Category: Spellings, Sounds and Initials

By Clare Bristow

This week there are lots of honor names in the news, celebrating family members, sporting heroes, and even a betting shop. Also, some surprising spelling statistics.

Starbaby names with meaning: Axel and Maile

Seth Meyers’s story of how his son Axel Strahl was born in an apartment lobby is quite something – and he has a great name story too.

Axel is a name that Seth and his wife just liked. They’re not the only ones: this Scandinavian import is on the rise, and is a candidate to enter the US top 100 when the 2017 data are released. Its rock’n’roll alternative Axl is also in the top 1000, and it’s a popular search for Nameberry readers in Calgary, Hong Kong and Manila. For the Meyers family, I can’t help noticing it’s almost an anagram of mom’s name, Alexi.

His middle name, Strahl, continues the tradition of using family surnames. (Big brother Ashe Olsen has his mother’s and paternal grandmother’s maiden names.) Strahl is Alexi’s mother’s maiden name, and honors her parents who met after they were liberated from a concentration camp. I’m just going to leave here what Seth said about that:

“When someone is born, you have such an appreciation for everyone in your lineage who lived so that you could have this moment. And we’re so happy to give him this name for people who had to work so hard to do that.”

Meanwhile, Tammy Duckworth has become the first US Senator to give birth while in office. (Not literally in the office. Or indeed in a lobby.) Her daughter’s names nod to both parents’ backgrounds. Maile sounds like Miley, but is a floral Hawaiian name: Tammy spent her high school years in Hawaii. Maile‘s middle name, Pearl, honors her father’s great-aunt, who served in the second world war.

What if you want to honor a loved one, but they just don’t have a name you’d choose to use? There are lots of other possibilities – here are some ideas to get you started.

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Sweet Spots and Super Smooshes

By Clare Bristow

This week’s baby name news includes clever smooshes, the perfect choice for a winter Olympian’s baby, and names that however much you love them, just won’t go with your last name.

Sweet spot biblical names: Gideon

Looking for a biblical boy name that’s familiar but not overused? Something between Jacob and Jehoshaphat? One to consider is Gideon, the name of the newest member of the Duggar clan. (He shares the same middle name, Martyn, as his dad.) Gideon sits comfortably in the US top 400 but doesn’t look like it’s going to be the Next Big Thing. Other biblical boys’ names in this sweet spot include Solomon, Zachariah and Moses.

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British Baby Name Trends 2017

By Eleanor Nickerson

It’s time once again to look back at the most prevalent trends that have influenced baby names in Britain in 2017.


For girls, the hottest vowel sound has been O this year in the UK, especially if it made up the “or” sound. Notable this year are Aurora, Orla, Cora, Flora and Victoria and I’ve also got my eye on Nora and Nola to rise.

The likes of Aurora and Orla both ranked in the official provisional Scottish top 100 in 2017 as well and non-official polls for England (Bounty and Babycentre).

For boys, the Wil names have proven a hit this year. The evergreen William is always in style, but this year, vintage Wilfred has also been making a big comeback to the limelight since it fell out of favour in the 1930s.

Not insignificantly, cuddly Wilbur has also been popping up in several birth announcements this year.

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a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

They’re naming daughter number three, and feeling backed into a corner. Is the pattern they’ve established unbreakable? Or do they have more options than they think?

Hanna writes:

I have a bit of a dilemma. My husband and I have backed ourselves into a corner with our older girls’ names, Emma and Bella – two names that have a double letter and end-in-a. If this baby is a boy we plan to name him after his father, but if it’s a girl, we don’t have a clue.

I’m not a fan of -enna or -anna names as they sound too much like Emma, and any Ella names are obviously out because of Bella.

DH has suggested Netta, which I am not a fan of, and Nessa has already been used by a friend. At this point, I don’t even know that there is a name that fits our criteria, but I don’t want the new baby to feel left out if her name doesn’t match her sisters.

Names we do like outside of our theme include Lily, Meredith, Hazel, Pia, and Kate. The middle name will be Guinevere.

The Name Sage replies:

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s almost as though the various members of the Fran-name family got together for a big reunion celebrating at the joint revival of these names, sparked in part by the election of the newest Pope taking on the name of Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Suddenly we began seeing, new interest in the girls’ version Frances, as well as variations like Francine and Francesca and nicknames like Frankie.

Let’s take a look at the whole Fran Clan.

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