Baby names in the news: A world of possibilities

Baby names in the news: A world of possibilities

This week’s news includes a lucrative naming opportunity, British starbabies, unplanned nicknames, and the coolest names in Israel, Belgium and Germany.

British baby name reveals

If you love all things British, you’ll enjoy this week’s celebrity baby names.

TV presenter Declan Donnelly (one half of Ant and Dec) has welcomed his first child, Isla Elizabeth Anne. Anne is Dec’s mother’s name, and if he ever wants to use another family name, he has plenty to choose from. His dad’s name was Alphonsus, and his siblings are Dermott, Patricia, Eamonn, Martin, Moira and Camelia.

Tennis champion Andy Murray has just announced that his second daughter’s name is Edie – a very British modern favorite to go with sister Sophia. Edie sits just outside the Top 100 in England and Wales. It’s in the Top 300 in Murray’s native Scotland, but stateside, this alternative to Evie is still below the Top 1000.

Also in the UK, Cornwall’s County Council provides a list of Cornish names to inspire parents. There are some beautiful names on it, but how much are they really used? This analysis of the top Cornish names in Cornwall reveals all, with parents’ favorites including Jago, Merryn, and name-nerd sweetheart Elowen.

Last-minute name change

Changed your mind about your baby name at the eleventh hour? You’re not alone.

Hilaria Baldwin has revealed that for most of her latest pregnancy, she and Alec planned to call their son Diego. It was only when he was a few days old that they picked Romeo instead, after their first holiday destination together, Rome. The only snag? Her toddler is still asking when this person called Diego is going to arrive!

All-American names: Harland, Nola and Dawn Cloud

Are you expecting a baby on September 9? Would you like $11,000? Are you willing to name it Harland?

To celebrate the 128th birthday of “Colonel” Harland Sanders, KFC has promised to make a college fund donation to the first baby born on that day named Harland. Some say this publicity stunt is creepy. But if you were thinking of using the name anyway – maybe after great-grandpa, since the name peaked around 1920 – it could be worth it. After all, 35 boys last year, and 8 girls in 2016, were named Harland for no monetary reward.

Moving south from Kentucky in the arena of American baby names, if you love New Orleans and Louisiana maybe your future baby name is on this list? Names with a bit of local flavor include Claude, Rex, Acadia, and of course Nola.

Meanwhile in Arizona, here’s a fascinating description of a Hopi naming ceremony. Each guest gave the baby a name, on top of her primary one, which they could use for her in the future. She ended up with over thirty names, including the author’s contribution, Dawn Cloud.

International babies: Eithan, Emma and and Enzokuhle

Costa Rica’s population just hit 5 million! The baby who tipped the balance was reportedly Eithan Jesus Brenes Alvarado, born on 1st September. Although he didn’t get one of Costa Rica’s most popular names, this variation on Ethan is rising fast in the US too – and Jesus is, of course, a Spanish biblical staple.

Another variation, Eitan (sometimes transcribed Eytan) is a long-term favorite for parents in Israel. With the Jewish year coming to a close, Israel has released its annual baby name statistics. Eitan is in the Top 10, but the most popular boy names are Mohammad nationally, and Ariel for Jewish families. For girls, Tamar has been the top name for several years running. This culture-crossing nature name is still mostly undiscovered outside of Israel.

Belgium also has a long-reigning favorite girls’ name. In the Belgian 2017 statistics, Emma was the most popular name for Belgian girls for the 15th year. For boys, just like in the US, Liam is no. 1 for the first time. Many of the other top names will be familiar – like Olivia, Noah and Sofia – but there’s more variety in different regions of the country. In Brussels, the capital, parents are using a lot of Arabic names, like Rayan and Nour. In Flanders, Finn and Ella make the Top 10. And parents in French-speaking Wallonia prefer names like Lucie and Gabriel.

Unisex names are a hot topic, but we’re far from a world where the number 1 name is the same for both sexes. Except, that is, in South Africa, where the top name for boys and girls in 2017 was Enzokuhle, a Zulu name said to mean “to do great things”.

Unexpected consequences: pop culture and pet names

We name our children with the best of intentions, but you can never really predict how those names will pan out in their future life – just look at people named Harry Potter and Alexa before, well, Harry Potter and Alexa.

This series of tweets shows that even people with unremarkable names – like Annie and Mike – find reasons to be annoyed with them. (The problem isn’t so much the names themselves as other people who think their jokes are original and hilarious.) Similarly, these tales of mispronunciation show that even straightforward-looking names like Sanjay and Ginny can throw people.

And as for nicknames! No matter how carefully you plan an ingenious nickname, or a nickname-proof name, sometimes children end up getting called all sorts of things you never imagined. Here are over 30 parents’ stories of their kids’ strange pet names, from Bug and Bean to Crabcake and Schmoo.

Do you have a pet name for your child (that you’re willing to share)? Or do you have one yourself? Or for that matter, pet names for your pets. We want to hear!

Calling all German hipsters

Finally, what’s even cooler than hipster baby names? German hipster baby names. According to German Cosmopolitan, names that will mark your kinder out as “nicht mainstream” include Bruno, Lotta, Riva, Torin and Uli – and Wanda, which was also the name of one of our readers’ August arrivals. Berries are so on the pulse!

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