Baby Name Battles and How to Solve Them

Baby Name Battles and How to Solve Them

By Clare Green

This week’s news includes an Irish name you’ve probably never heard before, the most popular names in all four corners of the USA, and your most common baby naming conflicts solved.

Baby naming battles

The thing about naming a baby is that it’s not just about names. It’s a time when other things – like family relationships and values – come to the fore and sometimes cause conflict.

Increasingly, news and entertainment media are picking up on the naming issues people share on the internet. While they’re not exactly news, it’s interesting to see which stories capture the public’s attention – often because they touch on something that’s relatable

A few recent examples:

These parents reached a stalemate on names. Dad insisted on naming a boy after grandpa Joseph. Mom refused. Fortunately for marital harmony, they’ve only had girls.

When your partner suggests a name that’s totally not your style…you might start to question how well you really know each other. (For what it’s worth, Parsons isn’t a terrible name at all!)

And more unsettlingly, a spelling change on a birth certificate casts all sorts of light on a couple’s relationship with each other, and with mother-in-law.

If you’re having baby-naming conflict, what’s to do? These five pointers are a great starting place, whether you’re feeling under pressure from the grandparents or overwhelmed by all the options. And as ever, there’s also the collected wisdom of the Nameberry forums.

Globe-trotting birth announcements

First let’s take a trip around the world and look at what some parents – well-known and less so – have been naming their babies.

In Australia, comedian Em Rusciano is ahead of the curve with her son’s name, Elio Arthur. Elio feels like a fun alternative to names like Eli and Arlo, and is in the Top 50 most-viewed names on Nameberry, but in real life not many parents are using it. Em’s older daughters are Marchella and Odette, so it looks like quirky international names are her family’s style.

For a real culture-blending name, we turn to Bollywood. The actor Purab Kohli has a British wife, and they’ve just welcomed a son, Osian Nur. One Welsh name from legend, and one Arabic name meaning “light”: both ripe for more use in the English-speaking world. Osian’s big sister Inaya Amelia also has a name that combines both parents’ cultures.

Turning to Ireland, martial arts sportsman Conor McGregor has given his daughter a name that really would be one-of-a-kind in any other country. Croia (pronounced “cree-a”) derives from the Irish word for heart – appropriately for Valentine’s Day.

In the UK, in case you missed it, two sets of actors welcomed children with more mainstream, on-the-rise names last month. Billie Piper, of Doctor Who fame, called her daughter Tallulah – a name that’s in the British Top 300, but doesn’t appear in the US Top 1000. Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley, who met playing the leads in Wuthering Heights, reportedly chose Forrest for their son. We don’t know if he has a middle name, but it’s nice to imagine it’s something like Heathcliffe.

They don’t have high-profile parents, but these German birth announcements are always an eclectic treat. Last week’s names included Nimrod, Fenris and Spyridon.

…and so are these announcements from France. January’s arrivals include girls Laurine and Manon, and boys Sacha and Stanislas.

US baby names: what’s hot near you

Have you been following HuffPost’s series on the most popular names in different parts of America? At the top of the list, the difference isn’t dramatic – parents everywhere love Liam and Emma – but there are still regional favorites. Like Elijah and Layla in the southern states, Sebastian and Sofia on the west coast, Ryan and Gabriella in the northeast, and Lillian and Henry in the Midwest.

And just for fun, names spotted in North Carolina that you won’t find at the top of the charts include Rhythm, Psalm, Oxford, Persephone.

Family names: Elisha and Apollo

A frequent naming dilemma is whether, and how, to honor family members in a baby’s name. Stuck for ideas? Here are a couple of ways to do it from this week’s news.

Nicola Vincent Apollo, actress Cerina Vincent’s new son, has a name that involves multiple family members. Nicola is after mom’s great-grandfather, and her middle name Nicole. Vincent is her surname. Apollo reportedly has significance for his big sister, and he gets dad’s surname.

Moving over to the patriarchy, New York Giants footballer Eli Manning’s son was born on Super Bowl Sunday (and yes, there was at least one baby named after the Patriots’ Tom Brady). Eli broke a family tradition with his son’s name…kind of. Dad’s name is Elisha Manning IV, but the “IV” is debatable as he has a different middle name from his father. His son’s name, Charles Elisha, strays a little further from the pattern.

There’s also this girl named Kensington after her grandfather Ken. It’s a close parallel with Kate Hudson’s daughter Rani, honoring grandpa Ronnie, and it makes me wonder: what other grandparent names can be adapted to be fresh for a new baby of a different gender?

What-entine’s Day?

A lot of zoos nowadays give the public a chance to pick names for their cute baby animals. But did you know that some zoos are offering the chance to name their less cuddly creatures? Just in time for Valentine’s Day, you could name a snake after your ex, or a cockroach that is destined to be fed to meerkats. It’s, er, a novel way to capitalise on the fact that we love naming things, and that those names have power.

If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, enjoy! And check out our latest list of Valentine’s-inspired baby names.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at