Baby Name News: Hemingway, Gatsby, Ultra-Violet & Boston-Blu
Honor names: yea or nay?
Where do you stand on names that honor someone? Are they a must, a must-not, or a nice bonus if things work out that way?
When all goes well, an honor name can be a great gift, linking a child to their family or the people most important to their parents. But sometimes things go wrong. This week, a grandmother writing to Dear Amy was upset that her granddaughter’s name honored everyone (she felt) except her.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, a father has been criticised by people way beyond his family for giving his son a controversial name. His children are called Fatima, Karim, and Donald Trump. The issue isn’t so much US politics as the fact that it’s not a Muslim name, but dad is adamant he won’t change it. To him, the name represents financial success: he chose it before the 2016 presidential election, after reading the man’s advice books.
You might not have to fight battles over honor names, but if you’re wondering if it’s a path you want to take, these tips on when not to use an honor name might help you decide.
Lavinia and her 10 siblings
Have you heard of the Wollny family? Some might call them Germany’s answer to the Duggars: parents Silvia and Dieter and their 11 children (we’ll get to their names in a moment) are the stars of reality TV show that’s in its ninth season and counting.
The oldest Wollny children are Jessica, Sascha and Patrick. Then there’s Sylvana who was born on new year’s eve. That’s St Sylvester’s day, and in Germany the day is called Silvester. It’s surely a nod to her mom’s name too.
Sarafina is named after the title character in a South African musical, one of her mother’s favorite films. Jeremy–Pascal got a double name because his parents couldn’t decide which name on their shortlist to use. As for Sarah–Jane, the second part of her name commemorates a lost twin.
Lavinia was inspired by a song that her mother couldn’t get out of her head. Calantha-Lelane (usually known as “just” Calantha) came from a character in a Western film. She has a doubly flowery name, combining an undiscovered Greek gem with a variation on Leilani.
Estefania was named after an ex-girlfriend of her dad, and for their youngest child, the parents overheard the name Loredana on holiday in Spain and knew it was the one.
So instead of extreme alliteration, the Wollny family’s names tell a story of their parents’ tastes and experiences, and range from the classic to the almost unheard-of. Which is your favorite? And for advanced name gamers, what would you suggest for a 12th sibling?
Celebrity name stories: cafés and golf courses
Speaking of wide ranges, the starbaby names in the news this week have been quite the mixed bag.
At the classic end of the scale is Luke Richard, Eddie Redmayne’s new son. While his big sister Iris got a vintage revival name, Luke has been steadily in the British top 100 for decades, though it’s less popular now than it was 20 years ago. Richard is the name of Eddie’s father.
The offbeat literary surname award goes to Code Black actor Benjamin Hollingsworth. His first son is Hemingway Nash, and his second – born last week – is Gatsby Willem. You’ll have noticed a literary theme going on, but according to Hollingsworth, he and his wife didn’t get Gatsby directly from the novel. They saw it on a Parisian café, and each one took a photo without the other knowing. When they realised the coincidence, something clicked. I’ll bet you the café was named after the great Jay, though.
More nicely-matched brothers’ names? But of course. Soccer star Lionel Messi has welcomed a son, Ciro. In the US charts, this international variant of Cyrus is much less popular than his brother’s names, Thiago and Mateo. It’s one to consider if you’re looking for an -o name that not many people are using.
There’s a flower name to suit everyone, and for golfer Sergio García it’s Azalea. Word is that his newborn daughter’s name, Azalea Adele, pays tribute to the flowers at the golf course where he won the Masters Tournament last year. Its 13th hole is even nicknamed Azalea.
If Jack is your number one boy name, you’re not alone. It’s the top name in Scotland for the 10th year running, along with Olivia for girls for the second year. Here are the full statistics for your enjoyment.
The Scottish data are great for finding one-of-a-kind names, because they show every single name registered. One-offs in 2017 included word names Crown, Testimony and Flourish, mythological names Thor, Elektra and Minerva, and double names like the patriotic Bella–Caledonia and the supercolorful Boston–Blu and Ultra-Violet.
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on March 22nd, 2018 at 3:32 am
Caledonia is uncommon here, but not unheard of, and I think it’s patriotic without being over the top (I have Alba on my list, so I can hardly complain) but Bella-Caledonia does seem a bit excessive. It does sound pretty, but I can’t imagine naming my child beautiful Scotland.
I like how the Wollny family haven’t stuck to a theme and have just used names they loved. I think it’d be nearly impossible to pick names for them without knowing then, since they seem to pick names that are very special to them personally.
on March 22nd, 2018 at 11:37 am
Well, as a german myself I wouldn’t compliment the naming taste of the Wollnys. The Wollnys are pretty much… uneducated & socially disadvantaged. And here in germany it stands for bad taste naming your children something like “Jeremy-Pascal” because a lot of people, who are uneducated & poor name their children like this. You probably could compare them to rednecks in America. The TV Show about the Wollnys is pretty much only on TV so people can make fun about them, I think no one I know watches this TV show because they actually like it. And the Wollnys let people make fun of them, because they get money from the TV channel. So… as you think the names are great, a lot of people in Germany think the names are absolutely hideous.
on March 23rd, 2018 at 4:54 am
I’d love to know more about the naming of Estefania – named after an ex-girlfriend of the dad?! I’m assuming (hoping) there’s more to the story…
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