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posted by: waltzingmorethanmatilda View all posts by this author
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By Anna Otto, Waltzing More Than Matilda

I recently released an e-book called International Baby Names for Australian Parents, to help Australian parents find names that are uncommon, but not strange. My theory was that was a name that had never ranked here, yet was on the charts in other countries, would fit the bill of being seen as both “unusual” and “normal”.

Here are some names from the book that have never ranked in English-speaking countries, but are in the Top 100 elsewhere in the world.

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Anouk (Top 100 in the Netherlands)

Hip and quirky while still having substance. As a short form of Anna, provides an alternative to that and related names.

Ginevra (Top 100 in Italy)

Best known from spunky redhead GinevraGinny” Weasley in the Harry Potter books. Romantic and with tons of nickname options, this could also honour a Jennifer, as it’s the Italian form of Guinevere.

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Secret Nature Names: Looking to the sky

Butterfly baby wallpaper

Secret nature names are an intriguing category: baby names that reference animals or weather or some other aspect of nature in their meaning without being explicit about it the way names such as Lily and Fox are.

If you’re a nature lover but value subtlety in your name choices, these kinds of secret nature names may be perfect for you.  We’ve explored secret garden names in the past, but today we turn our attention to nature names from the sky: names that mean butterfly and bird, that relate to rain and clouds and the sky itself.

Here, a wide range of secret nature names from many cultures:

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Alizeh – This Persian name meaning “wind” was used by actress Geena Davis for her daughter.

AmayaAmaia is a Basque name but its homonym Amaya is a Japanese name that means “night rain”.

Branwen — A Welsh name that might be thought of as Bronwen‘s lesser-known cousin, Branwen means “blessed raven.”

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MATT-DAMON-WIFE-PREGNANT

Nearly two years ago we ran a nameberry contest asking you to guess the name of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner‘s second child; now the challenge is to come up with the name of Affleck pal Matt Damon and wife Luciana‘s fourth daughter, due to be born any minute.

Matt and Luciana have two daughters together, Isabella, age 4, and Gia Zavala, 2, in addition to Luciana‘s daughter from a previous marriage, Alexia.  You tell us: What’s the new Matt Damon baby name?

Will the new baby’s name harmonize with her big sisters’ stylish Latinate names, or strike out in a new direction? Will the new baby have a surname as a middle name, as do Gia (Zavala is a common Spanish last name) and Matt himself (his is Paige), or, like Isabella, no middle name at all?

To everyone who guessed early and chose a boy’s name, before I heard the news that the baby is definitely a girl, you get another shot: I can tell who you are.

The person who guesses the new Matt Damon baby name correctly wins a full signed set of our baby name books, including The Baby Name Bible, Cool Names, Beyond Ava & Aiden and Cool Irish Names. If no one guesses the name exactly, we’ll choose the winner by whoever comes closest, in the opinion of the judges aka Pam and Linda.

A bit about the names of the Damons’ children: All three are rising in popularity and have a Latin feel, undoubtedly thanks to mom Luciana‘s Argentinean roots. Gia is a short form of such Italian names as Gianna, Giovanna, and Giada, first known in this country via 60s movie star Gia Scala, born Giovanna. Most recently, it’s gained notoriety as the oldest stage-bound daughter of Real New Jersey Housewife Teresa Giudice.

Isabella, the Spanish and Italian version of Elizabeth, is both classic and mega-trendy – it’s now the most popular name in the U.S. Alexia, a more modern offshoot of Alexandra/Alexandria, has also been steadily rising along with other members of the Alex family.

Those characteristics offer some good clues to what the couple’s fourth baby might be named. Or do they?

Post your entries here; one to a customer. Since everyone started with first names only, let’s keep going that way. Check and make sure someone hasn’t already entered your guess, as the first one to claim a name will win the prize. Different spellings counted separately, so if someone has already guessed Sofia, you can guess Sophia. (But sorry, those two are already taken.)

Adding a middle name does not mean you get to reclaim a name — so if Sophia has already been guessed, you can’t guess Sophia Rose. You also can’t guess two names — i.e. “Sophia or Sofia” — or both guesses will be disqualified, though if you’ve made any of those mistakes before I wrote this — 7:19 a.m. EST on October 12 — you get to choose ONE of your “or” names or reguess if you’ve guessed a double name already guessed by someone else.  The computer logs the time you post, so who gets what first is free from human error.

Phew! I better stop now or the rules will be longer than the entries. Everyone clear?

Entries accepted until the minute before the baby’s name is announced.

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posted by: Nephele View all posts by this author
belleza3

By Nephele

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.

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royal baby names

Nameberry guest blogger Andrea, whom many of you may know for her intelligent and thoughtful advice on our message boards, is both a newspaper reporter and a royal watcher.  Here, her rundown of the names of the littlest princes and princesses of Europe.

The British royal family is traditional enough that it’s fairly easy to make an educated guess about its naming habits. Other European royals are far more creative in their naming, sometimes reflecting the current styles in their countries or setting styles themselves. The Crown Prince and Princess of the Netherlands gave all three of their daughters “A” names: Princesses Catharina-Amalia (called Amalia), Alexia, and Ariane. (That’s them with their parents on the right.)

Belgian Crown Prince Prince Philippe, the Duke of Brabant, and his wife Princess Mathilde, reportedly have a subtler theme in the naming of their children and have included the element “el” in each name. The children are Princess Élisabeth, born in 2001, and her younger siblings Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, and Princess Eléonore.

Young Princess Eléonore is one of several young European royals with variants of the name Eleanor. Spain has the Infanta Leonor, born in 2005, whose parents pored over the family tree to find the name, which honors a medieval queen. Royal watchers also tried to guess what name the new Spanish infanta would receive; none I saw got it right. The following year another royal baby was given the name in the Netherlands: the Countess Leonore, daughter of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien. Will all the Leonors set off a naming trend in other countries? Well, according to at least one newspaper article, Leonor is currently among the five most common names given to baby girls in Portugal.

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