Category: yooneek names
The idea for this blog arose, as so many good things do, from the nameberry forums, in this case one on name spellings. In particular, the focus was on names that had more than one legitimate spelling, and asked visitors to pick their favorite of the two (or more).
With so much talk these days about yooneek spellings of names – variations invented to make a name more “special” – it’s interesting to explore those names that have more than one bona fide spelling.
Of course, there may be some controversy over what constitutes bona fide name spellings. On the forum, some people took issue with spelling variations springing from different origins of a name: Isabelle as the French version and Isabel the Spanish, for instance, and so not really pure spelling variations in the way that Katherine and Kathryn are. Others argued over spelling variations that might more accurately be differences in a name’s gender or pronunciation.
There are obviously a lot of ways to split this hair. And we’ve made a lot of judgment calls some of you may disagree with. Sure, Debra might be a modern variation of the Biblical Deborah, but it was so widely used in mid-century America it’s now legitimate, or at least that’s the way we see it.
Here are some girls’ names with more than one spelling that we consider legitimate.
- Annabel and Annabelle (and Anabel)
- Anne and Ann
- Ariana and Arianna
- Briony and Bryony
- Brooke and Brook
- Claire and Clare
Looking for boys’ names that feel contemporary and stylish but that you won’t hear coming and going? Here are our picks of unusual boys’ names – used for fewer than 100 boys, but at least 50 (those borders were picked to keep the collection manageable) – that are in step with today’s fashions.
It’s not so surprising, for the most part, that these names are used for so few boys. And we don’t expect most of them to make huge leaps in popularity. The few exceptions we think we’ll hear considerably more of in years to come: Wiley and Wylie, Ford, Fox, Lazarus, Chester, and West.
But we think any one of these unusual boys’ names would sound perfectly appropriate for a modern baby boy. If you really want a name that’s different, look no further.
For more choices, see our complete list of boys’ names used for five or more babies in 2009.
The first group are traditional (more or less) first names. The number represents how many boys received the name last year.
Nameberry’s own Nephele, known for her wonderfully clever and generous anagramming skills, has been studying the lower depths of the popularity list and gives us a report on some of the surprises she found there.
Now that the Social Security Administration has released its annual baby names listings beyond the top 1,000 (including all names that had at least five occurrences in any given year), names researchers can better track the influence of popular culture on our names.
For example, a girl’s name appearing in 2009 for the first time on the SSA lists is “Greidys” – with an astonishing count of 186 baby girls having been given that name in 2009. Its variants “Greydis” and “Greidy” also appear for the first time on the 2009 list, again in the astonishing numbers of 100 and 25 occurrences respectively.
Another girl’s name appearing in 2009 for the first time on the SSA lists is “Chastelyn” with 150 occurrences. Its variants “Shastelyn” and “Chastelin” also appear for the first time in 2009, with 34 and 33 occurrences respectively.
While we may expect new names to appear on the SSA lists each year, these new names generally don’t have more than a dozen occurrences, if even that. Why are the names “Greidys” and “Chastelyn” (with their variants) suddenly so prominent in their first appearance on the SSA list?
Our Latin friends can answer that question easily enough. These names shot to popularity with those who watch the Spanish television network Univision’s reality TV show called Nuestra Belleza Latina * (which translates into “Our Latin Beauty”). The winning contestant in the show’s third season (2009) was a Latin beauty from Cuba, named Greidys Gil. Another popular contestant was Chastelyn Rodriguez from Puerto Rico. And thus were two new names embraced by American moms (or dads!) in search of baby names.
Don spent the past week poring over a quarter million names — yes, many of them pretty crazy — given to New York babies over the past few years. Examples include, with a New York theme, Harlem, Manhattan, and Bronx; with a sports angle, Jeter and LeBron; and with a religious bent, Rabbi, Priest, and Jesuskingoftheworld.
You’ve got your Sully, after the pilot who successfully landed a plane in the Hudson River, and your Matisyahu, after the hip-hop star. There’s a Royalty, a Success, and a Winner; a Tolkien and one poor boy whose name is Mudd.
And now Don is reaching out to find out YOUR unique New York baby name. If you are a New York City parent who’s given your child a distinctive baby name with a pop culture inspiration, Don wants to hear what it is and how you chose it. You can tell your stories here and/or contact Don directly at email@example.com, 212-930-8656.
And sure, if you want to tattle on your neighbors who named their baby Keeno or just share a crazy New York baby-naming story, tell us that too.
Our first crowd-sourced blog, on original names that lead to popular nicknames, was such a hit that we’ve decided to give it another go. Our new topic: Undiscovered baby names — undiscovered by you, that is, at least until recently.
I was struck, as I always am in this situation, that even after writing ten books on names, after being professionally immersed in the subject for two decades, and after virtually a lifetime of name nuttery, I can still come across names that I’ve never heard before.
I started jotting down other names that were new ones on me and looking up their origins. Other recent selections from my personal undiscovered baby names list:
JARA or YARA — A German friend who lives in Madrid and is expecting recently told me that, if she has a girl, she plans to name her Jara or Yara, a name that works in both Spanish and German. This was a new one on me, and when I looked it up I discovered that Yara is an Arabic name meaning butterfly and also the name of a Brazilian goddess, while Jara (which can be pronounced with the Y or the J sound at the beginning) might be a variation of Yara or may be