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Give Me a Name with Swagger and Sass

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by Suzi Catchpole

There are so many pretty names; the wallflowers, the shy, prim and delicate ones. I love them and am delighted when people use them, but of late, my own lists aren’t populated by the pretty ones. I want them edgy, loaded with pomp, prestige, colourful associations… and even a little arrogance.

We recently had our third baby son and we named him Jarvis. A friend exclaimed that Jarvis is a name with ‘serious swagger’ and we admit, we wanted something completely leftfield and totally cool. Bets were had that we would name our new baby Hugo, Sebastian or Jasper – all lovely names, but we were searching further afield for a wildcard; that neglected gem which so many parents seek.

After haggling and disagreeing about Wolfgang (his choice) and Rupert (my choice), we knew we had struck pay dirt when Jarvis was resurrected from the very first list I wrote back in 2004. It had been there all along, nonchalantly waiting for us to acknowledge its cred.

We live in Sydney Australia, and were aware that in the US, Jarvis is sometimes seen as a redneck or country and western name. Here, it has more of a hipster, Jarvis Cocker, upper crust British image. It does seem to have two identities though, and we decided we were fine with that.

And what if we had had three girls? Their names wouldn’t have been shrinking violets, that’s for sure! The feminine counterparts of Felix, Theodore, and Jarvis, my three sons’ names, that I would have loved to use for three daughters might have been Beatrix, Dahlia, and Juno.

So here’s a list of names which I think embody sass and swagger; girls and boys who have an edge and sit on the fringes… with attitude.

girls

Beatrix
Clio
Dahlia
Delilah

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For The Nameberry 9 this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel finds a nonet of  familiar boys’ names that you might not have considered.

Are you watching The League?  The FX comedy is about a group of friends who form a fantasy football league.  Draft picks matter, in real sports as well as those played only on paper, and so the fourth season opened with a quandary.  Dad-to-be Kevin had traded naming rights for his newborn son in exchange for a better draft pick.  The new baby arrived, and Kevin’s buddy named the bouncing baby boy … wait for it …

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cool names

As the authors of, literally, the book on Cool Names, you’d think we’d know everything there is to know about cool baby names.

But the definition of cool is so fluid and so subjective, it’s difficult to point to one name, or one group of names, and proclaim it as universally cool.

Yet sometimes, you know cool when you see it.  I was reading about the British actor Damian Lewis the other day — the redheaded hunk on Homeland — and noticed (of course) that the names of his children with fellow actor Helen McCrory are Manon and Gulliver.

Huh, I thought.  Now THOSE are cool names.  Undeniably quirky, but cool.

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Cool Boy Names: The Nameberry 9

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Just in case you’ve been agonizing about the lack of good names for boys, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel presents the case for cool boy names in this week’s The Nameberry 9.

Convinced there are no great names for boys?

Spend a few minutes on message boards and you’ll hear the laments.  “There are so many girls’ names I love, but nothing feels right for our son.”  “Girls keep stealing all of the good names!”

This week’s baby name news proves that parents are discovering plenty of great names for boys.  There’s no need to choose anything as outlandish as Rebel or as obscure as Theodule to find a stand out name for your son.

You will have to do your homework.  In a New York Daily News article announcing that Isabella and Jayden remained the top names in the Big Apple, one mom said that they’d landed on Jayden for their 2011 baby because they “were trying to do something that was different.”

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Nameberry Picks: The Best O Names

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We’ve always loved O Names, from our first book Beyond Jennifer & Jason when we declared names that ended (and sometimes also began) with the cheery letter O to be “So Far Out They’re In.” A quarter century later, they still are, with choices like Leo and Marlo officially stylish and a raft of other O names gaining much-deserved attention.

We’re still so fond of the O names that we find it difficult to narrow our favorites down to a dozen, but these to us feel both fresh and usable, contemporary and also deserving of respect. The only down side of the O names as a class is that there are more great choices for boys than for girls.

With photos that connect the letter O’s eternal circle with things relating to childhood, here are the best O names right now.

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