Category: literary baby names
Atticus makes major baby name news by topping Nameberry’s count of Most Popular Names for the first half of 2015, on the publication day of the new Harper Lee novel casting the inspirational namesake Atticus Finch as a racist.
The ancient Roman boys’ name Atticus, which indicates a person from the region around Athens, first came to notice in the US via Harper Lee‘s 1960 novel To Kill A Mockingbird and its hero attorney Atticus Finch, played the following year in the movie by Gregory Peck.
But it wasn’t until 25 years later that the name Atticus even registered on the Social Security roster of US baby names, given to a mere nine boys in 1986. Atticus did not appear on the US Top 1000 until 2004, skyrocketing in the decade since then to an official Number 370.
And now Atticus is the Number 1 boys’ name on Nameberry, attracting the most searches by our visitors in the first half of 2015. It trumps Asher, our longtime Number 1, as well as Ezra, another Biblical favorite.
Charlotte is the Number 1 girls’ name on our 2015 half-year count, catapulted to the top by the newborn British princess. In second place for girls is Amelia, Number 1 in England, with US favorite Olivia in third place.
The big question is whether Atticus can retain his popularity as a baby name in the light of the racist, ranting Atticus Finch portrayed in Go Set A Watchman, published today as the long-awaited followup to Mockingbird. In the original book, Atticus Finch is a sensitive single father who defends a black man against a trumped-up charge in a bigoted world, but this heroic image is shattered in the current work. How many baby namers enchanted with the name Atticus will choose the name anyway….or even be aware of the new negative portrayal of the once-saintly Atticus Finch?
To Kill A Mockingbird has been an unlikely influencer of baby names half a century after its publication, with not only Atticus but Harper rising up the popularity list. Harper stands at Number 56 on the 2015 Nameberry list but all the way up at Number 11 on the official US popularity list for girls.
The Nameberry popularity list tallies the most-visited of the nearly 40 million views of our baby name pages since the beginning of 2015. Rather than tracking names given to babies last year as the official US count does, it registers which baby names are attracting the most interest from expectant parents right now — which may translate to popular usage over the coming years.
The Top 100 baby names of 2015 on Nameberry are:
True story: I have never once wanted to get revenge on someone. I don’t have any enemies and I strive to be kind to everyone; I remind myself there’s always another side to the story and try my best to keep that in mind when something doesn’t go my way. Because of this, or perhaps in spite of it, I’ve always been fascinated with stories about revenge and why someone would choose to go down that slippery slope.
Several months ago, when I answered a call for short stories to be part of a new charity anthology of Shakespeare retellings, the only play I even considered working with was Othello—the ultimate tale of revenge. A perpetual favorite of mine, I turned Othello into The Scarf, which brings the familiar characters to a modern high school during a student government election. Golden boy Omar is poised to win the presidency, the ultimate power position in the school, but just hours before the results are to be announced, he confronts his girlfriend Darcy about the mounting evidence that she’s cheating on him with his running mate. With a missing scarf as the seemingly final nail in the coffin of their relationship, stage manager Emerson begins to put together their pieces of the story that isn’t as it appears on the surface.
Othello is not only one of the most interesting of the bard’s plays, but it contains some of the most interesting names, in my opinion. I, of course, started my story by choosing new names for all the players. I was set on keeping the first letter of the original names so it would be clear to readers less familiar with the story who they were reading about.
The play’s title character Othello became Omar. I have adored the name Omar for years and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to use it. The character Omar is charismatic and charming, everyone’s best friend, and needed a name that projected those traits. In The Scarf, Omar is also the quintessential leader, unflappable and sure of himself, but is distracted by assumptions that his girlfriend, Darcy, is cheating on him.
Desdemona turned into Darcy. I am less cruel than good ol’ Will and did not send Darcy to the same fate as her predecessor. I went for something lighter and sweeter. Darcy is loyal to the bone, especially when it comes to her long-term boyfriend, Omar. She’s always seen wearing the wine-red scarf he gave her, but on election night, it goes missing.
Iago is now Ivan. Our villain needed something that felt cold and cruel, but also interesting. Iago is such a recognizable name in pop culture and I wanted Ivan to have the same distinction in my story. Ivan is the perfect campaign manager, cool and collected, supporting his candidates from the wings. Ivan and Omar have always been best friends but Emerson, Ivan’s girlfriend, begins to wonder if all is as it seems between the two of them.
Emilia changed into Emerson. Emerson is another name I’d been saving and as Emilia is fairly current, I went with a fresh alternative to her more popular sisters. Emerson is also my narrator and mystery-solver, so I wanted a name that projected intelligence. She’s not only the voice of the story, but the eyes and ears. Emerson overhears suspicious conversations while backstage and begins to put the pieces together of what happened to Darcy’s scarf.
Cassio became Caleb. Caleb is the unfortunate social casualty in my story and I felt he needed a name that made him seem not only kind but perhaps a little naïve and vulnerable. He’s Omar’s running mate, and a social climber, which makes him an easy suspect when Omar’s placing blame.
Roderigo is now Ruby. A small player in this story, I gender-flipped the character and went with something spunky and sassy that fit her spitfire personality. Emerson wonders if Ruby might be harboring feelings for Darcy and trying to throw Omar off his election game.
Christina June is a writer whose spin on Othello is included in the new book, Never Be Younger, a YA Anthology, available now for purchase for the Kindle, The Nook, and the Kobo. All proceeds from sales go to United Through Reading, an organization dedicated to keeping military families connected through books and technology.
By Abby Sandel
Let’s talk literary baby names.
Noah Wyle’s new daughter has a Mockingbird middle. Her first is associated with a beloved children’s author, too, whose most famous works date to the early twentieth century, as well as with the heroine of J.D. Salinger’s famous story Franny and Zooey.
Back in April 2013, my wife and I welcomed our first child, a boy, into our budding family. Defying the common stereotype, I was the one (rather than my wife) who frequented Nameberry, scoured the Social Security Administration’s name statistics, and kept my eyes peeled for any possible baby name inspirations. Fitting of my obsessive personality, I created a spreadsheet with information on every name we thought had potential. More than just a list of names, this document contained detailed entries for each name including the meaning, the origin, the current ranking, and the number of children given the name in the previous year. The list was impressive, if I do say so myself.
Choosing baby names can be tough. You have to decide if you want something traditional or original, family-inspired or out of the box – and then you probably have to get at least one other human on board with your decision. Yes, there are apps for this whole process (and we definitely recommend you check them out if you’re in a bind), but sometimes it’s best to start with something you know and love — like a favorite book. Here are 30 baby names inspired by our favorite fiction (and book-based movies) to help you get those baby name creative juices flowing.