Category: unique baby name
Unusual baby names are becoming more and more, well, common these days. A mere one percent of babies are named Emma or Jacob, the most popular names, and only about ten percent are given one of the Top Ten names. Compare that to a hundred years ago, when FIVE percent of babies were given the most popular names John or Mary, and 30 percent of boys and 20 percent of girls received one of the Top Ten Names. For the first time, less than half of all babies get one of the Top 50 names.
And it’s not only American parents who are choosing unusual baby names. Chinese parents, seeking individuality in a country with 1.3 billion people sharing only 129 surnames, are turning to unconventional combinations of letters, numbers and symbols for their children’s names. One couple wanted to name their baby 1A while others use the @ symbol, pronounced “aita” and meaning “love him” in Chinese.
Many European countries restrict the pool of possible names, though many parents are testing the centuries-old boundaries. But Belgium, with no such laws, over half of children receive such unique names as Testimony, Cherub, and Edelweiss.
If you’re considering giving your baby an unusual name, your biggest question may be: How will an unusual name affect my child for better and worse throughout his or her life?
When the latest unusual starbaby name hit the headlines last week–extreme adventurer Bear Grylls’ son Huckleberry–maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised. After all, a previous celebrity couple, Kimberly Williams and Brad Paisley had named their son William Huckleberry, and are known to call him Huck. But with people still commenting on Apple, maybe it’s time to look at the whole category of fruit names.
APPLE. Unlike some other starbabies, Apple Martin has not inspired many namesakes, probably because of all the ridicule it received and despite mom Gwyneth Paltrow’s defensive statement that “apples are so sweet and they’re wholesome and it’s biblical..I just thought it sounded so lovely and clean.” In fact, since Apple‘s godfather Simon Pegg was quoted as saying she’d be using her middle name when she starts school, we don’t see much chance of it ever catching on.
BERRY. Has long been used as a unisex name, reaching a high of #435 in 1909 and staying in the Top 1000 till 1971, having two famous namesakes–Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. and Berry Berenson (born Berinthia), photographer/actress and widow of Tony Perkins who died tragically on 9/11. It’s a choice that just might come back as a green name which is less elaborate than the other berry names.
CHERRY. Another fruit name that’s had some popularity before it disappeared in the 70s, along with Merry, Kerry, Sherri and Terry–possibly because of its embarassment potential for a teenage girl. Don‘t see this one coming back.
CLEMENTINE. Partly because you wouldn’t immediately tag it as a fruit name, Clementine is a real winner, which could return to popularity for the first time in over a century, helped by its usage by celebs Claudia Schiffer and Ethan Hawke. Pronounced with either a teen or tyne ending, it has historical ties to Mrs. Winston Churchill, is feminine, stylish and substantive ,and has long since shed its clunky ‘Oh my darlin’ image.
HUCKLEBERRY. Has two main obstacles—the close association with Huckleberry Finn and with the cartoonish Huckleberry Hound. Mark Twain told an interviewer that he picked it to describe “a boy of lower extraction” Huck is a pretty cool nickname though.
LEMON. You wouldn’t guess it now, but Lemon was once a fairly well used male name–as in the legendary blues singer Blind Lemon Jefferson, and it still has some potential as a unisex name. When Alex Baldwin’s character on 30 Rock calls Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon by her last name, it makes it sound like a very plausible first. LIME might be a middle name possibility.
PEACHES. Old-time chorus-girly nickname name revived by rocker Bob Geldof for his daughter Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa, who has been adament in her resentment of it, saying “My weird name has haunted me all my life.” Let that be a lesson.
PLUM. A lot prettier and more usable than Peaches, associated with British-born writer Plum Sykes, whose birth name was actually Victoria–the nickname arising from the species known as the Victoria Plum.
STRAWBERRY. This cousin of Huckleberry is another rarity, given to the granddaughter of writer William Saroyan, who says grew up in a community of kids named Shelter, Wonder and Raspberry, and with a sister named Cream. After changing her name briefly, she came to see the advantages of its uniqueness.
And how do we feel about fruit names? Well, we did call our site Nameberry!