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Nameberry Nine: Meaning matters

Blue Ivy baby name

For this week’s Nameberry Nine, columnist Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain talks about the myriad sources of baby name meaning and inspiration, from family to philosophy to art to politics to nature.

Beyonce is a new mom! She and Jay-Z have yet to officially confirm their daughter’s appellation but based on celeb friends’ comments and Tweets, it seems almost certain that their little girl is named Blue Ivy.

Speculators have been mining the star couple’s family histories for possibilities, just like her own mother did when she turned a family surname into the future star’s unique appellation. It appears that Ivy might be a reference to the number four – IV. Shades of Harper Seven Beckham, anyone?

As for Blue, she wouldn’t be the first, certainly not in Hollywood. She could have play dates with Alicia Silverstone’s son, Bear Blu. Ella Bleu Travolta is old enough to babysit, and so is U2 guitarist The Edge’s daughter Blue Angel. And Cher’s son Elijah Blue, who started the whole Blue-as-name thing, is over thirty.

Some will probably dismiss this one as wacky, but with Violet and Scarlett in favor, why not Blue? Others might object that blue is a synonym for feeling low. But then there are blue skies and bluebirds of happiness, too.

The thing about unusual names is this: choices that we might dismiss as outlandish and unwearable are transformed when the parents reveal their thinking. Something tells me that, should Beyonce and Jay-Z share their rationale, this name could be nothing short of perfect.

Baby names with intriguing meanings seemed to be all over the place this week, along with a few choices that were just plain pretty.

Whitsun – Can a name be edgy and cool, and yet spiritually significant, too?  Thanks to Jodi for pointing to blogger Molly Piper and her family’s naming philosophy.  The Pipers choose names that are actual words with meanings that resonate for them.  Youngest son Whitsun’s appellation refers to Pentecost – White Sunday, fifty days after EasterWhit makes for a smart short form.

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Baby Names With Uplifting Meanings

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What does a name’s meaning really mean? Lots of parents today don’t know, much less care, what the baby names they like mean in Old German or Ancient Hebrew. The root meanings of so many names come down to some equivalent of “dark-haired sword protector gift of Jehovah” that have very little relevance to modern life.

And yet there are some names with meanings so uplifting that they gain appeal on that basis alone. What parent can fail to hope that a name that means wise or noble or loving might inspire a child to embrace those qualities?

If the meaning of a name means a lot to you, consider this wide range of choices. And there are lots more where those came from. Search either via the meaning option on supersearch or download the ebook version (or hey, even buy an old school paper edition!) of The Baby Name Bible.

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