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Alliterative Baby Names in Pop Culture: Luna Lovegood and Lucy Liu

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By Brooke Cussans, Baby Name Pondering

Alliterative names – first/middle/last names starting with the same letter/sound – is a subject that many people have strong feelings about. Some people love them, some hate them with a passion.

For those who hate them, there really only seems to be one argument against them. They are just too cutesy and “matchy-matchy” and make it too hard to take a person seriously. These people actively avoid giving this name configuration to their children.

Others love them for almost the same reason they are hated – because they are cute and snazzy sounding. This makes them fun, easier to remember and hence more memorable. Being more memorable makes them perfect for celebrities, superheroes, wrestlers and fictional characters. J.K. Rowling’s world of Harry Potter is full of alliterative names. Just look at such examples as Luna Lovegood, Severus Snape, Dudley Dursley and Minerva McGonagall. And have you ever paid much attention to the founders of the four houses at Hogwarts? All four have alliterative names. HBO show Girls is another example that may have slipped most people’s notice. All four of the lead characters also have alliterative names.

Popular comic book author Stan Lee is another writer with a preference for alliterative names, mainly, it turns out, as a way to help him remember the names of his own characters (such as Peter Parker, Bruce Banner etc)–he created so many that he sometimes had trouble keeping track of them. Theses names also work well when paired with a descriptor – hence we have Green Goblin, Silver Surfer and Fantastic Four. Other creators also use this to great effect. Think Big Bird, Pink Panther and Mickey Mouse. Would Mickey be as memorable if he were named Harvey Mouse? Probably not.

The memorable factor is also why many celebrities use alliterative names. We may think that they choose these, and some deliberately did, but many more were actually given alliterative names at birth. Does this factor make it easier for them to reach stardom? Who knows? But some are plainly happy with their alliterative names, as some alliterative celebrities (Sylvester Stallone, Robert Rodriguez, Steven Spielberg) have continued the tradition with their own children.

And why not? One of my husband’s friends has an alliterative name, and he loves it. When his first child was born last year, their number one rule was that their baby also had to be given an alliterative name. He felt it was lucky and had served him well. I found it a little surprising when I first heard this, but I guess I hadn’t really thought about it myself.

When I thought about it some more, I realised that both my husband and one of my brothers actually have alliterative names, and my other brother likes to go by a nickname that is also alliterative. In their cases it’s not deliberate. So I guess there is something behind the thought that alliterative names are often just naturally catchy and attractive sounding. Some would argue that certain letters work better than others for these types of names. But whatever you think of them, I can almost guarantee that there are plenty of them out there that you never even noticed.

What do you think – catchy and cool, only OK in some cases, or just not to your taste? And if you’re still undecided, here are some lists of just a few of the many examples you may or may not have already noticed in the world around you to get you thinking.

Famous “Stage” Names

Adam Ant

Coco Chanel

Cyd Charisse

Greta Garbo

Hulk Hogan

Joan Jett

Lucy Lawless

Malcolm McDowell

Marilyn Monroe

Robert Redford

Sissy Spacek

Susan Sarandon

Famous Real Names

Amy Adams

Benjamin Bratt

Brigitte Bardot

Charlie Chaplin

Courtney Cox

Farrah Fawcett

Holly Hunter

Janis Joplin

January Jones

Kim, Kourtney & Khloe Kardashian

Logan Lehrman

Lucy Liu

Mike Myers

Ryan Reynolds

Steven Spielberg

Fictional Figures

Bastian Balthasar Bux

Bilbo Baggins

Bugs Bunny

Donald Duck

Fred Flintstone

Godric Gryffindor

Hannah Hovarth

Helga Hufflepuff

Huckleberry Hound

Jessa Johansson

King Kong

Lois Lane

Luna Lovegood

Marnie Michaels

Mickey Mouse

Peppa Pig

Peter Pan

Peter Parker

Rowena Ravenclaw

Salazar Slytherin

Sansa Stark

Severus Snape

Shoshanna Shapiro

Willy Wonka

Alliterative names–love ’em or leave ’em?

 

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About the author

bluejuniper

Brooke Cussans – better known on the Nameberry forums as bluejuniper – is based in Melbourne, Australia and is the author of name blog Baby Name Pondering. She especially loves rare and unusual names.
View all of bluejuniper's articles View all Berry Juice Bloggers

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15 Responses to “Alliterative Baby Names in Pop Culture: Luna Lovegood and Lucy Liu”

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augusta_lee Says:

March 18th, 2014 at 11:10 pm

I really like alliterative names, but unfortunately my surname starts with the one letter in the alphabet that makes them sound like superhero monikers: Z. Zephyr Z-n–er? Zelia Z-n–er? Zane Z-n–er? This trend is definitely off-limits for me. Sigh.

jessieo Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 12:38 am

I’m a sucker for alliterative names, I think they sound a little more interesting.

jjayx Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 4:08 am

Speaking from experience, I’m not a fan (which sounds daft considering the user name on here). Years of silly nicknames because of my double initial have left a stain on my perception of alliteration. Something I’ll avoid in the future.

svea Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 7:03 am

I surely appreciate some good alliteration!:) It’s most often a positive, memorable thing, even though it can be a bit cutesy sometimes.

(As a side note, Mickey Mouse is called Musse Pigg in Swedish – no idea why, but it has definitely stuck anyway;)).

chellemma1 Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 8:38 am

I have mixed feelings about alliterative names – I have one myself and sometimes I like it because it sounds distinctive but sometimes I think it sounds a bit like a tongue twister. This is not something I’d deliberately pass on to a child but I wouldn’t go out of my way to avoid it either.

nykinau Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 10:39 am

My own name is alliterative, most of my friends have called me by my entire name my whole life. So I gave my first born an alliterative name as well; people often comment that her name sounds like a movie star’s. 🙂

jtucker Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I like many alliterative names.

mariemama Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 2:23 pm

I am so glad you posted about this, I am really torn! I usually don’t prefer alliterative names, they just sound too cutesy to me. But now the girl name I am in love with, Phoebe, makes an alliterative name with my last name, which starts with an F and a “Fee” sound. I can’t decide if it sounds cute or at least doable, because I really want it to so I can use Phoebe!

Anotherkate Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 2:49 pm

I like many alliterative names… Typically I prefer when the leading sound/vowel syllables aren’t the same (ie, Brody Brown, or even Brian Brown, isn’t as nice as Benjamin Brown). That said, a guilty pleasure name of mine would be Sterling Ste—, which breaks that preference completely, but I just love it!
I think alliterative names work best when the name isn’t cutesy sounding or ‘word’ names… Which also goes against my Sterling love! Funny how you can have all these rules and guidelines and find a name you just love that goes against everything!

lalala__lauren Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

I like many alliterative names! I agree that they’re memorable. I don’t think that they’re always “cutesy,” though – Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall are certainly not cute. I always try to remember that the name does not make the person. Different personalities and other characteristics can be much more telling than a name, so I’m not too worried by the fact that some people might think it’s too much.
I really love the name Margot and am really tempted to name a future daughter that, even with last name Morgan. Almost completely the same letters used and it’s alliterative – could be too far, but I I think it’s distinctive since few people would be brave enough to do it. We shall see!

Saracita00 Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

I’m in the “depends on the letters” camp. Amy Adams, yes please! Sissy Spacek, too much hissing sound. I actually tend to favor first-and-middle, or middle-and-surname alliteration, so you get that great memorable sound with the full name but it doesn’t have to be dealt with on an everyday basis. Best of both worlds!

auntanne1122 Says:

March 19th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

I love alliterative names! Thank you for posting this. My great grandmother’s name was Candice Carlina Cooper and I always thought it was so cool. I didn’t know her, but everyone said she had an amazing voice. Just a local church talent, but she was remembered!

mill1020 Says:

March 20th, 2014 at 12:43 am

I’d always assumed January Jones was a stage name. Anyway, I like it and several other alliterative names. Pretty much all of the B names I like are ones my husband doesn’t, so we will probably never use one.

Danni Says:

March 23rd, 2014 at 10:16 am

I love alliterative names for literary characters and people alike. What’s not to love? They’re fun to say, easy to remember, and they can range from the cutesy to the dashing.

LunaCross Says:

April 26th, 2014 at 9:20 pm

you forgot Kim Possible, and Hermione Jean Granger. Oh, and also forgot Bruce Banner’s alter-ego as well as the guy himself.

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