Baby Names in the News

South, Severus and Sal

By Clare Bristow

This week’s baby name news includes more celebrity twins (no, not Beyoncé’s yet), nicknames and word names, and a Harry Potter name no one’s using.

SPORTING BABIES

Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly welcomed twins called Eva and Mateo, a sister and brother to Cristiano Jr.

If it’s true, it’s a great choice of names for an international sporting star. Eva is a top 50 name in Ronaldo’s native Portugal, and Mateo is popular in Spain, where he currently plays. Both are safely in the US Top 100, and wearable in many other countries and languages.

Looking for more twin (or sibling) names with an international feel? There are lots in this list of twin names from Germany, from popular choices like Leon and Lucas to more offbeat pairs like Sandro and Tobias.

In other sporting news, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte welcomed a son called Caiden Zane. Caiden is more popular than it might appear: it’s #312 in the US, but combined with other spellings like Kayden, it leaps to #15.

WORD AND PHRASE NAMES

We’ve all heard of North West, but this week saw the birth of a South. Country singer Justin Moore welcomed a son, Thomas South, who will go by his middle name.

South feels like it could be usable: it has warm, sunny associations, less celebrity baggage, and is only a vowel away from Seth. But it hasn’t been recorded for boys or girls since 1927.

Speaking of the South, Georgia Graceactress Jenni Pulos’ new daughter, is a name with a good story behind it: it was inspired by the song ‘Georgia on my Mind’, and by a friend and a relative.

Rayni Bell, the daughter of singer Stephen Barker Liles, is another starbaby with word names… or is she? Rayni is on the borderline: it sounds like (and is an anagram of) Rainy, but you could also class it as a fashionable Ray-name that isn’t really an English word, like Raelynn or Reyna.

Ocean Adventure is another word name (in fact, a fully-blown phrase) that caught my eye in a list of birth announcements on the British website BabyCentre. It shows how an unexpected middle name can make all the difference.

And despite the rumors, no one has actually named their child “Fidgit Spinner”. Have we witnessed the birth of another urban myth?

WOLFIE, ODIE AND MORE NICKNAMES

Two celebrity couples welcomed sons with interesting nicknames this week.

Wolfgang Xander is a suitably hardcore name for the son of wrestlers Matt and Rebecca “Reby SkyHardy – but for now he’s going by the softer nickname Wolfie. Wolfgang has risen to be used for over 100 boys in the last two years. Could this announcement give it a further boost?

The couple also have a son called Maxel, born in 2015. This smoosh of cool names Max and Axel feels like it should be more popular than it is: it was given to 6 boys in 2015 but didn’t rank at all last year.

Odie Sal, the new son of actress Ashley Williams and her husband Neal Dodson, has a unisex double nickname combo inspired by family members. His first name comes from a great-great-grandfather, and his middle name is from a (female) character in children’s books loved by both his grandmothers. Altogether, the unusual combination makes a sweet match with his brother, Gus.

By the way, would you let your parents or in-laws influence your choice of name? Odie’s name makes a lovely story, but if it’s forced, it can lead to bad feelings. That’s what happened to this Australian couple whose son got an unplanned middle name thanks to his grandmother.

IS SEVERUS TOO SEVERE?

Severus has been on my mind this week, as a new species of crab was named (partly) after Harry Potter character Severus Snape. The crab’s elusiveness reminded scientists of Snape’s ability to keep important secrets.

The Potions master’s name isn’t popular for humans: Severus has never appeared on the US data. It’s probably another Ebenezer: the negative associations outweigh the positives in parents’ minds, and the name doesn’t sound cool enough to appeal on its own merits (like Kylo does).

If you like idea of Severus but find the name too much, you might consider related names like Soren or Severin, or Severine for girls.

BABY NAME OR BUSINESS NAME?

Finally, what do Aiden, Albert, Claire, Clark, Iris, Lucy, Lydia, Olivia, Oscar, Pearl, Penny, Riley and Zoey have in common? They’re all in the US Top 1000…and they’re also the names of new start-ups launched in the last three years.

You can see why entrepreneurs would want to choose a popular baby name for their business. They’re a shortcut to conveying that it’s fresh, brisk and appealing. Bonus points if the name relates to what the company does (like Penny, a personal finance app). Negative points if it becomes so well known it’s an annoyance to people who share the name (we’re looking at you, Alexa).

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4 Responses to “Baby Names in the News”

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elifsu Says:

June 15th, 2017 at 12:28 am

I love Severus! The character and the name. Even “severe” isn’t a negative association for me.

dragon_flame Says:

June 15th, 2017 at 8:08 am

I honestly don’t see the appeal of Kylo, at all. Severus and Ebenezer on the other hand sound gorgeous and sophisticated. Severus had been on my boys list for a long time, but my husband vetoed it.

gjkp2010 Says:

June 15th, 2017 at 12:19 pm

I love Severus and Ebenezer! I would use both if SO would let met.

BKB Says:

June 17th, 2017 at 7:29 am

I’m curious about why Leon is described as popular while Tobias is described as offbeat, when Tobias is currently more popular in the U.S.

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