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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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Autumn Names: A harvest of great choices

autmn

A couple of momberries-to-be who are expecting Fall babies have written in to ask for some Autumn name suggestions, and so, as we come close to the official onset of the season, here is our annual, updated round-up of Autumn names.

AUTUMN — Autumn is ironically the hottest season name, 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.

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.

Fall month names are not quite as usable as those of the other seasons.

September – Why are MarchMayJune, August and even January hot while September (along with OctoberNovember, and December) is not?  Maybe there’s something chilly about that “ber” ending.  Still, this has an attractive sound and is certainly unusual.  The Latin Septimus, which means “seventh son,” sounds a bit Harry Potter and is perhaps too redolent of things septic.  But Seven, as recently chosen as the middle name of little Harper Beckham, might have some potential.

October – An equally unusual month name that gets an extra helping of cool from hipster writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, who chose it for their daughter.  Perhaps more attractive are the Latin pair Octavius and especially Octavia, both of which mean (as does October) “eighth.”  Other Octavius and Octavia variations you might  consider:  OctavianOctavianaOctavienne, the Italian Ottavio or Ottavia, or the nicknames Tavy or Tavia.

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chinesenyr2

Elisabeth Wilborn, creator of one of our absolute favorite blogs, You Can’t Call It “It,” imparts ideas on how to tie your child’s name to the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. You can also find Elisabeth at The Itsy Factor, or at home with her family in Brooklyn.

How happy I am to usher in the Chinese Year of the Rabbit.  It’s not a rat, a tiger, a snake or something equally frightful sounding.  It’s not a pragmatic pig nor an ox, as my own children claim, but a lovable cute bunny rabbit (we like to refer to the pig year as “the year of the golden boar” by the way– so much nicer).

Even if you’re not Chinese, don’t you suspect that after thousands of years maybe they’re onto something?  Not only does the rabbit sound sweet and cuddly, but it also happens to have some of the most pleasant characteristics associated with it.  Considered a most auspicious sign, your 2011 bon vivant will have good taste, good fortune, and live forever.  Or something like that. Those born in a rabbit year have an appreciation of beauty and make great artists and curators, favor peace over conflict, are demure, well-liked, and well-mannered.  A downfall may be that their taste for luxury borders on over indulgence, but being lucky with money, this likely won’t result in dire straits.  Above all, they have a tendency to be happy.

When the Chinese look at the moon, they see the hare standing underneath the cassia tree, grasping the elixir of immortality.  During the autumn harvest festival, Chinese children carry paper lanterns shaped like rabbits and climb up the hills to observe the lovely moon hare, which symbolizes the start of day and the yin of heaven. 

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