Cool Middle Names: The Nameberry 9– Kick, Darling and Papillon

March 25, 2012 Linda Rosenkrantz

Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel finds some truly unique and cool middle names among this week’s newsiest nine.

Let’s hear it for daffy middle names.

Plenty of us put a classic like James or Grace or Ann in the middle spot, and sometimes those ordinary appellations make the perfect choice.  Some of us go wild with our child’s first name, too, but for those of us who aren’t among the rich and famous, choices like Blue or Pilot can feel awfully outlandish.

The compromise is to choose a relatively mainstream moniker for the first spot, and to tuck that wild dare of an idea, or that clunky family name, safely in the middle.

That seems to be the brief in Hollywood this week.  So let’s start with a few newsworthy birth announcements, all featuring riskier middles.

Bastian Kick Charlie Ballerina’s baby brother has a name just like hers – a modern first name borrowed from more traditional choices, and a middle name straight out of the dictionary.  Actor Jeremy Sisto joked that he and wife Addie Lane used the reference book for inspiration – or maybe he wasn’t kidding.  Even if you’re more of a Sebastian and Charlotte kind of parent, Bastian and Charlie probably feel comfortably familiar.  In this age of noun names, Kick raises the stakes by adding action verbs to the mix.

Thomas Colton – If you’re not about to stray from established names, then Jared Padalecki and Genevieve Cortese may be more your style.  The couple welcomed a son last week, and while both of baby’s names currently rank in the Top 100, together it is a nice mix of the traditional and the nouveau.  Thomas has never been out of the US Top 100, while Colton has only been in use since the 1980s.  We’re using to meeting boys with names like Jayden James and Mason Walter, but it is fun to hear the more traditional pick in the first place, and the trendier appellation in the middle.

Luca Cruz Hillary Duff is a new mom!  She and husband Mike Comrie have welcomed son Luca CruzLuca, the Italian form of Luke, is a fast-rising choice.  Paired with Cruz, a Spanish surname meaning cross, he’s quite the pan-European pick.  The Beckhams boosted Cruz when they gave the name to their third son in 2005.  That z-ending is unexpected – and quite stylish!

Halcyon Juna Halcyon in the first spot is pretty daring.  But it turns out that Beth Littleford and Rob Fox were promoting Beth’s unconventional middle name to the first spot.  Beth’s full name is Elizabeth Anna Halcyon Littleford.  Halcyon is a true family gem – it was Littleford’s grandmother’s given name.  The couple plan to call their new daughter Hallie, which sounds just right with big brother Jackson.

Not al lHollywood trends translate well into the real world, but I think is one that does.  From the startlingly unexpected to the slightly different, here are a few more notable picks from last week:

Alice Rosamund Name Soiree spotted this one in Australia.  Rose is predictable in the middle, but any of the longer Rose names makes for an unexpected surprise. How about Rosalie, Rosalind, or for a Hunger Games-inspired twist, Primrose?

Ethan Athanasius Ethan is a modern classic, at his most popular in recent years.  Combined with an ancient and obscure saint’s name, Ethan really shines.  The blogger behind Blessed Among Men has had plenty of experience naming boys – Ethan joins five big brothers at home!

Everley Darling – Documentary filmmaker and crusading nonprofit founder Jason Russell has captured headlines with his latest piece, “Kony 2012.”  Russell is a controversial and charismatic figure, who claims his own middle name is Radical.  I couldn’t confirm that piece of information, but his son’s name is Gavin Danger, while his daughter answers to Everley DarlingPlenty of boys have been saddled with Danger, a punchline of a middle name, but Darling seems like a daring, retro choice akin to Tobey Maguire’s Ruby Sweetheart.

Harper Papillon Papillon is the French word for butterfly – or the English term for a very small dog with rather large, wing-like ears.  It’s also the name of a ballet and a bestselling memoir later adapted as a movie starring Steve McQueen.  As a girl’s name it seems slightly hard to say and challenging to shorten – but in the middle spot, it is a pleasant surprise.

Mae Elexianna – It sounds like a 21st century name, but instead reader Liza spotted this one on an octogenarian.  Proof that not only is the daring middle a good idea, it is one that’s been around for a while.

Spot any unusual names this week?

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