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Category: Olive

abby--maryolive

This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel finds inspiration for the Nameberry 9 from celebrity birth announcements and TV listings.

I know it has been a busy week in baby name news when my friend C makes a point of seeking me out.  “So what are they going to name the baby?” she asked, knowing that she didn’t have to add that “they” are William and Kate and the baby in question will be hounded by more paparazzi than a Jolie-Pitt kid.

Then again, bookies couldn’t take bets on the name of a new Jolie-Pitt arrival.  Where would a gambler begin?  We know the royal couple is up against some definite limits in choosing their child’s name, creating a perfect opportunity for the placing of bets, a scenario that couldn’t exist in Hollywood.

What separates name nerds from others might be this: I am filled with curiosity whenever I meet an expectant parent.  “Have you thought about names?” I’ll mention, casually, trying to not make it too obvious.  Aidan Donnelly Rowley’s post congratulating Kate struck a chord.  It doesn’t really matter if I know you – I’m excited for that new little person you’re about to welcome, and very willing to help if you’d like to talk names.

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tree names

Now that just about every flower in the garden has been dug up and used by baby namers for at least a century, maybe it’s time to look beyond to their more imposing cousins. There’s a very big difference between the two:  Where most floral names are frilly and feminine, many, if not most, arboreal names are strong, sturdy, and much more  masculine.

The forest is  fairly unexplored territory; with the exception of a few names like Hazel, Olive and Willow, most of the standard tree names are just waiting to be discovered.  Here are some possibilities:

NAMES OF TREES

SUITABLE FOR GIRLS

ACACIA
APPLE
ASPEN
BAY
CASSIA
CHERRY
CINNAMON
CITRON
EBONY
HAZEL
HOLLY
JACARANDA
JUNIPER
LAUREL
LINDEN
MAGNOLIA

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Popular Baby Names

When we parse the annual Social Security list, we usually focus on the top names–what’s the new Number One, which names have made it into the Top 25, even the Top 100. But there are many names on the Popularity List that actually aren’t all that popular– certainly not commonly enough used  to deter parents who are looking for a distinctive name.

In the lower depths of the list, there are a number of neglected names that were given to fewer than 350 babies across the country last year, real hidden gems sprinkled among the more unusually configured Cloes, Alyvias and Jovanys.  These are appealing names that are recognizable to all, with real history and meaning, but which would still stand out in a crowd (or in a pre-school).

Among them are:

GIRLS

DIXIE — One of the most engaging of the saucy showgirl nickname names, with an added dash of Southern spice.

GIADA — An undiscovered Italian jewel (it translates as Jade) brought into the spotlight by celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis.

JUNE — Springtime month name starting to come back into bloom.

JUSTINE –An elegant name with deep Latin roots and a righteous meaning.

LIBBY –The lost Elizabeth nickname, sounding so much fresher than Liz and Beth–not to mention Betsy and Betty.

LILIA — A charming, rhythmic, more exotic spin on the well-used Lily.

LIVIA –Not a chopped-off version of Olivia but an ancient Roman favorite used on its own.

MARIN — A shimmering water name, distinctive and sophisticated.

MATILDA — Sweet and feminine vintage classic, with a choice of appealing nicknames–Mattie, Tilda, Tillie; hasn’t caught on despite highly visible image of Matilda Ledger.

OLIVE — Quieter alternative to trendy Olivia; young heroine of Little Miss Sunshine, and pick of cool couple Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen.

SLOANE — Sleek executive name chosen by comedian Rob Corddry.

TAMARA –With both Russian and Hebrew roots, has a dramatic, creative image.

TESS — Has a lot more substance, strength and style than most single-syllable names; a good middle name choice too.

THALIA –One of the Three Graces, and the Muse of Comedy, in Greek mythology; does at the moment tend to be associated with single-named singer.

BOYS

AUGUSTUS –Old Roman name sounding less and less fusty, especially when softened by nicknames Augie or Gus.

CASSIUS –A Shakespearean name with the patina of antiquity, plus a choice of two cool nicknames–Cass or Cash.

CONRAD –A solid, serious name with literary cred.

CULLEN — Winning Irish surname name–but in danger of increased popularity via being the surname of Edward in the popular Twilight franchise.

DARWIN –Perfect for the son of scientists, but also appealing to any parent looking for a name with a stylish sound and historic significance.

FLETCHER –An occupational (arrow-maker) name with an abundance of quirky charm.

JENSEN — An attractive, rarely heard Scandinavian surname name, attached to both a spiffy car and a current TV teen idol, Jensen Ackles–there were only 192 baby Jensens born last year.

KILLIAN — Dynamic Irish saint’s name; only possible drawback is tie to the trendy brew.

LUCIAN — Adds a gloss of Continental elan to Luke and Lucas.

MAXIMO –Lively Latin route to nickname Max, meaning ‘the greatest’–sole caveat is a link to a video game.

REUBEN –A neglected Biblical boy, resonant and rich, belonging to the founder of one of the tribes of Israel.

REX — One of the few trendy x-ending boys’ names with a real–even regal–meaning.

SEAMUS — This Irish form of James has way more substance and spunk than the dated Sean.

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