Creative Baby Names: The Nameberry 9, from Ruby Rey to Tessa Tangerine

In this week’s Nameberry 9, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain demonstrates the endless ingenuity there is out there in coming up with creative baby names.

This week’s baby name news was dominated by tales of a mom who has agreed to let the general public name her baby in exchange for $5,000.  It turned out to be a hoax, but it raises the question:  Would you ever let another person name your child?

It’s an unthinkable transaction for most of us.  We have extensive lists of baby names carefully assembled and edited over the years.  I like to think that I could blissfully name eight more children, each with two middles.

Or could I?

Creative freedom in baby naming is here to stay.  Even parents who say they prefer the mainstream often choose names like Chloe and Noah, Avery and Jayden, possibilities that would have been quite surprising a few decades back.

With so many choices, it can be more challenging than ever to choose a name.  If you’re agonizing over the decision, turning to web forums and online polls, maybe being paid to rely on the wisdom of crowds isn’t so crazy.

The week’s baby name news was also chock full of creative baby names for girls, from retro cool picks to modern inventions:

Ruby ReyThe Price is Right model Rachel Reynolds and husband David Dellucci recently welcomed a daughter.  Ruby is a gem of a first name, and Rey strikes me as a clever take on mom’s surname used in the middle spot.

Vaunne Sydney – There’s no word on what motivated Mercedes McNab and husband Mark Henderson to choose this name for their daughter.  Could they be big Alias fans, maybe?  It feels like a feminine form of Vaughn.  Or maybe it is a borrowing from a sixth century saint’s name, though he’s usually known as Vitonus.  With names like Sloane and Wren on the rise, could Vaunne join them?

Quilla – This one appeared in a Swistle post about a sibling for AmeliaQuilla is dad’s top choice and a family name, too.  Isn’t she a great substitute for EllaQuilla is not too far from the charming, homespun Willa but she has a little more edge.  It might not be the right choice for the family Swistle helped, but it could work for someone else.

Tessa TangerineTheresa is at an all-time low, but Tessa is having a good run.  Tessa Tangerine is the name of photographer Ryan Marshall’s daughter.  Or maybe it is … Tessa is definitely her first name, but I’m not sure if Tangerine is a fanciful blog middle or actually inked on her birth certificate.  With Clementine so stylish, will fruits be the new flower names?

Beatrix Cloud – Another unexpected middle surfaced in a birth announcement at For Real Baby Names.  I like the classic, buttoned-up Beatrix paired with the whimsical Cloud.

Corinne – Did you catch the photos of Jamie Foxx and his eighteen year old daughter Corinne at the Oscars?  Corinne is the kind of name that I’d call a true normal choice.  She’s never been in the US Top 200, but has never fallen out of the 1,000 most popular names, either.  It seems to be the kind of name we all want – familiar, but far from common – and yet we so rarely use.

Emjay – I’ve known lots of people who have answered to their initials – D.J. and C.J., even an M.A. and yes, an M.J.  Ajay and Vijay are legit Indian boy names.  But a girl named Emjay?  There must be a story there …

Keturah – Back to the online poll hoax.  She claimed that her personal top pick for a girl was KeturahWinter was her #1 for a son.  Maybe her name nerd-approved choice in baby names should have been a tip-off that the story wasn’t quite right.   Still, isn’t Keturah great?  Short form Ketty fits right in with Sadie and Hattie.

Edith – While we’re on that theme, I’d suggest a fifteenth name for Nameberry’s 14 Gorgeous Under the Radar Choices for GirlsEdithEdie is a stylish nickname, and Edith feels like the perfect alternative for parents disappointed to learn that Charlotte is so popular.

Have you used an online poll to narrow down your name choices?  Is Edith ready for a comeback?  And what do you think of choices like Vaunne, Quilla, and Tangerine – too out there, or just daring enough?

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21 Responses to “Creative Baby Names: The Nameberry 9, from Ruby Rey to Tessa Tangerine”

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WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 12:09 am

Oh I didn’t know that story was a hoax – although I couldn’t figure out why anyone would pay you money to name your baby. Especially as you could always change it later.

I have seen a lot of Emjays in the birth notices – I’m guessing it is another Em- name like Emma, Emily, Emerson, Emmy etc. I have noticed a lot of Australian parents spelling out initials to make a “proper” name. Don’t they do this in the US?

LexieM Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 12:14 am

Oh, Tessa Tangerine sounds like the heroine in a childrens book series. Imagine “Tessa Tangerine the the Magenta Mittens!” or Tessa “Tangerine and the Crimson Crayon”.

I also love Quilla. It strikes me as a wonderful mix of Quinn and Willa.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 12:20 am

I remember reading an English children’s story when I was a kid, where the heroine is named Tangerine (I think nn Tangy or Tangie or something). I thought it was really awesome, and I still do, although maybe more middle-ey?

PS I checked the US name data and there were 11 boys named Ceejay in 2011, but I couldn’t find any other examples. Obviously a budding name trend …

PPS I’ll get off your comment thread now and stop hogging it! 🙂

AmelieAmour Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 12:38 am

I really like Quilla, I think it’s quirky and fun.

Vaunne isn’t my style and Tangerine is a bit tacky in my opinion.

I LOVE Edith though, ever since I first heard the music of the great chanteuse Edith Piaf. I would certainly consider using it as a middle name.

stripedsocks Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 2:30 am

I’ve known a lot of female Vonnes and Vaunnes over the years… many are Chevonne/Shavaughn etc, many many respellings of Siobhan. In any case, Vaunne feels more my age or older than brand-spanking new.

Quilla is pretty adorable though.

rachel27 Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 4:33 am

I like the idea of Tangerine, particularly as a middle. It still doesn’t beat out my favorite fruit as middle name, Plum.

I love Beatrix Cloud, too….something about unusual middles gets me every time!

Abby Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 11:05 am

@stripedsocks – That’s an excellent point about Chevonne/Shavaunne, etc. Hadn’t thought about that!

@rachel27 – Oh, I love Plum. And unusual middles. My current crush is Swan.

@AmelieAmour – Completely love Edith. It grows on me daily.

@LexieM – I will purchase and read that children’s book! It does sound spectacular.

@Waltzing – A billion years ago, I was watching “The Dating Game” on television over summer vacation, and there was a Tangela on the show. I have harbored a quiet admiration for Tangie ever since. Though I agree – fruit really belongs in the middle spot, except for Clementine. And Valencia.

EmilyVA Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

How is Vaunne pronounced? How many syllables is that? Hear me out:
In Europe via Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia the extra e on a name is pronounced like an a on the end.
Examples Ilse pronounced Ilsa.
Elke prounounced Elke.
So is it Vaunne pronounced Vaun-nay.
Or Vaughn.

I wouldn’t use this name, but I am curious about pronounciation.
I think Ruby Rey is adorable especially with the mother’s name.

Poppy528 Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I love the name Edith! I think it’s very ahead of it’s time, almost hipster, maybe a bit too soon for a full revival. Beatrix Cloud is pretty great.

tarynkay Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I love Keturah so much. I’ve never understood how there are so many Sarah’s and no Keturahs. I love Ket or Ketty as a nickname (like Ketty Lester? So awesome.) I do not like Tangerine, particularly. I love Ruby Rey. And I like Quilla a lot.

norskelove Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I love Beatrix and love Edith…..I can see Edith getting more love in the upcoming years.

Abby Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

@EmilyVA – We’re waiting to hear Mercedes give an interview. I’m betting it is one-syllable – like Vaughn – but you raise an interesting point. It could rhyme with Shawna.

TaylorBlueSkye Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

EmilyVA, I’m German and we (and the scandinavian countries) pronounce the “e”s in the end. But only on “German / Scandinavian” names. We pronounce them as an “eh”. But Vaunne doesn’t look German or Scandinavian to me, it looks French. And the French don’t pronounce the “e” in the end, so I’d pronounce it as “Vaughn”

AshleyLouisa Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 9:56 pm

My guilty pleasure is Louise Lark, not sure I can get DH on board though.

dieselsmomma Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

I adore Edith! My mother hates it. I agree Tessa Tangeringe sounds like a storybook character. I love Beatrix Cloud’s quirkiness. I don’t think Vaunne sounds girly at all but I’m glad they opted for the double n because that always makes a name look more girly…..Devinne, Dylann, ect

EmilyVA Says:

March 5th, 2013 at 11:04 pm

@Abby and TaylorBlueSkye Thank you so much for responding to my questions. I am grateful to your insight.

Abby Says:

March 6th, 2013 at 3:32 am

@AshleyLouisa – Ooh, I love Louise Lark! Nickname fiend that I am, I’d have to call her Lula …

tori101 Says:

March 6th, 2013 at 11:36 am

I love Edith such a gorgeous vintage name, really charming. I love Edie (pro. eedee) as a nickname.

I also adore the combination Beatrix Cloud.

Quilla is really elegant too.

chanashay Says:

March 17th, 2013 at 10:43 pm

I know that this really has nothing to do with the aricle, but I saw Charlotte and just wanted to say that I have an ancestor named that, but my family pronounces it Char-Lottie. I’ve always thought that was odd…

SafinaNoelle Says:

July 24th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I like Quilla, it seems like a really cute combination of Quinn and Willa! I also like the classic yet cute Edith and I believe it’s coming back. Tessa sounds a bit to uptight for me but I kinda like Tangerine as a mn, it sounds fun and quirky and I think fruit names are starting to become popular but mostly as middle names not first names.

Bungo Says:

August 31st, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Tangerine is awful! Keturah sounds like a reject cartoon character. Quilla is cool. I’ve always liked Ruby but it’s way too popular now.
Our daughter (born July 2012) is Edith so I hope it doesn’t get too popular :o(

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