Bold B-Names and Beyond: Booker, Bowie, Bridget and Bijou

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Brian is your brother-in-law, Bill’s your uncle, and Barbara is your mom.  But could B be the new letter to watch for baby names?

Up until recently we were all mad for Aiden and Ava, Amelia and AlexanderA was the most popular letter for girls’ names, the second most popular for boys, and a resounding #1 overall.

Of course, B hasn’t been in the shadows.  You probably know kids called Benjamin and Brayden, Brooklyn, Brianna and Bella.  They’re all Top 100 choices. Up-and-comers like Beatrix and Beckett are on the favorites list of many a future parent.

Still, it was a surprise to hear four great B choices in the news this week, all of which could catch on.  They were mixed in with lots of intriguing names: a vintage romantic, a pair of Hollywood glam surnames, and a handsome Greek god.

Here are the baby names in this week’s news, brought to you by the letter B and beyond:

Bridget – Pregnancy guru Rosie Pope has welcomed baby #4, and it’s a girl!  Bridget Monroe joins James Roderick – J.R., Wellington ReadeWells, and Vivienne Madison.  Unlike the very stylish Vivienne, Bridget is more of a solid choice.  She’s an Irish saint and an ancient goddess, and while she’s fallen into the 400s, after peaking just outside the Top 100 in the 1970s, Bridget doesn’t quite feel like a mom name.  Instead, she seems right on trend with Violet and Juliet, a logical sister for Vivienne.

Monroe – All of the Pope kids get their middle names from streets that their parents have called home.  When I hear the girls’ middles, it makes me wonder if Monroe is the new Madison.  Between the iconic Marilyn, Mariah’s darling daughter, and Rosie’s new arrival, we’re certainly hearing a lot of this name.  With that bright ‘o’ ending, Monroe fits right in with Harlow, Marlowe, and many other possibilities.

Philomena – Great names must run in the family!  Dr. Mehmet Oz’s daughter Daphne is a new mom.  She’s also co-host of ABC’s cooking/talk show The Chew, and it turns out that the elaborate, vintage Philomena has a foodie connection.  Daphne and husband John Jovanovic have nicknamed their little girl Philo, like the dough, or PBJ, for her initials.  Philomena’s profile is certainly up these days, thanks to Judi Dench’s Oscar-nominated turn as the star of Philomena.  Proof that the name works on a girl as well as a grown woman.

Bijou – I mentioned that Philomena’s initials are PBJ, and what a daring, glittering middle indeed!  More surprising than Pearl, less familiar than Ruby, the gemstone-inspired Bijou has more history than you might guess, but remains a rarity.  She adds quite a bit of sparkle to the gently vintage Philomena.

Apollo – The first name of the newest Stefani-Rossdale is definitely a celeb-worthy pick, a smidge more daring than Kingston, not quite as surprising as Zuma.  Sharing your name with a handsome immortal might be a lot for the average kiddo, but something tells me that Gwen and Gavin’s kid will have the swagger to pull off this larger-than-life appellation.

Bowie Gwen and Gavin chose family names for their new son’s middles – and what great family names they are!  Bowie feels like a logical successor to Lennon and Jagger, Hendrix and Cash.  A handful of baby Bowies are out there – 24 boys were given the name in 2012, along with 21 girls.  Presumably some of their parents were inspired by the legendary David Bowie.

Flynn – As if Flynn needed any more buzz, this is Apollo Bowie’s second middle name, also borrowed from the family tree.  He’s a twist on the very popular Finn, and conjures up the swashbuckling charm of old Hollywood’s Errol Flynn.  Plus this one has the Disney stamp of approval: in Tangled, tower-bound princess Rapunzel and Flynn Rider set off on an adventure together – though we eventually learn that his real name is Eugene.

Booker – If you’re named Thandie, your husband is Ol, and your girls are Nico and Ripley, what do you name a boy?  I think Thandie Newton and her director husband Ol Parker nailed it with Booker.  It’s an unexpected choice, one that brings to mind late nineteenth century civil rights activist Booker T. WashingtonBooker is literally literary, and seems at home with all of those ends-in-r names for boys – Carter, Asher, Archer, Hunter, Connor.

JombeHow about Booker’s middle?  I’m guessing that Jombe comes from the Swahili word jumbe, for chief.  Mom’s full name is Thadiwe, and her mother is from Zimbabwe.  That’s not exactly where Swahili is spoken, and Thandie was born in London.  Unless the happy couple shares in an interview, I’m not sure I’ve got the origins for Jombe just right.  But he does have an upbeat, interesting sound that makes Booker feel less buttoned-down.

What are your favorite B names?  Would you consider Bridget, Bijou, Bowie, or Booker for a child?

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20 Responses to “Bold B-Names and Beyond: Booker, Bowie, Bridget and Bijou”

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tfzolghadr Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 6:57 am

I absolutely love Booker. I’m surprised it’s not more popular…

hmahurin Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 7:53 am

I’m a big fan of Booker, as well. Another “B” name I heard recently that I like is Boone. I like it as a middle, more than a first name,

Brynie Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 8:02 am

I like the B name Bryn, but I am a bit bias since its my own name haha 🙂
I adore Bea, Birdie, Bette for girls however I am not so keen on boy B names.

miloowen Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 9:22 am

I love Brigid. And called me old-fashioned, but I love Barbara too — and I met an Irish child named Barbara and it suited her perfectly.

As for other B names, I’m not big on surnames as first names, but there’s always my family name, Brewster, which shows up all the time as a middle in my family and dates all the way back to William. In fact, my mother — who was named Elaine — was called Brew by her peers all during high school. Had I been a guy, Brewster would have been my middle name as well.

I think the most unusual B name I like is Burl. It’s strong and gentle at the same time, it’s a nature name, and it conjures up a singer with a great voice!

rowgeesee Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 9:25 am

A friend of mine just named her daughter Birdsong. With big brother Bear.

skizzo Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 9:35 am

I like Bowie (for a boy only), it’s elegant and handsome

findemaxa13 Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 11:21 am

I love Bridget, and like Bowie quite a lot–it’s my uncle’s name, but in his case it’s a family surname–he was born wayyyy before David Bowie hit the scene. Booker is kind of a cool name, but I’m not sure it works well in real life, and is very associated as an honorific for Booker T. Washington. Bijou is truly awful, I’m sorry. My favorite B names are Bridget, actually, Brian (it’s dated, but I adore it), Brendan, Brandon (can never decide which of the two I prefer), Benjamin, and Beatrice (somehow, I really don’t like Beatrix, it’s so much harsher, as opposed to the lovely soft Beatrice.)

detailsgirl Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 11:26 am

Does anyone else see Jombe and think of the Genie named Jambi on PeeWee’s Playhouse?

stacietexmex Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 11:27 am

Booker and Bridget are at the top of my list! Our soon-to-be firstborn son (due in 10 days!) will likely be an Archer, so Booker might have to fall into middle name status for a later child to avoid rhyming. 🙂

vaness1 Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I love Blythe and Bronwen for girls, both of which (I think) are gaining popularity. I also love Beatrix. I like Berlin for a boy, although it does work quite well in the middle, even for girls (I think Ava Berlin is lovely).

SuperZombieMom Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Booker James is my top choice for a boy right now. I just love how it sounds!

maggiemary Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

I like Bridget and that’s about it from these.

degrasswizkid Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Detailsgirl, I thought the same thing! I immediately thought “Mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney ho”, I could never name my child that without thinking of a good ole Jambi

I like the name Bowie, unfortunately, I already have a big tom cat named Little David Bowie, “Bowie” for short

degrasswizkid Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Detailsgirl, I thought the same thing! I immediately thought “Mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney ho”, I could never name my child that without thinking of a good ole Jambi

I like the name Bowie, unfortunately, I already have a big tom cat named Little David Bowie, “Bowie” for short

Chloe14 Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I love B names my favourites for a girl are Brenda and Bridget.
I think Brenda is a really pretty and a really sweet name I would so use this on my future children.
I really like Bridget but I would not say I would use it though.
For a boy B names are really adorable my favourite B boy names are Brandon and Brodie.
Brandon has a lot of character as far as names go and I would so use this on any future children.
I really like Brodie I think its really handsome and I could just picture this on a little boy.
If I had twins in the way future and if they were a boy and a girl (fraternal twins) I would name them
Brandon Jason and Brenda Maria.

Abby Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 4:26 pm

@rowgeesee – Bear + Birdsong – wow! What a daring duo.

@stacietexmex – How exciting! Can’t wait to hear if you stick with Archer, or change your mind sometime in the 10 or so days! 🙂

Ysee Says:

March 10th, 2014 at 10:43 pm

I love Bryony so much but alas, my husband does not. I would love to see it become more popular. I had a brief love affair with the name Bibiane, but I don’t see it working its way up the charts any time soon.

I think every generation has its share of popular B names – Bill, Betty and Barbara gave way to Becky, Brian, Brenda and Brandy, then Brittany, Brandon and Brianna and their offshoots showed up, and now we have Bella, Brooklyn, Brayden and their ilk. If I remember correctly, Bentley was one of the fastest-rising names in the US last year, and I can see other surnamey names like Booker, Blake, Benton, Brady, Brooks and Brogan rising as well. I don’t see Bertha making a comeback any time soon, but other retro names like Beatrice seem ready for revival.

marypoppins Says:

March 11th, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Two of my favourite names (that have been bookmarked if we have any more kids) start with B: Betty for a girl, and Bruno for a boy.

ashleyf Says:

March 12th, 2014 at 10:18 pm

I’m loving Brynn, and I’ve always loved Bria. Bridget is beautiful. Boone is an interesting one, I’ve heard it used only once! There’s a Christian singer, Britt Nicole, who has a daughter named Ella Brave – I thought that was a pretty yet unique one!

maybe_someday_baby Says:

October 26th, 2014 at 11:21 pm

I would expect a lot more B names in an article “brought to you by the letter B.”
What about: Blue (Blue Ivy Carter, Georgia Blue), Buzz (Tom Fletcher), Bodhi (Megan Fox), Beau (for a girl!: Sarah Jane Morris)…

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