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

March 5, 2013 Abby Sandel

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?

About the author


Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at

View all of Abby's articles


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