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Baby Naming Lessons from the Kardashians

November 13, 2016 Abby Sandel

By Abby Sandel

Back in 2007, a little reality show called Keeping Up with the Kardashians debuted on the E! channel.

Nearly a decade later – yes, it’s been that long – we’re still following the family’s foibles, from the scandalous to the mundane.

Along the way, matriarch Kris Jenner has become a grandmother to six. The most recent arrival is Dream Renee, daughter of Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna. Every pregnancy and birth has been detailed on the family’s shows and in the press, meaning that you probably recognize the next generation’s names, even if you’re not keeping up with the family.

We can’t explain it, but there’s an intensity to the Kardashian family baby name watch that’s undeniable. It’s as if we hope the names will be trend-setting, dramatic, extravagant, and daring. Without fail, the family has delivered.

Dream’s middle name comes from mom, born Angela Renee White. The newest Kardashian joins:

– Eldest Kardashian grandchild, Mason Dash Disick, son of Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, born 2009

Penelope Scotland, daughter of Kourtney and Scott, born 2012

North, daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, born 2013

Reign Aston, son of Kourtney and Scott, born 2014

Saint, son of Kim and Kanye, born 2015

Kardashian birth announcements make headlines, but can we learn anything from reality TV’s royal family?

Before you say no, let me try to convince you that there is wisdom to be gleaned from the family’s high profile baby naming.

Let’s look at nine baby naming lessons from the Kardashian cousins.

Short names can be long on style – So often we swoon over longer names and bonus middles, but the Kardashians remind us that a one-syllable name can pack a style punch. That’s true whether you prefer the spare classics – Claire and Jack and Jane – or love the bold choices made by this famous family.

Trends were made to be followed – When eldest daughter Kourtney welcomed her first child in 2009, Mason was already a Top 50 name. It’s since soared to Number 3 in the US. Daughter Penelope’s name is following a similar trajectory. The names are popular, but they still have plenty of appeal.

Reinventing family names works – With both Kim and Rob, rumors flew that they’d choose family names for their children. But it is Kourtney who creatively reinvented family names for as middles – Dash, from KarDASHian for son Mason, and SCOTland, from Scott for her daughter.

Bucking family tradition works, too – Despite coming from the most famous family to ever rock the letter K, none of the next generation shares the initial. Maybe Khloe, Kendall, or Kylie will eventually use some of those great K names we suggested for Kim. It’s a good reminder that you’re never obligated to continue a naming tradition.

True unisex names can wear well – When we talk about unisex names, it tends to mean traditionally masculine names now used for girls. But with those bold word names – Reign, Dream, Saint, North – the Kardashians reminded us that it’s very possible to choose a name that works equally well for a son or a daughter.

That name that won’t go away? It might be The Name – When Kourtney named her youngest son Reign, she’d considered it for Mason five years earlier, and had Rain on her list for Penelope. Some parents prefer to start fresh with each pregnancy, but if one of those names keeps coming back? It might be the right choice.

Our favorite things can inspire Kourtney’s youngest son is Reign Aston. It appears Reign’s middle comes directly from his dad’s automotive obsession. Not only does Scott collect cars, he has a particular affection for Aston Martin. Prefer to name a child after something more substantial than a luxury good? Favorite artists, philosophers, musicians, colors, plants, places, and even ideals fit this category, too.

There’s no shortage of modern word names – Girls have answered to Grace and Faith for generations. But now there’s a whole new category of modern meaningfuls, ones that the Pilgrims wouldn’t recognize. Word names like Dream and Saint seem different now, but some of them will likely filter into the mainstream in another generation or two – though others, like Reign, may always feel a little too royal for regular use.

Go big! – If there’s any lesson to draw from reality show royalty, perhaps it is this: big, bold baby names can work just as well as their more mainstream cousins – though they’re definitely not for everyone.

Out of the six Kardashian names, do you have a favorite?

About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.

View all of Abby's articles

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