This week’s name news includes some of the most eccentric appellations we’ve ever encountered, from siblings named after subatomic particles to some very creative name changes.
Bold is the Word
It’s no secret that word names are big right now — big, bold, and sometimes brazen.
From Rebel and Rocket to Saint and Sir, celebrities have long been leading the charge on statement-making word names, and although this trend has now entered the mainstream, the seemingly endless options never cease to surprise!
This week has seen the announcements of two high-profile new arrivals with sweet and striking word names.
Congratulations to Michael Bublé and his wife Louisa Lopilato, who welcomed daughter Vida Amber Betty last Wednesday. Her lively first name — which means “life” in mom’s native Spanish — feels like a fresh yet fashionable choice, having held steady between 100 and 200 births per year in the US since 2009. And vibrant Vida last enjoyed a modest run of popularity in the 1910s-1930s, making it an unexpected vintage pick, too!
Also making his debut on Wednesday was baby Swan Anthony, son of Manchester United footballer Anthony Martial and his girlfriend Mélanie Da Cruz. Sweet Swan is occasionally entertained as a girl’s middle on the Nameberry Forums, but it’s never been given to more than ten babies per year (of either gender) in the US.
In Martial’s native France, however, both Swan and Swann currently rank around the #300 mark for boys, having been popularised by the 1983 French film Un amour de Swann, based on the monumental writings of Marcel Proust.
And if big, bold word names are your style, then you’ll love this sweet story about how one brave little girl got her very unusual moniker — Flash — and Abby’s fun roundup of Epic Boy Names, from Ace to Titan. What’s your favourite?
From Ireland to Armenia
No, not off-the-beaten-track place name possibilities (though why not?), but countries which have released their latest baby name statistics this week!
Armenia’s Top 10 most popular names for the first half of 2018 have been revealed: Nare, Maria and Mari top the list for girls, while Davit, Narek and Mark lead the pack for baby boys.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s national statistics agency has released its full list of first names given to babies born in 2017. Although the Top 100 names for both genders read much like those in other English-speaking countries around the world at the moment, there are some Gaelic gems on the list too — like Cillian, Oisín and Daithí for boys and Méabh, Eimear and Aoibheann for girls.
And on the subject of big, bold word names, check out some of these more unconventional choices from further down the Northern Irish list — Zeplin, Jupiter or Vogue, anyone?
Plus, some exciting news for anyone interested in Scottish name trends: the National Records of Scotland have launched their very own version of the NameVoyager, charting the popularity of all baby names bestowed in the country since 1974! And it’s already led to some interesting analysis of Scottish name trends sparked by popular culture. I know how I’ll be spending the rest of my day…
And it didn’t take long for the newly minted champion to inspire his very first namesake: baby Geraint Wyn Page was born shortly before Thomas’ big win on Friday. According to his father, himself a keen cyclist: “My wife thought I was just joking at first I think. She slowly warmed to it.”
Geraint, a form of the Latin Gerontius, has long been a familiar name in Wales, although never wildly popular. In fact, it’s been declining in popularity since Welsh naming records began in 1996 — down from 46 births that year to fewer than 3 last year. But who knows? Thomas’ historic victory could be about to turn the tide on this handsome mythical moniker.
And are you ready to be sucked into a Twitter black hole of namenerdery? You’re welcome. Or, if you’re short on time, read the redacted highlights here. Just for fun: what #nerdynames would you secretly love to use?
Nomenclature, Gender, and Identity
Back to the serious stuff: remember when we learned that there are more statues of goats than non-mythical, non-royal women in the UK?
Well, now a new Belgian study has revealed that there are ten times fewer streets named after women than men in the country’s French-speaking province of Wallonia. Politician Fatoumata Sidibé has spoken out, saying: “In order for the city to belong to women, the city also needs to make women visible. According to the patriarchal setup of our society, women are merely occupants of public spaces, which remain male terrain.” It’s an interesting point which could no doubt be applied to other towns and cities around the world — what’s your take?
Closer to home, a recent YouGov survey has revealed a big gap in American attitudes about who should take whose last name after marriage when it comes to straight vs. same-sex couples. Respondents were much more likely to believe that heterosexual couples should share the same surname, and 44% felt that the woman should be obliged to take her husband’s name.
At the other end of the spectrum, these personal accounts about changing your name as an LGBTQ+ adult are full of issues around individuality, identity, and self-expression — no matter whether the name ultimately arrived at is Cameron, Cee or Creatrix.
And so (albeit on a lighter level) is this sweet piece about choosing your “grandma name”; I’m definitely filing Lollypop away for future reference! What quirky names for grandparents does your family use?