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Cool Classic Names: Alfred and Ottilie

October 30, 2019 Emma Waterhouse

By Emma Waterhouse

This week’s news includes some cool classic names, brilliant British birth announcements, some interesting number-crunching from Nevada, and an incredible tale of two names and all they represent…

British Cool Classic Names

We have to start with the biggest baby name news of the week!

Huge congratulations from everyone at Nameberry to our wonderful news blogger (and force behind the fantastic Name News page) Clare, whose first child made his appearance earlier this week. Clare and her husband chose the impeccably classic and oh-so-handsome David Alfred Gabriel for their son — well, we’d expect nothing less!

Alfred may still be sailing under the radar in the US, but it’s a stylish choice in the UK right now, as this week’s bumper crop of birth announcements from British Baby Names demonstrates. There’s both a Percy Alfred Hugh and a Rocco Alf on the roster — not to mention such thoroughly British picks as Inigo, Ludovic, Murray, Ruairidh and Wilbur.

And on the girls’ side: Ottilie, Boudicca, Roberta… oh, and a Freda, a Frida and a Winefride! Could the girls’ “Fred” names finally be getting some much-deserved attention?

Stylish Starbaby Boys

It’s been a boy-heavy week in the celebrity baby stakes too, with some seriously stylish — and some seriously surprising — names chosen for the new arrivals.

British soap actress Hayley Tamaddon went classic-cool with her first son’s name: Jasper. At just outside the Top 100 in the UK, and just outside the Top 150 in the US, it’s a charming choice that feels current, but not overexposed.

Another cool category of boy names represented this week: surname style. Pussycat Dolls singer Kimberly Wyatt chose the quirky Ford Senna for her newborn son, after designer Tom Ford and F1 driver Ayrton Sennaa name she’s apparently had picked out for years.

And the trend for short, punchy, modern boys’ names is clearly still big, with bouncing baby boys named Mexx and Renn born to actress Brooke Vincent and musician Ricky Martin, respectively.

Speaking of short and punchy… did you know Psalm West was almost named Ye? Did you or your children have an “almost name”? My youngest was almost Ramona, and I still sometimes look at her and wonder…

A Tale Of Two Names

“I think I hated Zephany in the beginning… She came with such force, such an uninvited invitation, so much suffering and so much pain. But Zephany is the truth and Miché, the 17-year-old girl that I was, she was a lie. So I’ve managed to balance both names. You can call me Zephany or Miché, it’s fine.”

Taking the talk about “almost names” to the extreme: this incredible story is well worth a read. And it’s a fascinating reflection on how central names are to our sense of identity.

Hello, My Name Is…

Names can also have a big impact on behavior: not just that of the bearer, but also of those around them.

Like a beaming smile and breezy small-talk, name badges have become an integral part of the modern service economy, aimed at creating a friendly, informal environment and breaking down perceived social barriers. But could the practice of putting everyone on immediate first-name terms actually be endangering workers?

This new survey suggests so — to the point where some fast food employees have resorted to swapping name tags with colleagues to deter predatory customers. It’s certainly food for thought…

When Name-Nerdery Meets Psychology

Of course, we’ve all been in situations where compulsory name tags would really come in handy. That awkward moment when you’re just about to introduce an acquaintance, only to realize that their name has completely flown out of your head. Or when you’re trying to call a family member, and run through the names of the whole extended family — including pets both living and deceased — before you land on the one you wanted.

Frustrating and embarrassing though it can be, the science behind these phenomena is actually pretty interesting. I wonder if name nerds are any less susceptible to mental blocks like this, being so switched-on when it comes to names?

We’re certainly no less guilty of this particular name-related habit, if the number of nicknames my childhood pet cat DominoPooferSchluffKnievel acquired across her lifetime is anything to go by!

Nevada-est Names

Last but not least, take a look at this fun list of the most uniquely Nevadan names of the past century, compiled in honour of Nevada Day on October 25th.

The most uniquely Nevadan names include Michon, Maxwell and Yazaira for girls — all at least 26 times more popular in Nevada than elsewhere in the country — and Nahom, Rome and Domanic for boys — all at least 10 times more Nevadan than the average. Other intriguing names to make the list include Anahi, Havana, Monserrat, Halo and Viridiana for girls, and Apollo, Keanu, Skye, Zephyr and Pharaoh for boys.

Any Nevadans out there? Does this seem accurate? And what would you say are the most characteristic names in your area?

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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