Category: secret names
Every so often, we nominate a list of names that most visitors to Nameberry aren’t using….but should be.
But this time, we thought we’d turn the question back to you. What are your favorite undiscovered baby names, the names that are off most people’s radar but that you believe deserve more widespread use?
Let’s dig deep, beyond berry favorites like Beatrice and Imogen and Jasper. What are the truly obscure names — ancient or exotic, newly-minted or dust-covered — that you think are most worth sharing with your fellow berries?
Today’s guest blogger ALANA ODEGARD describes the joys and unique challenges of naming a baby in Iceland.
When I first came to Iceland from Canada nearly six years ago, little did I know that it would be here, on this little island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, where I would not only meet the man who would become my husband, but that I would give birth to my first child.
Life is full of surprises, as they say, and I couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out.
With my due date just around the corner, my husband and I are as prepared as any new parents can hope to be. We’ve taken the prenatal courses, set up the change table, the crib, the stroller, and have a drawer full of diapers at the ready.
So, what else do we need? Well, aside from the baby, of course, it would seem we need a name.
Naming your child may sound straightforward enough, but as it turns out, what should be simple tends to get complicated when one person is Icelandic and the other is, well, not.
Although I am pleased to say that my experience of being pregnant in a foreign land has been a positive one, certain restrictions, regulations, committees, ceremonies and language barriers have made choosing a name quite the eventful task.
Being from Canada, it’s not unheard of for parents to have chosen and announced the name of their baby months before it’s born. In the cases where the parents decide to keep the name to themselves until after birth, the name is among the very first bits of information that is passed along to friends and family.
But in Iceland, things are done quite differently. Generally a baby’s name is not revealed until its official naming ceremony (often accompanied by a baptism). Legally, parents have up to six months to name their baby and it’s not uncommon for a child to be “nameless” for this period of time.
Of course the parents may call their baby by its first name if they have chosen one, but it’s kept a secret from other people. Everyone including grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, best friends, and even siblings must wait until the naming ceremony to find out the little one’s name.
So, what do you call a baby with no name? Up until the naming ceremony babies are often referred to as drengir (boy), stúlka (girl), and elskan (an affectionate term like “honey” or “sweetheart”). The baby may also be called by its last name which is determined according to the Old Norse naming system. For example, if the father’s first name is “Gunnar”, the child’s last name would either be Gunnarsson or Gunnarsdóttir depending on if it is a boy or a girl (the suffix “son” (son) is used if it is a boy and “dóttir” (daughter) if it is a girl).
There are some names that, even now, after writing so much about the subject, I hear and think, “Wow, that’s a great name. I wonder why people don’t use that one more often?”
Sometimes, the answer is that a name was just too popular too recently for parents to appreciate its intrinsic wonderfulness: the lush Biblical Deborah is one that might fit in this category, though I didn’t include it in my ten examples.
Other times, a name carries an unappealing association for enough people to keep it from becoming popular. And there are a dozen other reasons why a perfectly wonderful name just might not make it big – which can be good news for the parent in search of a name that’s both topnotch and undiscovered.
Here, ten names we think are underrated right now:
Every so often, we hear from a desperate baby-namer who demands to see our list of secret names. You know, the names so wonderful, so special, that we don’t share them with anyone else.
I love the image of a top-secret name roster locked away like The DaVinci Code. I imagine such a list within a golden box, encrusted with jewels, hidden deep within the vault of a majestic bank in some exotic city. Once a year, Linda and I take it out and survey it, making sure all the names on it still really are secret and unique enough to keep literally under armed guard.
But if there were such a list, and we did leak it to a truly tormented name seeker, who then used one of these superlative names, the name would not be secret anymore. In fact, if it were that amazing, everybody else would immediately start to use it, and soon it would be run-of-the-mill.
Obviously, there’s no list of secret names. But nameberry has plenty of choices in its database hidden in plain sight, waiting to be discovered. We’re turning up new ones ourselves all the time.
So here, today’s Top Ten Secret, not-so-secret baby names you may not have come upon in your own explorations but that are definitely worth considering:
For girls —
For boys —
Anybody else discover some great secret names among the more than 50,000 on nameberry? Want to share?