Category: name style
Today’s Question of the Week is a two-parter:
Last week we talked about naming styles for boys, now it’s the girls’ turn.
- With girls’ names, there are even more style preference category possibilities. How would you characterize the names you like best? Girly girl, gender neutral, boyish? Classic, biblical? Vintage Old Lady? Trendy, nouveau? Family or surname names? British-inflected, international? Creative? Quirky? Eclectic? Exotic? Good girls or bad girls? (These are just a few suggestions–we’d love to have your own designations of your style.)
Today’s Question of the Week: What’s your style for naming a son? When it comes to boys’ names, how would you categorize what type you like best?
Traditional classic—as in James?
Ancient classic—as in Augustus?
Old Testament—as in Josiah?
Trendy–as in Hudson?
Powerboy –as in Axel?
Global – as in Enzo?
Nature– as in River?
Nickname—as in Charlie?
Grandpa—as in Arthur?
Great-Grandpa—as in Oscar?
Nouveau –as in Jaxon?
Hipster—as in Ace?
Is this another case where the Yanks will follow the Brits in baby-naming trends and revive such previously verboten Grandpa names as Harvey, Arthur, Leon, Walter and Stanley— all once considered distinguished in their day? Or similar in style name like Gilbert, Murray, Ralph, Howard or Ernest?
Which, if any, of the names of this genre would you consider?
Would you choose it only to honor a relative with that name? And/or only as a middle name?
If you did use one, would you consider it cutting-edge or pleasingly retro or perenially stylish?
The idea for this blog arose, as so many good things do, from the nameberry forums, in this case one on name spellings. In particular, the focus was on names that had more than one legitimate spelling, and asked visitors to pick their favorite of the two (or more).
With so much talk these days about yooneek spellings of names – variations invented to make a name more “special” – it’s interesting to explore those names that have more than one bona fide spelling.
Of course, there may be some controversy over what constitutes bona fide name spellings. On the forum, some people took issue with spelling variations springing from different origins of a name: Isabelle as the French version and Isabel the Spanish, for instance, and so not really pure spelling variations in the way that Katherine and Kathryn are. Others argued over spelling variations that might more accurately be differences in a name’s gender or pronunciation.
There are obviously a lot of ways to split this hair. And we’ve made a lot of judgment calls some of you may disagree with. Sure, Debra might be a modern variation of the Biblical Deborah, but it was so widely used in mid-century America it’s now legitimate, or at least that’s the way we see it.
Here are some girls’ names with more than one spelling that we consider legitimate.
- Annabel and Annabelle (and Anabel)
- Anne and Ann
- Ariana and Arianna
- Briony and Bryony
- Brooke and Brook
- Claire and Clare
Maybe contemplating the name Rufus sparked my revelation. Or it might have hit me when I encountered an Otis. Whatever the inspiration, I suddenly realized that my most-loved boys’ names end in the letter s. Yep, almost all of them.
Amias? One of my all-time underappreciated favorites.
What is it about s-ending names that hold such appeal?
It’s true, I prefer their soft, sybillant ending to the harder –er ending that’s so popular right now for boys’ names. Besides being more gentle, it feels a bit more surprising, intrinsically distinctive.
Many of my favorite classic boys’ names end in s: Thomas, James, Louis, Charles, and Nicholas. And trendier choices of decades past, from Chris and Curtis to Dennis and Douglas to Ross and Russ to Jess and Wes, helped whet the overall appetite for s-ending names.
Some of the names that end in s are fairly fashionable today. These include: