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literary baby names

By Joanna Walker

Geoffrey Chaucer has been described as the father of English literature, so who better to turn to for name inspiration?

Chaucer was writing in the Middle Ages, between 1343 and 1400, and the Greek myths he alludes to are far older. Jacqueline de Weever has created a dictionary of the names in Chaucer’s works, found at: http://www.columbia.edu/dlc/garland/deweever/menu.htm. Some of the names are clearly too awkward for modern use. For instance, teaching 4-year-old Cresseyde to spell her name would be an extremely daunting task, Ceyx and Dictys could give rise to rather risqué pronunciations and although Cutberd or Huberd would make awesome pirate names, they could cause sniggers in the classroom. Many of Chaucer’s names are still in current usage and, for those that are not, we have selected eight names worthy of resurgence.

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Mormon Baby Names: Traditions and trends

Mormon baby names

by Hildie Westenhaver

Maybe it’s because we’re kind of different to begin with that Mormons love oddball baby names. We’re taught from day one to be “in the world but not of the world” and that apparently applies to the way we name our kids as well. While this holds true to Mormons all over the U.S, you’ll find the most outlandish baby names in the intermountain West: Utah and southern Idaho in particular. I have met children named Wrangler, Smokey, Mersadie, Corporate (for a girl), Maverix, Jenedy, Silver, Xacian, Versailles, Rafter, and—I kid you not—R2.

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posted by: Aimee Tafreshi View all posts by this author
unusual girls' names

By Aimee Reneau Tafreshi

Every year baby name enthusiasts and interested parents eagerly await the release of the Social Security Administration’s popular baby names list, which provides data on the top 1000 baby names for boys and girls. In addition to the most used names, the agency also provides statistics on names that did not rank in the top 1000 for the year.

I decided to check out the names that flew below the radar this past year to discover naming possibilities for parents seeking a unique name that is not too far out there. I began my analysis with the girls’ names. A foray into the name data can be comical at times and involves wading through misspelled names (Deisy, Serinity), made-up monikers (Lakelyn, Naveah), and “kreatif-lee” spelled baby names (Avarie, Kynnedi), in addition to luxury goods (Chanel, Lexus, anyone?). Beyond these types of choices, many names in the lower rankings are brimming with possibility.

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novel names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

I’m a sucker for tradition.

My personal shortlist is packed with moldy oldies: Caradoc and Marguerite, Edith and Asa.  If forced to choose Jaxon or James, Eden or Elizabeth, I’d go with James and Elizabeth, no question.

And yet there’s something appealing about the idea of choosing a completely novel name for your new arrival.  This week’s high profile birth announcements were all about the modern and the new.

It’s fitting for children who are going to grow up in a new world, one where tablets have always been digital, instead of stone.

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Scottish baby names

By Linda Rosenkrantz

There are many Scottish boys’ names that have become so familiar that we don’t even recognize their roots—names like Malcolm and Cameron and Gavin and Gordon and Keith and Kyle. But there are others that have never reached our shores and that might be worth considering, and here are some prime examples.

Bear in mind, that most of these names are not currently popular in Scotland; only one of them, Struan, appears in the current Top 100 (at Number 99)—a list headed by Jack, James and Lewis, with just a smattering of old Gaelic names like Euan, Arran, and Ruaridh.

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