Category: unisex baby names
We’re always adding new names to the database, and here are Nameberry’s ten newest baby names 2013:
Sunniva — Thanks, Mom2Seven, for urging us to add the ancient saint’s name Sunniva to the Nameberry database. Â Saint Sunniva was born in Ireland but fled to Norway when an invading heathen king wanted to marry her. Â With her followers, she hid in a cave on a Norwegian island. Â After her death, miracles on the island led to an excavation of the cave, where Sunniva‘s body was found intact. Â Sunniva, pronounced SOON-ee-va, is the patron saint of Western Norway, making this a distinctive choice for a family with Norwegian ancestry. Â That’s her above on a Norwegian stamp.
Swithin — Saint Swithin, whose name is also spelled Swithun, is well-known throughout Britain for his July 15 feast day, which is believed to determine the weather for the next 40 days. Â The original Swithin was the bishop of Winchester, where his remains are interred in the famous cathedral.
By now, youâ€™ve almost certainly heard about Blaer Bjarkardottir.
Sheâ€™s just won the legal right to use her name.Â Fifteen years ago, Blaerâ€™s mom unknowingly gave her daughter a name that does not appear on the official list of 1,853 names permitted for baby girls in Iceland.Â The mistake was discovered only after Blaerâ€™s baptism.
A Nobel Prize-winning novelist had used the name for a female character.Â Plus, Blaerâ€™s mom knew another woman with the name â€“ itâ€™s where she got the idea in the first place.
It turns out that even in a country with official lists, things can be a little bit fuzzy.
There are no official lists in the U.S., but plenty of us might like to impose them.
Trouble is, even if there were rules at a given moment, theyâ€™re always subject to change.Â What was true in 1960 â€“ or 1860 â€“ wonâ€™t hold in 2013.
This brings us to a great quote from Swistle: â€śNames, like colors and toys, are given to male/female babies according to fashion, not according to stone tablets.â€ť
But there is also a â€“ well, can we say herd? pack? â€“ of names that are much more subtle about their animal connections.
These names have animal meanings but youâ€™d only know that if you read a name dictionary.Â Discovering their secret animal connection is likely to prove delightful for a child given one of these attractive names.
While the list of names with animal meanings is longer than this â€“ hereâ€™s a full list of animal names for boys and one of animal names for girls â€“ weâ€™ve picked some of our favorites.
Arthur â€“ bear
This classic Celtic name has, after hitting a low in 2010, turned upward and may be heading back to the Top 20 status it enjoyed a century ago.Â Cited as a possibility for the upcoming royal baby, Arthur is a kingly choice with the bonus creative nickname Art.
To clear up any misunderstanding, let me say straight off that these are not literally sister and brother names — you would decidedly NOT want to name your children Oliver and Olivia or Seren and Soren.
What we’re talking about are names themselves that are closely related, male and female versions of names with similar sounds and feels, too close to bestow on actual siblings but offering parents boys’ and girls’ choices of what are virtually if not literally the same names.
We’ve written a lot recently about unisex names — the same name used for both genders, like Rory or Emerson — and we’ve also touched on the recent phenomenon of boys’ names that have risen to popularity on the coattails of their trendy sisters: Emmett from Emma, for instance, or Everett from the Eve contingent.
That can work the other way too, with a fashionable boys’ name inspiring the rise of a similar-sounding sister name. Â In fact, does it really matter which gender’s popularity comes first? Â We see a lot of trendy names these days with both female and male counterparts, so that if you’re attracted to a certain sound or style, you can use whichever version of the name fits your baby’s gender.
But others don’t share an origin and developed separately, only to be connected at this point in baby name history by their similar feel and the desire on the part of parents for baby name parity, even if they’re not interested in using unisex names.
Watch out, Berries–today’s guest blogger, Claire Shefchik, has plenty of bones to pick!
Since the age of six, Iâ€™ve loved names. Â Back then, whenever I renamed myself, I was Crystal (spelled Christal) and later, Jordan. Â These days, I prefer Presley to Penelope, Jayden to Jasper. Â In the novel Iâ€™m writing, two of the main characters are Dempsey and Vaughan–female characters. Eek! Â Thatâ€™s right, I am a name heretic.
When, a few years ago, I came across the Nameberry-led community of Internet naming enthusiasts, I thought Iâ€™d found heaven (sorry, â€śnevaehâ€ť). Â But I found myself, more often than not, at odds with my fellow â€śname nerds.â€ť Â Many claim to be open-minded and liberal, but are much more rigid in their approach to naming than youâ€™d think, especially when it comes to names popular with, as one poster put it, “the Wal-Mart set.” Â Another poster declared her goal was to encourage â€śclassically-named babies,â€ť which letâ€™s face it, is just a euphemism for “babies with names of which I, as the self-appointed arbiter of taste, approve.â€ť