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literary baby names

By Joanna Walker

Geoffrey Chaucer has been described as the father of English literature, so who better to turn to for name inspiration?

Chaucer was writing in the Middle Ages, between 1343 and 1400, and the Greek myths he alludes to are far older. Jacqueline de Weever has created a dictionary of the names in Chaucer’s works, found at: http://www.columbia.edu/dlc/garland/deweever/menu.htm. Some of the names are clearly too awkward for modern use. For instance, teaching 4-year-old Cresseyde to spell her name would be an extremely daunting task, Ceyx and Dictys could give rise to rather risqué pronunciations and although Cutberd or Huberd would make awesome pirate names, they could cause sniggers in the classroom. Many of Chaucer’s names are still in current usage and, for those that are not, we have selected eight names worthy of resurgence.

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The New Popularity of Storybook Names

baby name Eloise

What’s the connection between Lena Dunham’s tattoos and several of today’s most fashionable baby names? Dunham famously has Eloise of the storybook Plaza tattooed on her shoulder, and Eloise also happens to be one of today’s fastest-rising baby names, leaping up nearly 600 places since it reentered the Top 1000 list in 2009.  And the link is not just coincidence and is not limited to the charming Eloise: Many parents today are turning to their favorite childhood storybook characters for inspiration of both the baby name and tattoo variety.

Our focus today is on fictional characters in children’s books, though some older characters’ names in stories beloved by teens are finding favor too: Holden in Catcher in the Rye, for example, and Juliet in Romeo & Juliet.

The charming characters inspiring the names of an increasing number of babies include:

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posted by: Aimee Tafreshi View all posts by this author
unusual girls' names

By Aimee Reneau Tafreshi

Every year baby name enthusiasts and interested parents eagerly await the release of the Social Security Administration’s popular baby names list, which provides data on the top 1000 baby names for boys and girls. In addition to the most used names, the agency also provides statistics on names that did not rank in the top 1000 for the year.

I decided to check out the names that flew below the radar this past year to discover naming possibilities for parents seeking a unique name that is not too far out there. I began my analysis with the girls’ names. A foray into the name data can be comical at times and involves wading through misspelled names (Deisy, Serinity), made-up monikers (Lakelyn, Naveah), and “kreatif-lee” spelled baby names (Avarie, Kynnedi), in addition to luxury goods (Chanel, Lexus, anyone?). Beyond these types of choices, many names in the lower rankings are brimming with possibility.

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12 literary girls

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Novels and plays are filled with wonderful character names that provide great naming inspiration–recently we’ve seen that reflected in the newfound popularity of Holden from Catcher in the RyeAtticus and Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, Scarlett from Gone with the Wind.

Today we’re looking at some of the more unique girls’ names that haven’t gained that kind of popularity–some of them perhaps not likely to. It was hard to make a choice, but here are a dozen that made the cut.  We’ll be doing the same thing for boys soon.

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Nephele Berry Juice profile image

Beatrix Potter names beyond Peter Rabbit

posted by: Nephele View all posts by this author
beatrix-potter

By Nephele

Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) is a beloved children’s picture book author and illustrator whose stories have an enduring charm that will no doubt continue to delight readers well beyond our twenty-first century.
Her popular stories have made their way from the printed media into animated adaptations for television (The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends), and ballet (The Tales of Beatrix Potter).  Films have also been made depicting her life, the most recent one being the 2006 movie titled Miss Potter and starring Renée Zellweger.

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