Category: unique baby names
By Andrew Osterdahl
While modern celebrity couples like Jay-Z and Beyoncé and Kanye and Kim have given us unusually named offspring (North West, anyone?), strangely named public figure are nothing new, as my site, The Strangest Names in American Political History illustrates. For the past fourteen years I’ve been collecting and categorizing instances of curiously named American political figures, and I established this blog in July of 2011.
You may be wondering “Can there really be that many instances of strangely named politicians?” As I’ve stumbled upon upwards of 3,500 names in the past decade (as well as the 400+ profiles on the site that I’ve written in the past three years), the answer is an unequivocal yes!
By Nile Cappello
My name is, without a doubt, one of my most defining characteristics. Yes, I am loud, outspoken, slightly (or more than slightly) obnoxious, extremely determined (read: stubborn), and quite a few other things — but with a name like Nile, I wouldn’t have to be any of these to stand out.
Most people tell me they have never met someone named Nile. They also ask me if I was born in Egypt, conceived on the Nile River (ew), or am Egyptian. My co-worker said before my first day she was convinced I would be a tall, dark, Egyptian goddess. I am not. I am small, pale, blonde, and overwhelmingly white.
Although my name was clearly inspired by the river in Egypt, I’m actually named after my grandfather Neil. In a time when made-up names like Jazlyn and “creative” spellings like Madilyn and Joslyn litter the Top 1000 list, I’m thankful to have a bit of history and familial significance behind my name.
The just-released Social Security list includes over 1400 brand-new names, given for the very first time to five or more babies in the US.
As you might imagine, most of these names are pretty far out on the ledge. There are lots of kree8tiv spellings of more conventional names: Finlea and Massyn, Londonn and Karsan. There are names from around the world freshly introduced to America: Junhao and Mokshith and Motoki. There are original combo names — Charlotterose and Marcusjames — and there are new word names and place-names and surname-names — Revelation and Tokyo and Thoreau — and there are even a couple of wonderful old names revived for the modern world: Hypatia and Thisbe, Romilly and Calisto.
But all these newborn names look downright sedate compared to a handful of choices it’s hard to believe were given to even one baby, much less five….or ten….or 63.
The British are known as much for their eccentricity as for their conventionality, two stereotypes evidenced in the names from the recent birth announcements in the London Telegraph.
Sometimes, the two images cross, with the same eccentric (to American ears, at least) names being used so often they begin to feel conventional. The first three months of 2014, for instance, seem to be rife with girls named Matilda and Ottilie and boys named every variation of Fred: Frederick and Wilfred and Alfred and Freddie.
But what we’re focusing on today are the truly eccentric names, the one-offs and the unusual choices that may prove fashion forward or may just be evidence of the infamous British wackiness. These eccentric new names fall into several different camps.
The first and largest might be thought of as the mainstream eccentric British names, such as:
We may not control what race or gender we bequeath our offspring (unless, of course, we are utilizing a sperm bank in the Empire State Building for IVF), but we do have say over their names. If you play it safe with Bill or Lisa, it probably means your kids will be marginally more likely to avoid risk, too. If you’re like us and name them E or Yo, they are likely to grow up into weirdoes like their parents—or at least not work in middle management.