Cool Names: This week’s Nameberry Nine including Clover, Lorenzo, Painter and Panda

Here, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s take on the nine cool names in the news this week–intriguing as always.

I’m always hoping celebrities will surprise and delight us with the cool names they choose.  (January Jones, I’m looking at you!)  A kid who is going to grow up in Hollywood can rock a name like Ptolemy or Apple more easily than one who has to navigate a typical suburban playground.  Plus, somehow I doubt being named Suri is the strangest thing about growing up with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as your parents.

My preferences aside, it was refreshing to hear veteran rocker Paul Stanley – father of the normally-named Evan, Colin, Sarah, and new arrival Emily Grace – comment “I guess we’re not cool enough for names like Peach or Astro Girl.”  Pretty down to earth for a guy who made his name in sequins and platform boots.

Nonetheless, Emily did not make my list the week she was born – and she still doesn’t. There’s a huge category of names that are more intriguing than Emily, but not as tough to wear as Astro Girl.  (January, don’t rule out Peach.  She has potential, especially in the middle spot.)

There has been plenty of baby name news this past week, and here are nine of my favorite names from the headlines:

Clover – The fourth child of actor Neal McDonough and wife Ruvé Robertson wears this lucky nature name.  Clover Elizabeth joins sisters London Jane and Catherine Maggie, and big brother Morgan PatrickClover combines the fashionable –er ending of Piper and Harper with the botanical appeal of Lily and Violet.  She sounds something like the chart-topping Chloe, and makes for an Irish heritage choice more exciting than Erin.

Ezra – Children’s classic A Snowy Day celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2012, prompting a recent piece in the New York Times about the author – Ezra Jack KeatsJack is epidemic, and Keats could catch on, but I have my eye on Ezra.  Since Joshua and Noah have proved that boys’ names can end in a, too, I can imagine tons of parents discovering Ezra.

Haven – It sounds like a conundrum for the Nameberry forums: my husband is named Cash and we called our first daughter Honor.  What can we possibly name her little sister?  Jessica Alba managed to solve the puzzle on her own, announcing the birth of second daughter Haven Garner last week.  I’m a big fan of the letter H, and the girls’ names share a modern virtue name vibe that fits with choices like Journey and Harmony.

Hopestill – Did you catch Leslie Owen’s Nameberry guest post on family names last Friday?  There’s Consider and Mahala and Dwell, but I was most captivated by Hopestill and Truelove.  Word names are huge, opening the door for daring parents to embrace phrase names.  Truelove is a bit much, but Hopestill has a lovely quality that might appeal to parents seeking an optimistic choice for the middle spot.

Mabel – Someone sent me a YouTube clip of the world’s first robot with knees, which means that the robot can run – probably faster than me.  The technology is fascinating, but I had to go digging for an explanation of her name.  A few articles suggested that it was just Mabel, not MBL-3P0 or anything equally geektastic.  Could the biggest innovators in robot technology also be closet name nerds?  Then I stumbled on a reference to the Michigan Anthropomorphic Biped with Electric Legs.  Still, it is nice to know that when machines take over the world they might have names as appealing as Hal.

Lorenzo – Did you watch The Next Food Network Star?  Winner Jeff Mauro’s new show The Sandwich King debuted this weekend.  It’s too soon to say if he’s the next Guy Fieri, but Mauro has great taste in names.  The Chicago native’s son is called Lorenzo.  The Italian take on the classic Laurence could be the next Marco or Matteo – classic, but with a twist.

PandaThe Huffington Post’s quiz “Celebrity Baby or Indie Band?” should be a breeze for Nameberry readers, but I’ll admit that Panda Bear stumped me.  Panda Bear is an indie musician – he was born Noah Benjamin LennoxPanda Delilah is the daughter of Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches and the Juno soundrack.  Take the quiz yourself here:

Painter – You shouldn’t name your kid after a Smurf, even if he is just three apples tall, constantly cheerful, and fond of the color blue.  Except that Painter has a quirky appeal.  If kids can be called Poet and Hunter, why not Painter?  Incidentally, those other two are also Smurfs.  None of the three Smurfs made it to the recent movie adaptation, but a sequel is planned for 2013, so you never know.

Sky – Magician extraordinaire David Copperfield and his supermodel girlfriend Chloe Gosselin are parents.  But this isn’t exactly a birth announcement.  Daughter Sky is sixteen months old.  Keeping her arrival out of the press for well over a year might just be the illusionist’s most impressive feat.  As for her name, I find Skyla and Skylar and Skyanne a bit much, but the spare word name still has some poetry.


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9 Responses to “Cool Names: This week’s Nameberry Nine including Clover, Lorenzo, Painter and Panda”

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Nook of Names Says:

August 22nd, 2011 at 6:28 am

I love Clover, always have. Don’t think of it in style terms (or particularly Irish!) either, just as it is, or rather happy summer days as a child lying in the graass and looking for one with four leaves!

Ezra — I wonder whether most people will now consider it too ‘girly’? I already know one little girl of the name.

Painter — yup, why not? Got that ‘pay’ sound of ‘Paige’ and the ‘ter’ of Hunter, etc. Certainly ticks the ‘on trend’ box 😉

Abby Says:

August 22nd, 2011 at 7:05 am

Nook, I’ve heard that hesitation about Ezra, too, but he reminds me of Noah. And I think that z-r sound has a certain edge that makes him boy-friendly. But one high-profile girl Ezra and you’re right – he could go other way.

Elea Says:

August 22nd, 2011 at 8:00 am

On the subject of Panda, my sister Miranda often gets called Panda by family and friends. She likes it as an informal pet-name. Needless to say, she recieved several panda-themed gifts from friends as a teenager.

I like Ezra on a boy, but went to school with two girls called Azra and Azrah, so I can see why some find it feminine.

Marginamia Says:

August 22nd, 2011 at 9:33 am

I expect Ezra to rise for boys, still. It seems to be a favorite boy name amongst the younger name nerd set.

Obviously, I think Painter is ripe for the picking; It was on Marginamia’s name list last week, linked with a profile I did of a … painter. I agree with Nook, it’s just as usable as Hunter!

Mabel in on my Monday list today, too, as a suggestion for a girl wishing to change her name, but she just got awesomely cooler, if not suddenly more popular? Will this name be forever linked with this specific robot, or is this only news for a much smaller sect of the population?

Clover remains a passionate love of mine. Fantastic list!

anniebee Says:

August 22nd, 2011 at 11:13 am

Clover and Sky are crunchy names my camp counselors called themselves at summer camp when I was little, so I’m having trouble warming to them. Sky in particular is not my cup of tea. The premise of the name is good, but I’ve just known it on people that give it the wrong image for me.

I love Painter, though! I like that it’s a fun occupation. If people used to call their kids Law/yer or Doc/tor, then I love Painter for its whimsy.

My favorite on the list is Panda as a nn for Pandora. I originally saw this on the British show Skins and I have loved it ever since. It’s quirky but has a nice sound to it and the longer Pandora give it more seriousness plus is an ancient name.

Maybe it’s just me but I do not care for Haven at all. Maybe it’s me just preferring more traditional names, but I dislike this as much as I dislike Eden. I’ve never been able to place my finger on why, but they just aren’t grounded enough for me. Odd considering I like flower names so much. I guess I just think we’re one step away from using Utopia as a legit name. I loved Honor so much, too.

daisy451 Says:

August 22nd, 2011 at 11:27 am

I’m a big fan of Kimya Dawson and I’d heard of her daughter Panda- she’s got a couple songs for her (and featuring her) on the album “Alphabutt.”

Maude Says:

August 22nd, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I just hope that Mabel doesn’t end up getting associated with the robot – I’m not sure how big of news story that is, so I don’t know the chances, but Mabel is my 10-month-old daughter’s name, and I love that it’s uncommon and vintage. It’s funny that both Mabel and Painter are on the same list. Wasn’t it Rob Lowe who has a daughter named Mabel Painter?

I also like the names Lorenzo (exotic and handsome) and Ezra. If I didn’t already have a Biblical name for my son (Solomon), Ezra would be a serious contender for a future baby boy.

agirlinred Says:

August 22nd, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I absolutely love Ezra. It would be in my top five right now if it weren’t for the fact my aunt just named one of her twins Ezra. I know another little boy with the name and would love to hear more of it.

I also know a guy named Painter who’s 18 or 19. Painter was his grandmother’s maiden name.

lemon Says:

August 26th, 2011 at 12:55 pm


Ezra might be rising in the young name nerd set because it’s on a popular teen TV drama, Pretty Little Liars. Do some Google-ing, because that Ezra Fitz is a looker and charmer!

And, I love Clover. I think it’s so cool and fresh but it’s got this homespun, whimsical charm to it, too. Very neat. I’d love to use it as a middle name, I think. But, I can’t figure out if I like Clover or Juniper more!

Finally, Painter. Do you all think it can really work as a human’s first name? It actually IS a family surname for me, but I’m thinking it’s better in the middle. I really do like it, though. Great image.

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