese, Qiu for either girls or boys.

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purplav

The most stylish palette for clothes this season may be orange, lemon, lime and other neon-bright colors, but baby namers are showing a real passion for purple, loving names from pale Lavender and Violet to deeper purpley shades. Purple itself has many associations– with royalty and nobility—as well as haze, rain, overwritten prose, an Alice Walker novel and screen version, as well as purple people eaters.

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