Cool Names: This week’s Nameberry Nine–including Penelope, Perry, Dex and Kix
Now his little sister is also singing “baby, you a fiiiiiiiyawawk.”As we listened to the song for the hundredth time last night, I found myself thinking: could Perry make a comeback? It’s not just the flirty pop star. This weekend, likable young country musicians The Band Perry came through Washington DC on their summer tour with Tim McGraw.
The last time Perry was in vogue was the nineteenth century, when Commodore Perry was all over the news for his expeditions to Japan. Today, with surname names showing no signs of etreat and plenty of parents seeking similar-but-different options, Perry would fit with Riley and Bailey.
Names bubble up for so many reasons, from fictional characters to newsworthy figures, songs and celebrities, even sounds that just feel right.
Here are nine most buzz-worthy this week:
Cecil – The fourth installment in the Spy Kids franchise opens this month, with Joel McHale and Jessica Alba taking over as the parents. The series is known for its precocious youngsters, outrageous gadgets, and wildly unusual cool names for the male characters. The boy spy kid in this iteration is Cecil (illustrated), twin to Rebecca. Other names throughout the series include Wilbur, Juni, Donnagon, and Devlin.
Dexter – When I hear Dexter, my first thought is Cary Grant as Katharine Hepburn’s ex in The Philadelphia Story. Grant plays the dashing C.K. Dexter Haven. But plenty of parents hear Dexter and think of a mightily disturbed serial killer, thanks to Showtime’s five seasons and counting of gory stories about Dexter Morgan. Next week’s release of One Day, the big screen adaptation of David Nicholls’ 2009 novel, could return Dex to the romantic hero category. Jim Sturgess plays Dexter Mayhew, who spends entirely too long realizing he’s in love with his best friend Emma.
Gale – For a boy. As if The Hunger Games’ heroic Gale Hawthorn isn’t enough encouragement, what about actor Gale Howard? The CW’s paranormal teenage drama Secret Circle debuts next month. Howard plays the father of the Circle’s head witch – and a rather attractive villain, too, if I read the previews right. Boys are called Gage and Cale – mash ‘em together, and Gale is a logical pick for a son, as long as you don’t name your daughter Abby.
Jett – For a girl. Nameberry intern Hannah Tenison mentioned Joan Jett in her Rock’n’Roll baby names post on Tuesday. Hannah kept it on the boys’ list, but I wonder if some parents seeking rock-star style might think of Jett for a girl. The solution appeared at Swistle – name your daughter Juliet, and reserve Jett as a nickname. (You can read the Swistle post here: http://swistlebabynames.blogspot.com/2011/08/baby-naming-issues-avoiding-teen-mother.html)
Kix – Yes, Kix is a breakfast cereal. Max, Dex, Lex, Rex, Jax and nearly any other ends-in-x sound, however, are names for boys. Foster the People’s breakout hit “Pumped Up Kicks” has been unavoidable this summer. And now For Real Baby Names just spotted him in Texas. (Check out her full list: http://names4real.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/kix/) Could Kix catch on?
Mae Mobley – As I write this, I’ve yet to see the big screen adaptation of The Help that opened recently. I mentioned Octavia last week, but here’s my guess: the real name boosted by the book and movie is the child in maid Aibileen’s care: Mae. Like Ava and Audrey, she has Hollywood glam aplenty, plus she’s right in step with mini names like Mia and Zoe. It’s also another example of those “Southern double names” Nicole Kidman referenced when she and Keith Urban welcomed Faith Margaret. In the novel, Mae is always referred to by her first and middle, Mae Mobley. Mae re-entered the US Top 1000 in 2010 after four decades of obscurity.
Penelope – Ever since Christina Ricci donned a prosthetic pig snout for 2004’s modern fable, parents have rediscovered the gorgeous Greek Penelope. And why not? She’s a little bit quirky, undeniably literary, and her list of nicknames is extensive. There’s Penny and Nell, Polly and Poppy, and if you stretch a little further, maybe even Lola, Pia, or the hottest of the hot, Pippa. Of course, the real story could be Athena. Will parents get wise to this stylish goddess name now that Ms. Fey has put it on the map?
Perry – He’s been musical for decades, thanks first to crooner Perry – born Pierino – Como. I mentioned Katy Perry and The Band Perry above, and on a very different note, there’s Texas governor Rick Perry, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
Vivi–Anne – I spotted this one on Lifetime reality show Dance Moms. Many a re-spelling feels deeply unnecessary, but this one works. I’m guessing that Vivi–Anne’s mom Cathy was eager to name a daughter Vivian or Vivienne, but only if she could ensure that the two syllables would be pronounced with an emphasis on the –an. That’s not normally the case, of course. Choosing a name that you like only if you can insist on a counter-intuitive pronunciation can be a recipe for disaster, but the strong-willed Cathy has made it work.
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on August 15th, 2011 at 12:38 am
I have been saying to anyone who will talk baby names with me that I think Perry/Peri is the next Jessie/Jesse!
Perry is coming back.
Nook of Names Said
on August 15th, 2011 at 5:35 am
Another option off the top of the head for a ‘full’ girl’s name with which to use the nickname ‘Jett’ is Bridget. It gets used that way in the film Practical Magic.
Love Perry — I’d use it as short for Peregrine, but it works on its own too.
As I’ve just said over at Waltzing More than Matilda, Mae (as a variant of May) is very popular here in the UK as a combo, and frequently hyphenated, the most popular being Lily-Mae, Ellie-Mae, Daisy-Mae, Gracie-Mae and Evie-Mae…
on August 15th, 2011 at 9:39 am
Yes! I am ashamed to admit that I have watched Dance Moms and found that name to be interesting. I like that the little girl’s nickname is Vivi, which may have been why she chose that spelling. It sounds really cute when she calls her Vivi.
I was thinking the same on Athena! I just love this name as a middle. It feels like it’s making the statement that I want a daughter that’s wise above all else. I don’t think of Athena as anything other than the goddess of wisdom. I think both of Tina Fey’s daughters’ names sound like names of smart people and I think that’s what she was going for. Not to say other names sound dumb, just that it sounds like she was really pushing for a smart-sounding name if that makes sense.
Love your posts as always!
on August 15th, 2011 at 10:35 am
Cecil – I love Cecily for a little girl, so I wouldn’t use Cecil for a boy…you know, in case I could ever use Cecily :).
Dexter – I love this name, but I have a bad association with the nn Dex, so I don’t think I could use it. I would love to see a friend use it though!
Gale – I like it, but I know that I wouldn’t use it.
Jett – Cool, but I can only get into it as a nn.
Kix – Will always be a cereal…
Mae Mobley – I’m really starting to dig Mae.
Penelope – Super adore this name!
Perry – I can’t help but think of the cartoon Phineas and Ferb. Perry is the secret agent platypus that is also their pet. I actually call my car Perry.
Vivi-Anne – Still prefer Vivienne or Vivian.
on August 15th, 2011 at 11:19 am
I am so glad you mentioned Mae Mobley! I read The Help and fell in love with that name instantly! I am also loving Vivi-Anne from dance moms. That whole show is crazy! I applaud Tina Fey for choosing Penelope Athena. Very Greek and beautiful; I think Penelope sounds great with Alice both classic with a bit of quirk.
on August 15th, 2011 at 2:53 pm
I love the name Perry. It’s my mother’s maiden name, and my brothers middle. I think it would be a good name to honor my Portugese heretige. I don’t care for Cecil, but I do like Cecily.
on August 15th, 2011 at 4:50 pm
Love Penelope and Mae! I like the idea of Juliet nn Jett.
I know this is the wrong place but why cant I go onto the community site!!
on August 15th, 2011 at 5:20 pm
@michaela I believe the forums are down again. Probably having some growing pains with the new setup.
@AJ_Bear – I didn’t think of it, but Perry is a family name in my family too. Haven’t really thought of it on a girl in that context, so thanks for your post!
on August 15th, 2011 at 6:07 pm
Thanks Anniebee!! How annoying this happened a few nights ago also 🙁
on August 15th, 2011 at 7:02 pm
Based on this, Perry is clearly making a comeback. And to think, I almost axed it from the list twice …
on August 15th, 2011 at 8:29 pm
@anniebee- I would use it for a boy, I can never think of it as a girl’s name after I hear my Grandpa constantly shout “Pery” at my brother.
on October 13th, 2011 at 5:43 pm
Cecil said as cess ill where I live is a name that I would never burden a child with, however, on the other hand the feminine versions are rather lovely ie Cecile, Cecily, Cecilia.
Athena is all Greek and not ready to join the beautiful Helenas, Chloes and Phoebes of this world, she is far too pretentious and royal to sit with the Jacks and Emilys of this world.
on December 8th, 2012 at 9:33 pm
I love Penelope and Perry.
on May 18th, 2013 at 5:19 pm
always have adored the old name Peregrine for a boy… Perry is great!
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