Category: creative baby names
Middle names are, in many ways, the place where you can get most adventurous with your choices.
Or are they?
What, in your opinion, is the best kind of middle name to choose?
A creative name that you might love but that you wouldn’t dare put in first place?
A name with important symbolism — the city where your child was conceived, the name of a personal hero?
Or maybe you see the middle name as the ideal place to represent family: to use the baby’s father’s first name, for instance, or pass down grandma’s maiden name or honor a family member who is recently deceased.
Or the middle name to you might be an opportunity to create flow and melody in a name, and so you look for a middle name with the perfect combination of syllables and sounds.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
In the pantheon of Catholic patron saints, we find protectors of counties and cities, of living things ranging from caterpillars to wolves, not to mention those who guard against conditions from compulsive gambling to gout. What I’ve always found especially interesting are those associated with various occupations—in particular the ones relating to the creative arts–and the stories behind those patronages. Like how did a thirteenth century nun get to be the patron saint of TV?
So, if you’re a poet or a potter or a photographer, you just might find some naming inspiration here.
Catherine—Catherine of Bologna is considered the principle patron saint of artists. An Italian cloistered nun, she was a painter herself, in fact one of her surviving works, a 1456 depiction of St. Ursula, now hands in the Galleria Academia in Venice. Catherine of Alexandria protects potters and spinners.
Are we becoming more tolerant of creative names?
My kids’ friends and classmates are a diverse lot, and their names reflect it. There’s Seamus and Shivarama, a boy named Delaney and a girl called Jordan. Yes, we have Matthew and Sam and Zoe. But in their school of 300 kids, I can count the number of names that repeat on one hand.
Even though we know lots of boys with unusual names, it seems like girls have the edge. Statistics bear it out. In 2012, over 78% of boys received a Top 1000 name, but fewer than 67% of all girls did.
This past week seemed to be all about unusual, but perfectly wearable, names for girls. I’m not thinking of headline-grabbing choices like North and Khaleesi. Instead, I’m thinking of the wide universe of wearable names, choices that are a little bit different, but not staggeringly strange.
Gwyneth Paltrow probably had no idea how much controversy she was about to cause when she named her daughter Apple back in May of 2004. “That’s not a name” was the most common judgement on people’s lips, and her daughter’s name is now held up as an example on all “Most Bizarre Celebrity Baby Names” lists.
So why did Gwyneth and her husband, Coldplay front man Chris Martin, choose the name Apple? To paraphrase from her interview with Oprah Winfrey at the time, they felt that “apples are sweet, wholesome, biblical and lovely.” They also proposed the question “Is it really so different from the other nature/ noun names out there that are commonly used, such as Rose, Lily or Ivy?”
It’s a little hard to argue with such logic these days, considering the many word names on the rise. Yes, an apple is a fruit, but people mustn’t dislike fruit names that much, since we’re now seeing Plum and Lemon regularly discussed as possible names, albeit usually as middles or nicknames.
Some names are common in the middle but rarely used as first names. Others are common first names but hardly used in the middle. And then there are a lucky few that are popular first and middle names, such as Grace and James. But the ultimate double-threat is Elizabeth.
Elizabeth’s status as a popular first name has endured over a century. Elizabeth is the only girl name that has remained in the top 30 since 1880, the earliest year baby name rankings are available from Social Security Administration. This places Elizabeth among the baby name elite.
While Elizabeth’s many nicknames has kept it a popular first name, Elizabeth’s distinctive rhythm has kept it a popular middle name. This distinctive pattern is four syllables with the stress is on the second syllable.
Four syllable names with the stress on the third syllable don’t flow as well with most first names. For example, compare the following name combinations with Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s Spanish counterpart, Isabella, which has the stress on the third syllable: