Baby Name News: Pop star, Norwegian and noisy names

Baby Name News: Pop star, Norwegian and noisy names

By Clare Bristow

This week’s news includes kids named after pop singers, a noisy name to exclaim about, what’s hot in Norway, and much ado about an apostrophe.

But first, happy February! Being as tomorrow is Groundhog Day, when North Americans find out if spring is on the way, I had a quick search for any babies named to celebrate the occasion. Unsuccessfully, it turns out. If you know of any, I’d love to hear. If you like the idea of honoring the little critter, you could use the name of a celebrity groundhog, like Punxsutawney Phil or Staten Island Chuck (full name Charles G. Hogg). Or maybe Shade or Shadow, or conversely, a name meaning light.

Popstar babies of 2016

You may think there’s only one Beyoncé, but 6 girls in the US accounted for this name in 2016 alone. The Huffington Post has done a round-up of baby names inspired by musicians in the latest data. Some are probably coincidence – not all girls called Dolly are named after Ms Parton – but others almost certainly owe their names to their parents’ music heroes. Cobain, Joplin and Pharrell, looking at you. Thelonious appears both on this list and in Nameberry’s top picks for 2018, making it a somewhat surprising one to watch.

Breton baby names: apostrophe angst

You may have heard of French officials rejecting baby names like Nutella and Marseille. More ominously for minority language speakers, there’s just been another case of a Breton name being (initially) rejected for its spelling.

The name? Derc’hen. The culprit? That apostrophe. A French law bans names containing special characters like apostrophes and tildes, although some are still accepted anyway.

The problem is, the apostrophe isn’t optional. It’s an integral part of Breton spelling: “c’h” makes the sound at the end of the word loch. After an appeal, it looks like baby Derc’hen is allowed to have his name registered after all.

So what’s his name all about? It seems to derive from the Celtic word for “oak”, making it a cousin of Irish Dara. Derowen and Derwen – the name for the tree in Cornish and Welsh respectively – have also been used as names, and the word druid is thought to come from the same root (pun intended). If you’re considering a tree name too, here’s a list that goes way beyond Oak.

Elsewhere in Brittany, the most popular names follow mainstream French tastes. Louise and Gabriel were top last year in both the region’s main cities, Rennes and Nantes. For girls, variations on Maëlle are very much in vogue: 28 similar names were recorded, from Maylie to Maëline to Maë-Lou.

Norwegian name news

Moving north, Norwegian parents are loving similar names to English speakers,  but with a Scandinavian twist. Sofie and Jakob were the most popular names in Norway in 2017, and Emma and Nora, Lukas and Oskar were also in the top 10.

If you love a map infographic, check out Statistics Norway’s website, which shows the top names in each region. I especially like that Aurora is the favorite girls’ name in the far north – inspired by the northern lights, one hopes. For more name inspiration from the fjords, here’s a list of Norwegian baby names.

Sweet and golden: Aurelia and Carmella

From Aurora to Aurelia: a celebrity baby name that caught my eye this week was Aurelia Honey. She’s the new daughter of Sugababes singer Heidi Range. Did you ever hear a name more golden and flowing?

Carmella is another rich, flowing name (maybe because it reminds me of caramel) – that’s singer Christina Perri’s daughter, born earlier this month. Her name celebrates both parents’ Italian heritage. Although the spelling with two L’s is less traditional than Carmela, it’s currently slightly more popular in the US, given to 148 girls in 2016.

Noisy names: Clamor

Finally, if you like loud, boisterous names like Rowdy, Dash and Wild, can I interest you in Clamor? It featured as a middle name in the London Times’ birth announcements last week. It’s a German name (from Latin) that means exactly what it sounds like: a cry or exclamation. It’s so rare in the US that it’s never appeared in the data, but it feels like a possibility for parents wanting a word name with impact. Go shout it out!

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