Cool Modern Names in the News

November 6, 2019 Emma Waterhouse

This week’s name news includes a host of starbaby girls with cool modern names, namesake naming at its best (and weirdest), and the secret to choosing a winning name…

Sleek Starbaby Girls

Last week there seemed to be a boom in celebrity baby boys — this week, it’s the girls’ turn!

And the names chosen for the latest batch of high-profile new arrivals are every bit as on trend, with preppy, cool modern names leading the charge.

Joseph and Kendra Duggar chose a fashionable favorite for their new daughter Addison Renee, sister to Garrett David. Country singer Kane Brown and his wife Katelyn opted for a third K name for their firstborn, Kingsley Rose. And model Joanna Krupa and her husband Douglas Nunes wanted a name that worked in Polish, Irish and Portuguese… and ultimately settled on the sweet double name AshaLeigh for their daughter.

With 2019 drawing to a close, what are your nominations for the best celebrity baby names of the year? Birdie Mae, Tallulah, Winter Mercy, Max Valentine… it’s a great crop to choose from!

Namesake Naming

Another celebrity couple to welcome a daughter this week were British musicians Flo Morrissey and Benjamin Clementine, who chose the lovely Helena for their new arrival, sister to Julian Jupiter. It’s a family name: belonging to Flo’s mother, Dame Helena Morrisseywho has nine fabulously-named children herself.

Family names are often the first port of call for couples looking for a baby name with strong personal significance, but they’re by no means the only option!

There are important place names — like baby Victoria, born this week to a mother whose life was saved during pregnancy by doctors at the Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital. There are meaningful human names, given in honour of the people who assisted at the birth — like the new quadruplets from British soap opera Coronation Street: Bryn, Llio, Carys and Aled. Some parents even draw inspiration from in-utero nicknames — General Hospital actor Ingo Rademacher springs to mind, whose two sons are Peanut and Pohaku (also meaning “peanut” in Hawaiian).

And a couple from Bavaria, Germany this week combined multiple meaningful categories when they named their new daughter Dina Sofia Pocahontas: Dina after a great-grandmother, Sofia as her everyday name, and Pocahontas for her pre-natal nickname.

Banned Baby Names

Germany doesn’t have a list of verboten baby names; instead, applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Emilie-Extra, Sundance and Speedy Ralf have also passed muster, although Pfefferminze (“peppermint”) did not.

But some countries are notoriously strict when it comes to the pool of names which new parents can choose from. In Iceland, baby names must be compatible with Icelandic grammar, contain only letters from the Icelandic alphabet, and match the sex of the bearer. Newly approved names include Gaston, Illíes, Maia, Tófa and Ursula, while Aryan, Catra and Sezar have all recently been rejected.

Also: did you know that there’s also a 3000+ strong list of illegal names for racehorses? This article about the naming rules and conventions of the horse-racing industry makes for surprisingly interesting reading — who knew that Urban Dictionary would be such a useful tool for the British Horseracing Authority?

Do Our Names Influence Our Choices?

As this older article reveals, racehorse names actually influence the public’s betting habits, with funny or clever names attracting more bets. But how much do our own names affect our everyday choices?

Well… quite a lot, according to French researchers. Their study suggests that consumers subconsciously seek out products which have characteristics similar to their own — with names being a prime example. Offer someone named Matt a choice between two identical teas, Mataku and Hataku, and the results show that he’ll choose the one starting with the same letters as his name 70% of the time. Even just sharing the same first initial caused subjects to favour one product over another more than 60% of the time.

One brand that cracked this early? Coca Cola, whose “Share A Coke” campaign turned falling sales caused by the anti-obesity drive into international growth, almost overnight.

A In The Ascendent

With all this in mind, perhaps companies should look to baby name trends and choose their brand names accordingly? A great place to start could be the letter A!

Already, the top 100 baby names in the US contains 18 girl names and 11 boy names beginning with the letter A, and our recent round-up of the hottest baby names to look out for in 2020 includes 15 A-starting choices for each sex — that’s more than 25% of the total.

A remains a mega-popular ending sound too, and vowel-rich names generally are still ruling the roost. Budding entrepreneurs, take note!

What are your favourite up-and-coming A-starting picks?

About the author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. 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

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