Category: names in the news

By John Kellymashed radish

From Nobel Prizes to the World Series, October 2016 gave us many surprises. Here’s a look back at some of the names in the news last month, and some of the surprises hiding inside their origins.

Bob

Musician Bob Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman, won this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. Bob, a traditional pet form of Robert, may seem like a humble moniker for this living legend, but the name, from the Old High German Hrodberht, aptly means “bright-fame.” Dylan has said he changed his surname to Dylan in tribute to poet Dylan Thomas. Dylan, a Welsh name, comes from a root word for “sea,” expansive like the artist’s long career.

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Newsy Names: Charmian, Colin & Gene

By John Kelly

This past September, we paid our respects to some of Hollywood’s greatest stars and marveled at a visionary’s dreams of the stars. Let’s have a look back at some of the big names in the news – and a look into what the origins of their names can illuminate about them.

Teresa

Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a Catholic saint this month. St. Teresa was born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxihu. Anjezë is the Albanian form of Agnes, anticipated her spiritual calling: It’s Greek for “holy” or “pure.” St. Teresa chose her religious name after the 19th-century French nun Thérèse de Lisieux.

Some think Teresa comes from the Greek for “harvest” or “huntress.” Others think it is from the Greek Thera, the name of some volcanic islands in the Mediterranean. The story goes that the wife of St. Paulinus of Nola (354-431 AD) was born on one of those islands and so took her name from them. The origin is unclear, but Teresa is a well-traveled name – fitting for St. Teresa, who made her impact far and wide.

Colin

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has made headlines by protesting the pre-game National Anthem over racial inequality. Many athletes have followed suit, which some consider a victory for Colin’s cause. Victory indeed: Colin is a French pet name for Nicholas, a Greek name that literally means “victory-people.” The Greek word for – and goddess of – “victory” is nike, which lives on in the athletic brand.

Gene

Acting legend Gene Wilder sadly passed away this month. Born Jerome Silberman, Wilder took Gene, a short for Eugene, after Eugene Gant, a character in a Thomas Wolfe novel, and Wilder after writer Thornton Wilder. Eugene is from the Greek Eugenios, “well-born” or “noble.” Jerome, meanwhile, is from the Greek Hieornymos, “holy name.” Gene Wilder came from a humble background, but as many remembrances made clear, he was a class-act as an artist and person. And his name will surely be long “worshiped” by his many fans.

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Vintage Girl Names: 9 Fresh Ideas

By Abby Sandel

Vintage girl names can make great choices for a daughter born today. They’re tied to the past, have plenty of great namesakes, and yet feel fresh and unexpected, too.

The only problem? Many of them are far more popular than you might expect.

Anna Chlumsky, the My Girl child star turned Emmy-nominated Veep cast member, recently welcomed her second daughter. She and husband Shaun So embraced the vintage girl names trend with her name: Clara Elizabeth, a little sister for Penelope Joan.

A former Top Ten favorite, Clara brings to mind The Nutcracker, silent film star Clara Bow, and Red Cross founder Clara Barton. No surprise, then, that the name ranked Number 98 in 2015.

That’s not nearly as common as Emma, Sophia, or Charlotte. But with similarly antique choices like Lucy, Violet, and Eleanor in vogue, it’s likely that Clara is catching on.

What’s a lover of vintage names to do? Look farther down the list, of course! Here are nine vintage girl names that remain quietly under-the-radar – for now.

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By Abby Sandel

A is the stand-out star, the most popular first initial for girls’ names (hello, Ava and Amelia) and the second most popular for boys (I’m looking at you, Alexander and Aiden).

But what about B? Lately it’s the letter making baby name news. It’s nowhere near unseating the almighty A, but the first initial B ranked a respectable eighth for boys and ninth for girls, as of the most recent count.

Let’s take a look at some of the best of the Bs, from the classic and the understated to the bright and the bold.

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Great Late 2015 Celebrity Baby Names

By Abby Sandel

Celebrity baby names were everywhere during the last few weeks of 2015. Saint West’s arrival dominated headlines, but plenty of other high profile families welcomed babies from Thanksgiving through the New Year.

These birth announcements came too late to be part of our story on the most influential celebrity baby names of 2015, but some of them could have an impact on what we name our children in the coming years.

As is so often the case, the names range from Top 100 favorites to up-and-coming possibilities to whoa, that’s definitely a celebrity baby name. And yet, this is one of those round-ups where every name seems ordinary, too. I wouldn’t be surprised to meet a kiddo called Lawson or Augustus or Quinn, not in Hollywood, Nashville, or here in the Washington DC ‘burbs.

Let’s take a closer look at nine of the most appealing birth announcements from late 2015.

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