Category: Baby Names

Predicting the Next British Royal Baby Name

By Eleanor Nickerson

After much murmuring and supposition over the last few months, it is now official that the third royal Cambridge baby is on the way.

There are many potential royal baby names that Baby #3 could have, but a more important question to ask is: What do we know about the Duke and Duchess’s established naming style?

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s become a Nameberry tradition every Labor Day to offer a blog on occupational surname names. This year, we’ve tried to find some examples beyond the usual Coopers and Hunters and Masons and look for less obvious ones. And though many, if not most, of these original occupations no longer exist in the modern world, they are all still good, employable names.

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One of the big recent baby name successes has been Ophelia. After nearly 60 years off the Top 1000, it reemerged in 2015 at Number 975, then jumped to 580 last year. Though it hasn’t yet beaten its peak from the turn of the 20th century, when it entered the Top 300, Ophelia ranks a stunning Number 15 among Nameberry users for the first half of 2017, so it’s almost certain to climb even higher in the U.S..

We get the appeal. It sounds unusual but graceful, it starts with the trendy letter O and it has a sterling literary pedigree, coined by Shakespeare himself.

But here’s the thing about that Shakespeare tie: In Hamlet, Ophelia is a central tragic victim, the girl driven to madness and suicide, but she doesn’t have much presence in the play. Shakespeare created dozens of strong, fascinating, brilliant female characters — but Ophelia isn’t one of them.

Yet today’s parents have decided that Ophelia‘s many positive qualities outweigh the grimness of her story. The same goes for Pandora, Abel and Persephone, all of which have started climbing up the charts.

So that’s our question: How much do you care about a name’s backstory? Are there any names you love because they have great stories behind them? Or have you ever rejected a name because of its history?

Let us know your answers in the comments, and continue the conversation on Twitter or Facebook!

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TV Baby Names: Quirky new boy characters

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Last week we covered the quirky girl side of the character lists of the current TV shows and now, as promised, here come the boys. Some of these shows are just launching, joining the hundreds of shows currently found on the plethora of platforms now available. Below, some of the most unusual boy character names we discovered.

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The Case for the Many-Nicknamed Name

By Kathleen McIntosh

Looking at the Top 20 most popular names, it’s obvious that nickname-rich appellations are just as much in favor these days as those that are nickname free. Ask a parent who prefers the former, and they’ll almost inevitably tell you that people ask, “Why give your child a formal name if you’re going to call them something else?”

There are plenty of reasons to forego a formal name on the birth certificate or to use it in full daily, but I’ve never understood the mindset that a nickname automatically negates the formal name completely. Just as many families use pet names in conjunction with given names, I’m in favor of using nicknames and given names interchangeably.

My given name is Kathleen, but coming from a family of nicknamers, I got Kati, KatiKat, Kate, KK, Cake, Keeks, and a myriad of others (with and without some connection to my given name) throughout the years. For instance, my younger siblings, as toddlers, called me Giga, which then morphed into Gigs and Geese and Grease. I responded to them all. Even those monikers that I hated became somewhat endearing. (Likewise, my sister has been called Nuts by our brothers for ages. I feel bad for her, but she doesn’t seem to mind.)

While my family always rotated names (a habit I never found confusing, as some parents might be concerned about), my preference outside of home evolved from Kati to Kathleen in high school. It was a tough transition for my peers, because I’d gone by Kati exclusively until I asserted otherwise, but now my friends and acquaintances call me Kathleen without hesitation. Still, my family continues to cycle through the nicknames constantly, sometimes using several different names in a single day.

(Funny story: two of my brothers used their first and middle names interchangeably. The older decided at three which he wanted to go by. The younger still uses both but decided to only use the more ‘sophisticated-sounding’ one during the year that he had a crush on his third-grade teacher.)

I’ve always liked the versatility of interchangeable names. It wouldn’t feel strange to me if I spontaneously decided to call myself Lena via the latter half of my name. Though I don’t, I could see me very easily introducing myself to separate groups differently. And I could don varying identities depending on the circumstance while truly remaining the same person.

I plan to choose nickname-rich appellations for all of my own children with the hope that they too will find the flexibility liberating. I think it’ll take some pressure off finding the ‘perfect’ name, because there will be options. I’ll call them any number of variations and expect that they’ll form their own opinions on what suits them best and in which contexts. I’m sure the names will change as they age. When they do make those transitions, I expect it won’t be too difficult, since they’ll have spent their younger lives testing what does and doesn’t work for them.

I hope more parents feel free to do the same.

Have you had various nicknames throughout your life?

Kathleen McIntosh is a Houston-based freelance writer/editor and soon-to-be mother. In her spare time, she enjoys obsessing over names, books, mermaids, babies, music, and home improvement shows.

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