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Middle Names 2012: The New Connectors

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There are several hot trends in middle names 2012.

One is the Middle Name with Meaning — family surnames, place names, virtue names you might not use in first place but that make for distinctive middle names.

Another is using two middle names, often to honor family members.

And then there are The New Connectors.

These names don’t mean or stand for anything or anyone special.  They just sound good, bridging the first and last names with a euphonious single syllable.

How do they differ from the standard middle names of yore, the Anns and Lees and Johns that might be thought of as The Old Connectors?

They don’t, so much, except that they’re not Ann or Lee or John.

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Pop open the champagne: It’s Middle Name Pride Day! In celebration, everyone’s supposed to reveal their middle names to three people who don’t know it. What if you learned, probably the hard way, that your middle name might make other people laugh, gasp, or want to punch you in the nose? Then take comfort in knowing that you’re in good company. Many of the most famous names around have middle names they’d probably just as soon keep out of the limelight.

And hey, come on over and join the conversation on Facebook about YOUR middle name, proud or not.

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No sooner had we declared the death of such old-style middle names as Ann, John, and Marie – mere connective tissue between the first name and the last – than we started seeing the rise of a whole new generation of undistinguished middle names.

There are now officially enough little girls with the middle name Rose, thank you very much, and so too have we heard an awful lot of Grace, James, Claire, Lee, and Rae for girls, Ray for boys.

Granted, middle names are not as important as first names and may be rarely used after the birth announcements are printed.  But that’s no reason to default to whatever’s easiest.  In fact, the middle can be the perfect place to use a name that’s more meaningful and distinctive than one you dare put in first place.

Here, some places to find distinctive middle names:

HONOR THY MOTHER, THY FATHER, AND THY GREAT-UNCLE – If your family is barging into the baby-naming act, make peace by using a family name in the middle.  My husband and I used both grandmothers’ names as middle names for our daughter, for instance, and revived a great-great-grandpa’s distinguished but eccentric name as our older son’s middle name.

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Cool Middle Names: Find one for Facebook

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More people are coming to nameberry these days in search of cool middle names to use on Facebook. The whole give-yourself-a-new-middle-name thing started on Facebook way back in 2008, when supporters of Barack Obama took his middle name Hussein.

Next up: Facebookers began adopting the middle name Equality, to show their support for marriage equality.

Of course, adopting new cool middle names on Facebook is not all altruism.  On a more self-serving level, they can keep snoopy relatives, school administrators, and would-be employers from finding you and your potentially-embarrassing party pictures.

Self-namers in search of a cool cover can check out nameberry’s list of Cool Middle Names. Short and spunky, these names work best for girls. Among the best choices:

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Middle Names: Thinking Outside the Box

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There’s no doubt that middle names have been taking on increasing  importance in the hearts and minds of  baby namers.  They’ve stepped up from the inconsequential connectives –especially for girls–of a generation or two ago to full co-starring roles on the birth certificate.  For many, it’s a welcome opportunity to honor a family member, preserve a maiden name, or use as a solid alternative for their child to possibly choose to use later on.

But for others, it’s place to be whimsical, to salute a creative hero, to use a favorite word or nature name they wouldn’t dare to put in first place.  For examples of how this works, we need only to look to the stars, those beacons of extreme–if not bizarre– baby naming.  So here are some nature, namesake, word and lovey-dovey endearment middle names they have used, followed by the name of the celebrity parent who chose it and their child’s first name:

NATURE NAMES

BEAR (Anthony Kiedis’s Everly)

CRICKET (Amy Locane’s Paige)

HUCKLEBERRY (Kimberly Williams & Brad Paisley‘s William)

PINE (Simon Le Bon’s Tallulah)

PLUM (Moon Unit Zappa’s Matilda)

RAIN (Brooke Burke & David Charvet’s Heaven)

RAINBOW (Jamie Oliver‘s Petal Blossom)

TULIP (Rebecca Romijn & Jerry O’Connell‘s Charlie Tamara)

NAMESAKES–real and fictional

COLTRANE (Natascha McElhone’s Rex)

HENDRIX (Donnie Wahlberg’s Elijah)

ICARUS (Lucy Sykes’ Titus Jasper)

KAFKA (Tommy Lee JonesVictoria)

KIPLING  (Kim Raver’s Leo)

MADONNA (Geri Halliwell’s Bluebell)

MARS (Sofia Coppola’s Romy)

MOWGLI (Ashlee Simpson & Pete Wentz’s Bronx)

ZHIVAGO (Nia Long‘s Massai)

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