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Category: Revolutionary Road

New Routes to Old Nicknames

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OK, here’s a thought. Suppose you find yourself beginning to really like some of those classic mid-century nicknames like the ones you’ve been hearing on shows like Mad Men and in movies like Revolutionary Road, but you don’t really care for the names they’ve been traditionally attached to. Some of them mght be too Grandma or pa, some of them overused in the recent past. As in ‘Don? Maybe. Donald? No, thanks.’ So what we’ve done here is put together a list of some possible, more contemporary and/or interesting and/or less widely used alternatives that manage to hold on to the desired nickname.

ALBYALBANY rather than Albert

ALEXALEXIO rather than Alexander

ANNIEANNABEL rather than Ann

ARTARTEMAS rather than Arthur

BENBENEDICT rather than Benjamin

BETHBETHEL rather than Elizabeth

CALCALLUM rather than Calvin

CATCATALINA rather than Catherine

CORYCORMAC rather than Cordell/Cornel

CRISCRISPIN rather than Christopher

DANDANO rather than Daniel

DEEDELILAH rather than Deanne

DONDONOVAN rather than Donald

DOTDORIT rather than Dorothy

EDIEEDEN rather than Edith

ELLIEELODIE rather than Eleanor

EMEMERY rather than Emily

EVIEEVANGELINE rather than Evelyn

GUSAUGUST rather than Gustave

JANJANUARY rather than Janet or Janice

JENGENEVA rather than Jennifer

JESSIEJESSAMINE rather than Jessica

JOJOCASTA rather than Joanne

JOEJOSIAH rather than Joseph

KENKENYON rather than Kenneth

LIBBYLIBERTY rather than Elizabeth

LILLILIA rather than Lillian

LUCYLUCIA rather than Lucille

MAREMARIBEL rather than Mary

MELMELISSANDE rather than Melissa

MIKEMICAH rather than Michael

MILLIEMILLICENT rather than Mildred

NANNANON rather than Nancy

PHYL — PHYLLIDA rather than Phyllis

RAEREAGAN rather than Rachel

ROBROBINSON rather than Robert

ROSIEROSAMUND rather than Roseanne

SAMSAMSON rather than Samuel

SAMSAMARA rather than Samantha

TESSTESSA rather than Teresa

WILLWILLEM rather than Willard

WINNIEWINTER rather than Winifred

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Calendar Baby Names

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January Jones, the attractive star of the hot TV show Mad Men has focused a lot of attention on her (real) name, but what’s the prognosis for the other calendar baby names?

JANUARY, named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and ends,  has a real history as a name, dating back to the Chaucer‘s Canterbury Tales  character in The Merchant’s Tale, a wealthy, elderly knight.  Flash forward to the 1970s for a complete image transformation via the Jacqueline Susann soap-operaish novel Once is Not Enough‘s heroine, “the luscious January Wayne.”  (The South Dakota-bred January Jones told Town & Country magazine that she was named for the Susann character.) Put it all together, and you have the sexiest month name, and one that has the best chance of catching on.

FEBRUARY.  The shortest month of the year has the least potential as a baby name, mostly because of its awkward pronunciation.  You could consider its birthstone, Amethyst, instead.

MARCH, named after Mars, the Roman god of war, is the most masculine of the group, and is beginning to be used for boys, particularly as a strong, brisk middle name.  It’s also a surname name, exemplified by the beloved March family in Little Women.

APRIL, from the Latin word meaning to open, as in the opening buds of spring, has been in name-style limbo for a a couple of decades, but might be due for an early comeback.  Its prominent role in Revolutionary Road, portrayed by Kate Winslet, could breathe new life into it.  It also has appealing musical references via songs like I’ll Remember April and April in Paris.  Singer Avril Lavigne has drawn attention to the French version.

MAY, which started as a pet form of both Mary and Margaret, was wildly popular at the turn of the 20th century, in both real life and fiction–writers like Henry James and Edith Wharton used it for their pure and innocent heroines.  The Mae spelling, as in Mae West, was much saucier.  Some modern parents have begun to use May as a sweet, old-fashioned middle name, but others–including actress Madeline Stowe,–have recognized its potential as a first.

JUNE was the midcentury goody-goody girl, exemplified by June Allyson in movies and quintessential TV Mom June (Leave it to Beaver) Cleaver.  Some parents might prefer the livelier Juno, but June–recently picked by actor/oil heir Balthazar Getty for his daughter–has the no-nonsense solidity many parents are seeking in these difficult times. A hipster favorite middle name.

JULY, named for Juilius Caesar, has been used infrequently, and then usually as a male name–there was a character named July Anderson in Lonesome Dove.  But it could conceivably be an offbeat namesake for an Aunt Julie or an Uncle Julius.

AUGUST, like the word with the accent on the second syllable, has a somewhat serious image,  associated with two heavyweight playwrights–Strindberg and Wilson.  It has some celebrity cred, having been chosen by Mariska Hargitay, Lena Olin and Jeanne Tripplehorn.  Garth Brooks turned August into a female option when he used it for his daughter.

SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER all have limited potential, the Latin Septimus and Octavius having more history as names.  On the other hand, hip writer Dave Eggers did name his daughter October….

TRIVIA TIDBIT: The novel and movie The Secret Life of Bees had characters named April, May, June and August.

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