Names Searched Right Now:

Category: spelling of names

Name Spellings: Right and Wright?

feltabcs

The idea for this blog arose, as so many good things do, from the nameberry forums, in this case one on name spellings. In particular, the focus was on names that had more than one legitimate spelling, and asked visitors to pick their favorite of the two (or more).

With so much talk these days about yooneek spellings of names – variations invented to make a name more “special” – it’s interesting to explore those names that have more than one bona fide spelling.

Of course, there may be some controversy over what constitutes bona fide name spellings. On the forum, some people took issue with spelling variations springing from different origins of a name: Isabelle as the French version and Isabel the Spanish, for instance, and so not really pure spelling variations in the way that Katherine and Kathryn are. Others argued over spelling variations that might more accurately be differences in a name’s gender or pronunciation.

There are obviously a lot of ways to split this hair.  And we’ve made a lot of judgment calls some of you may disagree with.  Sure, Debra might be a modern variation of the Biblical Deborah, but it was so widely used in mid-century America it’s now legitimate, or at least that’s the way we see it.

Here are some girls’ names with more than one spelling that we consider legitimate.

Read More

Boys’ Names: The Happy Ending

frenchS

Maybe contemplating the name Rufus sparked my revelation.  Or it might have hit me when I encountered an Otis.  Whatever the inspiration, I suddenly realized that my most-loved boys’ names end in the letter s.  Yep, almost all of them.

Amias?  One of my all-time underappreciated favorites.

Amadeus and MilesMusic to my ears.

Augustus, Octavius, Cassius, and Aurelius? Love, love, love, and love.

What is it about s-ending names that hold such appeal?

It’s true, I prefer their soft, sybillant ending to the harder –er ending that’s so popular right now for boys’ names.  Besides being more gentle, it feels a bit more surprising, intrinsically distinctive.

Many of my favorite classic boys’ names end in s: Thomas, James, Louis, Charles, and Nicholas.  And trendier choices of decades past, from Chris and Curtis to Dennis and Douglas to Ross and Russ to Jess and Wes, helped whet the overall appetite for s-ending names.

Some of the names that end in s are fairly fashionable today.  These include:

Read More

triplets

What are the most popular girls’ names in the U.S.?  If you consult the official Social Security list, or most of the state lists, you’ll get one version.  With each name counted individually by spelling — Sophia and Sofia are counted separately, in other words — the national list of most popular girls’ names (I’m going to include the Top 15, for reasons that will become evident) is:

1. EMMA

2. ISABELLA

3. EMILY

4. MADISON

5. AVA

6. OLIVIA

7. SOPHIA

8.ABIGAIL

9.ELIZABETH

10.CHLOE

11.SAMANTHA

12.ADDISON

13.NATALIE

14.MIA

15.ALEXIS

But to Katharine Hales — aka nameberry’s k_lareese — this didn’t look quite right.  Hales, an attorney who is studying to be a law librarian, wanted to name her first child Lillian, with the nickname Lily.  But when researching the name, she noticed that both Lily and Lillian were in the Top 30.  If you added all the spelling and variations of the name together, she wondered, mightn’t you end up with a true popularity number that was significantly higher?

Read More

funnyhatcrop

Guest blogger JILL BARNETT discovers that yooneek names are more prevalent than she’d realized. And every bit as confusing.

On a beautiful Saturday in July, I found myself where most people would love to be on a beautiful Saturday in July: sitting in a painfully boring continuing education seminar, hopelessly trying to remain awake. The air conditioner must have been set at a brisk 52 degrees, and after catching a glimpse of my now cerulean blue toes, I wondered if my lips had suffered a similar fate. My chattering teeth thankfully prevented me from entirely nodding off, but I was in need of a more cerebral distraction. Desperate for entertainment, I decided to count the goosebumps on my lower left arm, first by twos and then by threes.

As the counting fun began, I happened to glance at a piece of paper in front of the 20-something-year-old woman sitting to my left, and I realized that she had written her name in the upper right hand corner. Ever the name nerd, I simply had to take a peek, and after a lingering glance, I discovered that her name was Mykailah. Figuring it was code for Michaela, I naturally wondered about my other neighbor’s name. Pretending to do some right arm goosebump counting, I quickly looked at her paper, and was pleased to meet Tyffani. Mykailah and Tyffani? Tyffani and Mykailah? I was now the official filling inside of a yooneek name sandwich.

Read More

Baby Name Timeline

shirley-temple-w-doll

When we were preparing the article “Bizarre Baby Names: A Growing Trend?” for the July issue of  Reader’s Digest magazine that’s just hit the stands, we put together a lonnnnnng timeline of the key markers in American name history–much longer than they could possibly use with the story.  So here we offer you some of the dates and events that you won’t find in the magazine.

1620.  The Mayflower arrives bearing 102 passengers, mostly with classic English names, but also one Degory, one Resolved, one Remember, one Wrestling, and one Oceanus, who was born mid-voyage.

1750s. Enter classical names (Homer, Horace), chivalrous names (Arthur, Elaine), and romantic girls (Lavinia, Rosalind).  More boys are being called Junior.

1768. Birth of Dolley Madison, one of the increasing number of babies with nicknames on their birth certificates.

1825. John Quincy Adams is the first President to have a middle name, a rarity at this time, when it becomes fashionable to use the mother’s maiden name.

1845. The Irish famine sends masses of Bridgets and Patricks to America.

1925. Girls’ names ending in ‘s’ are fashionable–Gladys, Doris, Phyllis, Lois; also those ending in een (Kathleen) and ette (Paulette).

1946. Publication of Dr. Benjamin Spock’s The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care encourages parents to be more relaxed, confident and collaborative: husbands participate more in child care–and baby naming.

1950.  Linda unseats the seemingly unseatable Mary as the number one name for girls.

1959. First Gidget movie released; surfer dude names like Gary, Scott, Dwayne and Bruce catch the wave.

1959.  Mattel introduces the Barbie doll; other nickname names like Lori, Cindy, Sherry and Terri are hot.

1966. Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. renounces his “slave name” to become Muhammed Ali; other celebrities follow suit, influencing African-American baby naming.

1967.  Frank Zappa names his first child Moon Unit,  a seminal ’kooky’ baby name.  Son Dweezil will follow two years later.

1968. TV westerns like Here Come the Brides, featuring brothers Jason, Jeremy and Joshua, signal a return of old cowboy names.

1974. The first issue of People magazine accelerates fascination with celebrity culture, parents start to be increasingly influenced by names stars give their babies.

1987. Movie Wall Street proclaims “Greed is good,” summing up the Go-Go 80s and inspiring Waspy surnames for boys (Carter, Parker) and androgynous exec names for all (Kyle, Blake, Blair).

1998. Parents continue to get more and more kreeatif with spellings like Adan, Austyn and Alivia all in the year’s Top 700.

2000. The Internet inspires parents to search genealogy sites for old family names.

2003. Extreme starbaby names grow more extreme–this year alone sees the arrival of Pilot Inspektor, Audio Science and Banjo.

2008. Reason returns: With economic downturn, parents look back to solid, traditional girls’ names like Ella, Grace, Olivia, and biblical boys Jacob, Ethan, Benjamin.

Read More