Category: original baby names
Guest blogger Jasmine Almeida has come up with a novel source of baby names: your own wedding day.
Maybe it was the Pearl detailing on my dress, perhaps it was the Lacey accents on my veil. Or it could have been the gorgeous amnesia Rose bouquet I held as I walked down the aisle. But my guess is, it was marrying the love of my life last summer that got me thinking about how many gorgeous names there are in the world of weddings. Being a freelance writer who focuses on weddings, I tend to look at words related to them a lot – and couldn’t help but get inspired by the many beautiful baby name possibilities that spring forth from weddings.
Of course, there are the flower names, to which I’m partial because my own name is Jasmine and one of my puppies is Daisy. Naming a daughter after the flower you held in your bouquet on your wedding day is a sweet and sentimental reason for choosing a name like Calla, Daisy, Dahlia, Iris, or Lily, or the more general floral names like Flora or Florence.
If you’ve gone wedding dress shopping, you’re probably familiar with the range of stunning designer dresses available. Naming a baby girl after your dress’s designer would be another romantic way of infusing your wedding-day memories into your naming process. A few favorites? Vera (after legendary gown designer Vera Wang), Paloma, (Paloma Blanca gowns are spectacular) or Priscilla (of Boston, of course). Monique (lhuillier), Sophia, (Trolli) or Elie (Saab) are all elegant names as well as legendary wedding gown designers.
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.
Now that the Social Security Administration has released its annual baby names listings beyond the top 1,000 (including all names that had at least five occurrences in any given year), names researchers can better track the influence of popular culture on our names.
For example, a girl’s name appearing in 2009 for the first time on the SSA lists is “Greidys” – with an astonishing count of 186 baby girls having been given that name in 2009. Its variants “Greydis” and “Greidy” also appear for the first time on the 2009 list, again in the astonishing numbers of 100 and 25 occurrences respectively.
Another girl’s name appearing in 2009 for the first time on the SSA lists is “Chastelyn” with 150 occurrences. Its variants “Shastelyn” and “Chastelin” also appear for the first time in 2009, with 34 and 33 occurrences respectively.
While we may expect new names to appear on the SSA lists each year, these new names generally don’t have more than a dozen occurrences, if even that. Why are the names “Greidys” and “Chastelyn” (with their variants) suddenly so prominent in their first appearance on the SSA list?
Our Latin friends can answer that question easily enough. These names shot to popularity with those who watch the Spanish television network Univision’s reality TV show called Nuestra Belleza Latina * (which translates into “Our Latin Beauty”). The winning contestant in the show’s third season (2009) was a Latin beauty from Cuba, named Greidys Gil. Another popular contestant was Chastelyn Rodriguez from Puerto Rico. And thus were two new names embraced by American moms (or dads!) in search of baby names.
Fiona, aka ‘dreamingfifi,’ the creator of the fantastic Tolkien-based website Merin Essi ar Quenteli, leads us through the complex, magical world of Tolkien-inspired names and beyond, offering some savvy caveats and lists of Elven names that could appeal even to non-fantasy fiction fans.
I’m a linguist and the owner of Merin Essi ar Quenteli!,* a website devoted to providing translations in Tolkien’s languages for Lord of the Rings RPGs (Role Play Games) and fanfiction. Most of the time, I deal with requests for characters’ names, so I find myself dealing with some interesting problems when being asked to make names for real world, our world, children.
When I make a name for a character, there is no uncertainty. I already know that the Noldorin Son of an Exile will grow up to lead a battalion of warriors in a brave clash with Morgoth’s troops, and win the love of a fair Doriathrin maiden. I know that his favorite color with be the greenish brown found on fish-scales, because he loves to fish. I know that I will have to give the names in both the Exilic dialect of Quenya and in the Exilic dialect of Sindarin; one version to use with his Exiled parents, the other to use with his Sindarin neighbors.
When naming children… I know the child’s parents are fans of The Lord for the Rings, that the child’s parents think that Elven languages are pretty, and just about nothing (beyond gender) about the child. I have to take into account a completely different set of cultural and phonetic rules, that don’t match and often contradict the Elven rules. Here is a little guide for dealing with these problems, and a list of Elven names (using Tolkien’s languages), for we nerds out there. This guide could also be applied to naming children in any fantasy/sci-fi language out there.
First, three questions you need to ask yourself:
Will you and your spouse still be a fan of that series in 20 years? If you’ve already been a fan for ten years, you probably still will be by the time your kid’s heading off to college. But otherwise, hold off on giving your child a fan-name.
Are you prepared to deal with explaining to all those people who don’t “get it” what your child’s name means? Even with famous, popular series, like The Lord of the Rings, most people won’t be able to recall anything but vague details. Most people (and by most, I mean “the vast majority”) will not care that your child’s name means “the musical rustling of leaves” in the Woodland dialect of early 3rd age Sindarin, and will start thinking, “poor kid” as soon as they hear the words, “I named him/her in Elvish.”
Are you sure your child will want to have anything to do with your obsessions? Think about it. You aren’t the one who will have to live with this name attached to you for the rest of your life. Your child is. Your child might be one of those majority that doesn’t “get it”.
Not scared away from fantasy names yet? Good! That wasn’t my intention. Let’s move on. There’s a few do/don’t to get out of the way.
Do consult several linguists studying the conlang (constructed language) before ransacking a dictionary. On your own, you could come up with something that sounds cool, but is meaningless garble. You are trying to pay homage to the fandom, so do it right. There are plenty of linguists that are willing, able, and eager to help you out.
Do make certain that the name is pronounceable with little to no practice. Most people aren’t going to have a language coach helping them sound out the name correctly. Choose names that are two-three syllables long, and that don’t have any sounds that English (or your native tongue) doesn’t have. Also, look as the way the name is spelled. How would someone, making assumptions about the pronunciation based on the spelling systems of your language, say the name, and is that acceptable?
Don’t use the name of a famous character. I mean it. Don’t. As a nerd, you probably already know that children can be terribly cruel. Don’t make your kid hate you because you named him/her Frodo or Arwen. If you’re choosing a character’s name, go obscure, like Gildor, Lúthien, Beren, or Ioreth.
In the end, I think that the most tasteful way to give your child a fantasy-name is to choose one that sounds like it could be a normal name that fits into your language and culture, but is your private reference that only the ones who “get it” will notice. With that in mind, I put together a small list of such names from Tolkien’s mythology that would fit in amongst English names. If you would like to find some more, feel free to browse my website. Enjoy!
When out-of the-box-named Ever Carradine, actress and member of a multi-generational Hollywood dynasty, recently gave her baby daughter the equally out-of-the-box-name Chaplin, it got me wondering—could there be an extreme baby naming gene that passes from generation to generation?
Frank Zappa’s kids’ names are the poster children for extreme starbaby naming: Moon Unit, Dweezil (actually Ian Donald Calvin Euclid on his original birth certificate when the hospital refused to register Dweezil), Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Are these sibs following the tradition? Kinda–though more cool than crazy– judging from their offspring so far:
Equally well known are the Phoenix (originally Bottom) family of nature names: River Jude, Summer Joy, Rain Joan of Arc, Liberty (originally Libertad Mariposa) and the brother first called Joaquin then Leaf and then Joaquin again. Among their kids’ names:
- Indiana August (Indiana in tribute to uncle River, who played the young Indiana Jones)
- Indigo Orion
- Rio Everest
- Scarlette Jasmine
And then there’s the Coppola clan, which includes Nicolas (nee Coppola) Cage, with their imaginative choices:
The four acting Baldwin brothers have pretty normal names, but not so some of their offspring:
Legendary Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob (Robert Nesta) Marley had a convoluted family tree, with some eleven children, including Cedella (named for Marley’s mother), David (‘Ziggy’), Rohan and Ki-Mani. Among his interestingly-named grandchildren—although there are probably many more–are:
- Gideon Robert Nesta
- Joshua Omaru
- Judah Victoria
- Selah Louise
- Zion David
The fairly normally named ten-strong Wayans brood seems to have a penchant for vowel-ending names for their own kids:
The Jackson 5 + 5 configuration is almost too daunting to look at. For one thing, the Michael Generation names are actually a lot more elaborate than they would appear. “Jackie,” for example, was christened Sigmund Esco, Jr and “Tito” Toriano Adaryll, while Jermaine’s middle name is La Jaune. The baroque (and sometimes immodest) name gene is evident in some of their own child (and grandchild) choices:
So, creative, quirky or genetic imperative? You be the judge.