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Category: names that sound smart

Names That Sound Smart

photo by Alex Ho

One of my most vivid memories of writing our very first book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason, is of Linda and me cracking up as we read aloud from our list of what we called Intellectual Power Names.  Frances, Ruth, Howard, Norman

We couldn’t help laughing.  We might as well have been making a list of nerd names.

When we reinvented the book as Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana, we abandoned the Intellectual Power names in the book’s Image section to talk more about classic names and unusual names and how those qualities influenced the world’s perception.

And I suppose we felt a bit squeamish about pegging names too closely with qualities like intelligence and attractiveness that have more to do with the person than with his or her name.  A Ruby or a Rylee, after all, may easily be every bit as smart as a Ruth.

But sometimes, I see a name and instantly think it sounds intelligent.  Makes me expect, if I met that person, that they would be smart — and not just smart, but studious, serious, cultured, intellectual.

So I decided it would be fun to update the Intellectual Power names, Nameberry-style, with a contemporary twist and sensibility.

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Name Stereotyping: Are you guilty?

naughtykid

Is Jesse a “bad boy name“?, a visitor to our message boards asked.

She wanted to know because she loved the name Jesse but was afraid that any boy named Jesse would be stereotyped as wild, naughty, rebellious — a bad kid.

That question summoned up an issue that simmers beneath many discussions on names: What’s the image that name conveys, and do we want to take that on for our child?

To put it more plainly, do some names carry stereotypes, positive or negative, that go beyond our individual expectations and experiences?  Are you guilty of stereotyping people based on their names, and what names carry the strongest stereotypes for you?

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