Creative Baby Names: Then and Now
By Abby Sandel
Last week, Nameberry’s story on Crazy Baby Names was everywhere. Because outrageous baby names never get old, and it’s kind of mind-boggling to imagine introducing your kids, Royaltee and Ruckus.
Except that this is a very old trend. There have always been creative namers.
We recognize choices like Nevaeh and Messiah, Brynlee and Blaze as novelties of our time, but it’s difficult to know how to think about the rarities of an earlier age. Back in 1913, Exie, Vada, and Coy were in the US Top 1000. Are they vintage gems, or the Jayden and Kaylee of another age – or both?
This week’s baby name news was filled with creative baby names from today, as well as days gone by. Some of them are nouveau coinages that might not be your style. But they may be the next big thing.
Allyn and Avonne – For proof that creative baby names have long been with us, look no further than Nancy’s Baby Names post about influential showgirls from the early twentieth century. Broadway’s Ziegfeld Follies boosted the name of two cast members – Allyn and Avonne (Allyn King–shown). Both feel like names that could succeed just as easily in 2015. Avonne hasn’t been heard in years, but Allyn remains in use.
Brexton Locke – NASCAR driver Kyle Busch is a new dad. He and wife Samantha chose the name Brexton Locke for their new arrival. 42 boys were given the name in 2014. It feels like a mash-up of Braxton and Exton. With x-in-the-middle names like Jaxon and Axel attracting so much attention, no wonder we’re hearing even more creative spins.
Everleigh, Rekker, and their little brother or sister – Actors Cam Gigandet and Dominique Geisendorff recently announced that they’re expecting baby #3. Their two children together are Everleigh Ray and Rekker Radley. Everleigh has proved to be a fast-rising choice in recent years. And while Rekker hasn’t caught on, bad boy names with a creative vibe have definitely gone mainstream. If Ryker is on the rise, can Rekker be too far behind? And what do you name a little sister or brother for this pair?
Zaiden, Maizy – Speaking of sibsets, this question at Swistle caught my eye. Their firstborn is Zaiden William, and if their second is a girl, they’ve settled on Maizy Tangerine. The mom acknowledged that the names could lead to some interesting reactions, but they’re not swayed. It’s the power of those great letters, like x and z.
Jayde, Bentley – How do creative names go mainstream? At least some credit goes to television, and in recent years, a surprising number of names have been boosted by MTV’s Teen Mom franchise. Original cast member Maci Bookout saw the spelling of her name rise, as well as the name of her young son, Bentley. Yes, Bentley, as in the luxury cars, as well as a surname name spin on Benjamin. Now Maci is back on the fifth season of the series, Teen Mom OG. Bookout has just welcomed a daughter, named Jayde. Jade and Jayden are slipping in the US rankings, and Jayde is currently outside of the Top 1000. But it’s definitely a creative name – and we know that Bookout has been a trendsetter in the past.
Vanellope – It’s not just reality stars and NASCAR drivers going out on a limb with bold, unconventional baby names. Creativity reigns everywhere, and birth announcement blog Names for Real always demonstrates the tremendous variety of creative baby names chosen by parents everywhere. In a recent post, there were announcements for babies named Autzyn, Azadae, Donegan, Jasika, Liloo, Wesalyn, and Vanellope. Yes, Vanellope, the vanilla-Penelope mash-up invented for an animated video game character in Wreck-It Ralph. It isn’t just this one time, either. There were 77 newborn Vanellopes in 2014 alone.
Are there any creative baby names that you like? How about creative names that have gone mainstream? And are you as surprised as I am over the 77 Vanellopes?
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on June 1st, 2015 at 12:20 am
chayah khaw-yaw’ to live, whether literally or figuratively; causatively, to revive:–keep (leave, make) alive, certainly, give (promise) life, live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (God) save (alive, life, lives), surely, be whole.
on June 1st, 2015 at 12:33 am
I like “Christelle,” with the emphasis on the last syllable; “ChristELLE”. It’s a portmanteau of “Christine” and “Crystal.” I like to think I coined it, but I’m most likely wrong.
on June 1st, 2015 at 6:13 am
‘Creative’ names have always existed. However, they were more realistic and less damaging than they are now. For example, in the ealy 1900s, a lot of ‘creative’ choices came from the African American portion of the states – people who wished to forgo the names they and their kin had been given during a time of slavery and instead creating their own unique, culturally connective identity.
Go back further than that, to the Victorian era, and you had people naming their children Toilet, Caggage and Unwanted – also ‘creative’ choices. It all had to do with class levels. If you were an aristocrat then it didn’t matter what you named your children because they would be aristocrats as well. And if you were a menial worker, you could name your child anything you wanted because, regardless of what their name ended up as – whether it be Elizabeth or Justyss, they would most likely always be a menial worker.
The 21st century has set up a particular standard of professionalism in the workplace. And while some ‘creative’ names like Lyra and Octavius cause no trouble, other choices that fall into the ‘creative’ category, e.g. Unique, Pryncess, Mhykynzee etc. are less likely to be deemed as acceptable. Just something to keep in mind.
on June 1st, 2015 at 7:13 am
Creative name is different from creative spelling. Allyn is a creative spelling. Vanalope is a creative name.
on June 1st, 2015 at 8:13 am
I’m sure there have always been people out there who named their children such monstrous names. Precedent is not a good argument for these horrors. I see a thundering horde of Vannalopes headed my way.
on June 1st, 2015 at 10:43 am
LeslieMarion, you have obviously never experienced anything truly monstrous or horrible if you’re using those terms to refer to somebody being creative with a baby name.
on June 1st, 2015 at 4:43 pm
In the case of my granddaughter’s name, Allyn, it IS a creative name as opposed to a creative spelling. It was created from both her parents’ names and had nothing to do with changing the spelling of the name Allan. I think it is absolutely perfect, but of course I am biased!!!
on June 1st, 2015 at 9:07 pm
Allen, Allan, Alen, Alan and Allyn are all the same exact name, regardless of how the person decided to choose it. Allyn is NOT a creative name, merely a creative spelling. The meaning behind choosing the name might be unusual or creative, though even that stretches the definition since people often choose names that encompasses aspects from two names. It’s eye-rolling to suggest that someone just made it up out of thin air when all they did was use a perfectly common name and insert trendy y.
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