This week’s news includes celebrity baby names with impact, inspiration from real-life birth announcements, and how sports fans name their kids.
Long-expected starbaby names
The Hills alums Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt dropped hints months in advance about what they wanted to name their baby. Spencer said it had to be a “flashy, flashy name that isn’t even in a Google search” and that wasn’t taken on social media. This week they welcomed their son, Gunner Stone.
Stone could be a nod to the couple’s love of crystals. Gunner, while it certainly has impact, isn’t a rare name. It’s been in the public eye for a few years, and several celebs have used it. With -er occupational names and military names on trend, it ticks the right boxes for a lot of parents, and it’s currently #250 in the US. So although baby Pratt may be the first one to bag his social media handles, in another ten years or so there’ll be plenty more Gunners old enough to join him online.
Like other weapon-related names, it’s always going to be a divisive name – especially when awful events happen that push these issues to the front of our minds. If you’re looking for a gentler alternative, possibilities include the Scandinavian Gunnar, or unrelated but similar-sounding names like Garner.
At the far end of the “when to pick the baby’s name” scale, Teen Mom star Kailyn Lowry has finally chosen a name for her son, 8 weeks after he was born. Lux Russell gets a first name that’s more popular for girls in the US now, but which fits nicely with popular boys’ names like Lucas and Knox – as well as having the great meaning of ‘light’.
A treasure trove of birth announcements
Ordinary people’s birth announcements are just as interesting as celebrities’, and their stories often even more so. I’m still getting my head around all the wonderful, meaningful names in September’s babyberry announcements. They’re worth a read whether you’re looking for inspiration or just love finding out why people choose the names they do.
There are more great boys’ names – and sweet photos – in this round-up of birth announcements from Instagram. I like how the list includes classic names like Thomas and Benjamin alongside less common choices like Horatio (there’s a Horatio among the September babyberries too!), Grady, Fritz, and twins Diego and Rio.
Top names in South Africa
The naming landscape is pretty different in South Africa. The country has just released its top 10 names of 2016 nationally and regionally. Several word names in English make the national list, including Junior, Prince and Gift for boys, Precious, Princess and Angel for girls, and Blessing for both sexes. Alongside these are names from African languages, like Amahle for girls, Lethabo for boys, and Melokuhle on both top 10 lists. They seem to mean ‘beautiful’, ‘happiness’ and ‘good’ respectively in Zulu – but please correct me if that’s wrong!
Placenames: Marseille and Murren
Lots of city names in Europe make great names – Nameberry looked at some lesser-known ones recently. But one that’s under debate in its homeland is Marseille. The journalist Xavier Monnier wanted to use his hometown as a second middle name for his son, but was told by the authorities in Paris that there was doubt over whether Marseille was a personal name or not. For now, the parents have gone with just two names for their boy, Onken Philip.
What do you think of Marseille as a name? It conjures up images of the sunny south of France, and with the same rhythm as Soleil and Mireille it could work for a girl. But then again, the “Mars” part of it might make it lean boy.
While we’re on M names, you might know Murren as one of a group of Scottish girls’ names (which also includes Mirren and Murron) that’s barely heard outside of Scotland. But these American parents used it for a different reason: they gave it to their daughter Tessa as a middle name after the Swiss village of Mürren.
Sporty name stories
Now for some name tales from sports fans. You may not agree with this grandfather on what makes a good name, but his grandson’s naming story is an interesting one. The boy’s parents, both baseball fans, decided to call their son after whoever was the starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals on the day he was born.
Meanwhile in Kosovo, a soccer fan has named his son Arsenal after the British team. He’s not the only parent wanting to pay homage to the team. There are several girls around the world called Lanesra (read it backwards), and Olympic athlete Mo Farah once joked that he wanted to use Arsenal as his son’s middle name.
What’s extra interesting here is that the Kosovan fan already has a daughter called Arsena. Apparently he and his wife wouldn’t rule out another Arsenal-inspired name if they had a third child. Dare I say it, fans could go down the same route as Spencer and Heidi, as the team’s nickname is “the Gunners”…or perhaps Arsenio or one of its international variants would be safer?