By Kara Blakley
For so many people, bringing a pet home is one of the most joyous and exciting days of their lives. There are a lot of decisions to make, but for name nerds, the name is of the utmost importance.
This is what I went through recently. I have loved dogs my entire life, and we have been fortunate enough to have some pretty awesome pooches in my family. But since I live in Australia and my parents are in the US, I don’t get to see my beloved canine “siblings” Luke and Hannah–Claire as much as I’d like. (They’re very good at using Skype, though.) It was finally the right time for me to bring home two puppies of my own. As fate would have it, there were two Maltese girls that were meant to join my family. But what to name them?
They have a favorite name picked out for their son, but some have dismissed it as a dog name. What does that mean, exactly, in 2017? Should they choose another name, or stick with their first choice?
We are expecting our first baby boy in just a couple weeks and still haven’t decided on his name.
Hipster baby names are big where we live. I love most of them, and prefer “old man” names for the most part.
The middle name will be John, another family name. Our last name starts with a T and sounds like tunes, so names ending in a T don’t work well, and I tend to think names ending in S don’t sound very good, either.
Our current frontrunner is Murphy. My husband is a surfer, so the meaning – sea warrior – is perfect. Plus, there was a comic strip from the 1960s about a little surfer dude named Murphy, drawn by one of my husband’s favorite artists.
Also, lots of people call it a “dog name.” Which I’m really sick of on the whole. I always seem to like all those so-called dog names. Who cares if people named their dog a GOOD name? Does that mean we should just turn the name over to the dogs indefinitely?
Thanks for any advice you have. I want to just fall in love with Murphy, but I can’t shake this feeling that I’m not all the way done looking yet!
The Name Sage replies:
Victor Hugo, the nineteenth-century French writer best known for Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, was a keen observer of people and society. I’d wager he was something of a name enthusiast, too.
His books contain not just memorably-named characters, but also a lot of comments on names.
If someone has an unusual name, it usually has a back story. For example, Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, was named after the first word in the liturgy on the day he was found as an infant.
Hugo’s characters talk about names, their own and others, just like we do in real life. In Notre-Dame, a group of women laugh at Esmeralda’s outlandish name (although they can hardly talk, with names like Amelotte, Colombe, Mahiette and Oudarde). Elsewhere, a man called Félix complains that his name is a lie because he is not happy.
J.K. Rowling has been profiled on Nameberry several times, and with good reason- she’s as creative a namer as she is a writer. She draws character names from literature, mythology, history, astronomy, and countless international languages. No character is named haphazardly; families have consistent naming patterns (like the celestial Blacks and the floral Evanses) and individual characters’ names match their personas. Below are some of the best-named characters in the series.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Lemony Snicket has just made a welcome return appearance, via Netflix, reminding us of what an inventive namer his creator (nee Daniel Handler) is—kind of a cross between C. Dickens and JK Rowling. Personally, I’m crazy about some of the incredible surnames in the series—Baudelaire, Caliban, Poe, Quagmire, and especially the use of the word Denouement as a name.
As for the first names, there are lots of classics, especially for the boys—Albert, Arthur, Charles, Frank and Phil—and some trendy girls’ names as well, such as Olivia and Violet, but there are some more uncommon examples as well. Let’s have a look at names from the whole series.