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Category: naming a boy

heroic baby names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Poor Princess Kate.

Not only is she suffering from serious morning sickness with Baby #2, everyone from late night talk show hosts to gossip columnists worldwide is busy speculating on her due date, whether #2 will be a princess or a prince, and, of course, what they’ll name the newest royal.

Naming any boy – whether he’s coming home to a castle or a condo – can become a battle between tradition and fresh starts.

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abby--9-30-13

The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

I’ve often said that if our second child were a boy, he would have gone nameless.

Blame it on our preferences.  My husband and I planned to source family names for our children, without thinking about the imbalance.  We have tons of women in our family, with a rich list of interesting names.  The pool of masculine names is much smaller, and repeats, again and again, over the generations.  Naming a second – or third or fourth – son would have required a willingness to reinvent some antiques and reconsider a few imports.

Is Zbigniew wearable in the US?

But let’s say that we were open to finding a great name, not one with family ties necessarily.  Just a name that would serve our child well from infancy into adulthood.

Happily, there’s no shortage of those.

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pinkjaden

This week Appellation Mountain’s Abby Sandel follows the lead of Jada Pinkett (with son Jaden) in showing us how to find boys’ names honoring a female namesake.

Jaden Christopher Syre Smith turns 13 next month.  Smith is Hollywood royalty, the son of actors Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, and his name is often cited as one of the reasons Jayden, Caeden, Hayden, and company became an epidemic among boys’ names

Overlook the rhymes-with-Aiden qualities of Jaden Smith’s name for a minute, and there’s something else notable about this young actor’s appellation.  While girls have been named after their fathers since ancient days, Jaden is one of relatively few boys to be named after his mother. 

The Smiths continued the pattern with daughter Willow Camille Reign, choosing a name that honors dad, but opting for something less conventional than Billie or Wilhelmina.

They’re not the only famous parents looking to their family trees as a starting point for choosing a child’s nameOrlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr chose Flynn to honor his grandmother, Evelyn.

Plenty of names have obvious equivalents, like Charles and Charlotte or Ray and Rae.  Others don’t lend themselves to an obvious opposite-gendered name.  What’s the masculine form of Bridget?

You may need to be creative to name a daughter after your favorite uncle, but that can create an opportunity, too.  Grandpa Donald might fume if you reject Donald in favor of the more stylish Donovan for your son.  But honor grandma Donna or aunt Dawn with a little Donovan, and chances are she’ll be thrilled.

Based on the most popular names of the 1970s and 80s, here are some thoughts about how you might name a son, Pinkett-Smith style.  The girls’ list is up next week.  Add your additions and suggestions in the comments!

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How About Harvey? What About Walter?

Harvey-moon-museum-cover

The Nameberry Question of the Week: Would you name your baby boy Harvey or Stanley or any of the other up-and-coming oldies appearing on the recently released British pop list?

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?

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Boys’ Names: The Happy Ending

frenchS

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.

Amadeus and MilesMusic to my ears.

Augustus, Octavius, Cassius, and Aurelius? Love, love, love, and love.

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:

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