Baby Name News: This week’s most notable names from Alfie to Yvaine

In this week’s edition of Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s Baby Name News feature, we find intriguing examples from the worlds of sports, show biz celebrity and British popularity lists.

Berries, here’s my constant dilemma: do I ask an expecting cousin/colleague/acquaintance if they’ve thought about baby names?  Let’s face it, I’m going to ask eventually.  Do I throw it out in the same breath as I offer my congratulations?  Or do I try to play it cool, waiting for a cautious “we were thinking about Isabella …”  

More often than not, I ask.

A friend recently indulged me, and rattled off their short list for a late November baby.  It was the kind of list that you would expect from a pair of thoughtful, stylish first-time parents: Josephine and Penelope and Eleanor and so on. 

Oh, and Brooklyn.

I raised an eyebrow.

But then I heard the story: their beloved niece, the nicely-named Sophie, had suggested it on a long car trip, reading it off an exit sign on the Long Island Expressway, offering it up as if no one had ever been named Brooklyn before.  Brooklyn wasn’t their style – but the moment was memorable, enough to add the name to their list.

It was a great reminder that inspiration comes from unlikely places.  Somehow I doubt my friends will end up with a baby Brooklyn, but the story almost makes me wish they would.

Speaking of unusual inspiration, here are nine names that caught my eye this week.

AlfieOliver and Olivia are the top names in the UK for the second year in a row, but here’s the choice that fascinates me: Alfie.  The nickname has rocketed into the Top Ten in recent years, reaching #4.  Most popular British choices aren’t very different from American favorites, and American parents often borrow from the UK, like Jack and Lily.  But Alfie is nowhere in the US and seems an unlikely import.  Or is he?  I once might have said the same thing about Oliver, and he’s climbing rapidly in the US.

ArthurSelma Blair’s new baby boy is Arthur SaintArthur is as regal as William and as cool as Archer, too.  There have been hints that Arthur was on the comeback trail – Courtney Cox’s Cougar Town character joking about adopting a baby boy to call Arthur, all those rumors that Natalie & Benjamin had chosen it for their little guy.  Let’s say that Arthur is officially back.

Brighton – Actor/director Jon Favreau is in the spotlight with his genre-crossing, summer thrill ride Cowboys and Aliens.  Favreau is dad to three kids – son Max, and daughters Madeleine and Brighton RoseBrighton could be yet another place name adopted for a child, fitting right in with other bright br- names like Brianna, Brielle, and Aubrey.  But she also brings to mind a word: brighten.  Oodles of noun names are in the Top 100.  Could verbs be the next big thing?  How about adverbs?  I like the idea of Merrily.

Cadel – Speaking of verbs, 36 year old Australian cyclist Cadel Evans sprinted, raced, and chased his way to be first through the finish line of the 2011 Tour de FranceEvans, named after a trio of medieval Welsh kings, pronounces his first name with emphasis on the second syllable.  Think of Adele or Fidel.  Now that Rhys is mainstream, Cadel could appeal to parents seeking an uncommon Welsh heritage choice.

Cozi – French names for girls were catching on before the Jolie-Pitts welcomed daughter Vivienne in 2008, a twin sister for Knox.  Lately, there’s buzz building around an even less likely mademoiselle: Cosette, as in the waif from Les Misérables.  Or maybe that should read Cozette, as in the daughter of a contestant on the most recent season of The Bachelorette.  Names borrowed from reality television often have short shelf lives, but then I spotted the name on Cozi Zuehldorff, a young actress making her big screen debut in family feel-good flick A Dolphin Tale later this summer.  I’ve yet to confirm Miss Zuehldorff’s full name – is it CoziCosetteConstanza? – but somehow the addition of another notable Cozi makes the name seem a smidge more wearable.

HallowElisabeth at You Can’t Call It “It” (link to spotted this unusual choice on a message board.  She’s one scoop trendy Hollywood name, as in Harlow and Marlowe, mixed with a healthy dose of meaningful virtue choices like Grace or Faith.  An obscure term to refer to a person or place that is venerated as sacred, Hallow carries a heavy meaning – but not any heavier than Trinity or Genesis.

LucilleLucille Ball would have been 100 years young this week.  I love Lucy, a vintage gem that just re-entered the US Top 100 in 2010.  Lucille, too, is rising, much like Lily and Lillian have all caught on.  Maya Rudolph’s second daughter is Lucille, a sister for Pearl and Jackson.

WaltonHarrison Ford and Daniel Craig are the big noise in the much anticipated Cowboys and Aliens.  But I’ve long been fascinated by Walton, as in veteran character actor Walton Goggins.  He’s called Hunt in the sci fi Western, and is best known for his small screen roles, including a long run on FX’s The ShieldWalton fits in with cowboy choices like Wyatt, and his links to the fictional television family lend him a gentle strength.

YvaineNeil Gaiman crafted this name for the heroine of his 1998 novel StardustClaire Danes played the fallen star in the 2007 movie adaptation.  Yvaine has been big in the Nameberry tag cloud for most of the week.  Is she a logical successor to Ava and Eva and Evelyn?  A twin sister for Luna?  Or is something else keeping this pretty obscurity on Nameberry’s homepage?  I think she’d make a lovely and unexpected option for the middle spot, and a daring choice as a given name.

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32 Responses to “Baby Name News: This week’s most notable names from Alfie to Yvaine”

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k Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 12:21 am

I do fundraising, and I’ve seen the name Merrily on a person old enough to receive and respond to fundraising mail. 🙂 I also think it’s lovely.

citymouse Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 1:02 am

Alfie was on our second-tier list for our son! I have a great-grandfather Alfred, and Algiers is such a sweet nickname. We went with Jamie instead….not very similar, lol!

Andrea Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 1:43 am

I’ve never heard of Cozi Zuehldorff but, if the family is German, my guess would be that her full name is Cosima or Cozi is her full name and she was named after someone named Cosima. Cosima is used more in Germany because it was the name of one of Richard Wagner’s relatives.

Brighton *Bree* Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 2:15 am

Great blog!! My name is Brighton and I never thought my name would ever show up on one of the blogs! I think using inspiration to name a baby would be a really great way to honor someone or something they love. For example, my future son’s name is going to be either Lucas Preston or Liam Preston after my dad who died from asthma a couple yrs back.

Elle Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 3:03 am

Brighton always makes me think of the son from “The Nanny”. This is a lovely sounding name. It is honestly one of the few names that I think would work on a boy or girl.

Lucille is absolutely gorgeous! Love this name.

I’m very intrigued by Yvaine. Not sure what I think of this name just yet.

Hallow is definitely interesting. I’ve been going back and forth on this name for a few days.

Great discussion!

giants1990 Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 6:51 am

I love Yvaine!!! Lucille is beautiful. Alfie is also very nice. What a great blog!!!

Abby Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 7:04 am

Of course, Cozi could very well be short for Cosima – and that would be my favorite suggestion. Thanks, Andrea!

Elle, I’ve seen dozens of episodes of The Nanny, and I don’t think I ever once realized that the son’s name was Brighton! But of course it was … I do like the name on a boy, but it seems vaguely out of sync for the show, especially with sisters Margaret and Grace. Wonder if there’s a story there?

Sabrina Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 8:17 am

I love Yvaine with the nickname Yvie! I would have considered this for my second daughter (due in two weeks!), but I have a brand-new niece named Neva, and the two names are too similar for me.

Meggie Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 8:25 am

Y’all just reminded me of a male character in the show Everwood named Bright. I wikipediaed it and sure enough it’s short for Brighton.
Also, love Cozi short for Cosette.

Lola Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 8:37 am

Huzzah for Arthur! I just adore Arthur! but Hallow intrigues me too, wicked cool, Hallow, especially or us Wiccan/Pagan, I would think.

Walton’s pretty neat too. and how awesome is simple Walt? Beats Walter for me.

Lucille isn’t a reemerging name for me, I know 3: one my age (early 40’s), one who’s 23 and one 6 year old.

Brighton’s all beach for me, as is Bradley.
Merrilees, or Merrily, Merrilees works as a surname name for me (middle material) but I know three or four Merrily ladies ranging in age from 86 to 45. Mostly friends of my MIL.

Great post, Abby, made me think a bit this morning!

Olivia Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 8:40 am

I love the suggestion of Cozi being short for Cosima! It’s really cute x

Alfie is… meh. It’s super-super popular in my area of the UK. I know at least 7 Alfie’s all under 5. It’s a nice name, but I much prefer Archie!

I love Hallow too. It’s a little too close to Halloween for my liking, though. Shame.

Nice blog, though!

Nell Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 8:46 am

I feel like Yvaine and Cosette nn Cozi have a similar appeal. I love both! Cosette feels sweet & underused and Yvaine feels like a reinvention of Yvette! I’m totally smitten with Brighton & Walton. I had a Grandpa Wally (Walter) and this feels like a usable surname-esque spin I could use.

Abby@AppMtn Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 10:03 am

A real-life Brighton – how cool!

Nell, Walter is on my family tree, too. I used to love the combination Henry Walton, until I realized it was Indiana Jones’ given name …

Great to hear reports of women named Merrily – anyone ever hear of a Verily? I kind of love that one, too!

Macy Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 10:10 am

Surprised there wasnt a post on the England & Wales report. Some interesting movements.

Andrea Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 10:27 am

Young Cozi appears to be American, judging by one of the articles I looked up on Google, which makes Cosima a less likely full name. Cozi is probably the name on her birth certificate. I do think Cozi/Cosi originated as a German nickname that originally came from Cosima. I first remember seeing it in a German children’s book from the 40s.

Brighton has been floating around for awhile too. There was a child actress named Brighton Hertford on one of the soaps back in the 90s.

Steponme Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 11:31 am

I was at a temp agency last month, and the woman I met with was named Brighton! She was probably about 25-30 and very pretty. I had to compliment her on her name!

Cozy is unique and interesting, but to be honest, it reminds me too much of the mega-chain cafe Cosi.

Just love Alfie. But I’m not a nickname for name kinda gal and I can’t seem to find a full name for Alfie that I like at all. Also because my husband’s name ends in an ‘ee’ sound and he just hates it, which i get–not so masculine, we wouldn’t go that route. Arthur, on the other hand, is totally wearable.

Also, I have to say that I’m philosophically fascinated by verb names! Someone should do a nice, long post on that! ;). Great post!

klcalder2 Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 11:59 am

Arthur – I adore this name. I’m so glad it’s getting some use!

Brighton – I’ve never thought of this before but it’s a neat choice. I think I’d really love it on a girl.

Hallow – Honestly, I think of the last Harry Potter book almost immediately. But that may be because I’m a diehard fan and the last movie just came out. I think it’d be a cool name to chose if you love the HP series but want a less obvious choice.

Yvaine – I keep putting this one on my second tier list because I love this name, I love the novel, and I love the character. However, I don’t think my husband would ever go for it. Maybe, just maybe, I could convince him to use it for a mn.

Claire Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 12:36 pm

@kcalder2: I also think Harry Potter when I hear Hallow, and I’m not even that big into the franchise. It doesn’t stop me from liking the name, though. It reminds me of another potential name that’s always intrigued me, but doesn’t seem to have caught on yet: Harrow.

Leslie Owen Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I love the nn Alfie, although I’m not big on naming children nicknames rather than the full names from which they are derived. For those who don’t care for Alfred — which I truly like — there is a cooler name, Alfric — elf-rich — Geoffrey Household used this name for one of his main characters in one of his super-suspenseful books.

Have always loved Arthur, but I think Hallow is one of those names best left for a character rather than a real child.

As always, the Royal Family is beyond cutting edge –Lady Cosima Windsor is the young daughter of Alexander, Lord Ulster, whose first child is Xan, Lord Culloden.

Neil Gaiman has a knack for names, the way Shakespeare did — first Coraline and now Yvaine. Sort of a mash-up between Eve and Ygraine. I think I prefer Ygraine, but Yvaine is growing on me.

anniebee Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I’ve been wondering why Yvaine has been hanging around the tag cloud so long, myself. Not very familiar with it so no opinion one way or another.

I’m glad you included that anecdote on Brooklyn. The Beckhams had a story for why they chose the name too, so it’s a good reminder to be more subtle with opinions when hearing others. I had a friend say Isabella too and I sent her the SSN list to try and talk her out of it, but I guess everyone has their reasons for naming their child what they do.

Em Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I do love the name Yvaine…. but I worry people would either mispronounce or misspell it ‘Yvonne’.

My cat is called Alfie, he’s 6 and named after the Michael Caine film of the same name.

Cosette is also very pretty, a nice mix of two other names I love – Cosima and Odette

Abby Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 2:13 pm

@Leslie Owen – Alfric is genius – love it!

Abby Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Anniebee, that’s exactly it – sometimes you hear a story and all of a sudden, a middling name (or even one that you don’t much like) becomes a stand-out.

MaryB Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 10:37 pm

The person from babynames4real just recently blogged about Cozy (Cozette) the daughter of (Bradley) the Bachelorette contestant. I saw a picture in the tabliods of him and his ex-wife (mom of Cozy) and her name was Suzette so I’m pretty sure that’s how they derived the name Cozette. I thought Suzette was very pretty on the mom, but I may be biased b/c I just named my daughter Lynette in May.

Chloe Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Wow , this was an interesting article !
Thanks for the input ,
I love these names !

Christina Says:

August 1st, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Yvain is the title character from an Arthurian romance by Chretien de Troyes–one of the knights of Arthur’s Round Table. I’m assuming that Yvaine is just the feminized version of that–but I don’t see this etymology represented anywhere on the otherwise impeccable nameberry?

private Says:

August 2nd, 2011 at 3:25 am

Perhaps Cosette could also be considered an updated version of Colette which was popular in the 70’s? I quite like it and see this taking off on the heals of Scarlett and Juliette? I could totally see Cozette/Cosette being a hipster name….anyone else agree?

Abby Says:

August 2nd, 2011 at 5:55 am

Christina, I’m not so sure if Neil Gaiman ever mentioned his inspiration, and I was never able to find a definite explanation of Ywain …

I wonder if Gaiman liked the similarity between “eve” and “Yvaine” – the character explains her name this way: “My sisters called me Yvaine, for I was an evening star.”

And Private, you’re quite right about Scarlett/Juliet(te) … Cosette follows logically. Though my favorite Cosette nickname would be Coco.

MaryB, thanks for the Suzette factoid – it does explain how parents would arrive at Cozette, doesn’t it? I know a Suzette my age, but she is always, always Suzie.

C in DC Says:

August 2nd, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I know several women named Merrilee, but none are Merrily.

Walton makes me think of the Wal-mart family. I like Walter and Weston, so I can see Walton growing on me.

Hallow makes me think of the Gettysburg address and Harry Potter at the same time. Could be that the time is right for this one, especially with the possible nn Hallie.

Tinkblue Says:

August 2nd, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Back in the late 80’s I worked with a Merrily, a Merrilyn and a Merryn. They went by Meri, Merri and Merryn. Unrelated to each oher, but they were all born around 1967-1968.

All were surprised to find similar names on colleagues, as they’d always been the only Merrily, Merrilyn or Merryn in their class or workplace until then.

Julie Says:

August 6th, 2011 at 1:31 am

I grew up with a neighbor nicknamed Cozy, her full name was Cozanne.

HerMajesty Says:

December 26th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I love the name Yvaine! It is Gaelic and a mix between the name Elaine and Yvonne meaning Morning Star. I also kind of dig Arthur and Hallow spelled Halo.

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