Names Searched Right Now:

Category: January Jones

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For this week’s Nameberry Nine, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel invades the blogosphere and finds some wildly creative names.

Huxley, Wolf, Ezra, August, Lochlan, Elsa, Emilia, Petra, Eleni, and Juniper all have something in common – they’re all names that I’ve come across on blogs, names that are unusual in real life, but familiar because I read what their parents write.

Move over supermodels and rock stars.  Lately bloggers are among the most daring of baby namers.

Heather Armstrong, a.k.a. Dooce, has girls called Leta Elise and Marlo Iris.  Design Mom Gabrielle Blair has six kids with charming, retro appellations: Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty, and June.

Then there’s Rebecca Woolf, the blogger behind Girl’s Gone Child and the memoir Rockabye.  I love her son’s name – Archer Sageand was blown away when she and husband Hal chose Fable Luella for their daughter.  Speculation about names for their twins had reached a fever pitch when the girls made their debut last week.

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Here, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s take on the nine cool names in the news this week–intriguing as always.

I’m always hoping celebrities will surprise and delight us with the cool names they choose.  (January Jones, I’m looking at you!)  A kid who is going to grow up in Hollywood can rock a name like Ptolemy or Apple more easily than one who has to navigate a typical suburban playground.  Plus, somehow I doubt being named Suri is the strangest thing about growing up with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as your parents.

My preferences aside, it was refreshing to hear veteran rocker Paul Stanley – father of the normally-named Evan, Colin, Sarah, and new arrival Emily Grace – comment “I guess we’re not cool enough for names like Peach or Astro Girl.”  Pretty down to earth for a guy who made his name in sequins and platform boots.

Nonetheless, Emily did not make my list the week she was born – and she still doesn’t. There’s a huge category of names that are more intriguing than Emily, but not as tough to wear as Astro Girl.  (January, don’t rule out Peach.  She has potential, especially in the middle spot.)

There has been plenty of baby name news this past week, and here are nine of my favorite names from the headlines:

Clover – The fourth child of actor Neal McDonough and wife Ruvé Robertson wears this lucky nature name.  Clover Elizabeth joins sisters London Jane and Catherine Maggie, and big brother Morgan PatrickClover combines the fashionable –er ending of Piper and Harper with the botanical appeal of Lily and Violet.  She sounds something like the chart-topping Chloe, and makes for an Irish heritage choice more exciting than Erin.

Ezra – Children’s classic A Snowy Day celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2012, prompting a recent piece in the New York Times about the author – Ezra Jack KeatsJack is epidemic, and Keats could catch on, but I have my eye on Ezra.  Since Joshua and Noah have proved that boys’ names can end in a, too, I can imagine tons of parents discovering Ezra.

Haven – It sounds like a conundrum for the Nameberry forums: my husband is named Cash and we called our first daughter Honor.  What can we possibly name her little sister?  Jessica Alba managed to solve the puzzle on her own, announcing the birth of second daughter Haven Garner last week.  I’m a big fan of the letter H, and the girls’ names share a modern virtue name vibe that fits with choices like Journey and Harmony.

Hopestill – Did you catch Leslie Owen’s Nameberry guest post on family names last Friday?  There’s Consider and Mahala and Dwell, but I was most captivated by Hopestill and Truelove.  Word names are huge, opening the door for daring parents to embrace phrase names.  Truelove is a bit much, but Hopestill has a lovely quality that might appeal to parents seeking an optimistic choice for the middle spot.

Mabel – Someone sent me a YouTube clip of the world’s first robot with knees, which means that the robot can run – probably faster than me.  The technology is fascinating, but I had to go digging for an explanation of her name.  A few articles suggested that it was just Mabel, not MBL-3P0 or anything equally geektastic.  Could the biggest innovators in robot technology also be closet name nerds?  Then I stumbled on a reference to the Michigan Anthropomorphic Biped with Electric Legs.  Still, it is nice to know that when machines take over the world they might have names as appealing as Hal.

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What To Name Your Winter Baby

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At Nameberry, plummeting temperatures mean just one thing: it’s time to revisit our annual survey of winter-related names.

Just a few years ago, it might have been fair to say that Winter was the season least friendly to names, while now it seems to offer the newest choices for the adventurous baby namer.   Why?  Two reasons:  Nicole Richie choosing Winter as one of the middle names for her high-profile little girl Harlow, and January Jones, beauteous star of the hit show Mad Men.

Winter is the season name that’s seen the least amount of use over the years, yet one that holds the most potential for boys as well as girls.  Variations include Winters, Wynter, and (please don’t) Wintr.  Translations of the seasonal name include the French Hiver (pronounced ee-vair), Italian Inverno, and in Spanish, Invierno.   In Dutch and German, it’s still Winter and and in Swedish, the comical-sounding (to the English speaker’s ear) Vinter.

In mythology, winter was said to be caused by Demeter in grief over the loss of her daughter Persephone, consigned forever to the underworld (but rising again as a baby name, with or without the pronunciation of the final long e).

December, still a highly unusual month name yet certainly a usable one, means ten.  Other versions you may want to consider: Decima, name of the Roman goddess of childbirth; Decembra, Decimus, or DecioDecember’s flower is the narcissus or holly, suggesting the names Narcissa (difficult at best) and Holly (already a bit worn at the edges).  December gem Turquoise can work as a name, as can Aqua or its Turkish equivalent Fairuza.   Red, however, seems more suitable as December’s color, which leads you to a whole spectrum of great names, from Scarlett to Crimson to Rufus and Rory.

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Winter Baby Names: What’s Your Favorite?

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We’ve noticed a lot of expectant parents find their way to nameberry searching for winter baby namesNicole Richie may have sparked the thought last year when she chose one of the winter baby names for her daughter, Harlow Winter Kate.  Or perhaps it was Mad Men‘s January Jones who trained the spotlight on the idea of winter names.

Names that symbolize winter (or say it straight out) might be thought of as a branch of day names, the ancient class of names used by some cultures in Africa and elsewhere based on the day or time of year a baby is born. These can denote a time of day (Morning, Afternoon), a day of the week (like Nicole Kidman’s Sunday), a month (we all know about June and August), a holiday such as Easter or Christmas, or a season, with Summer and Autumn being much more popular in the past than Winter.

Day names of all kinds are undergoing a revival as parents search for unique names that carry personal meaning. Since many of the parents flocking to nameberry right now are expecting over the winter months, this seems an appropriate topic for a nameberry poll. Of the newest, freshest choices for girls, what’s your very favorite?


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Calendar Baby Names

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January Jones, the attractive star of the hot TV show Mad Men has focused a lot of attention on her (real) name, but what’s the prognosis for the other calendar baby names?

JANUARY, named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and ends,  has a real history as a name, dating back to the Chaucer‘s Canterbury Tales  character in The Merchant’s Tale, a wealthy, elderly knight.  Flash forward to the 1970s for a complete image transformation via the Jacqueline Susann soap-operaish novel Once is Not Enough‘s heroine, “the luscious January Wayne.”  (The South Dakota-bred January Jones told Town & Country magazine that she was named for the Susann character.) Put it all together, and you have the sexiest month name, and one that has the best chance of catching on.

FEBRUARY.  The shortest month of the year has the least potential as a baby name, mostly because of its awkward pronunciation.  You could consider its birthstone, Amethyst, instead.

MARCH, named after Mars, the Roman god of war, is the most masculine of the group, and is beginning to be used for boys, particularly as a strong, brisk middle name.  It’s also a surname name, exemplified by the beloved March family in Little Women.

APRIL, from the Latin word meaning to open, as in the opening buds of spring, has been in name-style limbo for a a couple of decades, but might be due for an early comeback.  Its prominent role in Revolutionary Road, portrayed by Kate Winslet, could breathe new life into it.  It also has appealing musical references via songs like I’ll Remember April and April in Paris.  Singer Avril Lavigne has drawn attention to the French version.

MAY, which started as a pet form of both Mary and Margaret, was wildly popular at the turn of the 20th century, in both real life and fiction–writers like Henry James and Edith Wharton used it for their pure and innocent heroines.  The Mae spelling, as in Mae West, was much saucier.  Some modern parents have begun to use May as a sweet, old-fashioned middle name, but others–including actress Madeline Stowe,–have recognized its potential as a first.

JUNE was the midcentury goody-goody girl, exemplified by June Allyson in movies and quintessential TV Mom June (Leave it to Beaver) Cleaver.  Some parents might prefer the livelier Juno, but June–recently picked by actor/oil heir Balthazar Getty for his daughter–has the no-nonsense solidity many parents are seeking in these difficult times. A hipster favorite middle name.

JULY, named for Juilius Caesar, has been used infrequently, and then usually as a male name–there was a character named July Anderson in Lonesome Dove.  But it could conceivably be an offbeat namesake for an Aunt Julie or an Uncle Julius.

AUGUST, like the word with the accent on the second syllable, has a somewhat serious image,  associated with two heavyweight playwrights–Strindberg and Wilson.  It has some celebrity cred, having been chosen by Mariska Hargitay, Lena Olin and Jeanne Tripplehorn.  Garth Brooks turned August into a female option when he used it for his daughter.

SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER all have limited potential, the Latin Septimus and Octavius having more history as names.  On the other hand, hip writer Dave Eggers did name his daughter October….

TRIVIA TIDBIT: The novel and movie The Secret Life of Bees had characters named April, May, June and August.

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