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You know, you know, it’s Nameberry heresy.  But you just can’t help it.

You like Jayne better than Jane.  Prefer Aiden to Aidan, Katelyn to Caitlin.

We were tickled when we saw the forum started by Chrisco called Guilty Pleasure Spellings.  You know, those less-than-conventional spellings you prefer to the more classic versions.

We’re not talking about Steven over Stephen or Anne as opposed to Ann: Those are both correct and long-accepted.

But the much-maligned kree8tiv spellings that you know may be tacky or twisted, but dang it: You love it anyway.

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Tell Us About Your Berry Alias!

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Linda and I were talking about our beloved Berries the other day, naturally calling people by their Berry names since for the most part we don’t know their real names, when suddenly dawn broke.

Hey!, we thought.  Here we are, a name site, with lots of regular visitors who are fascinated by names and think and know a lot about the subject, and yet they’re known by names they’ve invented for themselves.  So where did those names come from?

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Guest blogger Aislinn Nicole is a fan of both baby names and George R. R. Martin‘s epic Game of Thrones series.  Here, she combines enthusiasms and helps us navigate the names of the new season.

The people of George R.R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire (adapted by HBO to become the TV series Game of Thrones) are very much like the people of our world.  Martin’s characters are vivid and real, and their names are an extension of that, including interesting similarities and alternatives to several classic names.

There’s the simple and lovely Jeyne, pronounced just like JaneTywin and Tyrion are similar to Tyler, while Edmure and Eddard sound much like our Edmund and EdwardMarcella was my grandmother’s name, so Myrcella holds a particular fondness for me.  There are a dozen other examples in the series… and some names you’ll never have heard before, that are equally lovely.

Game of Thrones is about a continent (Westeros) of feuding noble families, all vying to control the Iron Throne.   At the beginning of the series, the Iron Throne is held by King Robert Baratheon, who requests the aid of his childhood friend Eddard Stark to help him keep the Iron Throne which he won by defeating House Targaryen.  Below, the noble houses are listed with the main characters included as well as some characters with more interesting names. Note: some of the characters listed don’t appear (or become important) until later in the series, but they are simply too good to exclude.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Game of Thrones, the series’ first season came out on DVD March 6th, and the second season began on HBO on April 1st.  For the real experience though, I’d recommend the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, whose first book is called A Game of Thrones.

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school

We’ve often wondered how teachers respond to the new menu of student names on their class lists each year.  Guest blogger Emily Gough, an experienced educator, tells the story from her point of view.

At the start of every school year, I am organizing notes, planning lessons, hanging up posters, and of course looking over the new class lists.  Each year brings 100+ new students, and of course new names.  I am always eagerly checking to see if my class lists are available yet as the countdown to school starts.  For one thing, I like to know what the class sizes are, but mostly it’s the names I’m interested in. 

If I see any that I am at a total loss with pronunciation-wise, I do some research to try to prevent myself from butchering a kid’s name on the first day.  I wonder over familiar last names, and whether this new student is a younger sibling, and if so will they be very similar or complete opposites?  I prepare myself for trying to keep Kylee, Kylie, and Kyley apart in one class and I wonder if Devin and Dakota are boys or girls. 

And the longer I teach, the more I get an impression of what each student might be like based upon previous students with the same name.  I think every teacher can give you examples- for me, a male Jesse is going to be a handful and Lily will be a quiet, shy introvert.  I even will differentiate my assumptions based upon spelling; I would predict John to be studious and Jon a jokester.

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Unusual names can be attractive, distinctive, intriguing….until they cross the line to weird.   Parents in search of unusual names often worry about how to stay on the right side of that line.

Here, five ways to choose unusual names that have all the best qualities of the genre and avoid the worst.

1.     Spell them the, uh, normal way.

Okay, let’s say you want to name your child Atticus.  Unusual, yes; weird (at least in today’s terms), no.  But change it up to Attykus and you tip it over the line to weird.

2.     Keep your gender-bending within bounds.

Using an androgynous name like Taylor or Mason, for a boy or a girl, is one way to be distinctive.  You can even push the limits by choosing an all-boy name like Eric, say, as a daughter’s middle name to honor an ancestor, or reclaiming a name such as Sasha for your son.  But using Eric as your daughter’s first name or letting your son’s name veer too far into the feminine camp starts to get weird.

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