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Celebrity Baby Names: News of the week

November 14, 2019 Emma Waterhouse

by Emma Waterhouse

This week’s celebrity baby name news includes two routes to standout starbaby names, plus there’s the trend for human-sounding brand names, and a look at the fleeting phenomenon that is baby name popularity in the 21st century…

Celebrity Baby Names With A Story

In today’s Instagram-ready society, celebrity birth announcements have certainly moved on from the short printed notes of yore. Today’s high-profile parents are keen to give their followers a glimpse into the naming process — and, of course, we love hearing the stories behind the stunning names they chose!

This week saw the arrival of several celebrity babies with meaningful monikers: like baby Bella Milagro (meaning “beautiful miracle”), born to Josiah and Lauren Duggar just over a year after they lost their first child, Asa, to miscarriage.

Pretty Little Liars actress Shay Mitchell also chose a sweetly significant name for her little girl: Atlas Noa, inspired by her parents’ love of travel.

Other famous couples to welcome new arrivals this week have opted for family names with a twist. Former Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson revealed that her new daughter Drew Hazel is “named after the most incredible person I know… her daddy” (footballer Andrew East). Prison Break actress Camille Guaty gave her son Morrison Rafael two family names, while British tennis star Sir Andy Murray’s baby boy Teddy Barron has his wife’s choice of first name, but a generations-old family name in the middle spot.

Celebrity Baby Names With Pizzazz!

Of course, superb celebrity baby names don’t have to come with a big backstory — there are also those which are just full of spark and style.

Famous parents leading in the style stakes this week include Stephen “tWitch” Boss and his wife Allison Holker, who chose the zippy mini-name Zaia for their new daughter, and French author and actress Victoria Bedos, who named her baby girl Zelda.

But if it’s pure pizzazz you’re after, you can’t do much better than some of the entries on this list of celebrity baby names from South Africa: siblings King Shaka and Queen Nefertiti, wow!!

Out With The Old…

 Speaking of pizzazz, how’s this for a sibset? Praiz Tayo Caiius, from Elea’s latest roundup of British birth announcements, has not one, not two, but nine equally inventively named siblings!

It’s an extreme example of the international trend towards individuality in baby names — although, as this satirical Bangladeshi article highlights, even “uniqueness” is subject to fashions and fads. The various types of hipster baby name listed — from Instagram filters to Greek gods to sports star surnames — all feel very familiar in the US, too.

According to this article, turnover within the Top 10 baby names in the UK is now running almost ten times faster than a century ago. And in the US, just 60 years ago half of all babies born received names in the Top 40; now, only about a fifth of babies do. Fashions in baby names — as in everything else in this digital age — are ever-more-fleeting, ever-more-creative, ever-more-diverse… and endlessly illuminating.

… In With The New!

 Popular may be terribly passé in 2019, but there are still fashionable styles of baby names: like the short, surname-like names mentioned in the previous article (Easton, Wyatt, Ryker, Gunner, Grayson, Kinsley), or in this list of recent West Fargo births (Sloane, Brady, Baylor, Harley, Ryder).

Here, an Australian parenting site examines the “hyphen Mae” trend which is rapidly picking up speed among style-savvy celebrity baby namers there: Marlie-Mae, Gracie-Mae, Mila-Mae… It’s a pattern that will no doubt sound all-too familiar to our British readers!

Brand Name Or Baby Name?

And it’s not just baby names which are subject to trends: take a look at the names of some of the most recently released financial apps and products — Dave, Frank, Oscar, Albert, Marcus, Clyde — and you’re sure spot a theme.

In the wake of the financial crisis of the past decade, banks and other companies are moving away from their grand, institutional titles and releasing financial products with human names — and specifically, “everyman white guy names” — in an effort to appear more approachable and reliable. It’s a trick they might have picked up from the technological sector, with its vaguely exotically named virtual assistants, like Alexa, Siri and Cortana.

But this quote strikes a chord: “The patriarchy will tell you that you want a guy to help you with your money and you want a woman to do stuff for you.” What do you think? Is using human names for products and services problematic?

A Storm By Any Other Name

 It’s a little reminiscent of the old story about feminine-named hurricanes historically being deadlier, because people were less likely to take them seriously and properly prepare. The jury’s still out on whether that’s actually true, though, and female names are still included in the annual lists of named storms around the world.

You can find the full list of 2019 hurricane names here, the British and Irish storm names for 2019/20 here, and information on how French, Spanish and Portuguese storms are named here. Zelda and Ivo, Ciara and Kitty, Prosper and Valentin… There’s actually some great baby name inspiration here!

Sending our very best wishes to all of our readers affected by the extreme weather this week — stay safe everyone!

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from pregnancy and birth to unique baby names from fiction and fantasy. As Nameberry’s head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England’s smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com

About the author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from pregnancy and birth to unique baby names from fiction and fantasy. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.

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