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Baby Name Inspiration: Naia, Noa, and Jett

The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

Royals are out, television characters are in.

No, that’s not it.

Celebrities are out.  Family names are in.

As we look back at baby name news from 2013 and ponder what’s to come in 2014, it is tempting to wrap it all up in a few sentences.  But names are as diverse as the children who wear them.

Baby naming in our age is creative, and we’re welcome to find inspiration anywhere, borrowing and reinventing until we find the perfect name.

That’s what makes it so tough to predict trends – and so possible at the same time.  We know that a popular name encourages parents to consider similar names, so Mia boosts Maya and then Naya.  And we know that pop culture plays a big part in naming our children – remember The Princess Diaries?  The 2001 movie took Mia from a quietly rising name to a Top Ten hit.

What does this mean for parents trying to name a 2014 arrival?  Everything can be a source of possible names – your family tree, your heritage, the movie you saw on your first date, the place you and your partner got engaged, the television series you’ve been watching for the past nine months.

This week’s baby names in the news span the globe.  They reflect the natural world and beliefs and values.  They’re classic and cool, popular and unexpected.  More than anything, they demonstrate how incredibly thoughtful parents are when choosing names for their children.

George – Or should that be Brody?  After a British website reported its year-end data, headlines declared George a dud, noting that parents feared being called copycats if they used the royal appellation.  Instead, hit television shows like Homeland and Breaking Bad got credit for boosting choices like Brody and Jesse.  Is the future king’s name seen as off-limits, or is it just too soon to say?

Lily GeorginaJust as the headlines declared George a non-trend, Entertainment Tonight correspondent Brooke Anderson and husband Jim Walker welcomed a daughter, Lily Georgina.  The couple’s older daughter has a similarly classic and semi-royal name – Kate Victoria.

Noa – From the UK let’s head to Israel, where the most popular names for 2012 have just been released.  (No, that’s not a typo – their data is a little behind!)  Noa was also #1 back in 2010, so I’m guessing she’s as familiar as Emma or Ava in Jerusalem.  But in the US, she’s a fresh possibility, a feminine name from the Old Testament that we aren’t using, even though Noah has been big for boys since the 1990s.

Naia – If not Noa, how about Naia?  Australian model-actress Gemma Ward has helped popularize her given name.  Now she and partner David Letts have welcomed a daughter named NaiaAnna notes that the baby was born in Hawaii.  While Naia has several possible origins, one of them is the Hawaiian word for dolphin.  The spelling Naya is more popular in the US, thanks to Glee’s Naya Rivera.

Nyle Thomas – It was a good week for N names!  CNN anchor Erin Burnett and husband David Rubulotta welcomed a son, Nyle Thomas.  It’s not quite Frasier’s Niles, or the Nile River.  But it’s more current than Kyle, less expected than Miles.  Paired with the classic Thomas, Nyle is both unexpected and very wearable.

Jett BarkerStephen Liles and Eric Gunderson make up country duo Love and Theft.  Gunderson became a dad earlier this year, when son Camden arrived in March.  Now it is Stephen’s turn.  He and fiancée Jenna Kennedy also had a son, Jett BarkerBarker is Stephen’s middle, too.  The new dad described Jett as a cool name, a named they loved.  As combinations go, it works well – a little bit modern, but still rooted in family history.

Jaxon Creed – Country music’s Keith Anderson is also celebrating the arrival of a baby boy, Jaxon CreedJaxon feels new, maybe too trendy – and yet consider this: Jackson is now more popular than JohnTally up Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxen, and Jax, and they’re more popular than John, too.  American parents are quite fond of the letter x.  And how ‘bout that middle?  As a noun, a creed is a statement of belief – making Creed yet another possible modern virtue name for a boy.

Quincy Xavier – Speaking of x, check out the Scrabble-tile trifecta of Kim Fields’ choice for her son – Q, X, and V in one name!  She and fellow actor Christopher Morgan are also parents to Sebastian Alexander, born in 2007.  Quincy is relatively uncommon, but music powerhouse Quincy Jones has made it a household name.

Caetana – Let’s end on an exotic note, with a birth announcement from Portugal.  Television presenter Maria Leite de Castro has chosen Caetana for her second daughter, a little sister for Emilia, called Mia.  Caetana is virtually unknown in the US, but her sound isn’t far off trend.  Take Kaitlyn and company, as well as so many –ana ending names that have enjoyed steady use through the years, and Caetana sounds like the next Isabella.

Where did you find inspiration for your child’s name?  Are there any names on this list that you would consider?  And what do you think of George – is he likely to catch on, or are today’s parents hesitant to imitate Kate?

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16 Responses to “Baby Name Inspiration: Naia, Noa, and Jett”

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vaness1 Says:

December 8th, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Love seeing Caetana! My brother in law is from Brazil, and my sister is considering using it for her baby, due in March.

Saracita00 Says:

December 9th, 2013 at 12:01 am

I always enjoy your column! I’m most pleased to see Quincy here. I like Creed as a middle name, and I’m fully on board with the “virtue middle” trend. Lily Georgina is quite pretty. It feels old-fashioned and yet spot-on trend right now.

Jett is okay, it isn’t quite my cup of tea but it’s interesting nonetheless — same for Naia. I really don’t care for Nyle spelled this way, as it makes me think of “nylon;” and Caetana puts me in mind of “cantina.”

I think Noa would not really come across as very fresh-sounding due to the ongoing popularity of Noah: it would just sound like a boys-turned-pink crossover name, and so many people do that it’s just not original.

As for George, I did see a post or two over in the forums bemoaning Kate’s choice of George; the parents were afraid of coming across as “copycats.” I think that there will be an increase of use, but it won’t show up for the next couple of years. For the first year or so, the young prince himself will be a hindrance to use of his name, but as the royal birth fades from memory while his name is more subtly in the headlines, we will likely see more parents using it.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

December 9th, 2013 at 3:38 am

I”m not sure how they can say that George is less popular since the prince’s birth in late July – the 2013 US name data won’t come out until May 2014, and the UK not until September 2014. And even then he could only have affected the months AFTER July 2013, so surely we won’t have a real idea until 2015?

Quincy and Sebastian are fantastic as brothers, and although Jaxon Creed isn’t my style, I kind of like it.

nla Says:

December 9th, 2013 at 5:58 am

Love Caetana! In Brazil there is a singer called Caetano Veloso who is amazing, though more popular with my parents’ generation. When Brazil was going through a dictatorship he was one of the singers who fought against it in his songs and was exiled for it.

Abby Says:

December 9th, 2013 at 6:38 am

@Saracita00 – A good point about George’s influence over time. Though I know a few Georges my kids’ age (9 and under), and I think he was already making a comeback with parents interested in classic names.

@WaltzingMoreThanMatilda – Agreed on the data! I think they’re working with data specific to BabyCentre, so that’s probably part of the issue. We won’t know for sure ’til May 2015, and I *do* think we’ll see an uptick in Georgia, Georgina, and George …

@Vaness1 – Oh, Caetana is lovely! Congrats to your family.

liviajoan Says:

December 9th, 2013 at 11:16 am

When it comes to the names I can see myself using (currently, we’ll see how long these last) I rediscover names I’ve known of for years. One day I listen and look at the name and see it differently then I maybe have before. Right now I really love Leela and Bruce; I think that’s a unique and quirky sib set. I knew about Leela for years but never saw the appeal until recently. I do love Futurama but that’s not the inspiration for me choosing it. As for Bruce, the same thing happened only the love happened several months ago. Bruce Willis and Batman are Bruce’s but they didn’t swing me in favor of Bruce either, though I’m sure Batman will be a huge influence over my boyfriend (batman fanatic).

Tessa was influenced by a sweet little girl at the daycare I worked at; she was my favorite and I loved her! Roxy us a name I have no idea where it came from but it creeped up and I realized it worked! Titus is a family name but that held no influence. Abel is from Sons of Anarchy, and Elliot is a name I’ve loved since high school, though I’m a huge poetry fan (t.s. Eliot).

arabella77 Says:

December 9th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I have been utterly obsessed with the name Creede since I encountered it on a wonderful character in a little known book. The Creed spelling is just as great, but I still prefer the first way I saw it written. I love that it is rare but still easily pronounced, accessible but not trendy, and that it has such a strong meaning. It is, in every sense of the phrase, a sweet spot name, and I’m glad to see someone else use it (but not too many someone elses).

indiefendi Says:

December 9th, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I really do hope Noa becomes more popular girls in America, I love it!

Naia is as beautiful as Gemma Ward is, I love it too.

Jaxon Creed sounds very “tough guy”, kinda like a superhero (ZAP! POW! BAM!)

Caetana would be a very pretty replacement for ubiquitous Caitlin, Katelyn, et al.

I’ve herd Jett on a girl once and I thought it was dope. A girl named Jett! It’s cool on a boy as well. Jett Barker is very cool (and has the family name credibility of course).

I’ve never really been one for classic names except a for a few, but George will obviously be around forever pretty much and I don’t think a royal will influence its popularity much, and to me the name is BORING. Also from their lineage they didn’t have much to choose from really. It’s not like they were gonna have a “Jaden” level craze because they had to be traditional, ya know?

ruolan Says:

December 9th, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Lily Georgina, Caetana, and Naia are lovely and I prefer Neil or Niall to Nyle. What’s next Knyle?

Although I love Creed as a new virtue name my first thought was seedy Creed Bratton from the American The Office. ):

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

December 10th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

George – I can agree that people using this name for a son would look like a copycat. Which is why, when I heard this was the name the royal couple had used, I immediately changed my future hypothetical son name. That was easier said than done for me since I wanted to honor my mom in my first hypothetical child’s name; her name is Georgina (with J’s instead of G’s). I’m glad that the name will likely be boosted so George wouldn’t sound so grandpa-ish, but I am disappointed that I’d look like I’d named my son after their son and not for my mother. So, now, George is bumped to middle name status and my grandfather’s honorable name is moved into the first name.

Noa – I love this name. It seems like such a small thing to drop the -h and put it for a girl but there’s something about the simplicity of this name for a girl that I absolutely adore.

Naia – I’m sorry to those who love this name, but I just don’t find myself liking it much. Which is so odd to me since I adore Maia. Maybe Naia just sounds too trendy to my ears or I just love Maia too much, I don’t know. That being said, my teenaged nephew just became a father to twins Mya and Nya… How cruel of their teenaged mother… *Sigh*

Nyle – I’m surprised that I like this name. It’s not a name you hear much. I loved Niles (from Frasier) but it always felt too much like the character, stuffy and a bit pompous (okay, a lot a bit pompous).

Creed – I’m glad to see a virtue name for a boy. I don’t think I’ve heard of too many of them. And right now, I’m loving virtue names. Names like Amity, Honor, Mercy, Prudence and Verity are music to my ears right now. Unfortunately, they’re also all girls names. Names like Justice, Loyal and Noble aren’t as appealing to me, though.

Jaxon – I’m fond of X names. Max, Xavier, Alexander, Alexandria, Dexter, Xander, Phoenix… But I think Jaxon should be left Jackson. I think it’s too overused, but I’m not too fond of Jaxon as a spelling… I don’t know why.

seabee6 Says:

December 11th, 2013 at 11:37 am

It makes me sad to hear that your fear of being a thought of as a name copycat is stronger than your desire to honor your mum! I say go for it.

tori101 Says:

December 11th, 2013 at 4:18 pm

From the list I love…
Noa
Naia
Nyle Thomas
Jaxon Creed
Quincy Xavier

: )

Divine1 Says:

December 28th, 2013 at 7:59 pm

I like Naya/Naia/Nia, Noa, Nyle, Creed, and Quincy Xavier goes well with Sebastian Alexander.
Also, I like Caetana. My DD has twin cousins named Zaniyah and Tamiyah. I actually prefer Naia over Maia.
So nice to see different names on this list rather than the same old boring names!

Divine1 Says:

December 28th, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I agree George is boring

ToNameAFlutist Says:

January 30th, 2014 at 7:31 pm

I know someone named Naia.

» Baby Name Inspiration: Naia, Noa, and Jett Baby Name Suggestion Says:

August 26th, 2014 at 8:40 pm

[…] Baby name inspiration can come from an infinite variety of sources–including family and popular culture– as Abby Sandel demonstrates in this week’s Nameberry 9. Nameberry – Baby Name Blog » Baby name news […]

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