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Category: nameberry picks

classmus

by Linda Rosenkrantz

Did you know that September happens to be Classical Music Month?  Well neither did I, until just recently.  This new knowledge inspired me to do a Nameberry Picks list of some of the most interesting classical composers’ first names.  And no, turns out they’re not all Franz or Hans or Johann—there are a variety of unusual choices –unfortunately, most of them male.

Alban

Alban Maria Berg was an Austrian composer associated with Arnold Schoenberg’s 12-tone technique and the composer of the opera Lulu.  Rarely heard in the US, the saint’s name Alban –one of the more unusual paths to Al–is currently Number 132 in France. With a variant spelling, Alben Barkley (born Willie Alben) was US Veep under Harry Truman.

Amadeus

Yes, middle names count—especially this one of Mozart’s that became the title of a movie that won a best picture Academy Award in 1985. In 2010, tennis champ showed that this classical Latin appellation was still wearable when he named his son Amadeus Benedict.

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20 Best Super Sleuth Names for Boys

detective-brick-wall-600

By Linda Rosenkrantz

A few months ago, we blogged about lady detectives, clueing you in to some fabulous names like Trixie, Temperance and Thursday, Loveday and Precious.  Now it’s time to investigate their male counterparts—and there are some real doozies—drawn from a variety of genres– from early crime novels to comic strips to contemporary TV.

Arkady Renko—  a chief homicide inspector for the prosecutor’s office in Moscow, Arkady Renko is the protagonist of a series by Martin Cruz Smith, beginning with the bestselling Gorky ParkArkady, a lively three-syllable Russian saint’s name used by Turgenev and Dostoyevsky, is certainly prime import material.

Aurelio Zen (great combo) is a fictional Italian detective created by the British crime writer Michael Dibdin; Zen, a trio of spellbinding cases based on the bestselling novels aired on PBS’s Masterpiece in 2011.  Aurelio is an exotic and energetic Italian version of the sunny Aurelius.

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Labor Day Names: Names that really work!

occubaker

For the Labor Day weekend, we’re celebrating hard-working occupation names–which just happen to be among the coolest name categories around, with their (mostly) trendy ‘er’ endings.  Many of them originated in medieval England and refer back to trades that no longer exist–when did you last need a roof thatcher or a charioteer?–and so part of their attraction lies in that throwback reference to basic concepts of honest labor, thus adding some historic heft to their appeal. So, here are the Nameberry picks for best occupational baby names.

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purplav

The most stylish palette for clothes this season may be orange, lemon, lime and other neon-bright colors, but baby namers are showing a real passion for purple, loving names from pale Lavender and Violet to deeper purpley shades. Purple itself has many associations– with royalty and nobility—as well as haze, rain, overwritten prose, an Alice Walker novel and screen version, as well as purple people eaters.

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al

One of Paul Simon‘s biggest hits was a song titled “You Can Call Me Al.”  But, really, who calls anyone Al anymore?

Once upon a time, a century ago or so, Al was almost as commonplace a nickname as Joe or Jim, Bill or Bob.  Al itself stood independently at Number 298,  a casual short form of popular standards Albert (in the Top 20 for 40+ years) and Alfred, which reached as high as 32, and others less common..

Al dropped off the list in 1944, but just because it may not be as appealing a nickname  today as, say, Cal or Hal, that’s no reason to dismiss some of the interesting Al-starters availablet: for though Alexander and some of his offshoots have been popular for decades, there’s a whole contingent of other, neglected Al- names worthy of a fresh look.

So even if you haven’t the slightest interest in ever using the nickname Al (though even he is starting to sound plausible again in this era of revived good-guy short forms), here are a dozen   semi-vanished members of this family of names worth reevaluating–though we won’t push as far as Algernon or Aloysius, Alcestis or Aladdin, or even Alvin.

ALARIC –This ancient name that goes back to the Kings of the Ostrogoths has a certain quirky charm that helps modernize it.  A literary name that’s been used by authors from P. G. Wodehouse to Stephen King, Alaric might be recognized by contemporaries as a history teacher character on The Vampire Diaries.

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