Category: nickname names
Today’s Question of the Week is about where you stand on nicknames and nickname names.
There is a sliding scale of attitudes when it comes to nicknames: some people pick a name specifically to get to its pet form, others choose a name because it can’t be readily nicknamed, sometimes putting the nn right on the birth certificate. Where you you stand?
*I deliberately picked a name that would be hard to nickname.
*I prefer to call my child by his full name and encourage others to do so, difficult as it sometimes is.
*I chose a name to get to its nickname.
*I usually call my child by a short/pet form, one that I had determined at the same time I picked the name.
*I usually call my child by a nickname, which has evolved over time.
*My child has more than one nickname, used by different people.
*I gave my child a nickname name.
The other day we offered eight fresh choices for boys, and now it’s the girls’ turn—girls’ names ranging from a rare botanical specimen to a nostalgic nickname to an undercrowded place name.
1–Acacia—This a a pretty and delicate botanical name that has hardly been heard in this country, though it ranked as high as Number 273 among girls’ names in Australia, where the Acacia is a common flowering shrub, in 2008. Acacia has a heritage that dates back to ancient Egyptian mythology, in which it was considered the tree of life due to the belief that the first gods were born under a sacred Acacia tree. There is also an eponymous fantasy novel, Acacia. Caveat: just don’t think about the other name of the Acacia tree—the Golden Wattle.
2–Amabel—Not to be confused with Annabel (though it well might be), the lovely Amabel has been around since medieval times, and has appeared in a number of British novels, including Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death, and heard as well as among the English aristocracy. Amabel gave birth to the shortened form Mabel, which has a much brasher image, and we think a name that means lovable, deserves more love than it’s gotten.
Yesterday, we looked at the girls’ names, and today, as promised, it’s the boys’ turn. Again, we present the Top 10 baby names for every letter of the alphabet—from Anthony to Zecheriah—compiled by nameberry’s own Nephele. (The U.S. Social Security Administration’s complete names lists spanning a 130-year period were used in the tabulation of these special statistics.)
And again, there are some listings you might find surprising: even more nickname names, with Billy and Bobby both among the ten most popular ‘B’ names, Willie the Number 3 ‘W’ name, and twice as many Larrys as Lawrences. Almost a dozen Latino names appear, but no José (blame the profusion of other popular J-boys for crowding it out); and four different spellings of Zachary make the list. As compared with the girls’ statistics, there are more top names racking up much greater numbers, with several of the male classics being given to two, three, four and even five million boys over time.
Here, the full roster of Top 10 names for each starting initial:
1. Anthony 1,335,664
2. Andrew 1,192,233
3. Alexander 542,038
4. Arthur 518,307
5. Aaron 515,997
6. Adam 507,633
7. Albert 481,705
8. Austin 357,449
9. Alan 326,687
10. Allen 259,359
1. Brian 1,142,501
2. Brandon 705,063
3. Benjamin 626,514
4. Billy 379,598
5. Bruce 376,645
6. Bryan 356,776
7. Bobby 310,269
8. Bradley 286,800
9. Bernard 197,528
10. Barry 179,089
I don’t you know if you’ve noticed a growing trendlet—at least among celebrities—for what we might call generic-boy-nickname-names. In other words, these aren’t specific short forms like Charlie or Archie, but ol- timey macho boy tags like Buddy and Buster.
In the recent past, we’ve seen Noel Gallagher’s Sonny, a choice shared by British singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor—as well as Adam Sandler’s daughter Sunny; Jamie Oliver’s Buddy Bear Maurice; Michele Hicks and Jonny Lee Miller’s Buster Timothy; the three Aces of Natalie Appleton, Tom Dumont, and Jennie Finch and Casey Daigle; the two Dukes of Diane Keaton and Justine Bateman; and the Junior of Peter Andre and Katie Price.
We can’t help wondering if this is yet another offshoot of the midcentury Mad Men phenomenon, bringing us back to the days of Father Knows Best’s Bud (birth name James Anderson, Jr.) and J. D. Salinger’s Buddy Glass (real name Webb Gallagher Glass), and Marlon Brando, who was known to friends and family as Bud. In those days, though, Sonny or Buster were not usually put on the birth certificate, and over time those pet names began to be relegated to pets.
Looking for boys’ names that feel contemporary and stylish but that you won’t hear coming and going? Here are our picks of unusual boys’ names – used for fewer than 100 boys, but at least 50 (those borders were picked to keep the collection manageable) – that are in step with today’s fashions.
It’s not so surprising, for the most part, that these names are used for so few boys. And we don’t expect most of them to make huge leaps in popularity. The few exceptions we think we’ll hear considerably more of in years to come: Wiley and Wylie, Ford, Fox, Lazarus, Chester, and West.
But we think any one of these unusual boys’ names would sound perfectly appropriate for a modern baby boy. If you really want a name that’s different, look no further.
For more choices, see our complete list of boys’ names used for five or more babies in 2009.
The first group are traditional (more or less) first names. The number represents how many boys received the name last year.