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Category: uncool names

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By Pamela Redmond Satran

We like to think the names we choose will help determine the people our children grow up to be.  Serious, classic names create serious, classic (and classy) people; gorgeous names breed future stunners; and cool names will make your kid cool.

And sure, it works out like that sometimes.  From Beyonce to Leonardo Di Caprio, there are lots of examples of cool people with cool names.

But sometimes people transcend the image of their names, like the 25 folks here who are undeniably cool yet have names that are pretty much not.

  1. Allen Ginsberg
  2. Armie Hammer
  3. Bruce Springsteen

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nerd

When Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany recently named their newborn daughter Agnes, I was very excited.  For a baby name connoisseur, the choice of Agnes by two stylish and attractive stars heralded the arrival of a new kind of cool name: the slightly awkward, somewhat geeky name that’s so uncool it’s cool.

Of course, Geek Chic has been around for awhile now, in names as in other aspects of fashion.  In our book Beyond Ava & Aiden, we featured a category – now on Nameberry – of Clunky but Cool Names for boys and for girls.  (There are also more, similar choices on the lists of Old Lady Names and Old Man Names.  The list of Old People Names, taking off from the twitter sensation, is full of names that are terminally geeky.)

Some of these choices, like Hugo and Oscar for boys, for instance, and Imogen and Matilda for girls, sound a lot more cool than clunky these days.  As vintage names become more mainstream and our tastes broaden, names that seemed edgy just a few years ago now feel normal and pretty – pretty normal.

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How About Harvey? What About Walter?

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The Nameberry Question of the Week: Would you name your baby boy Harvey or Stanley or any of the other up-and-coming oldies appearing on the recently released British pop list?

Is this another case where the Yanks will follow the Brits in baby-naming trends and revive such previously verboten Grandpa names as Harvey, Arthur, Leon, Walter and Stanley– all once considered distinguished in their day?  Or similar in style name like  Gilbert, Murray, Ralph, Howard or Ernest?

Which, if any, of the names of this genre would you consider?

Would you choose it only to honor a relative with that name?  And/or only as a middle name?

If you did use one, would you consider it cutting-edge or pleasingly retro or perenially stylish?

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New York Baby Names

Journalist and New York City mom Laura Dunphy reports that the pressure is on for Gotham parents to choose baby names that are more creative, more unusual, cooler than those anyone else is using. But no matter how hard you try, you still might not make it.

Ah, New York, New York.  If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.  And if you can name your baby here without needing therapy or Xanax, then I applaud you.

That’s because like everything else in NYC, baby naming is intense.  If most people think naming children is a pleasant activity, like badminton or a picnic, Manhattanites treat it as a competitive sport, like rugby or bond trading.

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DE-HIPSTERIZE THAT BABY NAME

Hipster Baby Names

One thing we learned when we wrote about hipster baby names is that nobody wants one.  Many people were horrified if they found their favorite names — or worse, their actual children’s names — on our list of hipster names.   No matter how much they’d loved the name before, they immediately went in search of something new, something different, something with a bit less of the whiff of hipsterdom about it.

Well, okay.  We can dig grok understand that.  It’s intrinsically uncool to be seen as trying hard to be cool, even if you’re doing so by deliberately being uncool.  Which, of course, is uncool.

We wrote about this before, in our exploration of names that hit the baby name sweet spot between too cool and not cool enough.

Today we look at how to downshift the hipster factor in some of the prime suspect names.  Making a name less hip might mean making it more classic or plainer, but it also might mean making it more unusual, less obviously stylish.  If you truly want to pull back from the edge of cool, consider making the following swaps.

Instead of Ada, try AIDEEN

Instead of Annabel, try ANNE

Instead of August, try GUSTAV

Instead of Butch, try BUDDY

Instead of Delilah, try SALOME

Instead of Edie, try EDITH

Instead of Hugo, try HUGH

Instead of Iris, try IRENE

Instead of June, try JANE

Instead of Kingston, try KINGSLEY

Instead of Lennon, try JOHN

Instead of Lulu, try LOUISE

Instead of Mae, try MARY

Instead of Miles, try BASIE  (I think Basie is probably pretty hipster too, but I just like it better)

Instead of Minnie, try MINETTE

Instead of Otis, try OMAR

Instead of Piper, try FIFER

Instead of Ray, try RALPH

Instead of Ruby, try RUTH

Instead of Talullah, try TABITHA

Instead of Theo, try TED

Any more bright ideas?  We know you have some…..

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